Category Archives: Health Care

Senate GOP Blocks Effort to Federally Protect IVF Access

“Remember this the next time they claim to care about freedom and family,” said one Democratic lawmaker.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 2-28-2024 by Common Dreams

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. (Official U.S. Senate photo by Karsyn Meyerson)

Democratic U.S. lawmakers and reproductive rights defenders on Wednesday blasted congressional Republicans and former U.S. President Donald Trump after a GOP senator blocked a bill to protect access to in vitro fertilization a week after Alabama’s right-wing Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are children.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) objected to a request to pass by unanimous consent a bill introduced by Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to federally protect IVF access, claiming that the bill is “a vast overreach that is full of poison pills that go way too far.”

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Ticker Shows Climate Inaction Cost US Nearly $3,000 Per Second in 2023

“This exorbitant price tag, driven by an unparalleled number of weather and climate disasters, reinforces the urgent need for the Biden administration to use every tool at their disposal,” said one campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 2-23-2024 by Common Dreams

Road sign on U.S. Route 101 in Windsor warning of severe weather during the atmospheric rivers in January 2023. Photo: Sarah Stierch (CC BY 4.0)

After an unprecedented number of billion-dollar extreme weather disasters across the United States last year, advocacy groups on Friday released an updated “Cost of Inaction Ticker” estimating the price of not tackling the fossil fuel-driven climate emergency.

Launched by the Climate Action Campaign and other groups in 2022, the ticker is based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which found that 2023 was the hottest year on record and the 28 disasters that caused at least $1 billion in damage collectively cost Americans at least $92.9 billion, or $2,945.84 per second.

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In ‘Massive Escalation’, Texas Sues to Shut Down Faith-Based Shelter for Helping Migrants

“If the work that Annunciation House conducts is illegal—so too is the work of our local hospitals, schools, and food banks,” said the nonprofit organization.

By Julia Conley. Published 2-21-2024 by Common Dreams

Annunciation House volunteers calling upon local and national leaders to welcome asylum-seekers with dignity. Photo: Annunciation House/Facebook

A faith-based migrant aid organization that’s operated in El Paso, Texas for nearly five decades said Wednesday that Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton ordered it to turn over documents about its work earlier this month—but that a lawsuit filed by Paxton has now made clear that his true goal is to shut down the group’s network of shelters.

Annunciation House, which provides food and housing for refugees and undocumented immigrants, received an order from the Consumer Protection Division of Paxton’s office on February 7, demanding that it turn over documents including legal service referrals, identifying information about asylum-seekers and migrants the group helped, and applications for federal funding. The organization was given one day to turn over the documents, and Paxton provided no explanation for the demand.

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Record 50 Million Children Now Displaced as Wars, Climate Crisis Rage

“When children lose their homes, they lose almost everything: their access to healthcare, education, food, and safety,” one advocate said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 2-20-2024 by Common Dreams

Children in the area of Shangil Tobaya, Sudan. Photo: United Nations Photo/flickr/CC

The 10 biggest global crises—including Israel’s war on Gaza—forced more than 10 million children to flee their homes in 2023.

That figure likely puts the total number of displaced children at more than 50 million, a new record, Save the Children said in an analysis published Tuesday. The number of children displaced worldwide has also more than doubled from around 20.6 million in 2010. While the number of displaced people overall reached a record 114 million in October 2023, children are being pushed from their homes at an even faster rate than adults and face unique vulnerabilities.

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Mexico is suing US gun-makers for arming its gangs − and a US court could award billions in damages

By Timothy D. Lytton. Published 2-16-2024 by The Conversation

Photo: Mexperience

The government of Mexico is suing U.S. gun-makers for their role in facilitating cross-border gun trafficking that has supercharged violent crime in Mexico.

The lawsuit seeks US$10 billion in damages and a court order to force the companies named in the lawsuit – including Smith & Wesson, Colt, Glock, Beretta and Ruger – to change the way they do business. In January, a federal appeals court in Boston decided that the industry’s immunity shield, which so far has protected gun-makers from civil liability, does not apply to Mexico’s lawsuit.

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In ‘Direct Attack’ on Labor Movement, Amazon Backs Claim NLRB Is Unconstitutional

“So now capital, unable to hold back labor any longer, is arguing that the NLRB’s very existence is unconstitutional,” said one law professor.

By Julia Conley. Published 2-16-2024 by Common Dreams

Workers at Amazon & everywhere have a right to safety and a union Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC

Amid a recent surge in unionization and other workers’ rights victories, wealthy U.S. corporations have fired union organizers, surveilled employees as they voted on forming a collective bargaining unit, and closed store locations to penalize labor leaders—but a court filing by Amazon on Thursday suggested a new tactic as the e-commerce giant seeks to dismantle the federal agency tasked with protecting employees.

Fighting accusations from prosecutors at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that Amazon illegally retaliated against warehouse workers who unionized, the company submitted a legal filing arguing that the board itself is unconstitutional.

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‘Alarming’: FERC Ignores Climate Impacts and Rubber-Stamps Texas Pipeline

“The world does not need more LNG, and FERC is out of step with the reality of the climate crisis and communities impacted by these projects,” one advocate said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 2-15-2024 by Common Dreams

Culberson County Hospital (left) and Van Horn Rural Health Clinic (right) are shown in Van Horn, Texas, where residents are concerned about the local health system’s ability to cope with a major pipeline explosion. (Photo: Texas.pics/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a controversial pipeline on Thursday despite opposition from local and Indigenous communities and without considering its climate impacts.

The commission limited its review of the Saguaro Connector Pipeline to a 1,000-foot stretch of the project on the Texas and Mexican border. If built, the pipeline could transport as many as 2.8 billion cubic feet of fracked gas per day to an export facility in Mexico, where it would be shipped to Asia and Latin America. The decision comes weeks after the Biden administration paused Department of Energy (DOE) approvals of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports while it updates its assessment criteria.

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Tracking of Planned Parenthood Visits ‘Should Terrify Every Single American’

Sen. Ron Wyden warns that “if a data broker could track Americans’ cellphones to help extremists” send ads to clinic visitors, “a right-wing prosecutor could use that same information to put women in jail.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 2-14-2024 by Common Dreams

Planned Parenthood- Manitowoc, WI. Photo: Michael Steeber/flickr/CC

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and privacy rights advocates this week are sounding the alarm about an anti-abortion group using cellphone location data to send misinformation to people who visited hundreds of Planned Parenthood clinics across the country.

“If a data broker could track Americans’ cellphones to help extremists target misinformation to people at hundreds of Planned Parenthood locations across the United States, a right-wing prosecutor could use that same information to put women in jail,” Wyden (D-Ore.) said in a statement Tuesday.

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Under Pressure From Angry Students, GOP Gov Reverses on Federal Summer Meals Funding

“It only took literally everyone in the entire state telling him that he was being a monster,” said one political scientist, “for him to do the absolute easiest thing and feed hungry kids.”

By Julia Conley. Published 2-13-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: USDA/Public domain

As the deadline rapidly approached for state governments to accept federal funds for summer food assistance for children, Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen announced Monday that conversations with students from around the state had convinced him to take the funding—leaving just 14 Republican-led states still refusing the aid.

At a news conference, the GOP governor—who previously said he didn’t “believe in welfare” and would be forgoing $18 million for the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (Summer EBT) program—said he had changed his mind after “an evolution of information” about how young people across Nebraska would be affected by his decision.

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Bombings Kill Dozens in Pakistan on Eve of Contentious Elections

As Pakistanis prepare to head to the polls with the country’s most popular politician behind bars on dubious charges, human rights groups sounded the alarm on a wide range of election-related repression.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 2-7-2024 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: YouTube

Dozens of Pakistanis were killed Wednesday in two bombings targeting political offices on the eve of highly contentious parliamentary elections from which the country’s most popular leader—who is jailed on what critics say are politically motivated charges—is banned.

The blasts both occurred in the southwestern province of Balochistan, homeland of the nomadic Baloch people, who also inhabit a large swath of southeastern Iran and southern Afghanistan. Government officials said the first bombing, which targeted independent candidate Asfandyar Khan’s office in the Pashin district, killed 18 people. A second blast approximately 80 miles away then killed at least 12 people at the Qilla Saifullah office of the Sunni fundamentalist Jamiat Ulema Islam party, which has close ties to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

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