States moving to reinforce reproductive rights amid the pandemic, new report finds

first_imgAndrei Vasilev/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — During the first half of the year, 44 states and the District of Columbia introduced nearly 550 bills that protect reproductive health access, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report. The National Institute for Reproductive Health’s annual “Gaining Ground” report assesses state efforts to advance reproductive health, rights and justice during the first six months of the year. This year’s report comes at an unprecedented moment. For one, the pandemic has temporarily shuttered legislatures, impacting the amount of legislation that can move forward. Last year’s “Gaining Ground” report noted that, among proactive legislation on reproductive health, 831 bills were introduced and 94 bills were fully enacted as of June 15. This year, 546 bills have been introduced and 47 have been fully enacted in the same time frame.The health crisis has also “exacerbated and heightened the existing barriers to access to reproductive health care” for vulnerable communities, Andrea Miller, president of the advocacy group, told ABC News. That includes communities of color, young people, those living in rural settings and low-wage earners, she said. As states responded to COVID-19 with lockdown measures, there was a “flurry of activity” during the first few weeks of the pandemic to increase access to reproductive health care, Miller said.According to the report, eight states — California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Virginia and Washington — designated reproductive health care, family planning services or pregnancy-related care as essential services in their executive orders. Another three — Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York — explicitly included abortion care in their lists of essential procedures. The attorneys general of Hawaii and Oregon both stated that their states’ orders intended to classify abortion as “essential,” the report notes. These actions came as several state lawmakers unsuccessfully attempted to restrict abortion access during the pandemic, the report adds. Several states responded to concerns raised around birthing during COVID-19, Miller said. When some hospitals started prohibiting a support person or partner present during birth due to COVID-19 concerns, New York and New Jersey mandated that hospitals allow at least one support person.The organization has also seen “creative thinking” during the pandemic that impacts reproductive health access, Miller said, especially in the areas of telemedicine. As states waived regulations or enacted new laws to expand telemedicine, patients could consult with their doctors via phone call or video and have prescriptions mailed to them or sent to their pharmacy. In late March, the attorneys general of 21 states asked the Food and Drug Administration to lift restrictions on the medication abortion prescription drug Mifepristone via telemedicine, the report notes. “We’re certainly hopeful that the greater reliance upon and greater understanding of the utility and usefulness and capacity to use telemedicine, that that trend will hopefully continue,” Miller said.Beyond states’ COVID-19 responses, major legislation enacted so far this year included Virginia’s Reproductive Health Protection Act, which repealed major barriers to abortion care. Virginia lawmakers have also enacted laws to provide menstrual products in schools and expand access to doulas, as well as bills to prohibit pregnancy discrimination and the shacking of pregnant and postpartum incarcerated women, the report notes. NIRH’s latest survey arrived in the wake of a major Supreme Court ruling last week that reaffirmed abortion rights in Louisiana. Despite that victory, Miller expects to see more attempts to restrict access to reproductive care, especially in the South, going into next year.In 2019, more than 350 pieces of legislation restricting abortions were introduced in the U.S., according to the Guttmacher Institute. As state legislatures reconvene, Miller hopes lawmakers continue to address the disparity in reproductive health access, “which this pandemic has highlighted so intensely,” she said.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Argentina to Host the 2018 South American Defense Conference

