World Leaders Meet In New York For U.N. General Assembly

The annual meeting comes after pandemic interruptions, including an entirely virtual meeting in 2020 and a hybrid one last year.

In an alarming assessment, the head of the United Nations warned world leaders Tuesday that nations are “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction” and aren’t ready or willing to tackle the challenges that threaten humanity’s future — and the planet’s. “Our world is in peril — and paralyzed,” he said.

Speaking at the opening of the General Assembly’s annual high-level meeting, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made sure to emphasize that hope remained. But his remarks reflected a tense and worried world. He cited the war in Ukraine and multiplying conflicts around the world, the climate emergency, the dire financial situation of developing countries and setbacks in U.N. goals for 2030 including an end to extreme poverty and quality education for all children.

He also warned of what he called “a forest of red flags” around new technologies despite promising advances to heal diseases and connect people. Guterres said social media platforms are based on a model “that monetizes outrage, anger and negativity.” Artificial intelligence, he said, “is compromising the integrity of information systems, the media, and indeed democracy itself.”

The world lacks even the beginning of “a global architecture” to deal with the ripples caused by these new technologies because of “geopolitical tensions,” Guterres said.

His opening remarks came as leaders from around the planet reconvened at U.N. headquarters in New York pandemic interruptions including an entirely virtual meeting in 2020 and a hybrid one last year. This week, the halls of the United Nations are filled once more with delegates reflecting the world’s cultures. Many faces were visible, though all delegates are required to wear masks except when speaking to ward off the coronavirus.

Guterres made sure to start out by sounding a note of hope. He showed a video of the first U.N.-chartered ship carrying grain from Ukraine — part of the deal between Ukraine and Russia that the United Nations and Turkey helped broker — to the Horn of Africa, where millions of people are on the edge of famine It is, he said, an example of promise and hope “in a world teeming with turmoil.”

He stressed that cooperation and dialogue are the only path forward — two fundamental U.N. principles since its founding after World War II. And he warned that “no power or group alone can call the shots.”

“Let’s work as one, as a coalition of the world, as united nations,” he urged leaders gathered in the vast General Assembly hall.

It’s rarely that easy. Geopolitical divisions are undermining the work of the U.N. Security Council, international law, people’s trust in democratic institutions and most forms of international cooperation, Guterres said.

“The divergence between developed and developing countries, between North and South, between the privileged and the rest, is becoming more dangerous by the day,” the secretary-general said. “It is at the root of the geopolitical tensions and lack of trust that poison every area of global cooperation, from vaccines to sanctions to trade.

Before the global meeting was gaveled open, leaders and ministers wearing masks to avoid a COVID-19 super-spreader event wandered the assembly hall, chatting individually and in groups. It was a sign that despite the fragmented state of the planet, the United Nations remains the key gathering place for presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and ministers.

Nearly 150 heads of state and government are on the latest speakers’ list, a high number reflecting that the United Nations remains the only place not just to deliver their views but to meet privately to discuss the challenges on the global agenda — and hopefully make some progress.

The 77th General Assembly meeting of world leaders convenes under the shadow of Europe’s first major war since World War II — the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has unleashed a global food crisis and opened fissures among major powers in a way not seen since the Cold War.

At the top of that agenda for many: Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, which not only threatens the sovereignty of its smaller neighbor but has raised fears of a nuclear catastrophe at Europe’s largest nuclear plant in the country’s now Russia-occupied southeast.

Leaders in many countries are trying to prevent a wider war and restore peace in Europe. Diplomats, though, aren’t expecting any breakthroughs this week.

The loss of important grain and fertilizer exports from Ukraine and Russia has triggered a food crisis, especially in developing countries, and inflation and a rising cost of living in many others. Those issues are high on the agenda.

At a meeting Monday to promote U.N. goals for 2030 — including ending extreme poverty, ensuring quality education for all children and achieving gender equality — Guterres said the world’s many pressing perils make it “tempting to put our long-term development priorities to one side.”

But the U.N. chief said some things can’t wait — among them education, dignified jobs, full equality for women and girls, comprehensive health care and action to tackle the climate crisis. He called for public and private finance and investment, and above all for peace.

