List of the Lies Abortion Doctors Are Forced to Tell Women in U.S

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A State-by-State List of the Lies Abortion Doctors Are Forced to Tell Women.

When she worked at an abortion clinic in South Dakota, Dr. Diane Horvath-Cosper was legally required to tell prospective patients that there was a chance that abortion would increase their risk of breast cancer and suicide.

Immediately afterwards, she’d tell them that neither of those statements had any actual basis in medical science. “What I would say was, ‘The state requires me to give you this information. We have excellent medical evidence to say that it’s actually not true, but I’m required to tell you this,'” she recalls.

Like 37 other states, South Dakota has an abortion-specific informed consent law in place that requires doctors to counsel patients before the procedure, using information chosen by legislators; in 28 states, women must then reflect for a certain amount of time—usually 24 hours, although some states mandate up to three days—before actually getting the abortion procedure. In 14 states, women must physically come to the abortion clinic for both the pre-abortion counseling session and the abortion procedure.

Twenty-eight states require abortion clinics to carry written informed consent brochures containing information about alternatives to abortion, the risks associated with abortion, and fetal development stages—all information selected, again, by legislators. In 11 states, the physician is legally obligated to give the brochure to her patients; in 17, she only needs to offer it to them.

Though lawmakers insist that such policies are meant to ensure that women are making informed and safe choices about their own bodies, the informed consent materials are often rife with medically inaccurate and misleading statements. Some states require doctors to mention a specious link between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer, suicide, or future infertility. Some also contain blatantly ideological language, referring to embryos as “unborn children,” insisting that life begins at conception, and saying that abortion at any stage terminates the life of a separate, living being.

Critics of abortion-specific informed consent laws accuse politicians of intentionally manipulating the principle of informed consent—which is meant to promote patients’ safety and autonomy—in order to carry out their own ideological agendas. “The whole point of informed consent is to provide medically accurate information and then to work with the patient to come up with a treatment plan that’s agreeable to them,” says Dr. Horvath-Cosper, who now works as a reproductive health advocacy fellow at Physicians for Reproductive Health. “If we’re having to give people incorrect information and then saying, ‘Well, you know, the state requires me to say this. It’s not actually true,’ it undermines the patients’ confidence in us as providers.

“I think that certainly the doctor–patient relationship is based on trust—and how does a patient trust us if we’re giving them false information because we have to?” she asks.

How does a patient trust us if we’re giving them false information because we have to?

Informed consent is a foundational principle of health care; in the general sense, it’s defined as a formal agreement that a medical patient signs in order to give permission for a procedure after being told about the associated risks and benefits. Every state in America currently has a law in place that requires some level of informed consent, and any doctor who fails to obtain it is liable for negligence or battery.

“Typically when you’re going for a medical procedure—say you were having heart surgery—your doctor would inform you about the potential risks and benefits of having that surgery,” explains Cynthia Daniels, a political science professor at Rutgers who has studied informed consent laws extensively. “But in the case of abortion, of course, there have been a lot of questions about the level of accuracy provided to abortion patients—not just about the procedure, but about information that’s not just medical but clearly focused on trying to discourage women from having abortions.”

Dr. Horvath-Cosper also worked in a clinic in Minnesota, a state with both an informed consent requirement and a mandatory 24-hour waiting period. “I had to call each patient and read her a script that included all the information that the state wanted us to include about the risks of abortion, about the other options that are available to people,” she says. This extra requirement for abortions is superfluous; discussing risks and benefits is standard for all medical procedures.

“Of course we talk about all of these things with the patient, because that’s part of medical informed consent!” Dr. Horvath-Cosper says. “We obviously talk about the risks; we obviously talk about the potential benefits.”

In a 2012 paper on abortion and informed consent published in the Michigan Journal of Gender and Law, Ian Vandewalker, a lawyer at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, argues that some of the potential abortion risks included in state-mandated informed consent materials are “exaggerated, misleading, or simply false.” These exaggerations and inaccurate statements, as he sees it, are intended to “discourage women from choosing to terminate their pregnancies.”

Broadly analyzed the written informed consent materials from 26 states. (Of the 28 states with laws requiring written informed consent materials, two have yet to produce them.) According to our findings, 13 states refer to the fetus as an “unborn child.” Eight states say that the fetus may be capable of feeling pain at or around 20 weeks. In two states, the informed consent materials say that life starts at conception, and three states say that getting an abortion is tantamount to ending a separate, unique life.

In seven states, the materials imply or reference a link between abortion and breast cancer; three imply a link between abortion and PTSD or “post-abortion” syndrome; four imply a link between abortion and possible infertility. Four mention suicidal thoughts or actions as a possible outcome of abortion.

The National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist have all disputed the link between abortion and breast cancer. “Post-abortion syndrome” has been debunked; it has also never been recognized by the American Psychological Association (APA) or the American Psychiatric Association. In fact, the APA has found that “there is no credible evidence that a single elective abortion of an unwanted pregnancy in and of itself causes mental health problems for adult women,” noting most studies that claim otherwise “suffered from serious methodological problems.” The purported link between abortion and infertility has similarly been found baseless. Finally, most scientific literature finds that fetuses aren’t capable of feeling pain until at least 24 weeks.

In addition to the section on the potential risks of abortion, each state’s informed consent materials contain a section that includes visual depictions and written descriptions of fetal development, typically broken into two-week intervals. According to a 2013 analysis conducted by a team of four political scientists, who recruited seven specialists in embryological and fetal anatomy to analyze the informed consent materials, about one-third of the statements about fetal development are medically inaccurate—and only 42 percent can be characterized as “completely accurate.” In the state with the most inaccuracies, North Carolina, nearly half of the statements about fetal development were medically inaccurate; in the state with the fewest, Alaska, roughly 15 percent were inaccurate.