first_imgBy Marcos Ommati/Diálogo October 02, 2017 At the end of the 2017 South American Defense Conference (SOUTHDEC), which took place August 22nd to 24th in Lima, Peru, the coordinators announced that, the 2018 edition of the event will be held in Argentina for the first time, with the Argentine Armed Forces hosting in conjunction with U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). To learn about the main challenges facing Argentine military,Diálogo spoke with Lieutenant General Bari del Valle Sosa, chief of the Argentine Armed Forces Joint Staff, during SOUTHDEC 2017.Diálogo: You were one of the panelists during the cyber defense roundtable that took place during the conference. How does Argentina compare in this area to other countries in the region?Lieutenant General Bari del Valle Sosa, chief of the Argentine Armed Forces Joint Staff: Sometimes, rather than comparing, as I pointed out, we are very worried; we are really pushing for exchanges of information because each of the countries is preparing itself, developing its organizations, training its people, developing the necessary technology to protect itself from this new threat, but it’s not enough. This kind of threat doesn’t have boundaries, and each country’s [separate] development is not enough. Therefore, it is essential for there to be an exchange of information, practice with different countries, drills, exchanges of experiences, of protocols, of lessons learned. We have applied certain procedures that are in effect within the Organization of American States and which clearly demonstrate the importance of exchanging information.Diálogo: What is needed to achieve the level of information exchange you mentioned?Lt. Gen. Sosa: Actually I think it is already happening. There are different drills, bilateral meetings between various countries, exchanges of experiences, some exercises, there are contests, there are tests, and there are countries that have organized cyber defense contests in which teams participate. There isn’t one specific result. These are steps that have to be taken on a daily basis because the threat evolves very quickly, so we have to try and move forward, and that requires being absolutely and constantly up-to-date.Diálogo: Do you consider that to be the Argentine Armed Forces’ main challenge?Lt. Gen. Sosa: We are in the process; the government has set an objective which is called restructuring of the National Defense System. And within that framework, we are protagonists in the Armed Forces Defense System. We are in a process of restructuring, which doesn’t just mean we are perfecting what we have been doing, but actually what we are trying to do is define the military instrument that will allow us to meet the demands of what Argentina will be facing in the 21st century. So our challenge is to look at what these challenges are and to design our military instrument in accordance with these demands.Diálogo: Is it important to face these challenges jointly with other countries?Lt. Gen. Sosa: Every country has its own reality, its own problems, its own definitions regarding strategic issues; however, beyond the fact that each country has their own particular issues, there is one overarching one, a framework of possibilities and also needs, where we can act together in a broad array of sectors and we can share defense policies held in common at different levels of importance, based on the specific case and the circumstances we are dealing with.Diálogo: One of the four main military objectives of U.S. Navy Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, commander of SOUTHCOM, is gender integration. What is your perspective on that issue?Lt. Gen. Sosa: I am convinced that we have evolved and we are committed to gender policies that consider the reality of our society. Because this is not just an armed forces issue, but gender policy plays a role at the national level. In the scope of the Armed Forces, women have participated in the past, generally limited to certain professional aspects in the area of healthcare, doctors, nurses, lawyers, and engineers. But starting in 1995, when the military service law changes and becomes voluntary, women are incorporated en masse.And in the training academies, for example the Army’s, which was the first to begin in 1997, they enter the training school for commissioned and non-commissioned officers, and later both the Air Force and the Navy followed suit. And the participation of female officers was increasing, both commissioned and non-commissioned. It was almost zero in the early 90s, but we are now at around 17 percent female participation in the Armed Forces. But there are certain places where the participation of women is very high. In some cases, over 50 percent.Diálogo: Can women be general officers in Argentina?Lt. Gen. Sosa: Not only can they become a general officer, but we actually already have two officers in our Armed Forces who have made it to that level. One of them, Army General Pansa, is an information technology specialist, and the other one is Rear Admiral Uriarte, who is also an information technology specialist. In other words, we have two women who have made it to the level of general or rear admiral. In 2012, the last existing barriers were removed, in this case in the Army, because they were not able to join the infantry or armored cavalry. And starting in 2012, that barrier was also removed, so we can summarize the policy in general: it is equal requirements, equal opportunities. Conceptually that is our view in the Armed Forces. We don’t have quotas, we don’t have numbers, but we have profiles, so anyone who satisfies these requirements can join, regardless of who it is.Diálogo: What is Argentina’s role in peacekeeping missions, now that the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH, per its French acronym) is coming to an end?Lt. Gen. Sosa: Our president’s idea was and is focused on encouraging and deepening our participation in mixed peacekeeping operations. The mission in Haiti is coming to an end, and our military participation is being reduced. We had two large units there, one battalion, comprising personnel from the Army and Navy, and a mobile military hospital belonging to the Air Force. They were reduced; the battalion withdrew a couple of years ago as military troops were reduced. On August 15th, the hospital’s specific activity came to an end, and they will completely withdraw after completing their MINUSTAH tasks in mid-October. So, we are analyzing existing scenarios and ones that will present themselves to see where Argentine troops can deploy under a United Nations mandate.Diálogo: Is Africa a possibility?Lt. Gen. Sosa: We are open to a wide range of current missions, and also those being considered in the United Nations. We haven’t made any decisions, but it is an option like all the other ones that are open to us. Currently, we are successfully finishing our participation in the first phase of the process of demilitarization and disarmament in Colombia, and although the nature of the United Nations mission will change, we are going to continue to have both equipment and personnel deployed there for the second phase, which is called reinsertion.Diálogo: What is reinsertion?Lt. Gen. Sosa: Reinsertion is the second phase of the process; the first was called demilitarization, relinquishing their weapons. The second phase is now happening, the stage of reinsertion. It is a process that the Colombian government is managing in coordination with the United Nations, and in that framework, we are participating as an observer group. There are now around 90.Diálogo: Are there any plans in the near future for joint exercises between Argentina and another country in the region, or with the United States?Lt. Gen. Sosa: We have general exercises, but they are permanent, annual. Some of them are simulations conducted indoors, and others are in the field, mainly with our neighbors, like Chile and Brazil. We have different types of drills, whether on land or at sea. Also, we have air force exercises in the framework of natural disasters all over South America. Just last year, troops did an exercise on land; in the month of October, in San Martín de los Andes, there was an exercise we did with Chile for protection from natural disasters. We deployed almost 1,200 people, including specialists from the two armed forces, not just the armies but both armed forces.Not only was the participation of the military members successful, but also a series of other organizations, because civilian bodies are also involved, along with the government, in the case of San Martín de los Andes, the city, the police, firefighters, the health department. It was a very productive exercise that brought to light the intense coordination of the different state bodies.last_img read more