The death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and her funeral in London on Monday, which many world leaders attended, have created last-minute headaches for the high-level meeting. Diplomats and U.N. staff have scrambled to deal with changes in travel plans, the timing of events and the logistically intricate speaking schedule for world leaders.

The global gathering, known as the General Debate, was entirely virtual in 2020 because of the pandemic, and hybrid in 2021. This year, the 193-member General Assembly returns to only in-person speeches, with a single exception — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Over objections from Russia and a few allies, the assembly voted last Friday to allow the Ukrainian leader to prerecord his speech because of reasons beyond his control — the “ongoing foreign invasion” and military hostilities that require him to carry out his “national defense and security duties.”

The U.S. president, representing the host country for the United Nations, is traditionally the second speaker. But President Joe Biden is attending the queen’s funeral, and his speech has been pushed to Wednesday morning.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Iran sentences two women to death for ‘corruption on earth’ – IRNA

An LGBT activist attends a rally against Homophobia and Transphobia in Kiev, Ukraine, May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

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DUBAI, Sept 5 (Reuters) – Two women have been sentenced to death in Iran on charges of “corruption on earth” and human trafficking over the last few days, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported on Monday.

Advocates and rights group took to social media to share pictures of the two women, saying they are LGBT rights activists and are innocent. The pictures could not be verified by Reuters.

“Contrary to news published online, the sentenced have deceived and trafficked young women and girls out of the country by promising them educational and work opportunities, thus leading to the suicide of several of their victims,” IRNA said.

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“Corruption on earth” is a term Iranian authorities use to refer to a broad range of offences, including those related to Islamic morals.

In March, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described homosexuality as part of a “moral deprivation” widespread in Western civilisation. read more

Western rights groups have often criticised Iran for its treatment of LGBT issues. Under Iran’s legal system, homosexual acts can be punished by the death penalty.

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Reporting by Dubai Newsroom, Editing by William Maclean, Robert Birsel

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Afghanistan Marks 1 Year Since Taliban Seizure As Woes Mount

Bearded Taliban fighters, some hoisting rifles or the white banners of their movement, staged small victory parades on foot, bicycles and motorcycles.

The Taliban on Monday marked a year since they seized the Afghan capital of Kabul, a rapid takeover that triggered a hasty escape of the nation’s Western-backed leaders, sent the economy into a tailspin and fundamentally transformed the country.

Bearded Taliban fighters, some hoisting rifles or the white banners of their movement, staged small victory parades on foot, bicycles and motorcycles in the streets of the capital. One small group marched past the former U.S. Embassy, chanting “Long live Islam” and “Death to America.”

A year after the dramatic day, much has changed in Afghanistan. The former insurgents struggle to govern and remain internationally isolated. The economic downturn has driven millions more Afghans into poverty and even hunger, as the flow of foreign aid slowed to a trickle.

Meanwhile, hard-liners appear to hold sway in the Taliban-led government, which imposed severe restrictions on access to education and jobs for girls and women, despite initial promises to the contrary. A year on, teenage girls are still barred from school and women are required to cover themselves head-to-toe in public, with only the eyes showing.

Some are trying to find ways to keep education from stalling for a generation of young women and underground schools in homes have sprung up.

Natalia Kanem, executive director of the U.N.’s sexual and reproductive health agency, said in a statement that Afghan females must not be forgotten.

“As the world faces multiple, overlapping crises, we must not forget the women and girls of Afghanistan. When women’s and girls’ basic rights are denied, we are all diminished,” she said.

A year ago, thousands of Afghans had rushed to Kabul International Airport to flee the Taliban amid the U.S. military’s chaotic withdrawal from Kabul after 20 years of war — America’s longest conflict.

Some flights resumed relatively quickly after those chaotic days. On Monday, a handful of commercial flights were scheduled to land and take off from a runway that last summer saw Afghan men clinging to the wheels of planes taking off, some falling to their death.

Schoolyards stood empty Monday as the Taliban announced a public holiday to mark the day, which they refer to as “The Proud Day of Aug. 15” and the “First Anniversary of the Return to Power.”

“Reliance on God and the support of the people brought this great victory and freedom to the country,” wrote Abdul Wahid Rayan, the head of the Taliban-run Bakhtar News Agency. “Today, Aug. 15, marks the victory of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan against America and its allies occupation of Afghanistan.”

