Fifth Circuit Court knocks down Texas abortion ban | The Latest | Gambit Weekly

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Tuesday evening a Texas law banning the most common and safest type of second trimester abortion, marking an unlikely victory for reproductive rights advocates from one of the most conservative appeals courts. 

The statute effectively outlawed the dilation and evacuation procedure, known as D&E, in which doctors open the cervix and remove fetal tissue from the uterus. The law would only allow the procedure, the one usually used for abortions after 14 weeks of pregnancy, if the “fetal demise” occurs in the uteruswhich would require an invasive additional step for doctors and women that is not part of a typical D&E. 

In its Whole Woman’s Health v. Ken Paxton decision, the Fifth Circuit ruled that the law unduly burdens a woman’s constitutionally-protected right to obtain a previability abortion” because it “requires a woman to undergo an additional and medically unnecessary procedure to cause fetal demise before she may obtain a dilation and evacuation abortion.”  

Louisiana passed a similar law in 2016, with exceptions only for a serious health risk to the mother, but it is not currently in effect. Several other states have had their own bans challenged in courtincluding Alabama, Kansas and Oklahoma. It is unclear if the ruling will apply to Louisiana and Mississippi, which are also in the Fifth Circuit’s jurisdiction and have similar bans on the books. 

The Texas law started out as a bill banning a late-term abortion procedure that was already outlawed at the federal level in 2003 and forbidding the sale or donation of embryonic and fetal tissue. But after several amendments, the final form of the law had many other parts, including requiring the burial or cremation of embryonic and fetal tissue. The D&E ban, however, was the biggest change. 

The law also included criminal penalties for doctors who did not adhere to it. 

Eight licensed abortion clinics and three abortion providers challenged the Texas law, and the Fifth Circuit, which covers Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, ruled in their favor and against the state of Texas. 

The ruling in favor of abortion rights comes as Louisiana residents begin to vote on whether they want to add an amendment to the state constitution declaring it does not include the right to abortion. It also comes in the midst of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearings. If confirmed to the Supreme Court, Barrett would give the court and even stronger anti-abortion majority, which could impact decades of future abortion legislation. 

Barrett is from Louisiana.

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Facebook says it will finally ban anti-vaccination ads

  • Facebook said Tuesday it is launching a new global policy that bans ads that discourage people from getting vaccines.
  • The company previously had a policy against vaccine hoaxes that were publicly identified by global health organizations. 
  • Facebook will still allow ads that advocate for or against legislation of government policies around vaccines, including the Covid-19 vaccine. 



graphical user interface, application: Facebook's new campaign for flu shots.


© Provided by CNBC
Facebook’s new campaign for flu shots.

Facebook said Tuesday it is launching a new global policy that bans ads that discourage people from getting vaccines. The company previously had a policy against vaccine hoaxes that were publicly identified by global health organizations. 

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“Now, if an ad explicitly discourages someone from getting a vaccine, we’ll reject it,” the company’s head of health, Kang-Xing Jin, and its director of product management, Rob Leathern, said in a blog post Tuesday. 

The new ban comes amid a series of policy changes announced by the company to rid its social networks of problematic content it had previously been hesitant to remove. This includes a ban on Holocaust denialism announced earlier this week, a prohibition on pages and groups espousing the QAnon conspiracy theory last week, a temporary ban on political ads following the Nov. 3 U.S. election, a ban last month on any ads that seek to delegitimize the results of the U.S. election, and a decision last month to stop the spread of groups on its social network that focus on giving users health advice.

Facebook will still allow ads that advocate against government policies around vaccines, including the Covid-19 vaccine. 

For instance, Facebook said it would allow ads like the ones a state delegate candidate in Virginia launched in August, which included the language “STOP FORCED CORONAVIRUS VACCINATIONS! … All medications have risks, and we believe discussion alone of mandating a vaccine before it’s released, without knowing if there’s long term side effects, is both premature and dangerous.”



graphical user interface, text: Ad run by Isaiah Knight on Facebook.


© Provided by CNBC
Ad run by Isaiah Knight on Facebook.

However, ads that explicitly discourage vaccines — including portraying them as ineffective or unsafe, among other things — will be banned.

“If an ad that advocates for/against legislation or government policies explicitly discourages a vaccine, it will be rejected,” a spokesperson wrote CNBC. “That includes portraying vaccines as useless, ineffective, unsafe or unhealthy, describing the diseases vaccines are created for as harmless, or the ingredients in vaccines as harmful or deadly.”    

The blog post also outlined the platform’s plans to direct people with general information about the flu vaccine and how to get it, using its “Preventive Health” tool. 

It also said it’s working with the World Health Organization and UNICEF “on public health messaging campaigns to increase immunization rates.” 

However, at least one researcher suggested Facebook’s move is a case of too little, too late.

“I think a lot vaccine [hesitancy] researchers know the potential that Facebook has to promote vaccine hesitancy,” said Kolina Koltai, a vaccine researcher at the Center for an Informed Public at the University of Washington.

