Arson by anti-women fundamentalists in Washington, USA

This video from Washington state in the USA says about itself:

Arson shuts down Pullman Planned Parenthood office

4 September 2015

A Pullman fire investigator has determined the fire at a Planned Parenthood office early Friday morning was arson. KXLY4’s Brittany Paris reports.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Abortion clinic fire ‘was arson’

US: A pre-dawn blaze that badly damaged an abortion clinic in Pullman, Washington, was arson, fire investigators have determined.

The fire followed a recent wave of protests at Planned Parenthood clinics across the country.

On August 22, around 500 protesters gathered outside the Pullman clinic, waving signs and calling for Congress to stop funding the organisation.

Dutch pro-choice government minister Els Borst, murdered by fanatical Christian

Els Borst

This photo shows Ms Els Borst-Eilers. She was a doctor. And a politician of the ‘liberal’ D66 party. She was D66 party leader; and deputy prime minister. And Minister of Health. As a minister, she liberalized the rules on abortion and euthanasia. The political Christian right did not like her for that. According to the ultra-religious political party SGP, apart from her policies, Els Borst should not have been a minister in the first place; as their platform said women should not have the vote. That platform also says that the death penalty, abolished in the Netherlands in the nineteenth century, should be brought back.

On 8 February 2014, Ms Borst was murdered. It took police almost a year to arrest the suspect of this murder.

Murder suspect Bart van U. and the area where Ms Borst was murdered

The suspect of the murder of Ms Borst is Bart van U.

That man had been arrested earlier for murdering his sister Loïs. According to Dutch daily Metro, 22 July 2015, page 5, Bart confessed murdering his sister. He said he would do it again.

Also Van U. – from a fundamentalist Christian family – and Loïs thought differently about euthanasia and abortion, he said.

According to fanatical fundamentalist Christians, ‘abortion is murder’.

Someone who knew Bart van U. said, quoted in Dutch daily Metro, 26 January 2015:

He saw Muslim extremists everywhere, and also said that abortion is murder.

Some fanatical religious people extrapolate that to giving oneself the right to murder people with pro-choice views. Like violent ultra-religious Christians in the USA murdering doctors. And, apparently, Bart van U. in the Netherlands murdering someone with different views on women’s reproductive rights. Even if that person with different views is one’s own sister.

One may ask: if a person like Bart van U. hated his own sister so much for her different views on women’s reproductive rights, then how much stronger must his hatred have been for Ms Borst? Not his sister. Not just someone with views; but someone who put her views into practice by liberalizing the laws of the land about abortion and euthanasia.

Dutch NOS TV reporter Robert Bas says that may have been Bart van U.’s motive for murdering Ms Borst.

That ultra-fundamentalist Christian ‘abortion is murder’ ideology may have been Van U.’s murder motive was only mentioned very shortly, or not at all, by Dutch and international media reports on this.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

Former D66 minister Els Borst was killed by stab wounds. The public prosecutor has announced this, now that the summons has been sent to the suspect, Bart [van] U.

Van U. will be next Tuesday for the first time in the court room in this case. However, he had to justify himself earlier for the murder of his sister. In court he admitted that he had stabbed his sister. About the murder of Ms Borst, as far as is known, nothing was said.

Borst was murdered in February last year in the garage at her home in Bilthoven. Almost a year later, in January, Van U. murdered his sister. Only during the investigation into that murder, police started to suspect him of the violent death of the former minister.

Now, to another side of self-confessed murderer Bart van U. Apparently, this Islamophobesaw Muslim extremists everywhere‘. Unfortunately, Bart van U. is not the only person with that kind of fanaticism, neither in the Netherlands nor in other countries.

Now, let us imagine for the sake of argument that Bart van U. would not have been the Christian extremist Bart van U.; but an imaginary Muslim extremist called Mohamed U. Mohamed U. who murdered his sister, called Fatima, not Loïs, for religious infidelity on abortion. Mohamed U. who murdered Minister Borst for liberalizing rules on abortion and euthanasia, at variance with Mohamed U.’s views about what Muslim sharia law about that should be.

Then, not just one sentence in media, as now about Bart van U.’s possible motive. Chocolate letter headlines on newspapers’ front pages about “International Islamic terrorism at it again“. Supporters of Geert Wilders‘ xenophobic PVV party setting mosques which have nothing to do with Mohamed U. on fire. Dutch politicians afraid of losing voters to the PVV attacking civil liberties, of Muslims and of other people as well.