During a gathering to mark the anniversary, the Taliban deputy prime minister, Abdul Salam Hanafi, offered congratulations to “the entire nation on the day of the conquest of Kabul, which was the beginning of the complete end of the occupation.”

In remarks broadcast live by state radio and TV, he boasted of what he described as “great achievements” under the Taliban, such as an alleged end of corruption, improved security and banned poppy cultivation.

On the eve of the anniversary, former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani defended what he said was a split-second decision to flee, saying he wanted to avoid the humiliation of surrender to the insurgents. He told CNN that on the morning of Aug. 15, 2021, with the Taliban at the gates of Kabul, he was the last one at the presidential palace after his guards had disappeared.

Tomas Niklasson, the European Union’s special envoy to Afghanistan, said the bloc of nations remains committed to the Afghan people and to “stability, prosperity and sustainable peace in Afghanistan and the region.”

“This will require an inclusive political process with full, equal and meaningful participation of all Afghan men and women and respect for human rights,” Niklasson wrote.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said an international responsibility toward Afghanistan remains after the NATO withdrawal.

“A regime that tramples on human rights cannot under any circumstances be recognized,” she said in a statement. “But we must not forget the people in Afghanistan, even a year after the Taliban takeover.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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A Polish Priest’s War Against Abortion Focuses on Helping Single Mothers

SZCZECIN, Poland — The Polish state has banned abortion for 29 years, but that has done little to prevent women from finding access to the procedure, leaving the Rev. Tomasz Kancelarczyk a busy man.

The Roman Catholic priest plays ultrasound audio of what he describes as fetal heartbeats in his sermons to dissuade women considering an abortion. He has threatened teenage girls with telling their parents if they have an abortion. He hectored couples as they waited at the hospital for abortions on account of fetal abnormalities, which were permitted until the law was further tightened last year.

But Father Kancelarczyk’s most effective tool, he acknowledges, may actually be something the state has mostly neglected: helping single mothers by providing them with shelter, supermarket vouchers, baby clothes and, if need be, lawyers to go after violent partners.

abortion bans proliferate in some American states, Poland offers a laboratory, of sorts, for how such bans ripple through societies. And one thing evident in Poland is that the state, if determined to stop abortions, is less focused on what comes afterward — a child who needs help and support.

much the same as in the parts of the United States where abortion bans are being put in place.

“They call themselves pro-life, but they are only interested in women until they give birth,” said Krystyna Kacpura, the president of the Federation for Women and Family Planning, a Warsaw-based advocacy group that opposes the government ban. “There is no systemic support for mothers in Poland, especially mothers of disabled children.”

the measure doesn’t go far enough.

One was that of Beata, a 36-year-old single mother who did not want to disclose her full name for fear of stigma in her deeply Catholic community.

When she became pregnant with her second child, she said the father of the child and her family shunned her. No bank would lend her money because she had no job. No one wanted to hire her because she was pregnant. And she was refused unemployment benefits on the grounds that she was “not employable.”

“The state completely abandons single mothers,” she said.

Then one day, as she was sitting on the floor in her tiny unfurnished apartment, Father Kancelarczyk, who was alerted by a friend, called, encouraged her to keep the baby and offered help.

“One day I had nothing,” Beata said. “The next day he shows up with all these things: furniture, clothes, diapers. I could even choose the color of my stroller.”

Nine years later, Beata works as an accountant and the son she chose to have, Michal, thrives at school.

For many women, Father Kancelarczyk has turned out to be the only safety net — though his charity comes with a brand of Christian fervor that polarizes, a division on stark display in Szczecin.

Father Kancelarczyk’s gothic red brick church towers directly opposite a liberal arts center whose windows are adorned with a row of black lightning bolts — the symbol of Poland’s abortion rights movement — and a poster proclaiming, “My body, my choice.”

Every year, Father Kancelarczyk organizes Poland’s biggest anti-abortion march with thousands departing from his church and facing off with counterprotesters across the street. Before a local gay pride parade, he once called on his congregants to “disinfect the streets.”

He gets hate mail nearly every day, he says, calling it “Satan’s work.”