According to the analysis, the majority of the inaccuracies were meant to exaggerate “the ‘baby-like’ capacities of the embryo/fetus,” which suggests that the state is “presenting misinformation… in the interest of persuading women to choose birth over abortion.” This is, perhaps, unsurprising: Four states explicitly state in their informed consent materials that the state prefers live birth over abortion.

Not all informed consent materials are created equal; Professor Daniels, who authored the 2013 study surveying fetal development statements, mentions Alaska as an example of a state with “a good brochure.” She also tells me that a number of states have contacted her for help in removing inaccurate information from their own materials, which is heartening. However, as she sees it, the legislation is fundamentally flawed, and the fact that every single state her team surveyed had some sort of misinformation in its materials highlights this fact.

“The state should not be in a position where it is mandating what doctors tell their patients,” she says. “It’s fundamentally flawed legislation, because you can never separate that out from the politics of abortion, which means that your perspective is always going to be driven by something other than scientific evidence.”

Here’s a comprehensive list of the misinformation and/or biased or ideologically motivated statements contained in each state’s informed consent materials:

States that require doctors to give the materials to women:

Alabama

48-hour waiting period
“Did you know…”

  • Refers to the fetus as an “unborn child” throughout: “The unborn child is called an embryo during the first 10 weeks of a pregnancy.”
  • Lists “death” as a potential risk of abortion without specifying that dying from abortion-related consequences is extremely rare.
  • 18.18 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the analysis.

Idaho

24-hour waiting period
“What You Should Know About Abortion” and “Fetal Development”

    • The very first text in the booklet states that the state of Idaho prefers live birth over abortion:
  • Recommends “talking with a member of the clergy” before having an abortion.
  • 20.36 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

Indiana

18-hour waiting period
“Abortion Informed Consent Brochure”

    • States that life begins at conception: “Indiana statute states: Human physical life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm.”
    • States that Indiana prefers childbirth over abortion: “Indiana statute states: Childbirth is preferred, encouraged, and supported over abortion.”
    • Implies that there’s a link between abortion and fertility issues:
  • Indiana wasn’t included in the 2013 analysis of fetal development statements.

Kansas

24-hour waiting period
“If You Are Pregnant”

  • Refers to the fetus as an “unborn child” throughout: “At 4 weeks, the unborn child is less than 1/100th of an inch long.”
  • Explicitly states that “abortion terminates the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”
  • Implies that abortion can put women at an increased risk of breast cancer: “If you have carried a pregnancy to term as a young woman, you may be less likely to get breast cancer in the future. However, your risk is not reduced if your pregnancy is ended by an abortion. There are also studies that have found an increased risk of breast cancer after induced abortion, but other studies have found no risk.”
  • Lists several grave potential “psychological risks” of abortion, including depression and PTSD without noting that some women have a neutral or positive response to the procedure.
  • 43.40 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

Louisiana

24-hour waiting period 
“Women’s Right to Know”

  • Refers to the fetus as an “unborn child” several times: “By law, an ultrasound must be performed before any abortion to determine the gestational age of the unborn child.”
  • Implies that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks: “By twenty weeks gestation, the unborn child has the physical structures necessary to experience pain. There is evidence that by twenty-weeks gestation unborn children seek to evade certain stimuli in a manner in which an infant or adult would avoid stimuli.”
  • Says that women who carry a pregnancy to term are less likely to get breast cancer, so terminating a pregnancy would cause the patient to “lose the protective benefit” of giving birth.
  • Says women may suffer from suicidal thoughts and behavior after abortion: “Some women may feel guilty, sad or empty, while others may feel relief that the procedure is over. Some women have reported serious psychological effects after their abortion, including depression, grief, anxiety, lowered self-esteem, regret, suicidal thoughts and behavior, sexual dysfunction, avoidance of emotional attachment, flashbacks and substance abuse.”
  • 23.62 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

Michigan

24-hour waiting period
Informed consent website

  • Lists several negative psychological risks associated with abortion without noting that some women have a neutral or positive response to the procedure: “While rare, some women may experience depression, feelings of guilt, anger, sleep disturbance, or loss of interest in work or sex, as a result of an abortion.”
  • Links to a list of crisis pregnancy centers in the fetal development section, calling them “clinics offering pre-natal ultrasounds.” In reality, such organizations “are run by people who are anti-abortion,” and they “have a history of giving women wrong, biased information to scare them into not having abortions,” according to Planned Parenthood.
  • 44.32 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

Missouri

72-hour waiting period 
“Missouri’s Informed Consent Booklet”

         On the first page, it states that life begins at conception in bold font

  • Explicitly says that the state of Missouri encourages women to contact adoption agencies before considering abortion: “There are public and private agencies willing and able to help you carry your child to term, and to assist you and your child after your child is born, whether you choose to keep your child or place him or her for adoption. The state of Missouri encourages you to contact those agencies before making a final decision about abortion.”
  • Implies the fetus is capable of feeling pain at 20 weeks (22 weeks gestational age): “At least by 22 weeks of gestational age, the fetus possesses all the anatomical structures, including pain receptors, spinal cord, nerve tracts, thalamus, and cortex, which are necessary to feel pain. There is evidence that at 22 weeks of gestational age, fetuses seek to evade certain stimuli in a manner that in an infant or adult would be interpreted as pain.”
  • 25.66 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

Ohio

24-hour waiting period
“Fetal Development & Family Planning”

  • 28.26 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis—and humanizing facts about the fetus are highlighted in the text.

