Polish Pro-choice Campaigner Helps Women Bypass Abortion Law

Seven years ago, Natalia Broniarczyk had an abortion despite stringent Polish legislation against it.

Now, she is helping other women do the same and taking part in mass protests against a further tightening of an already highly restrictive law.

“I’m angry,” the 36-year-old campaigner told AFP as she prepared for the latest demonstration in Warsaw.

Protests have been raging nationwide since a ruling from the Constitutional Court on October 22 that would allow abortions only in cases of rape, incest and when the mother’s life is at risk.

Until then, terminations had also been allowed in case of severe foetal anomalies but the court ruled that was “incompatible” with the constitution.

“The verdict made me feel like my country was spitting in my face. I broke down in tears, powerless,” Broniarczyk said.

Natalia Broniarczyk had an abortion seven years ago Natalia Broniarczyk had an abortion seven years ago Photo: AFP / Wojtek RADWANSKI

The campaigner adds she was surprised by the timing of the verdict, as well as by the government’s warnings to stop people taking to the streets in protest.

“We expected a more restrictive law, but we did not expect it to happen right in the middle of a pandemic.

“Or that they would treat us and our lives and problems like objects. That they would ask us to stay home, to make decisions for us without us,” she said.

Broniarczyk had her abortion seven years ago because she was not ready to start a family.

“I didn’t feel financially secure and didn’t think it was the right time,” she said.

Warsaw's streets flooded with pro-choice demonstrators Warsaw’s streets flooded with pro-choice demonstrators Photo: AFPTV / Jaap ARRIENS

She did not qualify for a surgical abortion under the law and could not afford to go abroad for the procedure.

She tried to order abortion pills abroad but Polish customs blocked her order from going through.

Medical abortion is in a grey zone in Poland, neither authorised nor banned by law.

In the end, a Polish organisation helped her obtain the pills required.

“The woman I talked to had also had a medical abortion and told me how it had gone for her. She helped me prepare for it,” Broniarczyk said.

Today she is giving back by providing support to other women as a member of the organisation “Abortion Dream Team” — whose number is one of the ones being displayed prominently by protesters at demonstrations.

In the case of women seeking medical abortions, Broniarczyk provides them with the information required to obtain pills.

She also helps women who decide to terminate their pregnancies abroad, in countries such as Britain, Germany and the Netherlands.

Poland sees fewer than 2,000 legal abortions every year. Women’s groups estimate that an additional 200,000 women abort either illegally or abroad.

It took Broniarczyk a few years to be able to discuss the abortion.

But she does not regret it, saying that over time she has come to see it as a “liberating experience”.

“I understood that I could decide for myself about my life, even while living

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How much bias is too much to become a police officer? Experts fear new law might backfire.

An ambitious new law in California taking aim at potential biases of prospective officers has raised questions and concerns among police officers and experts who fear that if implemented inadequately, the law could undermine its own mission to change policing and culture of law enforcement.



a person holding a sign: A billboard in the town of Marysville, Calif., on Saturday, June 20, 2020. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post/file)


© Melina Mara/The Washington Post
A billboard in the town of Marysville, Calif., on Saturday, June 20, 2020. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post/file)

The law, which was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 30, will expand the present screening requirements by mandating all law enforcement agencies to conduct mental evaluations of peace officer candidates to identify both implicit and explicit biases against race, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual orientation in order to exclude unfit recruits.

While experts, police unions and lawmakers agree on the value of identifying whether those who aspire to become officers carry considerable degrees of biases, it is the lack of clarity on what tools and measures will be used to look for implicit biases that is raising concerns and prompting questions.

“If police departments start to reject applicants because they have implicit biases there will be no one left to hire,” said Laurie Fridell, professor of Criminology at the University of South Florida and founder of the Fair and Impartial Policing program, one of the most popular implicit bias awareness trainings in the country.

Under the new law, the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) will review and develop new regulations and screening materials to identify these potential explicit and implicit biases. It will be up to each agency in the state to determine how to administrate them.

POST information officer Meagan Catafi would not say whether implicit association tests will be part of the new screenings, arguing “it is too premature at this point to know what will be assessed and used in our materials.”

Catafi said POST will be working with psychologists and law enforcement experts to incorporate these new required items to the current psychological screening manual and have until January 2022 to complete the process.

The law comes amid a moment of social upheaval where police departments across the country are facing scrutiny and increasing calls for accountability over cases of slayings of unarmed civilians and excessive use of force that predominantly affects minorities.

This has prompted many agencies to ramp up efforts to identify racist and other discriminatory beliefs that could lead to destructive behavior, mostly by incorporating bias, diversity and inclusion training programs for active officers.