Ms. Kacpura, the advocate who opposes the government ban, says that the lack of state support especially for single mothers has opened up space for people like Father Kancelarczyk to “indoctrinate” women who find themselves in financial and emotional distress.

Under Communism, child care was free and most Polish workplaces had on-site facilities to encourage mothers to join the work force. But that system collapsed after 1989, while an emboldened Roman Catholic Church put its shoulder behind the 1993 abortion ban as it also rekindled a vision of women as mothers and caregivers at home.

The nationalist and conservative Law and Justice Party, which was elected in 2015 on a pro-family platform, saw opportunity and passed one of Europe’s most generous child benefits programs. It was a revolution in Poland’s family policy.

But it still lacks child care, a precondition for mothers to go to work, as well as special support for the parents of disabled children. Over the past decade, groups of parents of disabled children twice occupied the Polish Parliament to protest the lack of state support, in 2014 and 2018.

When someone contacts Father Kancelarczyk about a woman contemplating abortion — “usually a girlfriend” — sometimes he calls the pregnant woman. When she does not want to talk, he says he will engineer bumping into her and force a conversation.

He also admonishes the fathers, waving ultrasound images in the faces of men looking to leave their pregnant girlfriends. “If men behaved decently, women would not get abortions,” he said.

While abhorred by many, he is admired in the religious communities where he preaches.

Monika Niklas, a 42-year-old mother of two from Szczecin, first attended Mass with Father Kancelarczyk not long after she had learned that her unborn baby had Down syndrome. This was 10 years ago, before the ban included fetal abnormalities, and she had been contemplating an abortion. “I thought my world was crumbling down,” she said.

During his service, Father Kancelarczyk had played a video from his phone with the sound of what he described as a fetal heartbeat.

“It was so moving,” Ms. Niklas recalled. “After the Mass, we went to talk to him, and told him about our situation.” He was one of the first people to tell her and her husband they were going to make it and offered support.

After her son Krzys was born, Ms. Niklas gave up on her career as an architect to take care of him full time. Krzys, now 9, got a place in a school only this fall, one example of how government support falls far short of matching their needs.

She now advises expecting parents of disabled children, trying to counsel them to keep their babies — but without sugarcoating it.

“I never just tell them, ‘It will be all right,’ because it will be hard,” she said. “But if you accept that your life will be different from what you had envisaged, you can be very happy.”

“We have these ideas about what our children will be — a lawyer, a doctor, an astronaut,” she added. “Krzys taught me about love.”

But in all her counsel, she said, one thing barely features: the abortion ban.

“This has not impacted how people make decisions,” she said. “Those who want to get an abortion do it anyway, only abroad.”

Many women here concurred.

Kasia, who also did not want her full name used because the stigma that surrounds the issue, is one of nine women currently living at Father Kancelarczyk’s shelter. She was 23 when she became pregnant. She said her boyfriend had abused her — the police refused to intervene — and then left her. Her mother had kicked her out of the house. A friend contacted an abortion clinic across the border in Germany.

“It is not difficult,” she said of getting an illegal termination. “It is a matter of getting a phone number.”

In the end, it was a near-miscarriage in the eighth week of her pregnancy that changed Kasia’s mind and persuaded her to carry out her pregnancy.

Father Kancelarczyk offered her not just free room and board in his shelter but a lawyer, who took the former boyfriend to court. He is now serving a 10-month sentence and might lose custody.

“I feel safe now,” Kasia said.

Father Kancelarczyk says the number of women referred to him because they were considering abortion did not increase when Poland’s ban was tightened for fetal abnormalities. But he still supports the ban.

“The law always has a normative effect,” he said. “What is permitted is perceived as good, and what is forbidden as bad.”

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Indiana Republicans Propose Banning Abortion With Exceptions

By Associated Press
July 20, 2022

The move comes amid a political firestorm over a 10-year-old rape victim who came to the state from neighboring Ohio to end her pregnancy.

Leaders of Indiana’s Republican-dominated Senate on Wednesday proposed banning abortion with limited exceptions — a move that comes amid a political firestorm over a 10-year-old rape victim who came to the state from neighboring Ohio to end her pregnancy.

