Category Archives: Religion

Ohio Court Filings Detail Dozens of Patients Put Under ‘Extreme Duress’ by Abortion Ban

“In the days after S.B. 23 took effect, we had to cancel over 600 appointments,” said the director of one healthcare clinic. “Many patients broke down in tears in our office… some threatened to hurt themselves because they were so distraught.”

By Julia Conley  Published 9-22-2022 by Common Dreams

Three doctors at an abortion rights protest at the Ohio Statehouse on May 14, 2022. Photo: Daniel Konik

Sworn affidavits filed in an Ohio court illustrate the emotional and physical turmoil caused by the state’s abortion ban, which garnered national attention in July when it forced a 10-year-old pregnant survivor of rape to leave the state in order to get abortion care.

As the Ohio Capital Journal reported Thursday, abortion providers in the state have seen the effects of Senate Bill 23—which banned nearly all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and is now temporarily blocked until mid-October—on dozens on patients facing fetal abnormalities, cancer diagnoses, and pregnancies resulting from rape. Continue reading

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Majority of Republican Voters Say US Should Be Declared a ‘Christian Nation’

More than 60% of GOP voters supported codifying Christian nationalism even as they said the U.S. Constitution does not support such a declaration.

By Julia Conley  Published 9-21-2022 by Common Dreams

Far-right Republican lawmakers who have recently invoked Christian nationalist messages appear to be representing a growing portion of their voter base, according to a new poll released Wednesday showing that a sizable majority of Republicans believe the U.S. should be declared a “Christian nation.”

As Professors Stella Rouse and Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland wrote at Politico, the school’s critical issues poll found that while a majority of Republican voters agree that such a declaration would be unconstitutional, most also believe that the U.S. should be officially known as Christian. Continue reading

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‘Heed This Warning’: 2,500+ Book Bans Threaten US Schools and Democracy

“More books banned. More districts. More states. More students losing access to literature. ‘More’ is the operative word for this report on school book bans,” says author PEN America.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 9-19-2022 by Common Dreams

As Banned Books Week began Monday in the United States, a leading advocacy group published an updated report warning of a surge in right-wing efforts to censor and ban titles—many of them related to the struggles of marginalized peoples—in American schools.

“More books banned. More districts. More states. More students losing access to literature. ‘More’ is the operative word for this report on school book bans,” begins the update to PEN America’s Banned in the USA: Rising School Book Bans Threaten Free Expression and Students’ First Amendment Rights, which was published in April and covered the first nine months of the 2021-22 scholastic year. Continue reading

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‘Monstrous’: Federal Judge Rules HIV Drug Coverage Mandate Violates Religious Freedom

The right-wing judge found that requiring insurers and employers to cover the HIV prevention drug violates the religious liberty of a company whose owner advocated executing LGBTQ+ people.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 9-7-2022 by Common Dreams

A person pours two PrEP pills from a bottle. (Photo: NAM aidsmap/cc)

Legal, healthcare, and LGBTQ+ advocates on Wednesday denounced a ruling by a right-wing federal judge in Texas who found that the federal law requiring insurance coverage of an HIV prevention drug violates a Christian-owned company’s religious freedom.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled in Braidwood Management Inc. vs. Xavier Becerra that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement that insurers and employers cover pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, infringes upon the liberty of a company under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Continue reading

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‘Worst Yet to Come’ as Global Civil Unrest Index Hits All-Time High

“Over the coming months, governments across the world are about to get an answer to a burning question: Will protests sparked by socioeconomic pressure transform into broader and more disruptive anti-government action?”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 9-2-2022 by Common Dreams

Protesters at Plaza Baquedano, Santiago, Chile in 2019. Photo: Carlos Figueroa/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The risk of civil unrest is rising in over 100 nations, with the “worst yet to come,” according to an analysis published Thursday by the U.K.-based consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft.

