September, 25 2008, 01:39pm EDT
For Immediate Release
Linda Paris or Matt Allee (202) 675-2312 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ACLU Applauds Senate Judiciary Committee for Reauthorizing and Expanding Deaths in Custody Reporting Act
Senators closed loophole that allowed deaths of immigration detainees in federal detention facilities to go unreported
Today the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to reauthorize and expand a Bureau of Justice Statistics program that will require the Attorney General and encourage states to report information regarding the deaths of individuals in the custody of federal, state, and local law enforcement.
"Today, senators closed the loophole that allowed deaths of immigration detainees in federal detention facilities to go unreported," said Joanne Lin, ACLU Legislative Counsel. "The lack of transparency and accountability on the federal level under the current law meant that the public and advocacy groups have had to rely on word-of-mouth and media accounts to find out about deaths of immigration detainees. At least 69 people have died in immigration detention since 2004. A significant number of these deaths occurred in federal detention facilities."
Lin continued, "The Deaths in Custody Reporting Act passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee will include federal prisons and immigration detention centers to ensure that in-custody deaths, whether they occur in federal, state or local facilities, are reported to the Attorney General. The ACLU urges the entire Senate to quickly pass this bill and the House to follow suit."
Elizabeth Alexander, director of the ACLU National Prison Project, called the reauthorization of the Deaths in Custody Reporting Act essential, adding "This legislation shines a light into our nation's prisons and jails, where, too often, neglect and lack of resources result in unnecessary deaths that require Congressional scrutiny. This important oversight tool needs to cover federal detention facilities."
The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.(212) 549-2666
Call to 'Boycott Walgreens' Erupts After Company Caves to Right-Wing on Abortion Pills
"This willful corporate choice will prevent so many women from choosing the healthcare they need and have a legal right to," said Sen. Tammy Duckworth.
Mar 03, 2023
Calls to "boycott Walgreens" grew on social media after the United States' second-largest pharmacy chain confirmed Thursday that it will not sell abortion pills in nearly two dozen GOP-controlled states, including several where such medication remains legal.
Walgreens' decision came after 20 Republican state attorneys generals in February threatened the company with legal action if it began distributing mifepristone by mail.
The AGs wrote that federal law and many state laws prohibit "using the mail to send or receive any drug that will 'be used or applied for producing abortion,'" adding that "the text, not the Biden administration's view, is what governs."
After a yearslong study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that mifepristone is safe and effective to use without a doctor's visit, the agency in January updated a rule allowing retail pharmacies to sell the drug—part of the Biden administration's attempt to protect abortion access in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2022 decision overturning Roe v. Wade, which unleashed a right-wing assault on reproductive freedom that experts say violates international human rights law.
As Politico first reported Thursday, Walgreens recently informed the AGs that it will not dispense mifepristone either by mail or at its physical stores in the 20 states where those officials are the top law enforcement officers.
Abortion in general, and medication abortion in particular, are still legal in some of the affected states, including Alaska, Iowa, and Montana.
Ashley Fairbanks wrote that "the only way to end corporate compliance with fascism is to impact their profits."
"Looks like it's time to boycott Walgreens," tweeted Corinne Blalock of Yale Law School. "I really can't get over how disgusted I am by... private corporations unilaterally denying millions of women's access to reproductive healthcare."
Calling Walgreens' move "absolutely awful," Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) warned that "this willful corporate choice will prevent so many women from choosing the healthcare they need and have a legal right to," and implored the company to "reverse course—immediately."
The FDA approved the use of mifepristone, taken in conjunction with misoprostol, for abortion within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy in 2000. Medication abortion became the most common method in the U.S. for terminating a pregnancy in 2020.
Walgreens' decision, meanwhile, underscores the extent to which abortion access varies in the post-Roe U.S., including in states where the GOP has not outlawed the healthcare procedure.
According toThe Associated Press:
Nineteen U.S. states have imposed restrictions on abortion pills, but there's a court battle over whether they have the power to do so in defiance of U.S. Food and Drug Administration policy. A physician and a company that makes the pill mifepristone filed separate lawsuits earlier this year seeking to strike down bans in North Carolina and West Virginia.
The FDA for more than 20 years limited dispensing of the drug to a subset of specialty offices and clinics because of safety concerns. But it eased restrictions since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic by eliminating the in-person requirement for the pill and allowing brick-and-mortar pharmacies to dispense it. At least one lawsuit filed by abortion opponents argues that the FDA has overstepped its authority in approving the abortion drugs.
A Walgreens spokesperson said Thursday that the company is not yet selling abortion pills anywhere in the country but is working to become eligible through the FDA's certification process, after which it "will dispense only in those jurisdictions where it is legal to do so."