The proposal will be taken up during a special legislative session that is scheduled to begin Monday, making Indiana one of the first Republican-run states to debate tighter abortion laws following the U.S. Supreme Court decision last month overturning Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.

The Indiana proposal would allow exceptions to the ban, such as in cases of rape, incest or to protect a woman’s life. Its fate is uncertain, though, because some hardline Republicans want to ban all abortions.

Ohio’s so-called fetal heartbeat law, which bans abortions after a fetus’ heartbeat can be detected — typically in around the sixth week of pregnancy — led the 10-year-old rape victim to go to Indiana to get a medication-induced abortion on June 30, according to the doctor who performed it.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

Leaders of Indiana’s Republican-dominated Senate were set to reveal Wednesday how aggressive they want a special legislative session to go in further restricting abortions as the state has drawn attention over a 10-year-old rape victim who came from Ohio to get an abortion.

Indiana will be among the first Republican-run states to debate tighter abortion laws following the U.S. Supreme Court decision last month overturning Roe v. Wade as legislators return to the Statehouse beginning Monday for a special session that could last three weeks. The Supreme Court ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.

Republican lawmakers have pushed through numerous anti-abortion laws over the past decade and the vast majority signed a letter in March supporting a special session on further tightening those laws. But legislative leaders and Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb have been tightlipped since the Supreme Court decision over whether they will push for a full abortion ban or allow exceptions, such as in cases of rape, incest or to protect a woman’s life.

Indiana law generally prohibits abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with tight restrictions after 13 weeks. Nearly 99% of abortions in the state last year took place at 13 weeks or earlier, according to a state Health Department report.

The leader of the state’s most prominent anti-abortion group told reporters Wednesday it would pressure legislators to advance a bill “that affirms the value of all life including unborn children” while not taking questions on whether any exceptions would be acceptable.

Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter said the vast majority of Indiana lawmakers have “campaigned as pro-life, they’ve run multiple election cycles as being pro-life.”

“This is not the time when legislators should be drafting legislation that would appear that Roe versus Wade is still in place,” Fichter said. “Roe is no longer in place. The Roe shield is no longer there.”

Republican Senate leaders were expected Wednesday afternoon to discuss their proposal for abortion restrictions along with another providing “support for new and expectant mothers.”

Democrats have criticized Republicans for meeting privately for weeks over the abortion legislation.

“If anything, what we should be spending our time on is preparing, strengthening our safety net before we began to take away access to abortion care in this state,” said Democratic Sen. Shelli Yoder of Bloomington.

The state’s debate comes as an Indiana doctor has been at the center of a political firestorm after speaking out about a 10-year-old child abuse victim who traveled from Ohio for an abortion.

A 27-year-old man was charged in Columbus, Ohio, last week with raping the girl, confirming the existence of a case initially met with skepticism by some media outlets and Republican politicians. The pushback grew after Democratic President Joe Biden expressed empathy for the girl during the signing of an executive order aimed at protecting some abortion access.

Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist, said she gave the girl a medication-induced abortion on June 30 because the child couldn’t get the procedure in Ohio under a newly imposed state ban on abortions from the time a fetus’ cardiac activity can be detected. A judge lifted a stay on the Ohio ban after the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Indiana’s conservative GOP lawmakers have had a history of conflict over social issues. In May, they overrode a veto by Holcomb of a bill that banned transgender women and girls from participating in school sports that match their gender identity.

That came seven years after Indiana faced a national uproar over a religious objections law signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence that opponents maintained could be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. The Republican-dominated Legislature quickly made revisions blocking its use as a legal defense for refusing to provide services and preventing the law from overriding local ordinances with LGBT protections.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Payment Data Could Become Evidence of Abortion, Now Illegal in Some States

Digital payments are the default for millions of women of childbearing age. So what will their credit and debit card issuers and financial app providers do when prosecutors seek their transaction data during abortion investigations?

It’s a hypothetical question that’s almost certainly an inevitable one in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade last week. Now that abortion is illegal in several states, criminal investigators will soon begin their hunt for evidence to prosecute those they say violated the law.

Medical records are likely to be the most definitive proof of what now is a crime, but officials who cannot get those may look for evidence elsewhere. The payment trail is likely to be a high priority.

