Hawaii's Republic Governor and a Pro-Choice BillApril 29, 2006 23:56 In doing so without fanfare or comment, the Republican governor avoids provoking the most conservative of her party who are fiercely anti-abortion, while acknowledging Hawaii's long-standing support of a woman's right to privacy.

The governor's conduct is commendable in that she did not cast the controversial issue as a political matter to stir up party loyalty, but rather as a law that appropriately allows women to make deeply personal decisions without government interference. Lingle also is savvy enough to know that her bid for re-election does not hinge on her view of the polarizing issue.

The changes should not have drawn opposition since they simply reconcile state law with U.S. Supreme Court rulings, removing a 90-day residency requirement and allowing abortion procedures in medical clinics and doctors' offices.

Nonetheless, anti-abortion activists would not let the measure go through without a fight. Sen. Sam Slom, a Republican who opposes abortion, said that the state would become the "abortion capital of the world" if the changes were approved, predicting women seeking to end pregnancies would flood the islands.

  Iraq War Contractors Ordered To End AbusesApril 26, 2006 14:44 The top U.S. commander in Iraq has ordered sweeping changes for privatized military support operations after confirming violations of human-trafficking laws and other abuses by contractors involving possibly thousands of foreign workers on American bases, according to records obtained by the Tribune.

Gen. George Casey ordered that contractors be required by May 1 to return passports that have been illegally confiscated from laborers on U.S. bases after determining that such practices violate U.S. laws against trafficking for forced or coerced labor. Human brokers and subcontractors from South Asia to the Middle East have worked together to import thousands of laborers into Iraq from impoverished countries.

Two memos obtained by the Tribune indicate that Casey's office concluded that the practice of confiscating passports from such workers was both widespread on American bases and in violation of the U.S. trafficking laws.

The memos, including an order dated April 4 and titled "Subject: Prevention of Trafficking in Persons in MNF-I," or Multinational Forces-Iraq, say the military also confirmed other abuses during an inspection of contracting activities supporting the U.S. military in Iraq.

  3 Abortion MythsApril 25, 2006 17:26 Murderer." "Butcher." "Baby-killer." Sometimes it seems there's no end to the invectives thrown at the pro-choice movement. But believe it or not, members of the pro-choice community don't join up because we think we fall under those labels. With the South Dakota abortion ban rapidly making its way to the Supreme Court, it is more important than ever for us to explain what we're really about. So without further ado, Princeton Pro-Choice Vox presents three myths about the abortion and the pro-choice movement.

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  Pro-Choice, Pro-EnvironmentApril 21, 2006 16:01 This Saturday, April 22, is Earth Day — an opportune time to examine the connection between environmental justice and reproductive rights. A recent report by the Guttmacher Institute makes a strong case that family planning and reproductive health are "intimately tied to environmental conditions," and that by working together, pro-choice and pro-environment advocates could better advance a joint cause.

To shed more light on the subject, Choice! Magazine spoke with Annette Souder, senior Washington representative for the Global Population and Environment Program at the Sierra Club, one of the country's leading environmental groups.

  Judge Rules For Kan. Abortion Rights GroupApril 19, 2006 15:13 In a victory for an abortion rights group, a federal judge ruled Tuesday that abortion clinic doctors and other professionals are not required under Kansas law to report underage sex between consenting youths.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten was a setback for Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, an abortion foe.

Kline contended a 1982 Kansas law requiring doctors, teachers and others to alert the state and law enforcement about potential child abuse covers consensual sex between minors. He argued that the law applies to abortion clinics, and later extended that to other health professionals and teachers.

  Debate Set For Today On Push To Limit Abortion in LAApril 19, 2006 14:59 Lousiana's first major attempt in 15 years to pass a strict abortion bill that outlaws the procedure in all cases except to save a mother's life will get a hearing today in the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare.

Supporters said they are unsure how lawmakers will react to Senate Bill 33 by Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, one of several anti-abortion measures filed for the session. The big question is whether the measure can survive without amendments expanding the number of exceptions.

"I have no feel for it at all," said Dorinda Bordlee, executive director of the Bioethics Defense Fund, a group generally regarded as anti-abortion. "This Legislature on the abortion issue is a big question mark."

  Supremes Won't Hear Falwell AppealApril 19, 2006 14:55 The US Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal of Reverend Jerry Falwell against an Appeals Court ruling that allowed a gay rights activists to continue operating a site about the television evangelist under the domain name

Jerry Falwell has suggested that people who are gay and lesbian are sinning and that one's sexual orientation is something that can be changed, according to Christopher Lamparello, who set up the 'gripe site' to challenge Falwell's views.