South Dakota

72-hour waiting period
“Are You Pregnant? You Have Options”

  • Mentions “post-abortion syndrome” as a potential psychological complication of abortion“Some medical groups do not recognize post abortion syndrome as a clinical diagnosis, however, some studies suggest post abortion syndrome is a type of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”
  • Says that the fetus may feel pain (in general—not even at 20 or 24 weeks): “Findings from some studies suggest that the unborn fetus may feel physical pain.”
  • 23.62 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

Utah

72-hour waiting period
“Information About the Developing Embryo and Fetus, About Abortion, and About Abortion Alternatives”

  • Refers to the fetus as an “unborn child” throughout: “Doctors call an unborn child either an ’embryo’ or a ‘fetus’ depending on the age.”
  • Implies a link between abortion and potential future fertility issues: “Most women who have one abortion by vacuum aspiration experience few, if any problems getting pregnant later. However, women who have repeat abortions, or who have pre-existing bacteria or viruses such as chlamydia, are more likely to have problems in future pregnancies.”
  • Lists “suicidal thoughts and behavior” and “a sense of loss and emptiness” as potential side effects of abortion, among a litany of other negative emotional responses—but says that one’s sense of relief might be fleeting: “Right after the abortion, some women report a sense of relief. This relief may be the short-term result of ending what was viewed as a problem. Possible negative emotional responses to having an abortion include: depression, grief, anxiety, lowered self-esteem, hostility toward self and others, regret, difficulty sleeping, suicidal thoughts and behavior, sexual dysfunction, relationship distruption [sic], flashbacks, and a sense of loss and emptiness.”
  • Says it’s possible that the fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks: “Although scientific studies are not clear when an unborn child’s nervous system is developed enough to feel pain, there is some evidence that pain may be felt at or after 20 weeks of gestation.”
  • Explicitly states that “the state of Utah prefers childbirth over abortion.”
  • 23.19 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

Wisconsin

24-hour waiting period
“A Woman’s Right to Know…”

  • Lists several possible complications of abortion, including sepsis, perforated uterus, and cut or torn cervix without ever noting how rare such complications are.
  • States that fetuses can potentially feel pain at 20 weeks: “There is some evidence that by 20 weeks gestation the fetus avoids certain stimuli the same way in which an infant or adult would respond to pain.”
  • 16.92 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to a later analysis performed by the group behind the 2013 study.

States that require doctors to offer the materials to women:

Alaska

No waiting period
Informed consent website

  • 14.71 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

Arizona

24-hour waiting period
“A Woman’s Right to Know”

  • Refers to the fetus as an “unborn child” from the moment of fertilization: “At fertilization (when the male sperm enters the female egg), the unborn child has his or her own unique set of DNA material.”
  • Contains a section called “Future Childbearing and Infertility” which states that “some complications associated with an abortion, such as infection or a cut or torn cervix, may make it difficult or impossible to become pregnant in the future or to carry a pregnancy to term.”
  • 28 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

Arkansas

48-hour waiting period
“A Woman’s Right to Know”

    • The very first text in the booklet states that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks:
  • Refers to the fetus as an “unborn child” frequently: “Practicing doctors measure an unborn child’s age from the first day of your last menstrual period which usually occurs two weeks before fertilization (conception).”
  • 23.96 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

Georgia

24-hour waiting period
“Abortion: A Woman’s Right to Know”

  • Refers to the fetus as an “unborn child” in the section about fetal pain.
  • States that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks: “By 20 weeks gestation, the unborn child has the physical structures necessary to experience pain. There is evidence that by 20 weeks gestation unborn children will try to avoid certain stimuli in a manner which in an infant or an adult would be interpreted to be a response to pain.”
  • 18.03 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

Kentucky

24-hour waiting period 
“Available Resources for Pregnant Women” and “Information About Fetal Development” (not online)

  • Crisis pregnancy centers are listed as a potential resource for pregnant women.
  • 18.03 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to a later analysis performed by the group behind the 2013 study.

Minnesota

24-hour waiting period
“If You Are Pregnant: Information on Fetal Development, Abortion, and Alternatives”

    • Refers to the fetus as an “unborn child” throughout: “The information provided in this booklet is designed to provide you with basic, medically accurate information on the fetal development of your unborn child in two-week intervals from implantation to birth.”
    • Mentions a suggested link between abortion and breast cancer, only to say that the link has since been disproved.
  • Suggests that a fetus may feel pain at 20 weeks: “Some experts have concluded the unborn child feels physical pain after 20 weeks gestation. Other experts have concluded pain is felt later in gestational development. This issue may need further study.”
  • 20.45 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

Mississippi

24-hour waiting period 
“Informed Consent Information and Resources” (not online)

  • Refers to the fetus as an “unborn child” throughout: “Physicians most often refer to an unborn child’s age from the first day of the last menstrual period.”
  • Implies potential link between abortion and breast cancer: “Medical professionals disagree about a possible connection between abortion and breast cancer risk. Some studies show that women who do not carry a pregnancy to term by choice or circumstance are more likely to develop breast cancer. Other studies have found no link between loss of pregnancy and breast cancer risk.”
  • 22.06 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to a later analysis performed by the group behind the 2013 study.

Nebraska

24-hour waiting period
“If You Are Pregnant…”

  • Lists negative psychological complications of abortion, including “sadness, grief, regret, anxiety and guilt” without specifying that some women have neutral or positive feelings after the procedure.
  • Says that having more than one abortion may increase the risk for future complications, “such as premature delivery.”
  • 23.76 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

North Carolina

72-hour waiting period
“A Woman’s Right to Know”

  • 46.15 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis—the most of any state.