HIPAA — which governs the privacy of a patient’s health records — permits medical and billing records to be released in response to a warrant or subpoena.

“There is a very broad exception to the HIPAA protections for law enforcement,” said Marcy Wilder, a partner and co-head of the global privacy and cybersecurity practice at Hogan Lovells, a law firm. But Ms. Wilder added that the information shared with law enforcement officials could not be overly broad or unrelated to the request. “That is why it matters how companies and health plans are interpreting this.”

Card issuers and networks like Visa and Mastercard generally do not have itemized lists of everything that people pay for when they shop for prescription drugs or other medications online, or when they purchase services at health care providers. But evidence of patronage of, say, a pharmacy that sells only abortion pills could give someone away.

a new state law authorizes residents to file lawsuits against anyone who helped facilitate an abortion.

“With the ruling only coming down late last week, it’s premature to understand the full impact at the state level,” Brad Russell, a USAA spokesman, said via email. “However, USAA will always comply with all applicable laws.”

American Airlines Credit Union, Bank of America, Capital One, Discover, Goldman Sachs, Prosperity Bank USA, Navy Federal Credit Union, US Bank, University of Wisconsin Credit Union, Wells Fargo and Western Union did not return at least two messages seeking comment.

American Express, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo have all announced their intentions to reimburse employees for expenses if they travel to other states for abortions. So far, none have commented about how they would respond to a subpoena seeking the transaction records of the very employees who would be eligible for employer reimbursement.

Amie Stepanovich, vice president of U.S. policy at the Future of Privacy Forum, a nonprofit focused on data privacy and protection, said warrants and subpoenas can be accompanied by gag orders, which can prevent companies from even alerting their customers that they’re being investigated.

“They can choose to battle the use of gag orders in court,” she said. “Sometimes they win, sometimes they don’t.”

In other instances, prosecutors may not say exactly what they’re investigating when they ask for transaction records. In that case, it’s up to the financial institution to request more information or try to figure it out on its own.

Paying for abortion services with cash is one possible way to avoid detection, even if it isn’t possible for people ordering pills online. Many abortion funds pay on behalf of people who need financial help.

But cash and electronic transfers of money are not entirely foolproof.

“Even if you are paying with cash, the amount of residual information that can be used to reveal health status and pregnancy status is fairly significant,” said Ms. Stepanovich, referring to potential bread crumbs such as the use of a retailer’s loyalty program or location tracking on a mobile phone when making a cash purchase.

In some cases, users may inadvertently give up sensitive information themselves through apps that track and share their financial behavior.

“The purchase of a pregnancy test on an app where financial history is public is probably the biggest red flag,” Ms. Stepanovich said.

Other advocates mentioned the possibility of using prepaid cards in fixed amounts, like the kinds that people can buy off a rack in a drugstore. Cryptocurrency, they added, usually does leave enough of a trail that achieving anonymity is challenging.

One thing that every expert emphasized is the lack of certainty. But there is an emerging gut feeling that corporations will be in the spotlight at least as much as judges.

“Now, these payment companies are going to be front and center in the fight,” Ms. Caraballo said.

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Companies Scramble to Work Out Policies Related to Employee Abortions

There is no clear blueprint for corporate engagement on abortion. After numerous companies came forward to announce that they would cover travel expenses for their employees to get abortions, executives have had to move swiftly to both sort out the mechanics of those policies and explain them to a work force concerned about confidentiality and safety.

Few companies have commented directly on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which ended nearly 50 years of federal abortion rights. Far more have responded by expanding their health care policies to cover travel and other expenses for employees who can’t get abortions close to home, now that the procedure is banned in at least eight states with other bans set to soon take effect. About half the country gets its health care coverage from employers, and the wave of new employer commitments has raised concerns from some workers about privacy.

“It’s a doomsday scenario if individuals have to bring their health care choices to their employers,” said Dina Fierro, a global vice president at the cosmetics company Nars, echoing a concern that many workers have expressed on social media in recent days.

Popular Information. Match Group declined to comment.

tweet: “I believe CEOs have a responsibility to take care of their employees — no matter what.”

Lora Kelley contributed reporting.