E. Michael Murphy, the adviser for state government affairs for the American Pharmacists Association, told Politico that members of the group are struggling to navigate "blatant contradictions between state and federal law that make it very challenging to identify what is legal and what is not legal."
"We are very concerned with those reports," he said, "because we as pharmacists want to ensure the patients have access to the best possible care that's informed by evidence."
The nation's biggest pharmacy chains announced in January that they planned to seek U.S. certification to sell the pills used in medication abortion, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration loosened restrictions on where the drugs could be dispensed.
The attorney generals' February 1 letter was sent after the companies stated their intention. A rival missive was sent to executives at Walgreens and CVS by 23 Democratic state attorneys general two weeks later, urging them to ignore the legal threats from the GOP states.
According to Politico, "The group of Republican attorneys general, who argue that the Biden administration is misinterpreting the laws around mailing and dispensing abortion pills, also wrote to CVS, Albertsons, Rite Aid, Costco, Walmart, and Kroger demanding they, too, refuse to dispense the medication."
While "some independent and online pharmacies say they will seek certification to provide the drugs in these states, advocates warn that the impact of Walgreens' decision could significantly limit access," Politico noted.
Elizabeth Nash, a state policy expert at the Guttmacher Institute, told the outlet that forced pregnancy advocates and the pharmacy chain are "denying people agency over their lives."
"When we're thinking about states that have a lot of their population in rural areas, it's much more likely that a pharmacy is nearby than a provider's office," said Nash, "so these pharmacies play an outsized role in patient health and access to healthcare."
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'Tomorrow Is Too Late': Climate Strikers Target Fossil Fuel Financing Worldwide
"The capitalistic system continuously puts profit over people," says Fridays for Future. "The Global North's fossil finance is the cause of the climate crisis, neocolonial exploitation, wars, and human rights violations."
Mar 03, 2023
"It's time to end fossil finance because #TomorrowIsTooLate!"
That's the takeaway message from climate strikers who took to the streets worldwide on Friday to demand an immediate end to the financing of all fossil fuel projects amid a worsening global emergency largely driven by coal, gas, and oil.
"The capitalistic system continuously puts profit over people," the youth-led Fridays for Future movement said in a statement. "Corporations' greed for more profit is driving the destruction of ecosystems and the climate. At the same time, frontline communities are paying the highest price while being the most affected by the climate crisis."
\u201c#FridaysForFuture in Stockholm on the day of the global strike!\u201d— David Fopp (@David Fopp) 1677842092
\u201cGlobal Climate Strike! #TomorrowIsTooLate!\n\nOne whole day of different strike locations all calling to junk the mining act of 1995! #IpamanaHuwagIpamina \n\nEnd climate imperialism!\u201d— Mitzi Jonelle Tan #EndClimateImperialism (@Mitzi Jonelle Tan #EndClimateImperialism) 1677852450
"The Global North's fossil finance is the cause of the climate crisis, neocolonial exploitation, wars, and human rights violations," Fridays for Future continued. Acknowledging the plight of frontline communities, the group argued that "as a global climate justice movement, it is our responsibility to join their fight and amplify their voices and demands."
The international movement—spurred by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who as a teenager engaged in a solitary strike outside her country's parliament—highlighted some specific battles against polluters' exploitation:
From the fight against fracking in the indigenous territories of the Esto'k Gna tribe in North America, to local resistance in Huasteca Potosina in Mexico or Vaca Muerta in Argentina; the resistance against the [East African Crude Oil Pipeline] in Uganda and Tanzania; the fight against gas fields in front of the coast of Senegal or LNG terminals in Mozambique; the resistance of the Peruvian people against deforestation and oil drilling in the Amazon; to local fisher’s fight against TEEPSA in South Africa—all these fights are connected and their cause is finance. Fossil fuel corporations like Shell, TotalEnergies, Repsol, Perenco, or Chevron can only realize these projects because of money that is provided to them by banks, insurers, and investors.
In addition to demanding an end to fossil fuel financing, Fridays for Future is calling on the historically largest emitters of planet-heating pollution and Global North countries to "unconditionally cancel the Global South's financial debt" and provide reparations.
"Ending fossil finance is not a question of technical capacity but it is a matter of political will," the group said. "From voting to civil disobedience, we call on everyone to grassroots organize and act against fossil capitalism through the means of action suitable for them. For climate justice, we need to break the influence of fossil fuel corporations, banks, and insurers."