North Dakota

24-hour waiting period
“Information About Pregnancy and Abortion”

  • Refers to the fetus as an “unborn child” throughout: “Fertilization age refers to how long the unborn child has been developing since the egg was fertilized, and is calculated from the estimated day of ovulation.”
  • Explicitly states that North Dakota prefers live birth over abortion: “It is the policy of the state of North Dakota that childbirth is given preference, encouragement and support as it is in the best interests of the well-being and common good of North Dakota citizens.”
  • Explicitly states that abortion is tantamount to terminating a separate life: “North Dakota Century Code (Law)… requires that a woman is told the [induced] abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”
  • Urges women to contact adoption services before considering abortion: “The state of North Dakota strongly encourages you to contact one or more of these [adoption] agencies before making a final decision about abortion.”
  • Mentions a link between abortion and breast cancer, only to say that the link has since been disproved: “Findings from some studies suggest there is no increased risk of breast cancer among women who had an induced abortion, while other studies suggest there is an increased risk; hence, differing professional opinions exist. Two professional organizations, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the National Cancer Institute, have reviewed the various studies and have released statements concluding no relationship between induced abortion and an increase in breast cancer risk.”
  • 23.62 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

Oklahoma

72-hour waiting period
“A Woman’s Right to Know”

  • Refers to the fetus as an “unborn child” throughout and explicitly defines “unborn child” as “the unborn offspring of human beings from the moment of conception, through pregnancy, and until live birth including the human conceptus, zygote, morula, blastocyst, embryo, and fetus.”
  • Explicitly states that abortion terminates a separate life: “In Oklahoma, the legal definition of an abortion is ‘the purposeful termination of a human pregnancy’ … ‘abortion shall terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.'”
  • Lists “death” as a “rare complication” of surgical abortion without specifying how rare abortion-related fatalities are.
  • Mentions a potential link between breast cancer and abortion: “Some studies indicate that there is no increased risk of breast cancer after a woman has had an abortion. Other studies indicate that there might be an increased risk.”
  • 32.82 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis—and humanizing facts about the fetus are highlighted in the text.

Pennsylvania

24-hour waiting period
“Abortion: Making a Decision”

  • Refers to the fetus as an “unborn baby” and “developing baby” throughout: “This booklet has pictures and explains the stages of pregnancy. It does this by showing pictures of the unborn baby every two weeks.”
  • Recommends that any woman who wants an abortion speak to a counselor through the state’s Alternative to Abortion Services Program; on the Department of Health Website, the page with this title simply links to Real Alternatives, which Rewire has described as ” Pennsylvania-based anti-choice crisis pregnancy center network.”
  • 23.96 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

Texas

24-hour waiting period
“A Woman’s Right to Know”

  • Refers to the fetus as an “unborn child” from the moment of fertilization: “During the first 8 weeks, the unborn child is known as an embryo. After that time the unborn child is known as a fetus.”
  • Lists PTSD and suicidal thoughts as potential psychological effects of an abortion: “Some women have reported serious psychological effects after their abortion, including depression, grief, anxiety, lowered self-esteem, regret, suicidal thoughts and behavior, sexual dysfunction, avoidance of emotional attachment, flashbacks, and substance abuse. These emotions may appear immediately after an abortion, or gradually over a longer period of time.”
  • Has an entire section called “Future Childbearing and Infertility” in which it’s implied that abortion may make it difficult or impossible to become pregnant in the future.
  • Strongly implies that there’s a link between abortion and breast cancer: “Your chances of getting breast cancer are affected by your pregnancy history. If you have carried a pregnancy to term as a young woman, you may be less likely to get breast cancer in the future. However, you do not get the same protective effect if your pregnancy is ended by an abortion. The risk may be higher if your first pregnancy is aborted. While there are studies that have found an increased risk of developing breast cancer after an induced abortion, some studies have found no overall risk. There is agreement that this issue needs further study.”
  • 34.45 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

Virginia

24-hour waiting period
“Abortion: Making an Informed Decision”

  • 22.29 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

West Virginia

24-hour waiting period
“Fetal Development, Abortion, and Adoption”

    • Lists several “possible detrimental psychological effects of abortion,” including “suicidal thoughts or acts” without ever stating that some women can feel neutrally or positively about the experience.
  • 17.59 percent of fetal development statements were inaccurate, according to the 2013 analysis.

Source: https://bit.ly/2HT2mfq

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Chechnya opens world’s first concentration camp for homosexuals since Hitler’s in the 1930s.

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Chechnya opens world’s first concentration camp for homosexuals since Hitler’s in the 1930s.

Chechyna has opened the first concentration camp for homosexuals since Hitler, where campaigners say gay men are being tortured with electric shocks and beaten to death.

It comes after it was claimed 100 gay men had been detained and three killed in Chechnya last week.

A report by Novoya Gazeta said authorities had set up several camps where homosexuals are killed or forced to promise to leave the republic.

One of the camps is reportedly at the former military headquarters in the town of Argun.

Svetlana Zakharova, from the Russian LGBT Network, told MailOnline: ‘Gay people have been detained and rounded up and we are working to evacuate people from the camps and some have now left the region.

‘Those who have escaped said they are detained in the same room and people are kept altogether, around 30 or 40. They are tortured with electric currents and heavily beaten, sometimes to death.’

One of those who escaped told Novoya Gazeta that prisoners were beaten to force them to reveal other members of the gay community.

Another prisoner who fled said that before being incarcerated in one of the camps, he had been forced to pay bribes to Chechen police of thousands of rubles every month in order to survive.

Now the regime had taken another step against gays by creating these camps, the survivor said.  

Alexander Artemyev, from Amnesty International in Russia, told MailOnline: ‘We can only call on the Russian authorities to investigate the allegations. Homosexuals in Chechyna are treated very harshly and prosecuted daily and they are afraid to talk about it.

‘They either have to hide or leave the republic. We are keeping in touch with the LGBT network that helps people in Russia to find shelter. The problem is people there cannot talk about it as it puts their lives and those they speak to, in danger. This is the main issue we are facing in Russia and the main challenge.’

Ekaterina Sokirianskaia, Russia project director for the International Crisis Group, told MailOnline: ‘The story is very much developing…victims are escaping.’

Tanya Lokshina, from Human Rights Watch in Moscow, said: ‘For several weeks now, a brutal campaign against LGBT people has been sweeping through Chechnya.

