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A woman's decision whether or not to bear a child is one of the most intimate and important decisions she will ever make. Like decisions about contraception, marriage, and child-rearing, the decision to continue or to end a pregnancy is protected from government interference by the U.S. Constitution. Securing full reproductive freedom for all women, regardless of age or economic status, remains among the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) highest priorities.

Threats to Abortion Rights Should Be Challenged

Threats to Abortion Rights Should Be ChallengedThreats to Abortion Rights Should Be Challenged American Civil Liberties Union At Issue: Should Abortion Rights Be Restricted? Auriana Ojeda Greenhaven Press 2003 Viewpoint A woman's decision whether or not to bear a child is one of the most intimate and important decisions she will ever make. Like decisions about contraception, marriage, and child-rearing, the decision to continue or to end a pregnancy is protected from government interference by the U.S. Constitution. Securing full reproductive freedom for all women, regardless of age or economic status, remains among the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) highest priorities. The long march toward reproductive rights The road to a woman's right to choose has been a long and arduous one. Although abortion was not a crime in this country until the mid-1800s, by the century's end, it was banned in every state. By 1930, an estimated 800,000 illegal abortions were taking place annually, resulting in 8,000-17,000 women's deaths each year. The terrible suffering of tens of thousands of women and their families from botched, back alley abortions moved early reformers like Alan Guttmacher to call for legalization. A major breakthrough occurred in 1965 when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Connecticut law that made it illegal even for married couples to obtain birth control devices. In Griswold v. Connecticut, the Court ruled that the ban on contraception violated the constitutional right to "marital privacy." In 1972, the Court extended the right to use contraceptives to all people, married or single. These cases laid the foundation for a constitutional challenge to abortion bans. Between 1967 and 1971, under mounting pressure from the women's rights movement, 17 states decriminalized abortion. Public opinion also shifted during this period. In 1968, only 15 percent of Americans favored legal abortions; by 1972, 64 percent did. When the Court announced its landmark 1973 ruling legalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade, it was marching in step with public opinion. But the backlash was swift and fierce. Anti-choice forces quickly mobilized, dedicating themselves to reversing Roe. In 1974 the ACLU established its Reproductive Freedom Project to advance a broad spectrum of reproductive rights and to resist the anti-choice movement's efforts to undermine women's privacy and equality. The post-Roe struggle The landmark Roe v. Wade decision was based on the constitutional right to privacy-a right the Court found "is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy." Characterizing this right as "fundamental" to a woman's "life and future," the Court held that the state could not interfere with the abortion decision unless it had a compelling reason for regulation. A compelling interest in protecting the potential life of the fetus could be asserted only once it became "viable" (usually at the beginning of the last trimester of pregnancy), and even then a woman had to have access to an abortion if it were necessary to preserve her life or health. The right to choose has dramatically improved the health of individual women by freeing them from the dangers of illegal abortions. It has also improved the quality of women's lives generally, for, as the Supreme Court stated in reaffirming Roe v. Wade in 1992, "The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives." The Supreme Court's 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey was the next legal milestone for reproductive choice. In the face of massive anti-choice pressure, the Court preserved constitutional protection for the right to choose. At the same time however, the Court adopted a new and weaker test for evaluating restrictive abortion laws. Under the "undue burden test," state regulations can survive constitutional review so long as they do not place a "substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus." The Casey decision has forced the ACLU and other pro-choice groups to fight legal battles in courts all over the country over whether or not a particular restriction constitutes a "substantial obstacle." In many cases, the courts have been cruelly insensitive to the problems of real women. More burdens for low-income women For decades, opponents of choice have pursued a strategy of imposing special burdens on the most politically powerless women. The Medicaid program, through which the government provides health services to needy people, has long covered all other pregnancy-related services, but the federal government and most states severely restrict Medicaid funding for abortion. As a result, low-income women often find it difficult, if not impossible, to exercise their constitutional right to have safe and legal abortions. In 1980, the Supreme Court upheld this discriminatory scheme, but in a series of state constitutional cases, advocates for low-income women have successfully argued that when the government provides funding to support the exercise of constitutional rights, it must fund all options evenhandedly, leaving the ultimate choice where it belongs-in the hands of the pregnant woman. These state court victories have made it possible for 40% of Medicaid-eligible women in the U.S. to have access to public funding for abortion. Women who rely exclusively on the federal government for their health care coverage cannot benefit from state constitutional arguments, however. Through various restrictions on federal appropriations, Congress denies abortion coverage to most federal employees and their dependents, military personnel and their dependents, federal prisoners, Peace Corps volunteers, Native American women, and low-income women who reside in Washington, D.C. Congress has thus created a two-tiered health care system in which women who depend on the government do not have the same rights as those who can afford an abortion or who have private insurance. In 1991, the Supreme Court upheld regulations forbidding the staffs of federally funded family planning programs from even mentioning abortion as a medical option. This "gag rule" on abortion counseling and referral never took effect because former president Bill Clinton rescinded the regulations, but similar gag rules continue to be proposed and have been enforced against organizations that receive U.S. dollars to provide family planning services overseas. The government has even tried to use its spending power to pressure women not to have children. Under the mantle of "welfare reform," state