None of the experts interviewed by The Washington Post claimed to know of law enforcement agencies that screen for unconscious biases — those that people are unwilling or unable to identify — as a hiring standard. All of them, however, are either wary of such approach or advice against it.

“This is a tough one. What do you do if someone tests positive for racism?” Do you train them again? Do you fire them? There are a lot of unknowns about how this

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Blocked by lobbyists for years, law puts more aides in N.J. nursing homes after 7,400 deaths

They feed, bathe and comfort residents of long-term care facilities, but the thousands of certified nursing aides who work in New Jersey’s nursing homes for little pay have said for years that their workload is often too much to handle.

On Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill that will require operators beginning in early 2021 to increase the number of aides in each facility and for the first time set a ratio for the number of residents an aide is asked to handle.

The legislation had been vigorously blocked by industry lobbyists and some lawmakers for five years, but there was a renewed urgency to get the bill passed after the coronavirus pandemic claimed the lives of an estimated 7,400 long-term care residents in New Jersey — more than any other state based on population size.

Compliance will cost the industry $30 million or $5 a day per resident, according to the Health Care Association of New Jersey, a lobbying group for long-term care facilities.

CNA’s, who get paid an average of about $36,000 a year, have long complained they have more responsibilities than they can handle, especially on nights and weekends. The coronavirus outbreak sickened thousands of these workers and killed 121, according to state data, making the CNA shortage worse.

“Sadly, too many nursing homes are run by companies more interested in making money than protecting patients,” Murphy said in a statement after signing the bill Friday morning. “These long-sought reforms will help bring accountability to the industry and protect residents, staff, and family members with a loved one living in a long-term care facility. I am proud to have worked with our partners in organized labor, health care advocates, and legislative sponsors to finally implement safe staffing ratios in our nursing homes, as well as other long overdue reforms.”

The legislation, (S2712) will take effect in Feb. 1, and require long-term care facilities to abide by these staffing ratios:

* One CNA per 8 patients during the day shift;

* One direct care staff member — defined as a certified nurse assistant, a licensed practical nurse or a registered nurse — for every 10 residents during the evening shift, “provided that no fewer than half of all staff members are to be certified nurse aides, and each staff member will sign in to work as a certified nurse aide and will perform certified nurse aide duties,” according to bill;

* One direct care staffer for every 14 residents during the overnight shift, with the same rules that applied during the evening shift.

The law also creates a “Department of Labor and Workforce Development the Special Task Force on Direct Care Workforce Retention and Recruitment.” Long-term care facility operators have said they could not meet any worker-resident ratios without help retaining staff.

The law has been hailed as a victory for nursing home employees led, by 1199SEIU United Healthcare East, but it is a compromise since the union was seeking an even lower ratio of aides to

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Nation’s Largest Suicide Prevention Organization Celebrates National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (S.2661) Becoming Law

Nation’s Largest Suicide Prevention Organization Celebrates National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (S.2661) Becoming Law

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2020

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — On Saturday, October 17, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (S.2661), legislation that will support the implementation of the future 9-8-8 crisis hotline, was signed into law. Robert Gebbia, CEO of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization, released the following statement:

AFSP.org
AFSP.org

“In July, the Federal Communications Commission announced that 9-8-8 would be the new universal hotline number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 2022. This easy-to-remember number will increase public access to mental health and suicide prevention crisis resources, encourage help-seeking for individuals in need, and is a crucial entry point for establishing a continuum of crisis care.

“This is why AFSP applauds the U.S. Congress for prioritizing suicide prevention through unanimous passage of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act. This historic legislation, now law, will bring our mental health crisis response system into the 21st century. We are encouraged by the federal government’s dedication to preventing this leading cause of death and showing all Americans that mental health is just as important as physical health.

“It should be noted however that the United States’ mental health crisis response system is woefully underfunded and undervalued. It is crucial that local crisis call centers are adequately equipped to respond to what we expect will be an increased call volume and provide effective crisis services to those in need when 9-8-8 is made available in July 2022.

“We would like to especially thank the legislation’s sponsors in the U.S. Senate, Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Jack Reed (D-RI), and the U.S. House, Reps. Chris Stewart (R-UT), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Greg Gianforte (R-MT), and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), as well as their staff. We would also like to thank the Committee members, Congressional leadership, and staff who have supported these efforts on Capitol Hill.

“AFSP’s nearly 30,000 volunteer Field Advocates engaged their members of Congress for years in support of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act. They made their voices heard through thousands of letters, phone calls, and emails. They have pushed the suicide prevention movement forward, and their efforts will save lives.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s 9-8-8 number will be active nationwide by July 2022. Until that point, those in crisis should continue to call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

For guidelines on how to report safely on suicide: https://afsp.org/for-journalists/.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C.