‘These days, very few people in Chechnya dare speak to human rights monitors or journalists even anonymously because the climate of fear is overwhelming and people have been largely intimidated into silence.

‘Filing an official complaint against local security officials is extremely dangerous, as retaliation by local authorities is practically inevitable.

‘It is difficult to overstate just how vulnerable LGBT people are in Chechnya, where homophobia is intense and rampant. LGBT people are in danger not only of persecution by the authorities but also of falling victim to “honour killings” by their own relatives for tarnishing family honour.’

Last week Novoya Gazeta said Chechen police had rounded up more than 100 men suspected of being gay and killed three.

It claimed that among those detained were well-known local television personalities and religious figures.

President Razman Kadyrov, who is a key ally of Vladimir Putin, allegedly ordered the clampdown, although officially his regime denied the arrests claiming ‘it is impossible to persecute those who are not in the republic’.

Kadyrov, who introduced Islamic rule in the Muslim-majority region, has been accused of earlier human rights violations.

He described the allegations as ‘absolute lies and disinformation’.

Kadyrov’s spokesman Alvi Karimov told the Interfax News Agency: ‘You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic.

‘If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.’

Chechen society is strictly conservative, meaning that unlike other cases where relatives or rights activists may put pressure on authorities when a homosexual relative disappears, those suspected are likely to be disowned by their own families.

According to the New York Times, gay men on the region have been deleting their social media profiles after it was reported authorities tried to lure gay men into dates and arrested them.

The reports from Russia claim those arrested range from just 15 to 50.

Source: https://dailym.ai/2lCC0Ey

Photos of Hong Kong’s chaotic Kowloon Walled City, once the most crowded place on earth.

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Photos of Hong Kong’s chaotic Kowloon Walled City, once the most crowded place on earth.

Just outside Hong Kong there once stood one of the most densely populated places on earth.

From the 1950s until 1994, over 33,000 people lived and worked in Kowloon Walled City, a massive complex of 300 interconnected buildings that took up a city block.girard_kowloonB

Caught between China and the British-run Hong Kong government, the city was essentially lawless, equally known for its opium dens and organized crime as its dentists’ offices.

The city began as a low-rise squatter village during the early 20th century. After World War II, Hong Kong experienced a massive influx of Chinese immigrants. This led to a lack of housing in the city. In response, entrepreneurs and those with "squatter's rights" in Kowloon built high rise buildings on the space to capitalize on the housing demand.

Photographer Greg Girard spent years investigating and documenting the strange place before it was demolished. Girard collaborated with Iam Lambot, another photographer, on a book about Kowloon, titled “City of Darkness Revisited,” available here.

At its peak, more than 33,000 people lived in the 6.4-acre city. It was considered by many to be the most densely populated place on earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While located in Hong Kong territory, the Walled City was legally a Chinese military fort. This put the settlement in legal purgatory as both China and the British-run Hong Kong government ignored the buildings. Laws, regulations, and building codes were not enforced. "There was never any top-down guidance or planning about how the place should be. It grew as an organic response to people's needs," says Girard.

The only regulation enforced at Kowloon was the height of the building. Because the airport was so close, the building was not allowed to be taller than 13 or 14 stories.

"It was like a strange, urban garden. There was tons of household refuse. It was a bit of an eyesore, but compared to the area below, the air was light and breezy. It was nice to come up there after living and working on the lower floors," says Girard.

The lack of regulations was even more important for the many meat processors in Kowloon.

Girard has shared a number of photos from the project here, and you can check out the rest at the book’s website.

Source: https://bit.ly/2KlUlnb

Beatings, cattle prods and mock executions: Kidnapped journalist reveals horror of 6 weeks captive in Sudan.

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Beatings, cattle prods and mock executions: Kidnapped journalist reveals horror of 6 weeks captive in Sudan.

A British journalist who was captured, chained up and tortured by the Sudanese authorities for more than six weeks was able to produce a film about his hellish ordeal by hiding a memory card in his anus.

Phil Cox crossed the border into Sudan along with his colleague Daoud Hari in December 2016 with the aim of reporting on the plight of people in the Darfur region – but was soon abducted by armed militiamen.

During their capture, the pair discovered the Sudanese authorities had tracked their movements and put a “capture or kill” bounty on their heads for more than £250,000.

As they neared the Jebel Marra mountains, the team were kidnapped by a militia in Darfur and held hostage by guards armed with AK47s. They were chained to a tree in the desert for a week and beaten.

It was at this point that Mr Cox was able to trick his captors into filming themselves on his camera. He then took the memory card and, in order to preserve the footage he had already obtained, wrapped it in a strip of black plastic and hid it inside himself.

The contents of that memory card are to feature in a two-part film by Channel 4 News, which commissioned Mr Cox and Mr Hari to report on the impact of illegal migration through Sudan and investigate allegations of Sudanese government attacks on civilians in Darfur using chemical weapons.

Their ordeal did not end in the desert, however. The militia transferred the pair to the Sudanese Government authorities, who detained them in the notorious Kobar Prison, Khartoum.

Writing in The Guardian on Wednesday, Mr Cox describes how on the flight from El Fasher to Khartoum, men threatened to throw him off the plane.

“The plane was taxiing, and I started to shout, to beg for my life,” he recounted. “My body swayed with the movement of the plane – then I heard the voice of the security chief from the offices in El Fasher. ‘Be a man,’ he said to me, and laughed.”

This was the start of weeks of mistreatment. During his 40-day detention, Mr Cox was beaten, given electric shocks with a cattle prod and once subjected to a mock execution.

After repeated overtures from the US and UK governments, Mr Hari – a Sudanese national granted asylum in the US – was released on 18 January, followed by Mr Cox on 1 February.

