In a vote of 51 to 46 yesterday, the Senate confirmed James Leon Holmes to the US District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Holmes, who once wrote that "...a wife is to subordinate herself to her husband," holds far-right views on reproductive rights, the role of women, and separation of church and state. The confirmation vote had been previously postponed due to possible concerns among some Republican senators, reports People for the American Way. These concerns manifested in a vote that crossed party lines, with 5 Republicans - Chafee (RI), Collins (ME), Hutchison (TX), Snowe (ME), and Warner (VA) - voting against Holmes, and 6 Democrats - Breaux (LA), Landrieu (LA), Lincoln (AR), Miller (GA), Nelson (NE), and Pryor (AR) - voting for confirmation.
Holmes' record reflects his extreme anti-choice views. Holmes believes that both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey were wrongly decided because they run counter to 'natural law.' He has compared pro-choice advocates to Nazis and abortion to slavery and has indirectly labeled abortion providers 'criminals.' Additionally, Holmes has refused to allow exemptions for abortion to victims of rape. "Concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami," Holmes once callously stated. In fact, studies show that 25,000 to 32,000 women become pregnant each year in the US as a result of rape. Senator Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, told the LA Times that he considers Holmes "intolerant" and likely to "pursue an anti-abortion agenda and other conservative causes from the bench."
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .