Alabama abortion ban: Republican state senate passes most restrictive law in US | US news | The Guardian

Alabama’s Republican-controlled state senate passed a bill Tuesday to outlaw abortion, making it a crime to perform the procedure at any stage of pregnancy.

The strictest-in-the-nation abortion ban allows an exception only when the woman’s health is at serious risk, and sets up a legal battle that supporters hope will lead to the supreme court overturning its landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

The measure contains no exception for rape and incest, after lawmakers voted down an amendment Tuesday that would have added such an exception.

The legislation, which passed by a vote of 25-6, makes it a class A felony for a doctor to perform an abortion, punishable by 10 to 99 years in prison. Women would not face criminal penalties for getting an abortion.

It goes further than any other state has to restrict abortion. Other states, including neighboring Georgia, have instituted bans on abortion after about six weeks into pregnancy.

The vote came after a battle broke out over whether to allow legal abortions for women who become pregnant due to rape or incest, an issue that divided Republicans who otherwise supported outlawing abortion.

Last week, chaos erupted on the floor when Republican leaders stripped out the rape exception without a roll call vote, leading the final vote to be postponed. It got a full vote on Tuesday, but ultimately failed.


Source: Alabama abortion ban: Republican state senate passes most restrictive law in US | US news | The Guardian

Trump risks hypocrisy charges with Franken attack : The Hill


Trump risks hypocrisy charges with Franken attack
© Getty

President Trump injected himself into the national debate over sexual harassment again, a risky move that opens Trump up to charges of hypocrisy over his past behavior and his reluctance to rebuke Republicans who have been accused of misconduct.

Trump went after Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), after a woman accused the senator of forcibly kissing and groping her.

The woman, a news anchor named Leeann Tweeden, released a photo of Franken leering into the camera and touching her while she slept during a USO trip in 2006. Trump responded over Twitter, saying the picture “speaks a thousand words” and ripping Franken for “lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women.”

Trump responded to the Franken allegations, accusing the senator of hypocrisy on sexual harassment issues.

“The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words,” Trump tweeted. “Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps? …..”

Franken, once a rising star on the left who had been considered a potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, is suddenly a pariah in liberal circles.

But the blowback against Trump for seeking to capitalize on Franken’s downfall has been just as swift.

Trump’s senior aides and advisers have been swamped with questions about why the president is comfortable attacking Franken when more than a dozen women have made similar accusations about him.

And Trump’s critics are howling about a double-standard, pointing to the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape and noting that the president has stopped short of demanding Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) drop out of the race amid disturbing allegations that he molested young girls.

“If your moral outrage has been exhausted, Trump always knows how to refuel the tank,” said Andrew Weinstein, a GOP operative and ‘Never Trump’ Republican.

“He has no sense of irony or decency,” Weinstein said. “Rather than tallying hypothetical Franken photos, Trump should be held to account for his scarlet number — the 16 alleged victims of his own sexual misconduct.”

Trump’s tweets have forced the White House to re-litigate the “Access Hollywood” tape, which nearly sunk Trump’s presidential campaign a month before Election Day in 2016. In it, Trump boasts about groping women and about how wealthy, powerful and famous men like himself get away with lewd behavior.

“He was apologetic about [the tape] when it surfaced,” White House legislative director Marc Short said in a Friday interview on CNN. “He apologized to his wife and family and the American people about what he considered locker room behavior. He is not trying to excuse it. That’s different than very visual evidence of what Al Franken did.

“The president is making the case that Al Franken was out condemning Roy Moore and others just a month ago and there is a level of hypocrisy there.”

In the wake of the “Access Hollywood” release, multiple women came forward to accuse Trump of varying degrees of sexual misconduct.

Now the wave of harassment claims against powerful men from Hollywood to Capitol Hill has Trump’s accusers speaking out once again.

People magazine ran a story on Friday quoting several of Trump’s accusers, who said they felt their stories had been ignored since the campaign but that the cascade of new allegations has drawn new attention to their claims.

“It’s been simmering on the stove with the lid on, like a pressure cooker,” Natasha Stoynoff, a writer who accused Trump of forcibly kissing her in 2005, says in the People story. “But now the heat’s on and it’s going to boil and the lid is going to blast off.”

The president has denied the allegations and threatened to sue his accusers during the campaign, although he hasn’t filed any lawsuits against them since becoming president. The White House has said the women are lying.

“The president has spoken about this multiple times throughout the campaign and has denied all of those allegations,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at Friday’s press briefing.

Sanders said she did not know why Trump didn’t follow through with his threatened legal action.

Trump’s attacks against Franken have also been complicated by Moore’s troubles in Alabama.

Most Republicans in Washington have cut ties with Moore in the wake of the allegations of sexual misconduct against him, repulsed by the thought of serving with someone accused of sexually assaulting minors and fearing he’ll tarnish the Republican brand ahead of critical midterm elections.

GOP leaders in Congress have called on Moore to drop out of the race and are openly talking about refusing to seat him if he wins.

The White House has stopped short of calling on Moore to drop out of the race and Trump has been notably quiet on the controversy, raising questions about why Franken’s misdeeds have attracted the president’s attention while Trump has still not commented on Moore.

Sanders vented her frustration with reporters in the briefing room on Friday after the first five questions she fielded pertained to Trump, Franken and Moore. She denied that the president has been silent on the issue, noting that Trump said during his overseas trip that Moore should drop out of the race if the allegations are true.

Sanders also said that Trump supports the Republican National Committee’s decision to stop providing resources to the Moore campaign.

