Uruguay Legalizes Abortions

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Legislators have voted in Uruguay by a razor-thin margin to legalize abortion.

In Latin America, where the majority of people are Catholic, no country except Cuba has made abortions accessible to all women during the first trimester of pregnancy.

The vote in Uruguay’s Chamber of Deputies was 50-49 just before midnight Tuesday after several lawmakers on each side of the debate said they could not in good conscience go along with their parties, and allowed substitutes to vote in their stead.

President Jose Mujica says he will allow it to become law, if the Senate approves the changes. The Senate already has approved an even more liberal version of the abortion measure.

The Chamber of Deputies’ legislation would give women the right to a legal abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and decriminalize later-term abortions when the mother’s life is at risk or when the fetus is so deformed that it wouldn’t survive after birth. In cases of rape, abortions would be legal during the first 14 weeks.

Deputy Pablo Abdala of the opposition National Party vowed Wednesday to promote a popular referendum to overturn the law, if Mujica doesn’t veto it, calling the measure a violation of human rights.

However, polls suggest many more Uruguayans favor abortion rights than oppose them.

A survey this month showed 52 percent of Uruguayans would vote to legalize abortion if the question were put to the people, while 34 percent would vote against it. The survey of 802 people nationwide by the CIFRA consulting firm had a 3.4 percentage point margin of error.

Abortion rights advocates were disappointed by compromises made to secure the votes, including a requirement that women seeking abortions justify their request before a panel of at least three professionals — a gynecologist, psychologist and social worker — and listen to advice about alternatives including adoption and support services if she should decide to keep the baby. Then she must wait five more days “to reflect” on the consequences before the procedure.

Such bureaucratic barriers will only delay the procedures and force more women to seek illegal and dangerous abortions elsewhere, they said. Abortion rights advocates also were upset by a clause preventing any woman who hasn’t lived in the country for at least a year from obtaining abortions in Uruguay.

“This is not the law for which we fought for more than 25 years,” complained Marta Agunin, who directs Women and Health, a non-governmental organization in Uruguay.

Her group staged a colorful protest outside Congress during the debate and more than a dozen women posed in the nude in extremely cold weather, their bodies painted orange with purple flowers.

Deputy Alvaro Vega with the ruling Broad Front coalition said it would be better to simply eliminate criminal penalties for first-term abortions, and leave such decisions up to individual women alone. But in the end, every member of the lower house who supports abortion rights voted in favor of the measure.

The goal is to reduce the number of illegal abortions in Uruguay, said Deputy Ivan Posada of the small center-left Independent Party, who authored the measure and provided the key tie-breaking vote.

“They talk of 30,000 a year, a hypothetical number, but whatever the number is, it’s quite dramatic for a country where 47,000 children are born each year,” Posada explained in an Associated Press interview.

The review panel should obtain the father’s point of view, but only if the woman agrees. Women under 18 must show parental consent, but they can seek approval from a judge instead if they’re unwilling or unable to involve their parents in the decision.

The measure also allows entire private health care institutions, as well as individual health care providers, to decline to perform abortions.

Opponents include Uruguay’s Catholic and evangelical institutions, which along with public hospitals provide much of the available health care in Uruguay.

Cuba, which decriminalizes abortions in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, is the only country in Latin America where legal abortion is common. Argentina and Colombia allow it only in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is endangered. Colombia also allows it when there is proof of fetal malformation. Mexico City has legalized first-trimester abortions, but there are restrictions in most other parts of the country.

Many countries ban abortions under any conditions.

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Socialist Presidential Candidate Peta Lindsay Denounces Killer Drones

Liberation News

The Party for Socialism and Liberation’s presidential candidate Peta Lindsay and vice-presidential candidate Yari Osorio denounced the growing U.S. aggression against defenseless civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the jingoistic threats against Iran by both Democratic and Republican candidates.

“In 2008 people voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama because they were tired of the Bush agenda and the war in Iraq,” said Lindsay, who is currently on a national tour and whose PSL ticket is on the ballot in 13 states this election year. “Yet the last four years have brought greater deployments abroad, more deaths of soldiers and civilians, more illegal U.S. war and occupation.”

“Today, Stanford and New York University researchers reported that 98 percent of the people killed by U.S. drones since 2004 in Pakistan were civilian, including almost 200 children. The researchers engaged in an on-the-ground study of villages where the true number of victims could be ascertained.