“This

Facebook will ban ads discouraging people from getting vaccines

By Elizabeth Culliford

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc will start banning ads that discourage people from getting vaccinated, the social media company said on Tuesday, as it also announced a new flu vaccine information campaign.

The company said in a blog post that ads advocating for or against legislation or government policies around vaccines, including a COVID-19 vaccine, would still be allowed.

Facebook will begin to enforce the new policy in the next few days.

Facebook, which has been under pressure from lawmakers and public health groups to crack down on anti-vaccine content and misinformation on its platform, said that although a COVID-19 vaccine would not be available for some time, the pandemic had highlighted the importance of preventative health behaviors.

Facebook’s rules prohibit ads with vaccine misinformation, but ads expressing opposition to vaccines had been allowed if they did not contain false claims.

This summer, Facebook Public Policy Manager Jason Hirsch told Reuters the company believed users should be able to express such personal views and that more aggressive censorship could push people hesitant about vaccines towards the anti-vaccine camp.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford; Editing by Richard Chang)

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Longtime ex-Major Leaguer dies, NFL game postponed, Ohio travel ban, more – coronavirus timeline Sept. 26-Oct. 2

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Here is our regular roundup of coronavirus facts, figures and numbers regarding Cleveland, Ohio, the United States and the world Sept. 26-Oct. 2:

Sept. 26: Cleveland has 19 new cases of coronavirus. Longtime Major League Baseball player Jay Johnstone (above, top right photo) dies of complications resulting from coronavirus. He played for eight teams in 20 years (1966-85). The jovial prankster was 74.

Sept. 27: It’s reported that Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh (above, top left photo) has tested positive and spent time in the hospital. The Ohio Department of Health says the state has 800 new cases, bringing the total to 150,809. A total of 4,741 people have died from the virus. Cleveland records 11 cases, taking the city’s total numbers to 5,454. Ages of victims range from 9 to 69. Death toll worldwide stands around 998,000.

Sept. 28: Kent State University quarantines 44 students in two residence halls after they were potentially exposed to the virus. Ohio’s cases increase by 993 from the previous day’s report. In all, 151,802 people have had the virus in Ohio. Five more people die in Ohio. Cleveland confirms 11 new cases. So far, one in 77 Ohioans is known to have contracted the virus.

Sept. 29: Ohio reports 1,105 new cases. Cleveland confirms 13 new cases. The Tennessee Titans suspend in-person activities through Friday after three players and five staffers test positive. The presidential debate is held in Cleveland, coronavirus-style. President Trump and Joe Biden do not shake hands upon entering. Fewer than 100 ticketed guests are allowed to attend, and all participants and media had to pass a Covid test before entering. The Cleveland Clinic is advising on all presidential debates.

Sept. 30: Ohio reports 1,080 new cases and 23 deaths Wednesday, bringing the death toll past 4,800. In Cleveland, 12 cases are reported. The state releases its latest travel advisory map, with seven states (Idaho, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kansas, Missouri and Mississippi) with high positivity rates. That’s a possible indicator the virus could be prevalent among the population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extends the no-sail order for cruise ships through Saturday, Oct. 31. CNN, citing Johns Hopkins University’s figures, says the United States has had at least 42,812 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s total to 7,233,042 confirmed infections. Also: 946 new fatalities are reported, bringing the domestic death toll to at least 206,932. More than 63 million people in India may have contracted the virus – about 10 times higher than official reported figures – because of a survey that found antibodies in about one in 15 people over age 10. The Tennessee Titans’ outbreak results in the postponement of their scheduled game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Major League Baseball says it will allow a limited number of fans for the National League Championship Series and World Series in Arlington, Texas.

Oct. 1: It’s reported that presidential aide Hope Hicks has coronavirus. In Ohio, 11 counties are

California First U.S. State to Ban Harmful Cosmetics Ingredients, Already Forbidden in the EU

California is the first state in the nation to ban 24 toxic ingredients from being used in cosmetics, after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2762, the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, on Wednesday. The law will take effect starting on Jan. 1, 2025.

The harmful ingredients, which are connected to a number of major health-related issues, birth defects and diseases including cancer, are already forbidden from beauty and personal-care products sold in 40 countries, including the European Union.

“Children, communities of color and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to these ingredients, which are not actively regulated by the federal government,” Newsom said in a statement.

Authored by Assembly members Al Muratsuchi, Bill Quirk and Buffy Wicks, the list of banned chemicals includes PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), mercury, formaldehyde, along with endocrine-disrupting phthalates and long-chain parabens, which are preservatives used in skin-care products.

“For more than 80 years, Congress has neglected to increase the scope of the Food and Drug Administration’s authority over cosmetics, limiting the agency’s ability to ensure the safety of cosmetic products,” noted a statement from the Environmental Working Group, which cosponsored the legislation alongside Black Women for Wellness, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners and the California Public Interest Research Group. The organizations work to protect consumers and public health.