Former Super Eagles forward linked with Championship club

first_imgInterestingly, Ideye, who had a stint with West Brom between 2014 and 2015 in the Premier League, netted four times for the Baggies, but he currently plies his trade with Greek side Aris Thessaloniki.At the last count, the former Ocean Boys of Brass forward completed a 1-year switch to Greek Super League side Aris Thessaloniki F.C until the summer of 2020 after being without a club since the end of the 2017-18 campaign.The 2013 AFCON winner, who previously won the Greek league title with Olympiacos between 2015 and 2017 tweeted a short statement after sealing the deal.“Grateful and excited about this chapter,” admitted Ideye, whose last European adventure took him to La Liga campaigners Malaga where he made 13 appearances during his short loan spell. Read Also: French club names Brown Ideye in team of the decadeIdeye, it would be recalled had his best career moment at Dynamo Kiev in the Ukrainian topflight.Surprisingly, the owner of his former club Olympiacos Evangelos Marinkas is said to be in charge of Nottingham Forest.The Edo state-born Ideye has netted 9 times in 26 appearances for Aris this campaign before COVID-19 lockdown.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 The Championship side are in quest of a Premier League spot next season as they currently occupy the fifth position on the standings. Promoted ContentMind-Bending Technology That Was Predicted Before It AppearedEverything You Need To Know About Asteroid Armageddon6 Unusual Facts About Bollywood, Pollywood And Tollywood9 Most Disturbing Movie DystopiasFans Don’t Know What She Looks Like NowThe New Lara Croft Will Really Surprise YouBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made7 Truly Incredible Facts About Black Holes11 Most Immersive Game To Play On Your Table TopTop 7 Best Car Manufacturers Of All Time5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme ParksPretty Awesome Shows That Just Got Canceledcenter_img Former Super Eagles forward Brown Ideye has been repeatedly linked with a return to England with interest from Sky Bet Championship campaigners Nottingham Forest, according to reports coming out of UK.Advertisement Loading… last_img read more