At the time, Sudanese officials told reporters that Mr Cox had been “pardoned” by President Omar al-Bashir. An official told the EFE news agency that Mr Cox had entered the country illegally, and that his intention to investigate Amnesty International claims of chemical weapons use – and thereby his “involvement in planned activities harmful to national security… has been proved”.

Channel 4 News editor Ben de Pear said: “We sent Daoud and Phil to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in Sudan, but we never thought that they themselves would fall victim to these horrific abuses.

“They were beaten, tortured and electrocuted, simply for being journalists. Their story from within the belly of the Sudanese security state is one of the most frightening we have ever broadcast on Channel 4 News.

Maddy Crowther from Waging Peace, a UK-based NGO campaigning for human rights in Sudan, told The Independent: “Phil Cox and Daoud Hari’s harrowing experiences should remind us of the Sudan government’s true face.

“This incident should call into question the UK’s decision to bring Sudan in from the cold, when its officials are capable of engaging in ‘strategic dialogue’ with UK officials on the one hand, and commissioning the detention, interrogation and torture of one of our citizens on the other.

“I’m grateful for Cox and Hari’s bravery in shining a light on the forgotten victims of government repression in Sudan. We need to keep shouting about the individuals still suffering similar abuse in Khartoum’s prisons and black sites.”

Mr Cox said: “Daoud and I experienced first-hand the lengths that the Sudanese government will go to stop any independent reporting on what is happening in Darfur.

“Our time in prison gave us a terrifying insight into the brutal tactics of the Sudanese security forces, and it also revealed the arbitrary and heavy-handed way any perceived opposition or anti-government criticism is dealt with.”

Source: https://ind.pn/2MoqA2k

 

Scientists trace world’s languages back to single African mother tongue.

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Scientists trace world’s languages back to single African mother tongue.

Scientists say they have traced the world’s 6,000 modern languages — from English to Mandarin — back to a single “mother tongue,” an ancestral language spoken in Africa 50,000 to 70,000 years ago.

New research, published in the journal Science, suggests this single ancient language resulted in human civilization — a Diaspora — as well as advances in art and hunting tool technology, and laid the groundwork for all the world’s cultures.

The research, by Quentin Atkinson from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, also found that speech evolved far earlier than previously thought. And the findings implied, though did not prove, that modern language originated only once, an issue of controversy among linguists, according to the New York Times.

Before Atkinson came up with the evidence for a single African origin of language, some scientists had argued that language evolved independently in different parts of the world.

Atkinson found that the first populations migrating from Africa laid the groundwork for all theworld’s cultures by taking their single language with them. “It was the catalyst that spurred the human expansion that we all are a product of,” Atkinson said, the Wall Street Journal reported.Atkinson traced the number distinct sounds, or phonemes — consonants, vowels and tones — in 504 world languages, finding compelling evidence that they can be traced back to a long-forgotten dialect spoken by our Stone Age ancestors, according to the Daily Mail.

Atkinson also hypothesized that languages with the most sounds would be the oldest, while those spoken by smaller breakaway groups would utilize fewer sounds as variation and complexity diminished.

The study found that some of the click-using languages of Africa have more than 100 phonemes, or sounds, whereas Hawaiian, toward the far end of the human migration route out of Africa, has only 13, the Times reported. English has about 45 phonemes.

The phoneme pattern mirrors the pattern of human genetic diversity as humans spread across the globe from sub-Saharan Africa around 70,000 years ago.

Source: https://bit.ly/2nHpimi

Australia wants to ban unvaccinated children from preschool.

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Australia wants to ban unvaccinated children from preschool.

No jab, no play. So says the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, who has announced a proposal to bar unvaccinated children from attending preschools and daycare centres.

Currently, 93 per cent of Australian children receive the standard childhood vaccinations, including those for measles, mumps and rubella, but the government wants to lift this to 95 per cent. This is the level required to stop the spread of infectious disease and to protect children who are too young to be immunised or cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Federal childcare subsidies have been unavailable to the families of unvaccinated children since January 2016, and a version of the new “no jab, no play” policy is already in place in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Other states and territories only exclude unvaccinated children from preschools during infectious disease outbreaks.

The proposed policy is based on Victoria’s model, which is the strictest. It requires all children attending childcare to be fully immunised, unless they have a medical exemption, such as a vaccine allergy.

Kids miss out

Nesha Hutchinson from the Australian Childcare Alliance – an advocacy group for childhood education – says that a nationwide “no jab, no play” policy would be likely to raise immunisation rates.

However, she is concerned that children of parents who object to vaccination would miss out on quality early childhood education. The policy may also affect children from disadvantaged families, who are less likely to be immunised, and risk becoming further marginalised if they lose access to education.

Punitive measures may also galvanise the anti-vaccination movement, warns Julie Leask at the University of Sydney. “People without any previous interest in vaccination may defend anti-vaccination activists and join their cause because they are concerned about the threat to civil liberties,” she says.

Leask prefers the New South Wales model, which makes it procedurally complex but not impossible to send unvaccinated kids to childcare, and also ensures that children’s immunisation records are checked. This policy has increased child immunisation rates by the same amount as the harsher approach in Victoria, she says. Leask also believes that campaigns and reminders are good ways to improve vaccination rates without inciting opposition.

Source: https://bit.ly/2KlBa9K

What I Told My White Friend When He Asked For My Black Opinion On White Privilege

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What I Told My White Friend When He Asked For My Black Opinion On White Privilege

Yesterday I was tagged in a post by an old high school friend, asking me and a few others a very public, direct question about white privilege and racism. I feel compelled not only to publish his query but also my response to it, as it may be a helpful discourse for more than just a handful of folks on Facebook.

Here’s his post:

“To all of my Black or mixed race FB friends, I must profess a blissful ignorance of this ‘White Privilege‘ of which I’m apparently guilty of possessing. By not being able to fully put myself in the shoes of someone from a background/race/religion/gender/nationality/body type that differs from my own makes me part of the problem, according to what I’m now hearing.