Fortunately, as far as I know no one in the Netherlands so far has blamed Christians who have nothing to do with Bart van U. and his crimes. I hope it will stay that way. And that people will learn lessons from that about the stupidity of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, anti-Roma racism, anti-African racism, anti-east European bigotry, etc. etc.

Paraguayan forced childbirth for child rape victim

‘No little girl should be a mother’ reads a banner in the capital of Paraguay on May 19.

From teleSUR TV in Venezuela:

Paraguay Under Fire For Forcing Child Rape Victim to Have Baby

9 June 2015

The country raised the criticisms worldwide since a 10-year-old girl raped by her step father was denied an abortion, despite her life being in serious danger. A regional court urged the country’s authorities to end the pregnancy of a young Paraguayan girl, only 10, emphasizing the psychological and physical risks of giving birth at a young age. Supporting its statement with a medical report, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, part of the Organization of American States (OEA) recommended the executive power to “avoid the double victimization” of the child, whose pregnancy was due to repeated sexual abuses on the part of her step-father.

While the girl already suffered from malnutrition and anemia, she would also be at higher risk of having other infections and could put at risk her reproductive future. The commissioners considered that in such circumstances her case complied with the requirements of an emergency, justifying their request of protecting her rights and guaranteeing her access to medical treatment.

Although the commission does not have any binding authority, Paraguay was given 72 hours to present a report detailing the protective measures implemented for the girl, or the case could be transferred to the Inter-American Court. The commission’s intervention followed the request introduced on Jan. 20, by the Committee of Latin America and the Caribbean for the Defense of Women’s Rights (CLADEM) and Equality Now. Both associations claimed that Paraguay has failed to apply all the necessary measures to protect women’s rights.

The child’s mother reported the sexual assaults earlier in January, but authorities took no action then. A few months later, the hospital finally revealed the girl was pregnant, the mother begged to have her abort, which was denied because of the anti-abortion laws of the deeply Catholic country.

The mother was jailed in end April, accused of “failing in her duty of care,” and possibly being accomplice of the rape – while the stepfather ran away until he was caught by police on Saturday. In Paraguay, about 600 girls 14 or under become pregnant each year – for a 6.8 million total population. In the United States, thousands of girls would also give birth every year, according to various studies from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Paraguayan protest against raping 10-year-old girl, banning abortion

This video says about itself:

Pregnant 10-year-old ‘denied abortion after being raped by stepfather’

2 May 2015

Amnesty International is calling on Paraguay’s government to allow a 10-year-old girl to get an abortion for the sake of her health. Report by Sarah Kerr.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Paraguay march poised to draw record crowd after 10-year-old denied abortion

As authorities insist child rape victim must give birth, hundreds are expected to protest sexual abuse in Asunción: ‘Her case is emblematic’

Jonathan Watts, Latin America correspondent and Sarah Boseley, Health editor

Thursday 28 May 2015 12.00 BST

Fury over Paraguayan authorities’ refusal to allow an abortion for a 10-year-old rape victim is expected to bring unprecedented numbers of pro-choice protesters to the streets of the country’s capital, Asunción, this week.

The case has prompted outcry around the world and prompted a national debate about the prevalence of child abuse and underage pregnancies.

But that debate has focused more on adult violence than child health. And while many have called for tougher penalties for adults who abuse minors, few expect any change in the Catholic country’s strict abortion laws.

Despite a plea from the girl’s mother, Paraguayan authorities have ruled that the 10-year-old who is now 25 weeks into the pregnancy must give birth, unless she develops complications that put her life in danger. A medical panel is monitoring her condition.

Pedro Pablo Guanes, a gynaecologist based in Asunción, said the authorities are likely to release a tentative date for the birth soon. One option is for a cesarian section to be carried out in the next few weeks to avoid the biggest risk, which is that the girl’s body may not yet be developed enough to accommodate a fetus in its final stage.

On average, two girls under the age of 16 give birth each day in this country of 6.8 million, according to local media reports which have reflected fears that the rape of minors has become “normalised”.

Congressmen have proposed raising the maximum sentence for the rape of a minor to 30 years in prison, up from 10 years. But attempts to raise awareness over the issue of sexual abuse have been modest: the government has urged people to wear green ribbons on the National Day Against Child and Adolescent Sexual Abuse on 31 May.

A day earlier, hundreds of demonstrators are expected to attend a march from the Plaza Uruguaya to El Panteón in the capital with banners declaring “My body, my territory, not for use or abuse”. Similar small rallies have been staged every year, but organisers expected double the usual number of marchers this year because of the commotion caused by the 10-year-old’s pregnancy.