governments are experimenting with policies known as "child exclusions" or "family caps." Aimed at discouraging childbearing by low-income women, child exclusions deny subsistence benefits to children born into families already receiving aid. Because the government has no more business punishing childbearing than restricting abortion, the enforcement of child exclusions violates low-income women's right to choose. Targeting young women More than half of the states currently enforce laws that require minors to get permission from their parents or from a court before they can obtain abortions, and many state and local governments continue to deny teenagers the information and services they need to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Parental involvement laws serve only to deepen the desperation of teenagers already in crisis. While most teenagers who are considering abortion talk to their parents about their decision, some cannot or will not go to their parents no matter what the law says. They fear physical abuse, violence between their parents, being thrown out of the house, or triggering a parent's drug or alcohol problem, among other scenarios. The alternative of going to court for judicial authorization for an abortion is often daunting or futile, and increasing numbers of minors are traveling across state lines for abortions or resorting to dangerous illegal or self-induced procedures. The Supreme Court has upheld parental consent and notification laws, but has required that they conform to specific constitutional standards. Careless legislative drafting has led to successful federal challenges. These laws are also beginning to fall under the state constitutions. In 1997, the Supreme Court of California became the third state high court in the nation to hold a parental consent law inconsistent with the state's constitutional privacy protections. Those who have long sought to make abortion inaccessible to minors are now stepping up their attacks on minors' access to contraception and sexuality education. Proposals to require parental consent for contraceptive services to minors were debated in the 1997 and 1998 Congressional terms and have been cropping up in the state legislatures. If these proposals become law, they will scare many sexually active teenagers away from the family planning clinics that may be their only source of confidential reproductive health care, leaving them vulnerable to higher rates of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS. The proponents of "abstinence-only" sexuality education made gains in 1996 when Congress appropriated $250 million over five years for educational programs that have as their "exclusive purpose, teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity." Because such programs must omit any instruction on how to make sex safer, they leave sexually active teenagers unprepared to protect themselves and their partners. While it is important to stress the benefits of abstinence, it is equally important to address the pressing needs of students who reject that lesson. Banning safe abortion procedures The latest tactic of the anti-choice movement is to promote so-called "partial-birth abortion" bans. Although these bans are the most widely debated abortion restrictions of the past decade, they are perhaps also the least well understood. The bans' proponents have launched an intensive campaign to portray them as directed against a "single," "late," "gruesome" abortion procedure. The media have adopted and parroted this description. Yet it is wholly inaccurate. Doctors all over the country have testified, and courts all over the country have found, that the language of the bans is broad enough to encompass the safest and most common methods of abortion. Because the bans are thus directed more at abortion in general than at any discrete procedure, they threaten the core right of reproductive choice. Congress has twice passed, and former president Clinton has twice vetoed, the federal "partial-birth abortion" ban. In his 1996 veto message, Clinton said he could not sign a bill that reflected "Congressional indifference to women's health."... Meanwhile, as the debate drones on in Washington, more than two dozen states have enacted copycat bans. Federal and state constitutional challenges to these state bans are underway throughout the country. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the courts have invalidated the bans. Court after court has identified three main constitutional flaws. First, the language of the bans is so vague that doctors cannot tell with any certainty what conduct is forbidden. Second, the bans lack adequate exceptions to protect women's lives and health. Third, the bans unduly burden the right of reproductive choice by prohibiting the performance of safe and common abortion procedures. These resounding victories in the nation's trial courts are under review in several courts of appeal. Erosion of access to reproductive health services Gaining access to reproductive health services has become increasingly difficult. The states have enacted a web of restrictions that make it more difficult and costly for women to obtain abortions. They include requirements for biased counseling that is intended to dissuade women from having abortions; mandatory waiting periods; and excessive, medically unnecessary regulation of abortion providers. Another barrier to access is the severe shortage of abortion providers. Frightened by anti-choice harassment and violence, many doctors have stopped providing abortions altogether. Eighty-six percent of U.S. counties now have no abortion provider. The shortage is compounded by a persistent lack of adequate abortion training in the nation's medical schools. There are not enough young doctors with both the skills and the courage to step into the void. Many hospitals have ceased to provide abortion as well. The increasingly frequent mergers between religiously affiliated hospitals and non-sectarian hospitals exacerbate the problem. Such mergers often result in the reduction of reproductive health services because of doctrinal restrictions that the religiously affiliated partner attempts to impose on the new merged entity. Typically, these doctrinal restrictions prohibit hospitals from providing abortion, sterilization, contraceptive services, AIDS prevention services, many types of infertility treatments, and even the "morning-after pill" for rape victims. In 1989 Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the opinion in Roe v. Wade, issued a heartfelt dissent from a decision upholding the constitutionality of an array of abortion restrictions. He expressed his fear that, in allowing the government to intrude further and further into the private realm of decisions about reproduction, the Court "casts into darkness the hopes and visions of every woman in this country who had come to believe that the Constitution guaranteed her the right to exercise some control over her unique ability to bear children." The darkness has not yet descended. But the defense of women's reproductive freedom requires constant vigilance.

