JACblog! is moving. We will be housed on the new JAC website at www.jacpac.org and we hope you will follow us there.

We will continue to have this blogspot location up, but new postings will be seen on the new site. Please join us there.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Planned Parenthood files a lawsuit against Nebraska law

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland filed a lawsuit Monday against Nebraska leaders claiming a state law passed in April places requirements on abortion providers in the state that are impossible to meet and are unconstitutional.

"This act is an attack on our patients," said Jill June, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood. "This act is an attack on providers, and it is an attack on the ethics and integrity of the medical profession."
Planned Parenthood filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Lincoln. The lawsuit seeks to stop implementation of LB594, which the Legislature passed in April. The law was meant to require doctors to inform patients of possible risk factors related to abortions.

The law is set to take effect July 15.

Mimi Liu, attorney for Planned Parenthood, said the law would require abortion providers to conduct an exhaustive review of literature related to any potential abortion risk factors, regardless of whether such literature has been accepted by the medical profession.

Experts question challenge to Neb. abortion ban

Two first-of-their-kind abortion laws in Nebraska have drawn threats of legal challenges, but experts say attempts by abortion-rights groups to block one of the measures from going on the books could backfire.

A ban on abortions starting at 20 weeks, set to go into effect this fall, is based on assertions from some doctors that fetuses feel pain by that stage of development. But it might be allowed to stand over fears that a losing challenge to the law would change the legal landscape for abortion, say lawyers on both sides of the debate.

If foes challenge the law and lose, the court could redefine the measure for abortion restrictions, throwing out viability _ when the fetus could survive outside the womb _ in favor of the point when a fetus can feel pain. And if future medical advances were to show a fetus can feel pain at an earlier stage, abortions could be restricted earlier.

"It's a balancing act that anybody who wants to challenge the laws is going to have to assess, whether the strategic risks of bringing a lawsuit outweigh the likelihood of a victory," said Caitlin Borgmann, a law professor at The City University of New York.

A challenge "could be seen by some people as too risky," said Borgmann, who testified against the ban during a legislative hearing in February.

The ban is scheduled to take effect in mid-October.

But the other new state abortion law will be implemented July 15. It requires women wanting abortions to be screened by doctors or other health professionals to determine whether they were pressured into having the procedure. They also would have to be screened for risk factors indicating they could have mental or physical problems after an abortion.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rome to switch off Colosseum lights for Schalit

The lights of the Colosseum in Rome will be turned off Thursday evening in solidarity with kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.

Noam Schalit, Gilad’s father, will be in attendance, along with Rome’s citizens and the representatives of local and national Italian institutions. According to organizers, the gathering is meant to send a message to the world: “Free Gilad now.”

Speeches will be given by Noam Schalit and the mayor of Rome, and pictures of the soldier will be screened. At 11 p.m. (12 a.m. in Israel) the lights of the Colosseum will be turned off.

“We immediately launched the campaign for Schalit because we feel the burden of anxiety,” said the president of Rome’s Jewish community, Riccardo Pacifici.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oren: New Ankara policy a historic shift

The change in Turkey’s orientation and its return to the Middle East is an event of historic magnitude and nobody quite knows where it will lead, Israel’s ambassador to the US Michael Oren told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

Oren, in a briefing with the Post’s editorial board, said there was “deepening discomfort” and “uneasiness” about Turkey on Capital Hill.

“We are living in a sea of change,” said Oren, a historian who has written two books on the Middle East.

“The change in Turkey’s orientation – literally toward the Orient – is an event of historical proportions. Turkey’s return to the Middle East after a hiatus of 90 years is huge, and nobody knows where this is going.”

Oren said that in addition to a “sea of change” in Turkish policy, there has also been a major shift in US foreign policy, with US President Barack Obama coming into power determined and serious about bringing change to American domestic and foreign policies alike.

By contrast, he said, the positions of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government have, in most respects, been indistinguishable from those of previous governments, and that what is changing is not Israeli policy, but rather US and Turkish foreign policy.  

Friday, June 04, 2010

Freedom House Reveals World's Worst Human Rights Abusers

Freedom House today released Worst of the Worst 2010: The World's Most Repressive Societies, its annual report identifying the world's most flagrant human rights abusers, at a side panel during the 14th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
The report, which identifies countries earning the lowest scores in Freedom in the World, Freedom House's annual report on political rights and civil liberties, was designed as a resource for human rights advocates. This year's report identifies 17 countries and 3 territories whose citizens live in extremely oppressive environments, with minimal basic rights and persistent human rights violations.

"In this report we identify countries where individuals have almost no opportunity to enjoy the most fundamental rights-regimes whose people experience heavy penalties for independent thought or action and where little or no oppositional activity is permitted to exist," said Paula Schriefer, director of advocacy at Freedom House. "By highlighting these countries, we hope to give human rights advocates a tool they can use to shine a light on these abuses at the world's only global human rights body."
Nine countries and one territory are judged to have the worst human rights conditions, receiving the lowest possible score of 7 (based on a 1 to 7 scale, with 1 representing the most free and 7 representing the least free) on both political rights and civil liberties: Burma, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tibet.
An additional 8 countries and 2 territories score only slightly better, with a score of 7 in political rights and a score of 6 in the civil liberties category: Belarus, Chad, China, Cuba, Guinea, Laos, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.
Read More