“Her case is emblematic and motivates many people,” said Rosana Ríos of the Grupo Luna Nueva, which is one of the participating organisations in the protest. “We are marching against the inaction of the state in the face of this problem.”

Petitions have been sent to the Ministry of Children demanding the government stop treating this problem as “normal” and asking for the establishment of a medical board to evaluate the options for the girl’s well-being. The global online campaigning organisation Avaaz presented a petition to the Paraguayan congress with half a million signatures calling for the decriminalization of abortion for women under 15 years of age.

This coincided with a public hearing in Asunción on whether to reform the nation’s abortion laws. Feminist and pro-choice groups argued that decriminalisation was long overdue because more than 50,000 illegal abortions are carried out each year for those who can afford them, while the poor have no choice but to bear the health and economic risks associated with an unwanted pregnancy.

The situation in Paraguay reflects that across Latin America, where abortion is illegal or severely restricted in most countries. Nicaragua, Chile and El Salvador ban abortion completely, even if the pregnancy threatens the life of both the mother and the foetus.

The World Health Organization has said botched abortions are a leading cause of maternal death worldwide, and in 2008 accounted for 12% of all maternal deaths in Latin America and the Caribbean.

But the strong influence of the Catholic church in the region makes reform unlikely. Earlier this week, Peru’s congress rejected a bill to decriminalise abortion in the case of rape. …

“This shows how the situation here has become normal, at least to those who work with these cases,” said Cecilia Caniza, a psychiatrist based in Asunción. “Everyone needs to understand that this is not normal. Just because there are lots of cases does not make the situation OK.”

International research suggests the potential hazards for very young mothers are considerable: even though a 10-year-old may be able to conceive, her pelvis is not fully developed, raising the likelihood of complications during birth.

“One big study in Bangladesh showed a five-fold increase in risk of death among 10- to 14-year-olds compared to women aged 20 to 24,” said Dr Mickey Chopra, Unicef’s global chief of health.

“Even if the mother doesn’t die, the physical complications of pregnancy can be quite severe, running from prolapses to being physically disabled,” said Chopra.

Young girls who become pregnant also experience higher rates of pre-eclampsia – dangerously high blood pressure – which can be life-threatening for mother and baby.

And even when rape is not an issue, adolescents can have difficulty adapting to motherhood when they are still growing up themselves, said Daghni Rajasingam, a consultant obstetrician and spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK.

According to Unicef, the teen and adolescent birth rate in Paraguay is 63 per 1000 girls aged 15 to 19. In the UK, which has one of the highest rates in Europe, the rate is 25 per 1000 and in the US, which has the highest rates in the OECD, it is 39.

Religion is not the only factor. Some Catholic countries do not have high teenage pregnancy rates – in Italy it is seven per 1000 and in Ireland it is 16. “Access to abortion is obviously important, but it is also about social norms,” Chopra said.

Additional reporting by Shanna Hanbury

10-year-old raped girl forced into dangerous childbirth by Paraguayan government

This video from the USA says about itself:

Raped 10 Year Old Won’t Be Allowed An Abortion

2 May 2015

“A 10-year-old girl in Paraguay, who is five months pregnant after being raped by her stepfather, had been denied an abortion that could save her life.

The child was admitted to hospital with stomach pains and doctors later discovered she was 22-weeks pregnant after being raped by her stepfather, Amnesty International said.

The charity said despite the high risk of the pregnancy and her mother’s request, she has not been allowed to have an abortion.

Her mother’s request to abort the child was not granted by authorities in the South American country as abortion is illegal. The girl’s mother is now in custody facing charges of breaching duty of care and being an accomplice of sexual abuse.”

Read more here.

In Paraguay, there is a far Right government, based on a coup d’état against a democratically elected president.

Here is one of the horrible results of that; from daily The Guardian in Britain:

To make a 10-year-old give birth isn’t just horrifying – it’s life threatening

Jessica Valenti

A child raped by her stepfather in Paraguay is being denied an abortion, despite the high risks involved in carrying the pregnancy to term

Tuesday 5 May 2015 10.00 BST

Would anyone in their right mind think it reasonable that a 10-year-old carry a pregnancy to term? This is not a thought experiment but the horrible story of a real child in Paraguay: raped by her stepfather and now denied an abortion.

According to Amnesty International – which is leading the charge to obtain an abortion for the child – the young girl’s condition became public when she went to the hospital complaining of stomach pain and was found to be 21 weeks pregnant.

“The physical and psychological impact of forcing this young girl to continue with an unwanted pregnancy is tantamount to torture”, Guadalupe Marengo, Americas Deputy Director at Amnesty International said in a statement. (In fact, the United Nations has declared lack of access to abortion at any age a form of torture.)