“This genocidal and gruesome method of murder that targets people from thousands of miles away must end immediately, as well as all U.S. aggression in the Middle East and elsewhere. My running mate Yari Osorio and I express our solidarity with the people of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, where U.S. and NATO bombings and occupations continue to cause human suffering on an unprecedented scale.

“My campaign stands in stark contrast to both parties of big business and war, and I believe our anti-war message truly resonates with the vast majority of people of the United States. We are experiencing the highest levels of unemployment and poverty in the United States in decades, while we are told we must face hundreds of billions of dollars more in social cuts.

“Students are shouldering enormous school loans, and 147 million people in the U.S. are in poverty or near poverty.

“Instead of building thousands of drones, fighter jets and tens of thousands of bombs to sow death and destruction, we need to shut down all military bases, and return all the troops home to meaningful jobs, education, and full health care. We need a massive jobs program for the people and it could be easily done by using the trillion-dollar Pentagon budget to meet the needs of people instead,” added Lindsay.

Lindsay has a long record of anti-war activism. As a high school student, she became involved in anti-war actions Washington, D.C., soon after Sept. 11, 2001. She was a key organizer of mass marches there to oppose Bush’s wars.

While highly critical of the Obama administration’s war and occupations, Lindsay is just as opposed to Mitt Romney’s avowedly right-wing program and his equally jingoistic foreign policy stance. She issued a recent statement declaring that Romney’s ‘47 percent’ remark shows his “open and flagrant contempt for the people.”

Commenting on Obama’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 25, Lindsay denounced his open threat to Iran, where he declared, “Make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained.” The United States still possesses thousands of nuclear warheads and is the only country to have ever used them.

Lindsay, a founding member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, said, “Everywhere Yari and I campaign, we urge people to stand up against war. Join us in cities across the country on Oct. 6. Dozens of protests will take place on that day to mark the 11th anniversary of the U.S. war on Afghanistan, and to demand ‘No War or Sanctions on Iran or Syria,’ ‘End the Occupation of Afghanistan’ and ‘Stop Killer Drones.’”

U.S. Calls on Myanmar to Cut Ties with DPRK

“Reform” in Myanmar: Who Benefits?

  • Clinton in Myanmar: More State Department Meddling in Asia
  • Wall Street to “Open Up” Myanmar
  • KCNA

    A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of the DPRK gave the following answer to a question raised by KCNA Friday as regards to the U.S. pressuring Myanmar to break off relations with the DPRK:

    The high-ranking authorities of the U.S. pressured Myanmar to cut off the relations with the DPRK, a vicious politically-motivated provocation.

    At first, it pressured Myanmar to suspend military ties with the DPRK. Now it is openly urging the country to sever bilateral relations, calling the DPRK a “bad friend.”

    In May the U.S. president said that the U.S. would render more aid to Myanmar if it breaks off relations with the DPRK. The U.S. State secretary urged Myanmar to move in the direction of cutting off the relations with the DPRK whenever an opportunity presented itself. A few days ago, the assistant secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs let loose such invectives that Myanmar should move to break off the relations with the DPRK, “bad friend,” at an early date.

    This proves that the U.S. hostile policy to isolate and stifle the DPRK remains unchanged and has been pushed forward with increased zeal.

    It is precisely for this reason that the DPRK has kept itself fully prepared to cope with the U.S. hostile policy toward it.

    The U.S. which sows discord among countries, nations and tribes and harasses regional and world peace and stability is, in fact, a “bad friend” whom all the countries aspiring after independence should shun.

    Anti-U.S. protests are unabated in Mid-east countries which suffer from untold misfortune and pains due to the U.S. interference, being caught in its tentacles of aggression.

    The U.S. has shifted its strategic focus to the Asia-Pacific region and has fostered discord and stand-off. This resulted in fierce territorial disputes and escalation of tension in the region.
    All facts teach a lesson that tragic incidents occur wherever the U.S. sets its foot.

    The DPRK has ensured the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula by dint of a powerful war deterrent built by itself.

    If the U.S. keeps its anachronistic hostile policy toward the DPRK, it will meet a miserable end in the Korean Peninsula and the region.

    Netanyahu, Where’s the “Red Line” on Apartheid?

    Occupation is a crime, occupation is racist, and colonialism must be brought down before any peace agreement is reached.

    Saed Bannoura

    Of course Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, went to New York to address the United Nations, similar to what his counterpart, Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, did on the same day. While world leaders were expecting something substantial form Netanyahu, he chose the “power or art”, well not very artistic though.