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The Latest: US extends ban on cruise ships through October

WASHINGTON — Federal health officials are extending the U.S. ban on cruise ships through the end of October amid reports of recent outbreaks of the new coronavirus on ships overseas.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday that it was extending a no-sail order on cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers.

The CDC said surveillance data from March 1 through Sept. 29 shows at least 3,689 COVID-19 or COVID-like illnesses on cruise ships in U.S. waters, in addition to at least 41 reported deaths. It said these numbers are likely an underestimate.

It cited recent outbreaks as evidence that cruise ship travel continues to transmit and amplify the spread of the novel coronavirus, even when ships sail at reduced passenger capacities. It said it would likely spread the infection in the U.S. communities if operations were to resume prematurely.

“Recent passenger voyages in foreign countries continue to have outbreaks, despite cruise ship operators having extensive health and safety protocols to prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 on board and spread to communities where passengers disembark,” the CDC said in a statement.

———

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK

— UK lawmakers grumble but renew sweeping govt virus powers

— Wisconsin hospitals filling with patients as virus surges

— Virus outbreak pushes NFL’s Steelers-Titans game to Monday or Tuesday

— Scientists are starting to unravel one of COVID-19′s scariest mysteries: Why are some people only mildly ill or have no symptoms and others rapidly die.

— The coronavirus pandemic has put a damper on student life across the globe. But in Brussels, the Belgian capital is using its famous Grand-Place square for graduation ceremonies of two universities.

— Scores of actors, technicians and theater staff marched through London’s West End to Parliament to the beat of showtunes, asking for plan to revive the arts.

———

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

———

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SINGAPORE — Singapore will allow entry to travelers from Vietnam and Australia, excluding its coronavirus hot spot Victoria state, beginning next week.

The tiny city-state last month welcomed visitors from Brunei and New Zealand, and is cautiously reopening its borders after a virus closure to help revive its airport, a key regional aviation hub.

The aviation authority has said there is a low risk of virus importation from the two countries. Travelers must undergo a virus swab test upon arrival, travel on direct flights without transit and download a mobile app for contact tracing.

The Vietnam and Australia changes start from Oct. 8.

Singapore’s move is unilateral and not reciprocated by the other four countries.

But Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a Facebook post Wednesday that “with each step of safe opening of our borders, we start to rebuild the bridges and resuscitate Changi Airport.”

Singapore has managed to control the pandemic after an earlier upsurge due to infections among foreign workers living in packed dormitories. It has confirmed more

US extends ban on cruise ships through October

WASHINGTON — Federal health officials are extending the U.S. ban on cruise ships through the end of October amid reports of recent outbreaks of the new coronavirus on ships overseas.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday that it was extending a no-sail order on cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers.

The CDC said surveillance data from March 1 through Sept. 29 shows at least 3,689 COVID-19 or COVID-like illnesses on cruise ships in U.S. waters, in addition to at least 41 reported deaths. It said these numbers are likely an underestimate.

It cited recent outbreaks as evidence that cruise ship travel continues to transmit and amplify the spread of the novel coronavirus, even when ships sail at reduced passenger capacities. It said it would likely spread the infection in the U.S. communities if operations were to resume prematurely.

“Recent passenger voyages in foreign countries continue to have outbreaks, despite cruise ship operators having extensive health and safety protocols to prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 on board and spread to communities where passengers disembark,” the CDC said in a statement.

___


HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK

— UK lawmakers grumble but renew sweeping govt virus powers

— Wisconsin hospitals filling with patients as virus surges

— Virus outbreak pushes NFL’s Steelers-Titans game to Monday or Tuesday

— Scientists are starting to unravel one of COVID-19′s scariest mysteries: Why are some people only mildly ill or have no symptoms and others rapidly die.

— The coronavirus pandemic has put a damper on student life across the globe. But in Brussels, the Belgian capital is using its famous Grand-Place square for graduation ceremonies of two universities.

— Scores of actors, technicians and theater staff marched through London’s West End to Parliament to the beat of showtunes, asking for plan to revive the arts.

___

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

___

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SINGAPORE — Singapore will allow entry to travelers from Vietnam and Australia, excluding its coronavirus hot spot Victoria state, beginning next week.

The tiny city-state last month welcomed visitors from Brunei and New Zealand, and is cautiously reopening its borders after a virus closure to help revive its airport, a key regional aviation hub.

The aviation authority has said there is a low risk of virus importation from the two countries. Travelers must undergo a virus swab test upon arrival, travel on direct flights without transit and download a mobile app for contact tracing.

The Vietnam and Australia changes start from Oct. 8.

Singapore’s move is unilateral and not reciprocated by the other four countries.

But Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a Facebook post Wednesday that “with each step of safe opening of our borders, we start to rebuild the bridges and resuscitate Changi Airport.”

Singapore has managed to control the pandemic after an earlier upsurge due to infections among foreign workers living in packed dormitories. It has confirmed more