Why You Should Wear Sunglasses

Why You Should Wear Sunglasses

There are many benefits of wearing sunglasses. You can cover up a hangover, create mystery or escape the paparazzi. The true benefits of this popular accessory are lost when fashion or other purposes take over. Protecting your eyes is the most important thing. It may not be your only reason. Sunglasses are a part of everyones life.Science has come a long way in correcting bad vision. Corneal transplants help a blind person see again and laser treatment can restore your eyes. But it would be better if we could fix the problem from the start. By simply wearing very good sunglasses, you reduce your dependence on these scientific breakthroughs later in life.These rays that the sun produces, called UVA and UVB can cause irreparable damage to your retina and corneas. You had to do so through a pinhole in a shoebox, if you've ever watched an eclipse. Staring into the sun can cause great damage to your eyes. Unfortunately, many people unknowingly allow their eyes to suffer the same fate by not to wear sunglasses.Disorders such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and even skin cancer around the eyes can be signs of sun damage. Thee are prevented by the use of sunglasses. Cataracts are an eye condition that involves clouding of the lens behind the Iris and Pupil. Studies have shown links between cataracts and increased exposure to ultraviolet light. People with macular degeneration have a lot of trouble too. Often even faces are hard for these people to distinguish. Similar to cataracts, prolonged exposure to sunlight without the protection of sunglasses has been included as a probable cause. The last time you got really sunburnt, think about ti for a second....You probably took cold baths and slathered yourself in Aloe Vera. You remember this was pretty painful simply on the skin. If it is so bad for your skin imagine what it is doing for your sensitive eyes. A pair of sunglasses can save your face in more ways than one, you don't really think about them as protecting your skin. Increased exposure to sunlight can cause skin cancer and will attach the most sensitive areas first. Sunglasses can reduce the risk of skin cancer in the eyelids and areas around your eyes.You will also get a decreased appearance of lines around your skin. Simply logic tells us that distorting the face in certain ways on a regular basis can cause premature wrinkles and increase the signs of aging. You squint when you don't wear sunglasses because your eyes are uncomfortable being opened under bright light. So therefore sunglasses help reduce getting crowfoots and wrinkles as you age. Try to imagine waking up tomorrow and not being able to see? Your eyes are one of the most important things in your body. A good pair of sunglasses will protect you against a world of eye disorders and pain. You need to protect your eyes, you need them every day, keep them safe!