“He has weighed in on Roy Moore,” Sanders said. “He did it while on a foreign trip in Asia. I did it repeatedly yesterday. In fact, I took about 15 questions on that topic … so to suggest that this White House and specifically this president hasn’t weighed in is just inaccurate and wrong.”

Still, Trump’s aides and advisers spent Friday struggling in front of the cameras to answer questions about why Trump is not a hypocrite for attacking Franken.

Sanders argued that the difference between Trump and Franken is that the Minnesota Democrat had admitted to wrongdoing, while Trump has maintained his innocence.

On the issue of Moore, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said on Fox News Channel that Trump always weighs in on the news of the day — in this case, Franken — while “the Roy Moore story is eight days old.”

Short said on CNN that Trump had already done all he could do to keep Moore out of office by backing his challenger, Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.), in the primary.

“The president went down to Alabama and campaigned against Roy Moore,” Short said. “He campaigned for Luther Strange. The president was active in this campaign. He chose a different candidate … since the allegations surfaced, the president — even when he was traveling overseas — put out a statement saying if the allegations are true, he should step aside.”

Trump’s allies insist that they aren’t nervous that the president has made himself vulnerable on the issue. They believe the “Access Hollywood” tape and allegations from women were litigated during the campaign and that voters backed Trump anyway.

“Our enemies are never going to cut us any slack, so you just have to go on the attack and not worry about that,” a Trump campaign adviser said.


Source : Trump risks hypocrisy charges with Franken attack : The Hill

Obama in Selma: The march isn’t over

This is true, for when you consider what has been gained, there will always be more and bear in mind, that what has been gained can be lost, so always be ready to stand for what is right. This is not only true of America, but also the World.

Original post from The Hill

‘…………By Jesse Byrnes and Mike Lillis

Getty Images
SELMA, Ala. — President Obama commemorated the 50th anniversary of the bloody march from Selma, Ala., to the state capital of Montgomery on Saturday by saying that the march reflected a broader quest to remake America that carries through to today.
“We just need to open our eyes, and ears, and our hearts, to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us,” Obama said while standing in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where 600 marchers clashed with state troopers in 1965 in an incident that helped spur the Voting Rights Act.
“We know the march is not yet over, we know the race is not yet won. We know that reaching that blessed destination where we are judged, all of us, by the content of our character requires admitting as much,” Obama said.
Still, Obama maintained that America has made progress in terms of race.
“If you think nothing’s changed in the past 50 years, ask somebody who lived through the Selma or Chicago or Los Angeles of the 1950s,” Obama said.
Throughout his more-than-30-minute speech, Obama emphasized that the Selma march was not limited in time and involved more than just a fight for voting rights, suggesting it spanned to present day and beyond to illustrate the push for gay rights, guaranteed education and improved economic opportunities for poorer Americans.
“The march on Selma was part of a broader campaign that spanned generations, the leaders that day part of a long line of heroes,” Obama said.
In one of the speech’s most energetic moments, Obama called on the dozens of members of Congress in attendance to return to Washington and rally support among their colleagues to “restore” the Voting Rights Act this year.
“It is important for all of us to know that the story of Selma is the story of America,” said Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), the first black woman elected to Congress from the state.
“Selma is now. Every generation faces its own social and political struggles,” Sewell said. “There is unfinished business of the voting rights movement.”
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who was injured in the march in 1965, reflected on being able to introduce a black president, saying he would not have been able to consider the idea when standing on the same bridge half a century ago.
“On that day, 600 people marched into history,” Lewis said.
“It was not a clash of armies, but a clash of wills. A contest to determine the true meaning of America,” Obama said of the day.
“They marched as Americans who had endured hundreds of years of brutal violence,” he added later.
Obama reflected on America’s dynamism, saying, “it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals.”
Obama suggested that the doors of social change and opportunity flung open for Americans of different races, genders and sexual orientations, as well as for the disabled.
“Their endeavors gave the entire South the chance to rise again, not by reasserting the past, but by transcending the past,” Obama said.
“The single most powerful word in our democracy is ‘we.’ We the people, we shall overcome. Yes we can – that word is owned by no one. It belongs to everyone,” Obama said, harkening back to his 2008 presidential slogan.
In one tense moment, a group of young protesters attempted to disrupt the speech, beating drums and chanting, “We want change.” The protest drew howls from the Obama faithful watching nearby. A dozen Alabama state troopers moved in, and a woman in the crowd shouted, “Here comes your change.” Obama never stopped speaking.
“Alabama is a different state than it was in 1965, and so is our nation,” Alabama Gov. Robert J. Bentley (R) said in remarks before Obama spoke, suggesting the state and nation had come a long way.
“We need more men and women who are not afraid to stand up and work for what they believe in,” Bentley said.
There were light-hearted moments in the day, too.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), in the middle of an interview with The Hill, was interrupted by Clarence Jones, a lawyer who served as a speechwriter, political advisor and close friend to Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jones said he’d promised his wife that if he met Castro, he’d give him a kiss for her. Which he then did in the middle of the street, to the delight of dozens of snapping cameras.
Obama used his speech to underscore Selma’s 50th anniversary as a time to reflect on history.
“We respect the past but we don’t pine for the past. We don’t fear the future. We grab for it,” Obama said.
“If Selma taught us anything, it’s that our work is never done,” Obama said.
“Our country will never, ever be the same because of what happened on this bridge,” Lewis said. “We’re black, we’re white, we are Hispanic, Asian-American, Native American. But we’re one people.”………….’