Paraguay has very strict laws on abortion – the procedure is only permitted when a person’s life is at risk. There are no exceptions for rape or incest.

Antonio Barrios, the Health Minister of Paraguay, said: “there is no indication that the health of the [girl] is at risk … therefore we are not, from any point of view, in favor of the termination of the pregnancy”.

There are so many levels of horror here it’s hard to know where to begin but this, perhaps, is the most baffling: in what universe is a 10-year-old delivering a child not a risk to her life?

Childbirth is a risky enterprise for a healthy grown woman – a woman of reproductive age in Paraguay for example, has a one in 310 chance of dying from from complications from labor. For a child, the risks are exponentially worse.

Children’s bodies are not meant to give birth. Dr Dalia Brahmi, the Director of Clinical Affairs at Ipas told me: “It is cruel to force a 10-year-old girl to carry her pregnancy to term”.

Dr Brahmi, who once worked at the World Health Organization in the Department of Reproductive Health and Research, told me: “very young adolescents [under 15 years old] have a high risk of eclampsia, infection, preterm birth and intrauterine growth restriction” compared to adult women.

The dangers are clear – and it takes a whole lot of magical thinking or straight up denial to think otherwise. Pregnancy for a child risks not only her emotional and mental health, but her physical health and possibly even her life.

Paraguay’s decision to remain the course has nothing to do with the actual risk to the child involved, but is all about their adherence to an antiquated, tortuous law that would rather see a child’s life at risk than admit their anti-abortion policies are too strict.

If those who would see this young girl give birth are truly pro-life, whose life are they concerned about? Because it’s certainly not the ten-year-old at the center of this story who is being forced to carry her rapist’s baby to term.

This anonymous young girl – this child – has already been violated by a member of her family. Must she be violated by her country as well?

Cartoonist Garry Trudeau attacked for criticizing Islamophobic cartoons

This video from the USA says about itself:

23 December 2010

It’s been 40 years since Garry Trudeau first drew the popular comic strip “Doonesbury.” The Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist speaks with Jeffrey Brown about a new book chronicling his decades of work

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Doonesbury cartoonist attacked for criticizing Charlie Hebdo

27 April 2015

Garry Trudeau, the creator of the Doonesbury comic strip, has come under attack from right-wing editorialists and media pundits for publicly criticizing anti-Muslim cartoons appearing in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, calling them a form of hate speech.

Trudeau’s brief remarks were delivered at Long Island University April 10, where he received the George Polk Career Award for his more than four decades of work as a cartoonist, in the course of which he has frequently had to battle censorship of his outspoken liberal views. Only three years ago, 50 newspapers refused to carry his strip during a week when he bitingly attacked Republican politicians who oppose abortion rights even in the case of rape or incest.

The central point made by Trudeau is that Charlie Hebdo was engaged, not in satirizing the powerful, but in vilifying the most oppressed section of the French population, Muslim immigrants, who face the highest levels of unemployment, poverty, police harassment and imprisonment.

Trudeau was of course horrified by the bloody massacre in January at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, when an attack by two Islamist gunmen left 12 people dead, include most of the magazine’s senior cartoonists. He contributed to an online tribute to the murdered cartoonists. His refusal to go along with the retrospective glorification of the content of the cartoons, despite the enormous wave of media propaganda that has followed, is an act of intellectual and moral courage.

For that very reason, his statement has been vilified as an attack on the victims of terrorism, in a series of columns by right-wing pundits, including David Frum of The Atlantic, Cathy Young of Reason magazine, and Ross Douthat of the New York Times.

Frum made the most sweeping attack, citing the killings at Charlie Hebdo, the related attack on a kosher bakery in Paris, and a subsequent attack in Copenhagen, Denmark, and declaring, “For this long record of death and destruction—and for many other deaths as well—Garry Trudeau blamed the people who drew and published the offending cartoons.”

The right-wing pundit claims that Trudeau applied “privilege theory” to the Charlie Hebdo massacre, justifying it because the victims were from the white elite, while the gunmen were from the immigrant Muslim underclass. “To fix the blame for the killing on the murdered journalists, rather than the gunmen, Trudeau invoked the underdog status of the latter,” Frum writes.

He goes on to claim that news organizations in the United States that reported on the anti-Islam cartoons in Charlie Hebdo did not reprint them because they were afraid of terrorist attack, drawing the conclusion, “Violence does work.”