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China Passes Biosecurity Law to Prevent Infectious Diseases | World News

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s top legislative body passed a new biosecurity law aimed at preventing and managing infectious diseases, state news agency Xinhua reported late on Saturday.

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee voted to adopt the law on Saturday, according to Xinhua, and it would come into effect on April 15, 2021.

The law would establish systems for biosecurity risk prevention and control, including risk monitoring and early warning, risk investigation and assessment, and information sharing.

It would also have provisions to prevent and respond to specific biosecurity risks, including major emerging infectious diseases, epidemic and sudden outbreaks, and biotechnology research, development and application, reported Xinhua.

China had announced in May that it aimed to fast-track the passing of the biosecurity law by year-end, following the global coronavirus outbreak which was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

China has managed to nearly stamp out domestic transmissions of the coronavirus following aggressive measures to curb its spread. New infections detected last week in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao however ended China’s run of about two months without reporting a local case.

China’s health commission last reported 13 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for Oct. 17, bringing the mainland’s total number of confirmed cases to 85,672.

(Reporting by Emily Chow; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Appeals court upholds Kentucky abortion law requiring clinics to have transfer agreements with hospitals

A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a Kentucky law that requires abortion clinics to have written agreements with a hospital and ambulance service in case of medical emergencies.

The 2-1 ruling from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses a 2018 district court ruling that found the law, first passed in 1998, violated constitutionally protected due process rights.

EMW Women’s Surgical Center first challenged the law in 2017 after a licensing fight with then-Gov. Matt Bevin (R). EMW was the only clinic that provided abortions at the time, and Bevin claimed that it lacked proper transfer agreements and took steps to shut it down.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky joined the suit later on, claiming that Bevin had used these transfer agreements to block its request for a license to provide abortions. After Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear took office in 2019, the two clinics were allowed to provide abortions.

The court wrote that the “district court erred in concluding that Kentucky would be left without an abortion facility,” according to The Associated Press, and dismissed the clinics’ argument that they were at risk of closing. It further said that the law allows clinics to apply for a 90-day waiver if they are denied a licensing agreement, which they could theoretically reapply for and continue to operate.

“(We) must presume that the Inspector General will consider waiver applications in good faith and will not act ‘simply to make it more difficult for (women) to obtain an abortion,’” the ruling read.

In his dissenting opinion, Judge Eric Clay wrote that it “condones the evisceration of the constitutional right to abortion access in Kentucky.”

“At the end of the day, no matter what standard this Court is bound to apply, the majority’s decision today is terribly and tragically wrong,” he wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, which represented the clinics, said in a statement that Kentucky’s law means abortion providers have to navigate “needless red tape every 90 days” and warned that the state could be the first without any abortion providers if the governor refuses to grant the waiver.

“This is what it looks like when politicians chip away at protections under Roe — pushing medically unnecessary laws that jeopardize abortion access without ever overturning Roe,” Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said in a statement.

“It must be stated that we are in a dangerous moment for abortion rights and what this moment calls for is leadership to put all people before politics and do what’s necessary to ensure every person has access to the care they need and deserve,” Charbonneau added.

Abortion rights have become a hot-button issue this election, as Democrats worry that the impending Senate confirmation of Judge Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettRepublicans increasingly seek distance from Trump Overnight Health Care: Pfizer could apply for vaccine authorization by late November | State health officials say they need .4B for vaccination effort | CDC: Blacks, Hispanics dying of COVID-19

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Landmark – The Inside Story of America's New Health Care Law and What It Means for Us All

Book Review: Landmark – The inside story of America's new health care law and what it means for us all

Landmark is a collection of essays written by various reporters, editors and national staff of 'Washington Post' followed by the actual text of the bill. It provides a comprehensible summary of the legislation and examines its impacts on Americans on various categories and on health care system as a whole. In addition to this, it gives a very rich historical background and perspective. Such as how the legislation came together, the events and negotiations, the political challenges and obstacles, etc etc

The book has a systematic structure and is divided into three sections. The first section provides behind the scene reporting about the way the law came up. The second section highlights the effects and impacts of the new law whereas the third section is a summary of the legislation.

For a lot of people, the presence of the historical background makes it a worthwhile read as it also covers a lot about the national healthcare coverage. People also find it a worthwhile read because it gives a proper and detailed coverage as compared to the fragmented and sensational media coverage.

Although the bill seems to be corrupted in a few places, the authors still manage to convince you that the law will change the way doctors make business and also mark a change in the patients experiences.

This book will increase your knowledge on the issues related to this bill and your ability to discuss and debate on the issue will also be enhanced. This book provides a very balanced perspective and should be read by all.

Landmark is a well written analysis of the new health care reform bill, all of the contributors clarify specific areas of the bill, recommended.

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