    Netanyahu, and similar to his predecessors, wants the world to be busy with the so-called Iranian threat and how close Iran is to manufacturing a nuclear bomb. For me, nothing is new here, I grew up in Palestine and always heard similar rhetoric sometimes about Iraq, sometimes about Iran, Syria…and you name it.

    Of course Mr. Netanyahu did not want to mention Israel’s outdated nuclear reactor in Dimona, in the Negev desert.

    I have to say, am very impressed about the drawing, I am not sure if he consulted a team of experts to come up with this masterpiece, or he just came up with it by just invoking his drawing talent.

    I mean this is a smart way to keep the international community from discussing what is really happening on the ground, such as Israel’s illegal and ongoing criminal occupation of Palestine, its illegal colonies and its constant violations.

    Back to the drawing, maybe I said that before but it seems am very impressed by it, you know when a child wants something that you don’t think he or she should get, you show them something else, a drawing maybe?! A diagram, and if you are as creative as Mr. Netanyahu you mix your masterpiece with the element of danger, or to call it what it is “fear factor”.

    Maybe some leaders expected Netanyahu to be talking about his vision to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, maybe addressing international legitimacy resolutions or at least granting the world his insight and belief on how the conflict should be resolved.

    But why, why would he, or any of his coalition partners, talk about that while they can continue to use fear in order to push the international community into a new war.

    Israel has a nuclear reactor, a really old and likely leaking reactor that lived beyond its proposed age, and who knows, well maybe some people do, know what Israel is doing there.

    But Netanyahu was so proud of the drawing he brought with him, or maybe he just drew it on the way to the UN, and then likely asked his bodyguard about a red pen to draw that final red line that Iran should never be allowed to cross.

    Back in Tel Aviv, several leaders of the Israeli opposition slammed Netanyahu’s speech at the UN and considered it unilateral. They demanded Netanyahu to coordinate Israel’s move regarding the issue with the United States and keep all talks far away from cameras and the media.

    Head of the Kadima opposition party in Israel, Shaul Mofaz, said that “Netanyahu drew a nice portrait, but did not draw an international, effective, plan that is meant to stop Iran’s nuclear agenda”, and added that what Netanyahu should have done is holding secret talks with the United States in order to reach an agreement on how to deal with Iran.

    Most of Netanyahu’s speech at the United Nations focused on Iran and its “nuclear agenda”, and how close Iran is to manufacturing a nuclear bomb, as according to Netanyahu, Iran will produce the bomb by next summer “unless the world acts in a decisive manner”.

    Labor Party leader, Shelly Yachimovich, said that Israel is united behind the efforts to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power, but also stated that “Redlines cannot be achieved by drawings displayed on different podiums, but are dealt with in closed rooms”.

    Yachimovich added that the redlines and clear agendas to counter Iran can be reached through direct cooperation with the United States, and by rebuilding the relationship of trust between Washington and Tel Aviv to best serve Israel’s interests in the region.

    She also demanded Netanyahu to stop comparing the current situation in Israel today with what the Jews faced during World War II and the holocaust.
    “This type of comparison does not help us, it is wrong”, she said, “We are now a sovereign nation, I am the granddaughter of victims of the holocaust, we should not compare our weakness back then with our supreme military, national and moral power today”.

    Of course, several leaders of coalition parties praised the speech and said that Netanyahu managed to draw attention to the core of the issue and the “urgent need to stop Iran”, and “uproot this evil before it happens”.

    Well, I reiterate how impressed I am with the diagram Netanyahu drew and presented to the world, but I guess they have electricity, screens and computers at the United Nations, so next time, Mr. Netanyahu, maybe you should prepare a more powerful presentation, make sure to add tom flashing text, animations and some audiovisual effects such explosions and fire… and oh maybe some skulls.

    If we want to have a moment of truth, if we want to look at the situation as it is, then we would come to a major conclusion about the reality in the Middle East and this ongoing conflict.

    Israel is a country with nuclear capabilities, its research is ongoing and “who knows” what they are hiding in store.

    But, as a country that built itself on the ruins of another nation, on the destroyed villages and towns that once stood, Israel needs tension in the region, needs to keep the world busy and looking away; time is a very important factor here, year after year since historic Palestine was occupied in 1948 and the state of Israel was established, Israeli leaders needed to keep the world busy.

    Stone by stop, one acre after the other, the land of Palestine kept shrinking and is still shrinking; settlements were built and expanded, more settlements are being built, the apartheid wall, natural resources, lands meadows and hills are all in Israel’s hands.