Trudeau offered a different explanation for the non-publication of the anti-Muslim cartoons in an interview Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where he addressed the right-wing attack on his Long Island University remarks. US editors did not reprint the cartoons because they were demeaning and racist, he maintained. If similar cartoons had targeted African-Americans, they would be universally denounced and repudiated.

Douthat and Young both cite Frum’s column approvingly in their own shorter diatribes, echoing his claim that Trudeau had based his remarks on an extreme version of identity politics. These criticisms are baseless slanders, as can be easily demonstrated by looking at what Trudeau actually said. The cartoonist cited the example of the great satirists of the French Enlightenment.

“Traditionally, satire has comforted the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable. Satire punches up, against authority of all kinds, the little guy against the powerful. Great French satirists such as Molière and Daumier always punched up, holding up the self-satisfied and hypocritical to ridicule. Ridiculing the non-privileged is almost never funny—it’s just mean.

“By punching downward, by attacking a powerless, disenfranchised minority with crude, vulgar drawings closer to graffiti than cartoons, Charlie wandered into the realm of hate speech…”

The same issue was raised in a perspective published on the World Socialist Web Site immediately after the attack on Charlie Hebdo. WSWS Chairman David North rejected the claim by British historian Simon Schama that the French magazine was in the tradition of the great satirists of the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries, writing:

Schama places Charlie Hebdo in a tradition to which it does not belong. All the great satirists to whom Schama refers were representatives of a democratic Enlightenment who directed their scorn against the powerful and corrupt defenders of aristocratic privilege. In its relentlessly degrading portrayals of Muslims, Charlie Hebdo has mocked the poor and the powerless.

North explained that the orgy of praise for Charlie Hebdo, summed up in the slogan “I am Charlie,” raised at demonstrations in Paris, was an effort to provide an ideological justification for US and French imperialism:

The killing of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and editors is being proclaimed an assault on the principles of free speech that are, supposedly, held so dear in Europe and the United States. The attack on Charlie Hebdo is, thus, presented as another outrage by Muslims who cannot tolerate Western “freedoms.” From this the conclusion must be drawn that the “war on terror”—i.e., the imperialist onslaught on the Middle East, Central Asia and North and Central Africa—is an unavoidable necessity.

These efforts are doubly hypocritical, given the onslaught on democratic rights, including freedom of the press, in all the Western countries, especially the United States. The Obama administration has targeted more journalists for surveillance and more whistleblowers for prosecution than any other in US history, singling out those who have played major roles in exposing the crimes of the US government, like Bradley (Chelsea) Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange.

Trudeau is not an avowed opponent of imperialism, but rather a liberal who apparently supports the Obama administration, albeit with some disappointment. That does not detract from the principled character of his public repudiation of the right-wing efforts to whip up anti-Muslim prejudice.

The author also recommends:

“Free speech” hypocrisy in the aftermath of the attack on Charlie Hebdo
[9 January 2015]

Six American writers and novelists have withdrawn from the annual gala of the PEN American Center in protest against the organization’s decision to award its Freedom of Expression Courage Award to the French satirical and anti-Muslim newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The newspaper’s offices were the object of a terrorist attack on January 7 in which 12 people were killed and 11 more injured: here.

Spanish women’s movement victory over government

Spanish demonstrators for women's reproductive rights

From The Local in Spain:

Spain scraps plans for tough new abortion law

Published: 23 Sep 2014 14:02 GMT+02:00

Updated: Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday announced his government would shelve plans for a tough new law on abortions, saying there was not enough support for the legislation.

The draft reform, approved in January, would have allowed abortions only in cases of rape which had been reported to the police or when there was a medically-certified threat to the mother’s physical or psychological health.

Current legislation will now be revamped to ensure that 16 and 17-year-olds have to obtain parental permission before having an abortion, meaning that the most controversial aspects of the planned reforms will fall by the wayside.

The discarded draft bill caused divisions within Spain’s ruling conservative Popular Party and angered thousands of pro-choicers who took to the streets to voice their discontent.

The government’s official announcement of plans to shelve the reforms comes shortly after centre-right daily El Mundo reported that Rajoy had allegedly changed his mind, quoting sources from within the government.

“There’s no consensus regarding this bill, it’s looking unlikely that it will be approved,” Popular Party sources purportedly told the daily.

Under current Spanish legislation brought in by the previous Socialist government in 2010, women in Spain have the right to abortion on demand up to 14 weeks into their pregnancy.

Women also have the legal right to abort up to the 22nd week of pregnancy in cases where the mother’s health is at risk or the foetus shows serious deformities.

Under the previous 1985 law, abortion was a crime in Spain except in cases of rape, risk to the mother’s health or deformation of the foetus.