Texas City Bans Abortion, Declares Itself A ‘Sanctuary City For The Unborn’

FILE PHOTO – Planned Parenthood South Austin Health Center in Austin

May 02, 2021
2:43 PM ET

The city of Lubbock, Texas approved an ordinance banning abortion procedures within city limits and declaring itself a “sanctuary city for the unborn” Saturday.

While not the first, Lubbock is now the largest city in the U.S. to approve such a measure, but it will likely face legal challenges from abortion advocates who argue the measure is unconstitutional. The move comes just months after Planned Parenthood opened its first clinic in the city, according to the Texas Tribune.

Lubbock residents backed the measure with 62% of the vote on Saturday, joining dozens of other Texas cities that have already passed similar ordinances. Lubbock is the first of these cities to make a declaration while already having an abortion clinic within its limits. (RELATED: Here’s What Texan Pro-Lifers Have To Say About Their ‘Sanctuary City For The Unborn’)

Demonstrators hold up placards during a Planned Parenthood rally outside the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, April 5, 2017. REUTERS/Ilana Panich-Linsman

Demonstrators hold up placards during a Planned Parenthood rally outside the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, April 5, 2017. (REUTERS/Ilana Panich-Linsman)

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas has made known its opposition to pro-life “sanctuary cities,” having sued seven local governments in the past. (RELATED: Texas Town Outlaws Abortion, Declares It A Sanctuary For The Unborn)

Gov. Wolf questioned about March 2020 memo on Pa. COVID nursing home deaths

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — New calls on Wednesday for an investigation into how the state dealt with nursing homes at the beginning of the pandemic. And abc27 Capitol Reporter Dennis Owens asked Governor Wolf about a memo at the center of the storm.

Early in the pandemic, nearly 70% of COVID deaths were in nursing homes. Senator John Yudichak (I-Luzerne, Carbon) wants the Auditor General to investigate the state.

“Were decisions made that were inappropriate?” Senator Yudichak said. “Were they given bad guidance? Were they not given the state resources they needed to protect lives?”

Especially concerning is a March 2020 memo to nursing homes from the Pa. Department of Health, stating, “Nursing care facilities must continue to accept new admissions” with coronavirus.

Owens asked the Governor about it.

“We didn’t want people to stay in the hospital because we were concerned about hospital capacity,” Gov. Wolf said.

Yudichak says the logic behind the decision to “overwhelm” long-term care facilities doesn’t add up. 

“Think of what you’re doing you’re worried about overwhelming the hospitals, so we’re going to overwhelm nursing facilities which are usually underresourced and understaffed,” Yudichak said.

Wolf says it’s bigger than just a decision made by the state health department.

“I think the Department of Health was just following what the federal government was telling us to do,” Gov. Wolf said.

But that’s not exactly correct. While Pa. said nursing homes “must” accept COVID-positive seniors with proper precautions, the CDC guidance said a nursing home “can” accept a resident diagnosed with COVID-19.

It also says, “nursing homes should admit any individuals that they would normally admit.” But not must.

The governor’s spokeswoman also notes that no nursing home has come forward and said they were forced to take covid positive patients by the state’s policy and that directly led to increased deaths.

Owens pressed the Governor on the distinction. 

“I’m not sure. I just don’t know,” Gov. Wolf said.

Rep. Zach Mako (R-Lehigh, Northampton) isn’t so sure about the Governor’s uncertainty.

“I would think the Governor would know. That’s a little surprising I’d say. Who’s really running the show?” Mako said.

Especially surprising because in budget hearings the health secretary was grilled over the March 18 guidance. And the House referenced it in announcing its own investigation.

“He should have the answers and he should know this and should be talking to his secretaries,” Mako said.

Yudichak agrees.

“We had staffers in these agencies making decisions without the Governor in the room. That is not an excuse. You have to show up for work and do the job,” Yudichak said.

Both the Governor and his spokeswoman reiterated that their guidance absolutely required nursing homes to follow proper safety protocols to keep residents safe.

Continue reading “Gov. Wolf questioned about March 2020 memo on Pa. COVID nursing home deaths”

Newark Police Department Changes Uniform Policy for Muslim Officers

Female Muslim police officers will no longer be barred from wearing a hijab as part of their uniform, Newark officials announced Thursday.

“To be able to recognize people’s religion, how they practice it, and allow them to do that safely and appropriately on their work site, speaks volumes to where we’re going as a department,” Mayor Ras Baraka told reporters at a press conference announcing the policy change.

A hijab or headscarf is a traditional head covering worn by Muslim women as a sign of modesty.

Officer Serein Tamimi, a member of the NJ Muslim Officers Society. (John Jones | For NJ Advance Media/TNS)

“It is part of her religious requirement for the woman to wear it — as long as she’s out of her home, in public, she’s required to wear a head covering,” Daud Haqq, an imam at the NIA Masjid & Community Center and the president of the Imams Council of Newark, told NJ Advance Media. “To give it up is like giving up part of your religion.”

Haqq called the change a step in the right direction toward creating a more inclusive police force and helping recruit more Muslim women to become officers. Currently, the Newark Police Department is made up of 34 percent Black officers, 45 percent Hispanic officers and 21 percent white officers. Of the entire force, 22 percent are female officers. A spokesperson for the city did not provide the percentage of Muslim officers on the force.

The change came after an officer requested permission to wear her hijab on duty, Public Safety Director Brian O’Hara said. He was not able to provide a number of how many officers the change will affect.

“It is a slight change, but we believe it is very impactful and timely,” O’Hara said.

While hijabs are not specifically mentioned anywhere in Newark’s uniform policies, the rules around officers’ dress are painstakingly defined.

For example, regulations instruct that: “The eight point hat shall be worn in a military manner, with the hat wreath facing forward at all times. The baseball cap, fur-pile hat and watch cap shall only be worn on-duty with a Newark Police uniform, with the NPD patch or hat wreath facing forward at all times.”

Years ago, the Newark Police faced another run-in with religious exemption to uniform policy — the U.S. Justice Department filed a religious discrimination suit in 2000 against the department, on behalf of two officers who were threatened with dismissal because they did not shave their beards, worn long in accordance with Islamic law.

This time, the department willingly changed the rules, asking that any Muslim police officers inform their commanding officer that they intend to wear a hijab while on duty.

The change stipulates that the hijab should match the color of the uniform, it should not cover any insignias and should still allow for the use of a helmet.

Other departments nationwide have made the same allowance, including in New York City, Washington D.C. and, earlier this year, Nashville.

“This nation is made up of many different people who worship, who practice in many different ways, who speak many different languages, have many different customs and ideas and cultures,” Baraka said. “The true test of a democratic society is our ability to interweave those folks into our community.”

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