    The Palestinian territories are fragmented, isolated and Israel is still stealing more Palestinian lands to build and expand its illegal colonies.

    When and if we reached the final status of the supposed peace talks, the Palestinians will have no more land to plant or inhibit, the occupied West Bank is being transformed into isolated ghettos.

    When Israel was established on what stood of the historic land of Palestine in 1948, the Palestinians lost %78 of the historic land of Palestine, and in 1967, Israel occupied the remaining %22.

    The Palestinian Liberation Organization recognized Israel and its right to exit on %78 of the land of Palestine, and despite this huge concession, Israel wants peace talks that are aimed at reaching an agreement on how to share the remaining %22, by keeping its illegal settlements and settlement blocs, and by maintaining full control on borders and natural resources.

    Millions of Palestinian refugees are scattered around the world, and in the West Bank, they dream of returning home, to where they lived and dreamt. But Israel insists on violating all related United Nations resolutions in order to maintain its brutal and criminal occupation.

    Peace for a person like Netanyahu and his fundamentalist coalition partners means more land, and more control for Israel, less lands and next to nothing rights to the Palestinians.

    Maybe the International Community should be talking about what type of sanctions should be imposed on Israel for its crimes and for its theft of Palestinian lands.

    Occupation is a crime, occupation is racist, and colonialism must be brought down before any peace agreement is reached.

    If you want peace, if you believe in peace, you cannot support a country that maintains occupation and land theft, you cannot support a country that ethnically cleanses an entire population.

    In my humble opinion, the solution to the conflict should not be a two-state solution; it should be one democratic state that guarantees the rights of all of its citizens. Of course, this solution is not easy, especially when taking into consideration decades of violence, oppression and occupation.

    But Israel looks at the Palestinians in the occupied territories, and the Arabs in historic Palestine as a strategic threat, a threat that jeopardizes the “Jewishness of the state”, therefore, peace for Israel means more lands, less Arabs and less Palestinians; it is a Zionist state that uses Judaism in order to achieve it colonial goals.

    The Palestinian people, like any other nation in the world, deserve their freedom, their dignity and their liberty. Every Palestinian has the right to return to his homeland, be it in Haifa, Eilat, Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. We need to achieve justice before we can achieve peace, peace cannot survive without justice.

    Evo Morales: United States is “Real Terrorist”

    Capitalism: No Solution for Humanity

    Granma Internacional

    President Evo Morales of Bolivia condemned this Wednesday the inclusion of Cuba on the list of countries sponsoring terrorism drawn up by the United States.

    During his speech to the UN General Assembly, Morales said that this unilateral Washington measure serves as an excuse to maintain the blockade of the Cuba, rejected by the overwhelming majority of nations.

    “The real terrorist is the United States,” he said. “It is not possible that the blockade should continue existing in the 21st century,” DPA reported.

    At the same time, he conveyed greetings to the Cuban leader Fidel Castro and asked for justice to be done in the case of the “five Cuban brothers unjustly detained in the United States.”

    “Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has noted that the world must be changed, but how are we going to change the world if we do not change the United Nations, responsible for many interventions,” the Bolivian leader emphasized.

    “Now I feel that we are losing our fear. There is no need to fear the empire or capitalism. Capitalism is no solution for humanity,” he observed.

    Morales began his speech by asking Chile to return Bolivia’s sea exit. “We are not living in a time of internal or external colonialism,” he noted.

    “Malvinas for Argentina and the sea for Bolivia,” affirmed the President with the aim of “definitively solving this conflict which is damaging the American continent.”

    President Morales also referred to the legalization of the coca leaf, an issue which Bolivia has consistently defended at the UN.

    Ahmadinejad: Zionism Separate from Judaism

    Iran’s President: Jews Are Peace-Seeking People

    FNA

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad condemned the crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinians and other world nations, and said the Zionists’ biggest crime is that they attribute themselves to the Jewish community who are peace-seeking people.

    The occupation of Palestine is only the small portion of the crimes committed by the Zionist regime and their biggest crime is that they attribute themselves to the Jewish community, President Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with the leaders of the International Jewish Anti-Zionism Network in New York.

    Referring to the fact that the Zionists are trying to attribute their ugly measures to the Jews, he noted that the Jews are peace-seeking people and favor broader friendship in the world like others followers of the divine religions such as Muslims, Christians and others.