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The Leading Cause Of Death For American Children Is Now Gun Violence

Researchers say prevention efforts can help reduce the amount of kids dying from gun violence, but more data is also needed to understand why.

Gun violence in the U.S. is nothing new, but things are getting worse. More Americans died from gun injuries in 2020 than any other year on record, but one group being particularly impacted is kids.

A new analysis found guns are the leading cause of death for children in the U.S. since 2017, surpassing car crash deaths.

Kids have been shot and killed while rider their bikes, walking home from school and even playing video games.

This is a uniquely American problem. Kids in the U.S. are 15 times more likely to die from guns than kids in 31 other high-income countries combined.

Researchers say gun violence has become the number one cause of death for kids because, while it has increased, there has also been a decrease in car crash fatalities.  Cars, however, have a specific regulatory agency. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was established in 1970, which had a public database of car deaths to help researchers better understand how road safety can be improved. Things like side airbags, booster-seat laws and automatic braking all helped make kids safer.

On the other hand, there is no federal agency to regulate the safety of guns. Funding was just granted to the CDC in 2019 to begin research for preventing gun injuries, so the research is far less extensive than car crash data.

A study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that 9 million children ages 5 to 17 lived in a neighborhood that experienced at least one fatal shooting a year from 2015 to 2019. It also found Black kids compared to white kids were at a higher risk of being exposed to gun violence before the pandemic. Since then, the disparity has grown even more.

To combat this issue, researchers say that, just like with car safety, prevention efforts can help.

In Dayton, Ohio, the local YWCA works on preventing gun violence through two programs for middle and high schoolers.

“We’re hearing from our students just hugely disproportionate levels of stress coming at them from a number of different ways, and I think when you look at gun violence, one of the biggest things is that they feel completely out of control in terms of you don’t know who’s carrying a firearm around with you,” said Audrey Starr, vice president of mission, brand and programs at YWCA Dayton. “There’s kind of that constant threat and that constant potential.”

Kids can suffer gun injuries from accidental shootings, getting caught in the crossfire, suicides and also intimate partner violence. 

“You see big socioeconomic disparities in our communities,” Starr said. “You have families with big financial strains… All of this kind of comes to a head a lot of times in things like interpersonal violence, in increased levels of suicide among youth in our community. So being able to, as much as we can, be proactive and give them a safe space to talk.”

YWCA Dayton says it has seen quick success with its newest program, AMEND Together, which is aimed at engaging men and boys to prevent violence against women and girls by teaching them what a healthy relationships look like.

“We had an immediate statistical data come back to us that showed from pretest to post-test that we were changing behaviors among the young men in our community and that we were able to see that immediate reaction of, ‘Oh, this makes sense, it is a clear need. We are clearly meeting need,'” Starr said.

In addition to gun risks for youth in Dayton, the city also faced a mass shooting in 2019 where nine people were killed and dozens were injured.

“We had staff members who lost family members, we had clients who lost family members,” Starr said. “We had our youth programs, right, who were then going into the classroom immediately thereafter with these kids who heard about it, knew about it, had family involved and we’re having to work through that on top of all of the things that they were already dealing with in the day to day. I think it just really put it into perspective how things can change so quickly, but then it also immediately put us into this national conversation of ‘How do we reduce violence in our communities?'”

A CBS News analysis found that nearly 300 kids aged 16 and under were shot in Chicago last year.

“Children are being bored,” Saleshea McCray, founder of Hug a Child Make a Change, said. “I feel that they are getting their hands into different things, that some children come from broken homes, and there’s not enough mental health resources out here. The children are losing their friends to death, and nobody is checking in with them for therapy. Nobody’s checking into mental health to say ‘Are you okay?’ because they’re numb, and they’re believing this is normal when it’s not.

Groups like Hug a Child Make a Change are working on prevention efforts across the city.  

“We get the children together, and we march for peace to let them know that we are fighting for them,” McCray said. “We are fighting for them to live and not to die in the city of Chicago.”

The organization connects kids with mentors that meet and check in several times a month to offer support and help them reach major life milestones.

“My program helped because we’re involved in these children’s lives,” McCray said. “We have graduates coming across the stage this year with honors classes because they have a shoulder to lean on and a foundation of people. So, I feel like my program has helped tremendously because we’ve not only worked with the children, but we work with the parents, the mothers, the fathers, the sisters, the brothers, we work with them.”

