First Black woman in U.S. Supreme Court in its more than 230-year history

In a historic vote Thursday, the Senate confirmed federal appeals Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court, making her the first Black woman and first public defender to serve on the high court in its more than 230-year history.

Three Republican senators supported Jackson’s confirmation: Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney. The only Black Republican senator, Tim Scott, cast a “no” vote. The final vote was delayed when Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky remained noticeably absent. He eventually voted from the Senate’s cloakroom because he didn’t meet the Senate dress code of wearing a tie. In fact, he was reportedly wearing a windbreaker. Three other Republican senators also voted “no” from the cloakroom in casual attire: Jim Inhofe, Jerry Moran and Lindsey Graham, who was seen wearing a tie earlier in the day at a press conference but had changed into a polo shirt.

Judge Jackson’s confirmation followed four days of Senate hearings last month, when she described how her parents had faced racial segregation, and said her path was clearer now because of civil rights laws. Republicans used the confirmation hearings to raise issues that are not on the court’s docket, like critical race theory. They also questioned her

— source | Apr 08, 2022

Nullius in verba

Abortion, Roe, and the Alito Opinion

Positioning oneself on the right side of history before History has rendered its verdict, it’s a tricky business.[1] If Bolshevism was the progressive cause du jour internationally in the first half of the 20th century, eugenics was all the rage domestically in progressive circles. A veritable Who’s Who of progressive thinkers—Theodore Roosevelt, Margaret Sanger, and Helen Keller in the US; Bertrand Russell, Bernard Shaw, and H. G. Wells in the UK—embraced the eugenical improvement of the human race via scientific breeding. States in the Union that had “enlightened” governments such as Wisconsin passed mandatory sterilization laws to weed out “defectives” (those born with congenital handicaps and illnesses) and the “feebleminded” (those possessed of low morals and I.Q.s, which were said to go hand-in-hand). Such legislation met resistance, however, in the “backward,” God-fearing Protestant Bible-Belt states of the Deep South, as they embraced the sanctity of our common humanity (salvation was within reach of all God’s children).[2] Eventually, however, the Deep South, too, fell into line as these states succumbed before the juggernaut of “progress.” The legality of state-enforced sterilization came before the US Supreme Court in Buck v. Bell (1927). The defendant, Carrie Buck, along with her mother and daughter, was alleged to be feeble-minded. (There appears to have been no evidentiary basis for this contention.) Revered Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes upheld not just the legality but also the desirability of sterilization.

— source | Norman Finkelstein | May 5, 2022

Nullius in verba

First get your heart in shape then get pregnant

More than one in two young women between the ages of 20 and 44 who gave birth in the United States in 2019 had poor heart health before becoming pregnant, the study found. Poor heart health puts expectant mothers and their babies at risk, with heart disease causing more than one in four pregnancy-related deaths. As women, we tend to think about the baby’s health once we become pregnant, but what so many women don’t realize is the very first thing they can do to protect their babies (and themselves) is to get their heart in shape before they even conceive. The study will be published Feb. 14 in Circulation, the American Heart Association’s (AHA). Women with favorable heart health before pregnancy are less likely to experience complications of pregnancy and are more likely to deliver a healthy baby. Even more importantly, optimizing heart health before and during pregnancy can prevent the development of heart disease years later.

— source Northwestern University | Feb 14, 2022

Nullius in verba

Colombian High Court Decriminalizes Abortion

Women in Colombia are now free to seek abortion care without fear of criminal prosecution following a ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court on Monday—the result of years of campaigning by reproductive rights groups. The ruling decriminalized abortion in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, removing strict barriers that have kept women from obtaining the procedure legally and have forced many people to risk incarceration by getting abortions at illegal clinics. The court ruled in a case brought by Causa Justa, a coalition of reproductive rights groups, which argued that the criminalization of most abortions in Colombia has led healthcare providers to deny the procedure to women even if they were legally permitted to have an abortion and has prevented patients from seeking them out of fear of being prosecuted.

— source | Feb 22, 2022

Nullius in verba

Sex matters when it comes to disease

A University of Alberta-led study shows that when it comes to susceptibility to infections and other health conditions, sex matters. anemia — a condition in which a person lacks enough mature red blood cells to carry oxygen in the body — can be due to an iron deficiency or loss of blood, and can generate different immunological responses in males versus females. Knowing females are generally more predisposed than males to anemia due to monthly blood loss or pregnancy and childbirth. women have more immature red blood cells in their blood circulation after their menstrual cycle than before it. Males and females have different physiology and immune systems. Therefore, we need to be taking into account these differences between females and males from the very start of any research or clinical trial.

— source University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry | Oct 12, 2021

Nullius in verba

Visible Work, Invisible Women

The panel is part of Visible Work, Invisible Women, a photo exhibition depicting the great range of work done by rural women. All the photographs were shot by P. Sainath across 10 Indian states between 1993 and 2002. Here, PARI has creatively digitised the original physical exhibition that toured most of the country for several years.

A lifetime bending

She paused, exasperated by the midday sun in Vizianagaram. But remained bent over. She knew she would resume work in moments – in that very posture.

Working in the same cashew fields were two other groups of women from her village. One group had carried its lunch and water two kilometres to the field. The other worked from the reverse direction. All were bent over.

In Rayagada in Odisha, there were also men in the field. Through the lens, it was more spectacular. All the men were standing. All the women, bending. In Nuapada in Odisha, the rain did not stop the woman from weeding. She worked on, bent from the waist. Under an umbrella.

— source | P. Sainath | Jul 22, 2014

Nullius in verba

How Indian Mothers have been Deprived of Rs. 84,000 Crores

The Union government has denied millions of Indian women their legal right to maternity benefits worth Rs. 84,000 crores over the last seven years. In 2013, the National Food Security Act made a provision for maternity benefits to women. According to section 4 of this law, every pregnant and lactating mother is entitled to nutritious food and maternity benefits of at least Rs. 6,000, to be provided in instalments prescribed by the central government.

This legal commitment required an additional budgetary allocation. Presuming a population of 132 crores, a birth rate of 20 per thousand, and 90% coverage, the estimated annual budget for this scheme would be Rs. 14,000 crores, which is less than 0.05% of the GDP, and with disproportionately high benefits of protecting the health and nutrition of mothers and children.

Considering this, the government should have operationalised this legal commitment long ago. Even if the government started the scheme in financial year 2015-16, by now, the full benefits ought to have been rolled out. Therefore, during the seven financial years from 2015-16 to 2021-22, Rs. 98,000 crores would have been provided.

However, the actual expenditure on this legal obligation reveals that what was required for one year (Rs. 14,000 crores) has been spent over the last seven years, if not less. In

— source | Bharat Dogra | 11 Jan 2022

Nullius in verba

Thousands of Indian housewives are suiciding

According to the recently released data by the government’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 22,372 housewives took their own lives last year – that’s an average of 61 suicides every day or one every 25 minutes. Housewives accounted for 14.6% of the total 153,052 recorded suicides in India in 2020 and more than 50% of the total number of women who killed themselves. And last year was not an exception. Since 1997 when the NCRB started compiling suicide data based on occupation, more than 20,000 housewives have been killing themselves every year. In 2009, their numbers rose to 25,092. India reports the highest numbers of suicides globally: Indian men make up a quarter of global suicides, while Indian women make up 36% of all global suicides in the 15 to 39 years age group.

— source | 16 Dec 2021

Nullius in verba