Incorporating data going back to 2017, the latest update to the firm’s civil unrest index (CUI) shows that the last quarter of this year “saw more countries witness an increase in risks from civil unrest than at any time since the index was released,” the analysis states. “Out of 198 countries, 101 saw an increase in risk, compared with only 42 where the risk decreased.” Continue reading

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FTC Files ‘Urgently Needed’ Suit Against Data Broker, Citing Threat to Abortion Patients

“This lawsuit highlights the very real threats that data surveillance poses to peoples’ safety, security, bodily integrity, and access to healthcare,” said the head of Public Citizen.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 8-29-2022 by Common Dreams

Earlier this year, the Tulsa Women’s Clinic was overflowing with patients, both from within Oklahoma and Texas. Now, it’s mostly empty as staff try their best to redirect patients to abortion providers in other states. Photo: Andrea Gallegos/Tulsa Women’s Clinic

Privacy and reproductive rights advocates on Monday welcomed the Biden administration’s lawsuit against Kochava Inc., which argues that the Idaho-based data broker’s practices endanger abortion patients in the post-Roe v. Wade era.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s late June Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision reversed Roe, while anti-choice forces have ramped up attacks on reproductive freedom, concerns have mounted about how data from devices like smartphones may be used to target patients and healthcare providers. Continue reading

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Inescapable ‘Abortion Deserts’ Coming as Idaho, Tennessee, and Texas Trigger Bans Set to Take Effect

“Tomorrow, millions more people will lose abortion access across the nation,” warned the leader of one reproductive rights group.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 8-24-2022 by Common Dreams

Around 3000 people met outside the Minnesota state capitol building to protest against laws banning abortion on May 21, 2019. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

A leading reproductive rights organization on Wednesday reiterated the need for action to protect abortion access at the federal level in anticipation of three more “trigger laws” set to take effect in Idaho, Tennessee, and Texas.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade in June, anti-choice state lawmakers have moved to further restrict reproductive freedom—ramping up the GOP’s already “unprecedented” attacks on the right to choose. Continue reading

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‘Frightening Escalation’: Palestinian Rights Group Says Director Detained by Israeli Agency

A human rights attorney argued that the Biden administration’s refusal to condemn Israel’s smear of leading Palestinian organizations as terrorists “has led to this day.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 8-21-2022 by Common Dreams

Defense for Children International-Palestine said that director general Khaled Quzmar was detained by the Israeli security agency known as Shin Bet on August 21, 2022. (Photo: DCI-P/Twitter)

Human rights advocates around the world responded with alarm after one of the Palestinian groups targeted by Israeli officials announced Israel’s security agency detained its leader for a couple of hours Sunday.

Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P) said in a series of tweets that director general Khaled Quzmar was in the custody of the agency, known as Shin Bet or Shabak, “as Israeli authorities again escalate attacks” against it and other civil society groups. Continue reading

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Calls Mount for Release of Saudi Woman Facing 34 Years in Prison Over Tweets

The United Nations human rights office urged Saudi authorities to quash Salma al-Shehab’s conviction and “release her immediately and unconditionally,” arguing that “she should never have been arrested and charged in the first place for such conduct.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 8-20-2022 by Common Dreams

Salma Al-Shehab, a 34-year-old graduate student and mother of two, faces 34 years in prison for tweets critical of the Saudi monarchy. (Photo: European Saudi Organization for Human Rights/Twitter)

Human rights advocates around the world this week called on Saudi Arabia to free Salma al-Shehab after she was sentenced to 34 years in prison and a 34-year travel ban for tweets criticizing the kingdom’s repression of women.

Liz Throssell, a spokesperson for the United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Friday that “we are appalled by the sentencing” of al-Shehab, a 34-year-old mother and graduate student in the United Kingdom. Continue reading

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Nebraska Mother, Daughter Face Abortion Charges After Facebook Shares Chats With Police

“Until Meta gives up surveilling private messages and begins protecting its users with end-to-end encryption, it remains complicit in the surveillance and criminalization of pregnant people,” said one advocate.

By Julia Conley  Published 8-10-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: iphonedigital/flickr/CC

Digital rights advocates on Tuesday said an abortion case in Nebraska illustrates how powerful tech companies like Facebook could play a major role in prosecutions of people who self-manage abortions as more states ban the procedure, and called on the social media platform to reform its privacy policies to protect users.

The case in Nebraska centers on a 17-year-old girl and her mother, Celeste and Jessica Burgess, who sent messages on Facebook regarding plans to terminate Celeste’s pregnancy prior to Roe v. Wade being overturned in June. Continue reading

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