Falwell sued, but the US Appeals Court ruled in August 2005 that Lamparello's site did not violate trade mark law because it is not a confusing use of Falwell’s trade mark.

“Although Lamparello and Reverend Falwell employ similar marks online, Lamparello’s website looks nothing like Reverend Falwell’s; indeed, Lamparello has made no attempt to imitate Reverend Falwell’s website,” wrote Judge Diana Motz, giving the unanimous opinion of the Appeals Court last year.

  Angering the Religious Right: White House Event a Tolerance MilestoneApril 18, 2006 16:55 In an effort organized by the DC gay-rights group Family Pride Coalition, over 100 lesbian and gay families attended the annual White House Egg Roll for the first time in its 130-year history yesterday, wearing rainbow-colored leis to show their solidarity. Children accompanied by their parents rolled Easter eggs through the grass with long-handled spoons, dyed eggs, and hobnobbed with their favorite cartoon characters, such as Clifford the Big Red Dog and Arthur from PBS.

New York University Professor Colleen Gillespie and her partner, computer programmer Alisa Surkis, contacted Family Pride with their idea for LGBT families to participate visibly in this year’s Egg Roll. Although there had been some concern that the White House might declare the Egg Roll invitation-only after getting wind of Family Pride’s plans, event organizers stood by their statement that “all families are welcome to attend.” Said Gillespie yesterday in an interview with Ms. magazine, “We felt very welcome – people expressed that they were glad to be a part of history by being there with us.”

  Lip Service: Flag Burning, Gay Marriage, Abortion Top Senate GOP AgendaApril 16, 2006 15:51 Protection of marriage amendment? Check.

Anti-flag burning legislation? Check. New abortion limits? Check.

Between now and the November elections, Republicans are penciling in plans to take action on social issues important to religious conservatives, the foundation of the GOP base, as they defend their congressional majority.

In a year where an unpopular war in Iraq has helped drive President Bush’s approval ratings below 40 percent, core conservatives whose turnout in November is vital to the party want assurances that they are not being taken for granted.

“It seems like for only six months, every two years — right around election time — that we’re even noticed,” said Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council.

  Gay, Lesbian Parents Question Egg Roll TicketsApril 16, 2006 15:43 Some of the same-sex couples who waited all night to get tickets to this year's Easter Egg roll are questioning how the tickets were distributed.

Gay and lesbian families are making a coordinated effort to attend the annual Easter Monday event. They plan to wear rainbow-colored leis to show their family pride.

All of those who spent hours waiting in line got tickets.

But members of the Family Pride Coalition said they received some of the first timed-entry tickets distributed, but they are for noon, well after the 8 a.m. start. Members of the coalition believe it was an effort to keep them away from the high-profile opening of the event with first lady Laura Bush.

  Christian Coalition ShrinksApril 10, 2006 00:00 In an era when conservative Christians enjoy access and influence throughout the federal government, the organization that fueled their rise has fallen on hard times.

The once-mighty Christian Coalition, founded 17 years ago by the Rev. Pat Robertson as the political fundraising and lobbying engine of the Christian right, is more than $2 million in debt, beset by creditors' lawsuits and struggling to hold on to some of its state chapters.

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In March, one of its most effective chapters, the Christian Coalition of Iowa, cut ties with the national organization and reincorporated itself as the Iowa Christian Alliance, saying it "found it impossible to continue to carry a name that in any way associated us with this national organization."

  Employment Discrimination Against Pregnant WomenApril 03, 2006 15:44 Jack is the joy of Pamela Alexander's life, but she had no idea how much becoming Jack's mom would change her life.

Two years ago, she was a top salesperson for a Wisconsin company called Name Protect, winning, she says, accolades and promotions until she revealed she was pregnant. Within two weeks, Alexander was fired in a cost-cutting move.

"You shouldn't have to make this choice between keeping your job and having a child," she says. "To have them let me go for budgetary reasons, I mean, the only thing that made sense, the only thing I could conclude, was because I was pregnant."

  Mccain moves Right and Softens Language On Jerry FalwellApril 03, 2006 05:12 Potential presidential candidate John McCain says he longer considers evangelist Jerry Falwell to be one of the "agents of intolerance" that he criticized during a previous White House run.

The Republican senator from Arizona will be the commencement speaker in May at Liberty University, the Lynchburg, Va., institution that Falwell founded in 1971.

"We agreed to disagree on certain issues, and we agreed to move forward," McCain said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press.