    Spokesman for the International Jewish Anti-Zionism Network, David Weiss, for his part said that there are a large number of Jews in the world who are against the notion of Zionism and establishing a Zionist state.

    In relevant remarks in 2011, Rabbi Weiss also condemned the usurper Zionist regime, and said Zionism has stolen the name of Judaism and twisted it to oppress the Palestinians.

    “Zionists have totally twisted … Judaism and what is humane, and godly,” Rabbi Weiss said on the sidelines of the International Conference on the Global Fight against Terrorism in the Iranian capital of Tehran in June 2011.

    “Zionism is the abuse of what is legitimate and godly such as Judaism to oppress people, and it is the root cause of the endless river of bloodshed,” he added.

    “We, as Jews, have seen the maligning and misconstruing of what and who is evil and who is a victim,” the rabbi continued.

    He stressed that Palestinians, who are the real victims, are labeled as villains and as against the Jewish people.

    “The world should comprehend what is true terrorism and should unify to stop it speedily and peacefully,” he noted.

    “We come to present and to clarify the truth that the ones who are committing terrorism … are the Zionists,” Rabbi Weiss reiterated.

    Despite Conflict, Syria Implements Reforms

    New Worker

    The Syrian army is continuing its sweep against the Nato-backed rebels throughout the country. The countryside around the capital, Damascus, has now been cleared of terrorists and that most of Aleppo is now safe. But the rebels are responding with more car bombs in Damascus and other urban areas.

    Two senior opposition leaders have disappeared after landing at Damascus International Airport, along with another who came to meet them. They were coming to attend a keynote opposition conference in Damascus and the organisers believe they are being held by Syrian intelligence. The government say the three were kidnapped by terrorist groups.

    And United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has told the UN Security Council that the situation is “extremely bad and getting worse” while the feudal Arab Emir of Qatar, who holds his own people in bondage with imperialist support, is calling for an “Arab intervention force” to enter Syria and halt the conflict.

    Lakhdar Brahimi told the UN: “There is no disagreement anywhere that the situation in Syria is extremely bad and getting worse, that it is a threat to the region and a threat to peace and security in the world.”

    He admitted that he did not have a full plan to end the fighting and said there was “no prospect for today or tomorrow to move forward.” But he added: “I think that we will find an opening in the not too distant future.” And said he believed “reasonable people” would know that they cannot go backwards.

    Meanwhile the Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba’ath) Party, which has dominated Syrian politics since 1963, has said that the Syrian army is making significant achievements and progress on the path of restoring security and stability.

    “This is going on at the time when a dynamic activity is witnessed in the Syrian arena in the course of remarkable political changes towards implementing the reform programme steps, aimed at reaching pluralistic and participatory democracy,” the Ba’athists said in a statement on Tuesday.

    It said the emergence of a large number of parties, trends and forces in an atmosphere of freedom of expression and assembly, despite the special security circumstances, proved “once again the accustomed political vitality of the Syrian people.”

    This was concretely demonstrated by the goahead for a one-day conference in Damascus last Sunday of opposition forces that called for an immediate ceasefire as well as the end of the Assad government. Diplomats from Iran, Russia and China attended the meeting and the Russian ambassador, Azmat Allah Kolmahmedov, praised the conference, organised by National Coordination Body for Democratic Change (NCB), calling it a “direct implementation of the process of reforms launched by the Syrian government, including the freedom of expression.”

    The conference’s conclusions were similar to those in the UN’s “Annan Plan.” It called for an immediate ceasefire accompanied by the full withdrawal of the Syrian army from towns and cities and the release of all political detainees and kidnapped people. This would be followed by the start of negotiations between the opposition and representatives of the Syrian government on a peaceful transition of power.

    The NCB is dismissed by the “Free Syrian Army,” and the other rebel groups funded by the Arab oil princes and armed by Nato, as some sort of front for the Assad government because the NCB is opposed to the violence and imperialist intervention.

    But it is led by some long-standing opponents of Syria’s ruling party and the Ba’athists disagreed with some of the conference’s conclusions.

    The Ba’ath Party attacked the promotion of “despotic and non-patriotic thinking” by some of the participants at the conference and it stressed that the way forward must be based on unconditional dialogue and commitment to plural democracy. Attempts by some opposition parties to link the political solution to the crisis with the armed terrorist dimension affirmed the unity between these parties’ stance and that of the external sides, which are supporting terrorism and sending mercenaries, funds and weapons to the armed groups.