Warning to the Elderly: Don't Take Psychoactive Medications and Drive

Warning to the Elderly: Don

There have been a lot of researches that show that older drivers have the second highest risk for motor vehicle collisions of any age group, after adolescents. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, older adults are nine times more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents than drivers aged 25 to 69. In 2000, older adults made up 9% of the resident population, but accounted for 13% of all traffic fatalities and 17% of all pedestrian fatalities. Accidents involving older drivers can cause injury to both the older driver and other drivers and pedestrians. Generally. most senior drivers are good, safe drivers. They know their limitations and do their best to follow the rules of the road. But even the best and the safest drivers can have accidents when there are factors that impair their judgment or senses. Impaired vision, poor hearing and flexibility, limited range of motion, reduced reaction time, and medications are some of the factors which can lead to fatal "car accidents" .Many elderly drivers take several medications to treat certain medical conditions, including those that are specifically for psychiatric care. Those medications may interact with each other causing drowsiness or confusion. There are a lot of older people, especially those who live alone, who use psychoactive medications with or without the doctor's prescription. Psychoactive medications may place older drivers at increased risk for potentially fatal vehicular accidents.Psychoactive medications are drugs that, when prescribed and used prudently, can reduce or eliminate the suffering caused by psychological conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, depression, psychosis, and bipolar affective disorder.A research was conducted on a population-based matched case-control study of older drivers who were involved in injurious crashes from 1987 to 1988. The 234 cases and 447 controls were members of a large Seattle-based health maintenance organization. Use of antidepressants medications and opioid analgesics by older drivers was associated with increased risk for injurious motor vehicle collisions. Compared with non-users, current users of cyclic antidepressants had a 2.3% higher chances of encountering an accident, or what is termed as adjusted relative risk (RR). Opioid analgesic use was also associated with an elevated crash risk. No evidence was found of a dose-related effect with either class of the drug. Current use of benzodiazepines or sedating antihistamines had little association with increased risk for injurious collisions.Moreover, benzodiazepines are among the "psychoactive medications" that are widely prescribed for people over the age of 65 years. Their use has been associated with a number of adverse outcomes including cognitive impairment, an increased risk of falls and hip fractures, especially in people with coexisting medical illness, and car accidents.The risks are greater with long-acting agents and during the first few weeks after drug initiation. In spite of the risks, there is evidence that benzodiazepines may be overprescribed to elderly people. Among the problems identified are the overprescription of long-acting benzodiazepines, high rates of benzodiazepine use in combination with other psychoactive drugs and the prescribing of benzodiazepines for long-term use.While the automobile is a powerful tool for independence and mobility, it is also potentially dangerous. As we grow old, our ability to drive safely may be limited by many factors. Its important to recognize these risk factors and minimize them if possible before car accident occurs. More importantly, all drivers should be aware of safe driving habits, regardless of age.

Tips for buying discount Generic Cialis.

Tips for buying discount Generic Cialis.