These community outreach efforts are vital when it comes to tackling the root of the problem, but some researchers say more data is needed to better understand what is happening with gun violence.

Source: newsy.com

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How Roe Shaped the World of Work for Women

When Barbara Schwartz looks back at her younger days working as a Broadway stagehand, she remembers the electricity of it: the harried dancers slipping into their costumes backstage, the props people shoving past with flashlights between their teeth.

She was able to throw herself into that high-pressure career, she said, because of a choice she made in 1976. She got an abortion at a clinic she found in the Yellow Pages. It was three years after the Roe v. Wade ruling established the constitutional right to an abortion; to Ms. Schwartz, the world seemed full of new professional opportunities for women. She got a credit card in her own name, became one of the first women to make it into the local stagehand union and joined the throngs backstage at shows including “Cats” and “Miss Saigon.”

Ms. Schwartz, 69, is now retired. She is spending her retirement years escorting women to the doors of an abortion clinic on the border of Virginia and Tennessee. She was drawn to this volunteer work, she said, because to her, the promise from her 20s has dimmed — the result of laws that have chipped away at abortion access, with a leaked draft Supreme Court ruling this past week revealing that Roe is likely to be overturned.

“This is my giant pay it forward,” Ms. Schwartz said.

That is how Ginny Jelatis, 67, thinks about it too. She was of high school senior age the year Roe v. Wade was decided; she began serving as a clinic escort after retiring from her work as a history professor in 2016.

43 percent in 1970 to 57.4 percent in 2019. Many different factors drove women into the work force in greater numbers in those years, but scholars argue that abortion access was an important one.

poll in 2021 found that 59 percent of Americans said they believed abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 39 percent said it should be illegal in all or most cases. Recent Pew data indicates that women are slightly more likely than men to say abortion should be legal in all cases, and younger people, between the ages of 18 and 29, are far more likely than older adults to say abortion should be legal in some or all cases.

Justice Harry A. Blackmun, a modest Midwestern Republican and a defender of the right to abortion, wrote the majority opinion.

Recent research has tried to understand the role abortion access plays in women’s employment. Most notable is the Turnaway Study, conducted at the University of California, San Francisco. Researchers followed two groups of women — a group that wanted and got abortions, and another that wanted abortions and were unable to obtain them — for five years and found that those unable to get abortions had worse economic outcomes. Almost two-thirds of those who did not have an abortion they had sought out were living in poverty six months later, compared with 45 percent of those who got the procedure.

patchwork of state laws on abortion access, with 13 states set to ban abortion immediately or very quickly after the court’s ruling. There is likely a correlation between the regions of the country where it is most difficult to get an abortion, and those with the fewest child care and parental leave options, according to an analysis of research findings from the financial site WalletHub.

For older women who felt they were able to attain financial stability because of the decision to have an abortion, there is resonance in sharing their stories with the younger women they meet at clinics today.

“The older folks I work with can remember that dread of, ‘My God, what if it happens to me?’” said Ms. Deiermann, who spent most of her career working in reproductive health advocacy.

Many clinic volunteers, like Ms. Deiermann, remember when their classmates and friends got illegal abortions. Telling those stories feels more urgent than ever.

Karen Kelley, 67, a retired labor and delivery nurse in Idaho, who volunteers at an abortion clinic there, spent her childhood aligned with her Roman Catholic family’s anti-abortion views. Then she found herself pregnant in her early 20s, without an income to support a baby. Realizing that motherhood could “derail all her hopes,” she chose to terminate that pregnancy, about six years after Roe.

That’s a memory Ms. Kelley conveys to the women she escorts to the clinic’s steps. “If I’m asked, I’m always honest that I understand how they’re feeling because I had an abortion and they have every right to make the decision,” she said.

And some older women said that the position they’re in now — retired, with savings and stability — is something they trace back to Roe.

“It gave us a chance to decide to marry and have a family later,” said Eileen Ehlers, 74, a retired high school English teacher and a mother.

What Roe gave her, she said, is something she can now pour back into volunteering: “We have time.”

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