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‘Inherently discriminatory’: UN calls for right to safe abortion in the U.S. – National

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Inherently discriminatory’ UN calls for right to safe abortion in the U.S. National

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The United Nations human rights office called on U.S. authorities Tuesday to ensure that women have access to safe abortions, saying bans lead to risky underground abortions that can endanger a woman’s life.

“We are very concerned that several U.S. states have passed laws severely restricting access to safe abortion for women, including by imposing criminal penalties on the women themselves and on abortion service providers,” U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told Reuters Television in Geneva.

WATCH: Bernie Sanders says banning abortion will ‘quite literally kill women’





Evidence and experience have shown that complete bans on abortions do not reduce their number, but drive them underground “jeopardizing the life, health and safety of the women concerned,” she said.

Such bans are also “inherently discriminatory,” affecting women who are poor, from minority backgrounds or other marginalized communities, Shamdasani added.

“So we are calling on the United States and all other countries to ensure that women have access to safe abortions. At an absolute minimum, in cases of rape, incest and fetal anomaly, there needs to be safe access to abortions,” she said.

The UN call came as hundreds of abortion-rights campaigners, including Democrats seeking their party’s 2020 presidential nomination, rallied in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to protest new restrictions on abortion passed by Republican-dominated legislatures in eight states.

Many of the restrictions are intended to draw legal challenges, which religious conservatives hope will lead the nation’s top court to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy.

READ MORE: ‘End the shame’: Abortion bans in U.S. prompt surge in activism, protests 

“We are not going to allow them to move our country backward,” U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, one of the two dozen Democrats running for president, told the crowd through a megaphone.

The rally is one of scores scheduled for Tuesday around the country by the American Civil Liberties Union, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and otherabortion rights group. The protests are a response to laws passed recently by Republican state legislatures that amount to the tightest restrictions on abortion seen in the United States in decades.

READ MORE: Abortion ban aims for U.S. Supreme Court, but won’t get there soon

Missouri is one of eight states where Republican-controlled legislatures this year have passed new restrictions on abortion. It is part of a coordinated campaign aimed at prompting the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court to cut back or overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide and recognized a right under the U.S. Constitution for women to terminate pregnancies.

The most restrictive of those bills was signed into law in Alabama last week. It bans abortion at all times and in almost all cases, including when the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest, but allows exceptions when the mother’s life is in danger.

Anti-abortion advocates are aware that any laws they pass are certain to be challenged. But supporters of the Alabama ban said the right to life of the fetus transcended other rights, an idea they would like tested at the Supreme Court.

WATCH: Protesters march in Alabama to denounce abortion ban 





Alabama passed an outright ban last week, including for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, unless the woman’s life is in danger, while other states, including Ohio and Georgia, have banned abortions absent a medical emergency after six weeks of pregnancy or after the fetus’s heartbeat can be detected, which can occur before a woman even realizes she is pregnant.

COMMENTARY: Alabama’s near-total abortion ban shows the state doesn’t give a damn about mothers

Protesters outside the Supreme Court waved signs saying “We won’t be punished” and “Protect Safe, Legal Abortion” and were joined by Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend, Indiana, mayor who also is vying for the 2020 nomination.

“My entire campaign is about freedom,” he said in a brief interview.

U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley also was a featured speaker, telling the crowd: “This nation was built on the backs and grown in the wombs of women, and our rights are not up for debate.”

READ MORE: Answers to common questions on U.S.’s recent restrictive abortion laws 

U.S. President Donald Trump, a Republican who opposes abortion, has seized on the issue as one likely to fire up his core supporters.

The restrictive new laws are contrary to the Roe v. Wade ruling, which affords a woman the right to an abortion up to the moment the fetus would be viable outside the womb, which is usually placed at about seven months, or 28 weeks, but may occur earlier.

The bans have been championed by conservatives, many of them Christian, who say fetuses should have rights comparable to those of infants and view abortion as tantamount to murder. The Supreme Court now has a 5-4 conservative majority following two judicial appointments by Trump.

A federal judge in Mississippi on Tuesday heard arguments in a lawsuit challenging the state’s new fetal-heartbeart abortion law. District Judge Carlton Reeves asked questions suggesting he thought the new law to be even more unconstitutional than the state’s 15-week abortion ban he struck down last year, USA Today reported.

READ MORE: As Trudeau blasts U.S. ‘backsliding’ over abortion restrictions, Liberals target new fundraising pitch







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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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