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Beat Your Eczema Skin Condition Now & Reclaim Your Life

Are you a sufferer of Eczema? If so it may surprise you to know that you can gain considerable relief from it just by a few changes to your everyday lifestyle. Ive laid out some tips below, so put them into place today to start getting ahead!Moisturize-A lot!Many people will say the worst part of Eczema is the itching. Well heres some news, if you keep your skin moisturized enough you can all but eliminate that pesky itch. The key is to moisturize regularly, and at the correct times. Ideally, twice a day after bathing or showering would be perfect. The reason its done after bathing is so you can seal some of the moisture from the bath or shower into your skin. To do this, lightly dab yourself with a very soft towel, leaving the skin slightly damp, then apply the moisturizer directly to the damp skin. Its a little tougher to work it all in, but its certainly worth the extra effort.Improve Your Diet!Your diet and the food you eat play a huge role in how Eczema is able to attack your body. In short, if you are able to eat more of the foods that aid regeneration of your skin, your skin will be able to regenerate better, and this extra regeneration can really help eliminate your Eczema. As a general rule for this, big salads with lots of greenery are very good. Also, bear in mind that foods with a high acid content have been directly linked to increased Eczema. Its well worth seeing a dietician to get some tips on how to reduce this, and even taking some supplements to reduce or neutralize this. Kelp supplements can be perfect, as they are very high in alkali and will neutralize the acid very naturally.Be Smart-Many people amaze me by complaining about Eczema and then doing all the things they shouldnt do, all the time making it worse. You can beat Eczema by being smart. Avoid itchy clothing-woolens are definitely out, and try to find clothing only of the softest 100% cotton. Also avoid perfumes and scents of any kind, especially applied directly to the skin. Its also possible for the scenting agents in your detergents and toiletries to have a negative effect, so you may want to take the time to find some natural products which are not scented.Take care of your skin!Keep your skin well hydrated all the time, by drinking plenty of water. If you are going to be in the sun, use plenty of the appropriate strength sunblock. It sounds obvious, but carrying a small bottle of sunblock with you at all time can prevent those accidental sunburn occasions, which can obviously have terrible consequences with Eczema.You really can find some great Eczema relief if you apply the tips above. Eczema is a real curse in anyones life, but fighting back and fighting smart can have some real benefits.

Mental Health: Knowing When To Get Help

Some people can get so depressed or problematic that they even reach a point where they question their own sanity. Many people actually wonder if they have really gone over the edge.How about you? Try to answer these questions:Do you have feelings of sadness or irritability? Has there been a loss of interest in pleasurable activities that you once enjoyed? Have you noticed any weight loss or change in your appetite? Have you noticed changes in your sleeping pattern? Are you feeling guilty? Are you experiencing difficulty in concentrating, remembering things or making decisions? Have you had thoughts of suicide or death? If you answered yes to most of these questions, consider consulting your family physician as your mental health maybe at risk.Mental health, as defined by the Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health, refers to the successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with other people, and the ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity. On the other end of the flow is mental illness, a term that refers to all mental disorders.Mental disorders are health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior associated with distress or impaired functioning. This notion of a continuum sees mental health on one end as successful mental functioning compared to mental illness on the other end as impaired functioning.Mental health is how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Like physical health, mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.Everyone feels worried, anxious, sad or stressed sometimes. But with a mental illness, these feelings do not go away and are severe enough to interfere with daily life. It can make it hard to meet and keep friends, hold a job, or enjoy life.Mental illnesses are quite common and affect about one in five families in the U.S. These disorders such as depression, phobias, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and many others are real diseases that one cannot get away from. Fortunately, they are often treatable. Medicines and therapy can improve the life of most people with mental illnesses. But, it is more cost-effective to have a physician prescribe mood stabilizers instead of seeing a psychiatrist. However, follow doctor's instructions on counseling and referrals to mental health professionals.People who are emotionally and mentally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. They feel good about themselves and have good relationships. They can keep problems in perspective. It's important to remember that people who have good emotional health sometimes have emotional problems or mental illness. Mental illness often has a physical cause, such as a chemical imbalance in the brain. Stress and problems with family, work, or school can sometimes trigger mental illness or make it worse. If you feel that you or someone you care about is at risk, ask for help, it may not be easy at first, but there are ways and steps that may save your own or someone elses life.

Summary

A woman's decision whether or not to bear a child is one of the most intimate and important decisions she will ever make. Like decisions about contraception, marriage, and child-rearing, the decision to continue or to end a pregnancy is protected from government interference by the U.S. Constitution. Securing full reproductive freedom for all women, regardless of age or economic status, remains among the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) highest priorities.