“Despite my treating everyone with respect and humor my entire life (as far as I know), I’m somehow complicit in the misfortune of others. I’m not saying I’m colorblind, but whatever racism/sexism/other -ism my life experience has instilled in me stays within me, and is not manifested in the way I treat others (which is not the case with far too many, I know).

“So that I may be enlightened, can you please share with me some examples of institutional racism that have made an indelible mark upon you? If I am to understand this, I need people I know personally to show me how I’m missing what’s going on. Personal examples only. I’m not trying to be insensitive, I only want to understand (but not from the media). I apologize if this comes off as crass or offends anyone.”

Here’s my response:

Hi, Jason. First off, I hope you don’t mind that I’ve quoted your post and made it part of mine. I think the heart of what you’ve asked of your friends of color is extremely important, and I think my response needs much more space than as a reply on your feed. I truly thank you for wanting to understand what you are having a hard time understanding.

Coincidentally, over the last few days I have been thinking about sharing some of the incidents of prejudice/racism I’ve experienced in my lifetime – in fact, I just spoke with my sister Lesa about how to best do this yesterday – because I realized many of my friends (especially the white ones) have no idea what I’ve experienced/dealt with unless they were present (and aware) when it happened.

There are two reasons for this :

1) Because not only as a human being do I suppress the painful and uncomfortable in an effort to make it go away, I was also taught within my community (I was raised in the ‘70s and ‘80s – it’s shifted somewhat now) and by society at large not to make a fuss, speak out, or rock the boat. To just “deal with it,” lest more trouble follow (which sadly, it often does).

2) Fear of being questioned or dismissed with “Are you sure that’s what you heard?” or “Are you sure that’s what they meant?” and being angered and upset all over again by well-meaning-but-hurtful and essentially unsupportive responses.

So, again, I’m glad you asked, because I really want to answer. But as I do, please know a few things first: This is not even close to the whole list; I’m cherrypicking because none of us have all day. And I’ve been really lucky. Most of what I share below is mild compared to what others in my family and community have endured.

I’m going to go in chronological order so you might begin to glimpse the tonnage and why what many white folks might feel is a “Where did all of this come from?” moment in society has been festering individually and collectively for the lifetime of pretty much every black or brown person living in America today regardless of wealth or opportunity.

Some of what I share covers sexism, too – intersectionality is another term I’m sure you’ve heard and want to put quotes around, but it’s a real thing, too, just like white privilege.  But you’ve requested a focus on personal experiences with racism, so here it goes:

1. When I was three, my family moved into an upper-middle class, all-white neighborhood. We had a big backyard, so my parents built a pool. Not the only pool on the block, but the only one neighborhood boys started throwing rocks into. White boys.

One day my mom ID’d one as the boy from across the street, went to his house, told his mother and fortunately, his mother believed mine. My mom not only got an apology, but also had that boy jump in our pool and retrieve every single rock. No more rocks after that. Then Mom even invited him to come over to swim sometime if he asked permission. Everyone became friends.

This one has a happy ending because my mom was and is badass about matters like these, but I hope you can see that the white privilege in this situation is being able to move into a “nice” neighborhood and be accepted – not harassed, made to feel unwelcome, or prone to acts of vandalism and hostility.

2. When my older sister was five, a white boy named Mark called her a “nigger” after she beat him in a race at school. She didn’t know what it meant but in her gut, she knew it was bad. This was the first time I’d seen my father the kind of angry that has nowhere to go.

I somehow understood it was because not only had some boy verbally assaulted his daughter and had gotten away with it, it had way too early introduced her (and me) to that term and the reality of what it meant – that some white people would be cruel and careless with black people’s feelings just because of our skin color. Or our achievement.

If it’s unclear in any way, the point here is if you’ve never had a defining moment in your childhood or your life, where you realize your skin color alone makes other people hate you, you have white privilege.

3. Sophomore year of high school. I had Mr. Melrose for Algebra 2. Some time within the first few weeks of class, he points out that I’m “the only spook” in the class. This was meant to be funny. It wasn’t. So, I doubt it will surprise you I was relieved when he took medical leave after suffering a heart attack and was replaced by a sub for the rest of the semester.

The point here is if you’ve never been “the only one” of your race in a class, at a party, on a job, and so on, and/or it’s been pointed out in a “playful” fashion by the authority figure in said situation – you have white privilege.

4. When we started getting our college acceptances senior year, I remember some white male classmates pissed that another black classmate had gotten into UCLA while they didn’t. They said that affirmative action had given him “their spot” and it wasn’t fair. An actual friend of theirs. Who’d worked his ass off.

The point here is if you’ve never been on the receiving end of the assumption that when you’ve achieved something it’s only because it was taken away from a white person who “deserved it” – that is white privilege.

5. When I got accepted to Harvard (as a fellow AP student, you were witness to what an academic beast I was in high school, yes?), three separate times I encountered white strangers as I prepped for my maiden trip to Cambridge that rankle to this day.

The first was the white doctor giving me a physical at Kaiser.

Me: “I need to send an immunization report to my college so I can matriculate.”

Doctor: “Where are you going?”

Me: “Harvard.”

Doctor: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?”

The second was in a store, looking for supplies I needed from Harvard’s suggested “what to bring with you” list.

Store employee: “Where are you going?”

Me: “Harvard.”

Store employee: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?”

The third was at UPS, shipping off boxes of said “what to bring” to Harvard. I was in line behind a white boy mailing boxes to Princeton, and in front of a white woman sending her child’s boxes to wherever.

Woman, to the boy: “What college are you going to?”

Boy: “Princeton.”

Woman: “Congratulations!”

Woman, to me: “Where are you sending your boxes?”

Me: “Harvard.”

Woman: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?”