\u201cSchool Children from all over #Pakistan have sent us pictures for #GlobalClimateStrike, this means awareness drives are successfully running and young minds are being built to understand #climatechange. \n#WorldWildlifeDay #Fridays4Future \n#TomorrowIsTooLate \n@GretaThunberg\u201d— FridaysForFuture Pakistan (@FridaysForFuture Pakistan) 1677827656
\u201cWell done to the young activists who marched in Dublin today as part of #GlobalClimateStrike - calling to #EndFossilFinance & for climate justice.\nThe time left in which we can prevent global temp rises exceeding 1.5\u00b0C is rapidly vanishing. #TomorrowIsTooLate \n\n#FridaysForFuture\u201d— Brid Smith TD (@Brid Smith TD) 1677862192
Various groups including global and local arms of Climate Action Network, Friends of the Earth, World Wide Fund for Nature, and 350.org supported the strike in the streets and on social media, sharing updates from demonstrations with the hashtags #FridaysForFuture, #GlobalClimateStrike, and #TomorrowIsTooLate.
"No action is too small to make a difference," tweeted Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate.
African civil society groups—already pressuring leaders across the continent to ditch plans for further fossil fuel projects—not only joined the global strike but also organized events including "art exhibitions highlighting the role of renewable energy as one of the key solutions to the climate crisis, public dialogue on fossil fuels, and the screening of a documentary on the planned East African Crude Oil Pipeline," according to 350.org.
\u201cThe young generation bearing the brunt of a Climate catastrophy they didn't cause have spoken. Can you hear our voices? \n\nWe want #ClimateAction and we want it NOW! \n#GlobalClimateStrike #ClimateJustice #PeopleNotProfits\n#FridaysForFuture #ClimateStrike\u201d— Fridays For Future Uganda (@Fridays For Future Uganda) 1677841863
\u201cToday, youth from @Wanavijiji_sdi joined @fridays_kenya and other partners in the fight for a better future. It's time for us to take action on the climate crisis because #TomorrowIsTooLate. \n\n#WanavijijiVoices #VCA #JustClimateAction #WangariMaathaiDay\u201d— Muungano wa Wanavijiji (@Muungano wa Wanavijiji) 1677846505
"The role of financial systems in the climate crisis is undeniable, as they continue to channel huge amounts to the fossil fuel industry, which is destroying our planet as it profits from coal, oil, and gas exploration," declared 350.org regional director Landry Ninteretse. "We are calling on financial institutions involved in fossil projects on the continent, such as the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, to rule out support for such projects."
"In addition, African nations must recognize that phasing out obsolete and harmful fossil fuels and leveraging the renewable energy potential at our disposal is key to keeping catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis at bay," he said. "The just transition powered by clean and decentralized renewables is urgent for Africa as the region most affected and vulnerable to the climate crisis."
"We cannot afford to gamble with the future of our planet and humanity," he warned, "by allowing or supporting the continued expansion of fossil fuels."
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'Plasticosis': Researchers Discover New Digestive Disease Sickening Seabirds
"This study is the first time that stomach tissue has been investigated in this way and shows that plastic consumption can cause serious damage to these birds' digestive system," the paper's lead author said.
Mar 03, 2023
A newly discovered disease is sickening seabirds, and it's not caused by a virus or bacteria—it's caused by ingesting the increasingly ubiquitous bits of plastics contaminating land, air, and sea.
That's the conclusion of a recently published study in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, with researchers calling the "novel, plastic-induced fibrotic disease" plasticosis.
\u201c#Seabirds are suffering from a disease caused by plastic.\n\nTheir stomachs are covered in scars caused by plasticosis, which limits their ability to eat, grow and fight infection.\n\nDiscover how #PlasticPollution is taking its toll in today's #NatureNews \ud83d\udc47\nhttps://t.co/mGeyrQejGN\u201d— Natural History Museum (@Natural History Museum) 1677844788
According to the paper's abstract:
Highly impacted by plastic ingestion, flesh-footed shearwaters (Ardenna carneipes) are thus an apt species to examine these impacts in an environmentally relevant manner. A Masson's Trichrome stain was used to document any evidence of plastic-induced fibrosis, using collagen as a marker for scar tissue formation in the proventriculus (stomach) of 30 flesh-footed shearwater fledglings from Lord Howe Island, Australia. Plastic presence was highly associated with widespread scar tissue formation and extensive changes to, and even loss of, tissue structure within the mucosa and submucosa. Additionally, despite naturally occurring indigestible items, such as pumice, also being found in the gastrointestinal tract, this did not cause similar scarring. This highlights the unique pathological properties of plastics and raises concerns for other species impacted by plastic ingestion.
"While these birds can look healthy on the outside, they're not doing well on the inside," study co-author Alex Bond, who is the senior curator in charge of birds at the U.K.'s Natural History Museum in London, toldThe Guardian. "This study is the first time that stomach tissue has been investigated in this way and shows that plastic consumption can cause serious damage to these birds' digestive system."
Previous studies have found that around 90% of all seabirds have ingested plastics. Marine conservationists argue that reduced plastics consumption and targeted efforts to keep plastics out of the Earth's oceans are the most effective means of curbing the crisis.
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