California Crisis Pregnancy Centers Can Continue To Take Advantage Of Vulnerable Women, Thanks To The Supreme Court

California Crisis Pregnancy Centers Can Continue To Take Advantage Of Vulnerable Women, Thanks To The Supreme Court

Withholding information about abortions is a massive blow to women's reproductive health and proves that crisis pregnancy centers never considered the well being of women a priority in the first place.

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Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that crisis pregnancy centers in California do not have to relay information about state-offered services, such as abortion, to women. The reasoning behind this is that it supposedly goes against the centers' First Amendment right to free speech. The California law being disputed requires the clinics to share a government-drafted script about the services that the state offers and how to contact them, but since one of those services is abortion, the clinics feel that they should not be forced to promote that option to women because it goes against their religious beliefs.

The conservative Supreme Court Justices agreed with the crisis pregnancy centers and affirmed that freedom of speech protects the clinics from being required to express a message from the government that opposes their beliefs. However, California's law was not meant to take any stance on abortion because

"It makes sense to require the centers to tell patients of the state's offered services because that it is when women are most in need of them, the state contends."

Not only that, but the clinics should not be so quick to claim that they are being forced by the government to push their agenda when the anti-abortion agenda has already been forced onto doctors. In Justice Stephen G. Breyer's dissent for the court's liberals, he referenced the 1992 Supreme Court case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey and asked,

"If a state can lawfully require a doctor to tell a woman seeking an abortion about adoption services, why should it not be able, as here, to require a medical counselor to tell a woman seeking prenatal care or other reproductive health care about childbirth and abortion services?"

It is hypocritical for these pro-life pregnancy centers to be adamantly against having to share information that is contrary to their views only because it benefits them personally, but then turning a blind eye to the same situation when the roles are reversed and their opponents are now having to spread their anti-abortion message. I realize that someone who is pro-life would read my thoughts on this and claim that I am also being a hypocrite for the same reasons, except I am upset because this ruling will only keep women in the dark about the options available to them for their pregnancy. This is not about me wanting the crisis pregnancy centers to make sure that women have been presented with the option for abortion because I am pro-choice, but rather that I want women to be given access to all information so that they can then make an informed decision.

These clinics are known for targeting homeless shelters, high schools, and low-income communities where women are less likely to have good healthcare, and they are using this to their advantage by trying to present carrying a pregnancy full-term as their only option. The Supreme Court's ruling only makes this mission even easier to achieve because now the California women entering their clinics could possibly never realize that they can contact their county's social services office and see if they are eligible for a free or low-cost abortion since the clinics would no longer be required to make them aware of this alternative.

The crisis pregnancy centers operate under the claim that they offer support for pregnant women even though they are actually fulfilling their own unethical desire to manipulate vulnerable women into carrying to term so that they can appear heroic and "save a life" that they would likely end up hating if they were born anything but white, male, straight, cis-gendered, and able-bodied.

I understand that the clinics feel it is an abuse of the government's power to have to disclose information about abortion services to women when their religious beliefs tell them to dissuade women from choosing that option, but the doctors that perform abortions that have to tell their patients about adoption services likely feel just as frustrated. In order for women to be able to reach an informed decision about how to proceed with their pregnancy, they have to know all of the information about both sides of the issue. Even though I am strongly opposed to crisis pregnancy centers as a whole, it is not because I want women to believe that abortions are their only option. It is because those centers provide false medical information, disguise themselves as medical buildings and abortion clinics, and take advantage of low-income women.

I am pro-choice because I want women to be able to choose what course of action to take for their pregnancy by being given equal access to information about both abortions and adoption. Withholding that information is a massive blow to women's reproductive health and proves that crisis pregnancy centers never considered the well being of women a priority in the first place.
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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

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A Florida House Committee Is Undermining Your Vote On Amendment 4

Before felons can regain their right to vote, they must pay court fines, fees, and take care of any other "financial obligations." Essentially, this is a poll tax.

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Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was added to the Constitution of Florida after being passed this last midterm election on November 6, 2018.

Amendment 4 restored the voting rights of Floridians with prior felony convictions after all terms of their sentence have been met, including parole and probation. This amendment only applies to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons regained their right to vote. This is monumental. Prior to this amendment, Florida was one of four states that used felony disenfranchisement. Amendment 4 gives voice, and rightfully so, to felons who have served their time. Amendment 4 is also putting to rest, finally, years and years of disenfranchisement and suppression.

Now, only two months after its passage, the House Criminal Justice Committee is trying to water down this piece of legislation. This is a direct violation of the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted for the legislation as is. This amendment was not to be "clarified," as Governor DeSantis put it, but rather to be self-implementing.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee proposed a bill that would tack on some extra qualifiers in order for felons to be enfranchised. The bill will require court fines, fees, and other "financial obligations" (in addition to fees administered in a judge's sentence) to be paid in full before a felon's voting rights are restored. This seems awfully similar to a poll tax to me. Obviously, this is going to affect people without a lot of resources rather than white-collar criminals who can afford a $500,000 bond.

This new qualifier will prevent felons from voting based on the money that can be coughed up as if they don't have to worry about their finances long after they leave prison.

Some may argue that these felons shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place. However, I would argue that holding a felon's vote hostage on the basis of money is unconstitutional.

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