I think: “No, bitch, the one downtown next to the liquor store.”

But I say, gesturing to my labeled boxes: “Yes, the one in Massachusetts.”

Then she says congratulations, but it’s too fucking late.

The point here is if no one has ever questioned your intellectual capabilities or attendance at an elite institution based solely on your skin color, that is white privilege.

6. In my freshman college tutorial, our small group of 4-5 was assigned to read Thoreau, Emerson, Malcolm X, Joseph Conrad, Dreiser, and so on. When it was the week to discuss The Autobiography of Malcolm X, one white boy boldly claimed he couldn’t even get through it because he couldn’t relate and didn’t think he should be forced to read it.

I don’t remember the words I said, but I still remember the feeling. I think it’s what doctors refer to as chandelier pain – as soon as a sensitive area on a patient is touched, they shoot through the roof. That’s what I felt.

I know I said something like my whole life I’ve had to read “things that don’t have anything to do with me or that I relate to,” but I find a way anyway because that’s what learning is about – trying to understand other people’s perspectives. The point here is – the canon of literaturestudied in the United States, as well as the majority of television and movies – have focused primarily on the works or achievements of white men. 

So if you have never experienced or considered how damaging it is/was/could be to grow up without myriad role models and images in school that reflect you in your required reading material or in the mainstream media – that is white privilege. 

7. All seniors at Harvard are invited to a fancy, seated group lunch with our respective dorm Masters. (Yes, they were called “Masters” up until this February when they changed it to “Faculty Deans,” but that’s just a tasty little side dish to the main course of this remembrance.)

While we were being served by the Dunster House cafeteria staff – the black ladies from Haiti and Boston that ran the line daily; I still remember Jackie’s kindness and warmth to this day – Master Sally mused out loud how proud they must be to be serving the nation’s best and brightest.

I don’t know if they heard her, but I did and it made me uncomfortable and sick.

The point here is, if you’ve never been caught off guard when you are just trying to enjoy a meal by a well-paid faculty member’s patronizing and racist assumptions about how grateful black people must feel to be in their presence – you have white privilege.

8. While writing on a television show in my 30s, my new white male boss – who had only known me for a few days – had unbeknownst to me told another writer on staff he thought I was conceited, didn’t know as much as I thought I did, and didn’t have the talent I thought I had.

And what exactly had happened in those few days? I disagreed with a pitch where he suggested our lead female character carelessly leave a pot holder on the stove and burn down her apartment. This character being a professional caterer.

When what he said about me was revealed months later (by then, he’d come to respect and rely on me), he apologized for prejudging me because I was a black woman. I told him he was ignorant and clearly had a lot to learn. It was a good talk because he was remorseful and open.

But the point here is, if you’ve never been on the receiving end of a boss’ prejudiced, uninformed “how dare she question my ideas” badmouthing based on solely on his ego and your race, you have white privilege.

9.  On my very first date with my now husband, I climbed into his car and saw baby wipes on the passenger side floor. He said he didn’t have kids; they were just there to clean up messes in the car. I twisted to secure my seatbelt and saw a stuffed animal in the rear window.

I gave him a look. He said, “I promise, I don’t have kids. That’s only there so I don’t get stopped by the police.

He then told me that when he drove home from work late at night, he was getting stopped by cops constantly because he was a black man in a luxury car and they assumed it was either stolen or he was a drug dealer. When he told a cop friend about this, he told Warren to put a stuffed animal in the rear window because it would change “his profile” to that of a family man and he was much less likely to be stopped.

The point here is, if you’ve never had to mask the fruits of your success with a floppy-eared, stuffed bunny rabbit so you won’t get harassed by the cops on the way home from your gainful employment (or never had a first date start this way), you have white privilege.

10. Six years ago, I started a Facebook page that has grown into a website called Good Black News because I was shocked to find there were no sites dedicated solely to publishing the positive things black people do.

And let me explain here how biased the coverage of mainstream media is in case you don’t already have a clue: As I curate, I can’t tell you how often I have to swap out a story’s photo to make it as positive as the content. Photos published of black folks in mainstream media are very often sullen or angry-looking. Even when it’s a positive story!

I also have to constantly alter headlines to include a person’s name and not have it just be “Black Man Wins Settlement” or “Carnegie Hall Gets 1st Black Board Member” or rephrase it from a subtle subjugator like “ABC taps Viola Davis as Series Lead” to “Viola Davis Lands Lead on ABC Show” as is done for say, Jennifer Aniston or Steven Spielberg.

I also receive a fair amount of highly offensive racist trolling. I don’t even respond. I block and delete ASAP.

The point here is – not having to rewrite stories, headlines, or swap photos while being trolled by racists when all you’re trying to do on a daily basis is promote positivity and share stories of hope and achievement and justice – that is white privilege.

Okay, Jason, there’s more but I’m exhausted. And my kids need dinner. Remembering and reliving many of these moments has been a strain and a drain (and again, this ain’t even the half or the worst of it). But I hope my experiences shed some light for you on how institutional and personal racism have affected the entire life of a friend of yours to whom you’ve only been respectful and kind.

I hope what I’ve shared makes you realize it’s not just strangers but people you know and care for who have suffered and are suffering because we are excluded from the privilege you have to not be judged, questioned, or assaulted in any way because of your race.

As to you “being part of the problem,” trust me, nobody is mad at you for being white. Nobody. Just like nobody should be mad at me for being black. Or female. Or whatever.

But what is being asked of you is to acknowledge that white privilege does exist and to not only to treat people of races that differ from yours “with respect and humor,” but also to stand up for fair treatment and justice, to not let “jokes” or “off-color” comments by friends, co-workers, or family slide by without challenge, and to continually make an effort to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, so we may all cherish and respect our unique and special contributions to society as much as we do our common ground.

Source : https://bit.ly/2lBYwNL