Guyana to ask World Court to proceed with hearings

first_imgICJ Border controversy case– after Venezuela fails to file counter-memorialThe Guyana Government will be moving to have the International Court of Justice (ICJ) go ahead with the proceedings after Venezuela failed to submit its counter memorial on jurisdiction within the court-imposed deadline.The International Court of JusticeBack in March 2018, Guyana went to The Netherlands-based World Court to confirm the validity of the Arbitral Award of October 3, 1899, which fixed the land boundary between the two neighbouring countries.Last year, the ICJ found that it would be appropriate to determine whether it has jurisdiction over the case before considering its merits.To this end, Guyana submitted its written Memorial on Jurisdiction back in November, demonstrating that the Court has jurisdiction to decide on the validity of the Arbitral Award and the resulting boundary.As a result, the ICJ had fixed April 18, 2019 as the date for Venezuela to submit a Counter-Memorial on Jurisdiction in response to Guyana’s submission. However, the troubled Spanish-speaking state has failed to make a submission on that date, and according to a statement for the Guyana Foreign Affairs Ministry on Thursday, Venezuela has indicated in a letter from its Foreign Minister that it had chosen not do so.“In consequence, Guyana has decided to ask the Court to proceed directly to the holding of oral hearings, at the earliest possible date, to determine its jurisdiction over the case. Guyana is confident that the Court will agree that it has jurisdiction, and then proceed to decide on the merits of Guyana’s suit,” the missive on Thursday stated.Guyana submitted the case to the Court after the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) determined, pursuant to his authority under the Geneva Agreement of 1966 – to which Guyana, Venezuela and the United Kingdom are parties – that the dispute over the validity of the Arbitral Award, and the resulting boundary, must be decided by the Court. That constitutes a sufficient jurisdictional basis for the Court to proceed.According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry release, Guyana regrets that Venezuela, notwithstanding its obligations under the Geneva Agreement and the Secretary General’s decision to refer the matter to the Court, has chosen not to participate in the case.However, as the Court itself has made clear, the door remains open to Venezuela to join in the proceedings, which will continue to a final and legally-binding judgment, pursuant to the Court’s rules, whether Venezuela participates or not.“Guyana takes note of the Venezuelan Foreign Minister’s recent tweet that, at some point in the future, it will supply the Court with “information” about the case to assist it in the exercise of its judicial functions. If this is a first step toward Venezuela’s full participation in the case, Guyana welcomes it.At the same time, Guyana has reserved its right to object to any submission by Venezuela that violates the Court’s rules or is otherwise prejudicial,” the missive added.The next step going forward now, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, will be for the Court to schedule the dates for the oral hearing on jurisdiction.last_img read more

DOHERTY’S ANGER AS BANKS OUTSOURCE MORTGAGES

first_imgPearse DohertySinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the outsourcing of mortgages to unregulated third parties must end. Deputy Doherty was commenting after, in a series of replies to parliamentary questions, Minister Michael Noonan accepted that the sale of mortgages to ‘debt factoring’ companies means some mortgage holders have been left without legal safeguards.Deputy Doherty said: “When a family or individual signs up for a mortgage with a regulated financial institution they expect the safeguards will last for the duration of the mortgage. The Minister’s replies confirm however that many mortgage holders now find themselves outside the protection of Central Bank regulations. The protection offered by the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears has been weakened under this government but it should be the bare minimum protection available to all mortgage holders. “The government’s legislative programme contains a Bill entitled ‘Sale of Loan Books to Unregulated Third Parties Bill’ but the legislative programme states only that that publication is not expected until 2015. The government has recognised that this issue exist but is not prioritising it.“The Minister accepts this practice is occurring but is unable even to list the companies involved. In the context of a serious mortgage crisis this ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ approach from the Minister is not good enough.“The sale of the Royal Bank of Scotland mortgage book to an unregulated company is currently almost finalised while the mortgage holders at IBRC, who are already precluded from resort to the Financial Services Ombudsman, could find themselves at the mercy of unregulated vulture companies.“The government must publish their legislation immediately so it can be scrutinised to see if it is fit for purpose. If it is to be of any help to mortgage holders in this situation it must be brought before the Dáil as soon as possible.”  DOHERTY’S ANGER AS BANKS OUTSOURCE MORTGAGES was last modified: January 29th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:banksmortgagesPearse Doherty TDlast_img read more