A Federal Judge Just Gave an Epic Defense of Planned Parenthood That Everyone Should Read


In a blistering opinion, a federal judge blocked Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood in the state, saying that the move would cause “irreparable harm” to the 5,200 women who depend on the organization for health care.

In July, Gov. Jindal ordered an investigation into the group following the release of a series of highly edited videos that show Planned Parenthood officials discussing fetal tissue donation.  He also ordered the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), to cancel Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s (PPGC) Medicaid contract, which it did in August, effectively defunding the organization in the state. Neither of the two Planned Parenthood clinics in Louisiana offer abortions. Planned Parenthood took the DHH to court later that month.

U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles issued a restraining order against the DHH’s move late Sunday. The order will remain in place for at least two weeks while the judge makes a final ruling on the case. However in his opinion, deGravelles was outspoken in his support of Planned Parenthood. He wrote that the DHH attack on the organization was baseless:

The uncontradicted evidence in the record at this time is that PPGC does not perform abortions in Louisiana, is not involved in the sale of fetal tissue and none of the conduct in question occurred at the PPGC’s two Louisiana facilities. Based on the record before it, it appears likely that Plaintiff will be able to prove that the attempted termination against it are motived and driven, at least in large part, by reasons unrelated to its competence and unique to it.

He also disputed a common Republican argument (one that former Mother Jonesreporter also debunked last month): that closing Planned Parenthood won’t burden its patients, who would have access to other reproductive health providers in the area. According to DeGravelles, defunding Planned Parenthood would leave thousands of women without options:

[The Court] turns to the uncontested and unquestioned facts—PPGC serves 5,200 poor and needy women, and PPGC has repeatedly been deemed a ‘competent’ provider by DHH—and honors the public interest in affording these women women access to their provider of choice… For decades, PPGC has served numerous at-risk individuals and helped DHH combat a host of diseases, and, in the process, become the regular provider of over 5,000 women.

Several other states, including Arkansas, Utah, and Alabama, have cut funding for Planned Parenthood by cancelling Medicaid contracts. In August, the Obama administration notified Alabama and Louisiana that cutting Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding may violate federal law.

For its part, Jindal’s office said on Monday that the governor will “continue to fight to ensure Planned Parenthood no longer receives taxpayer funding.”




My speech from yesterday's hearing on the GOP's latest attempt to demonize Planned Parenthood and the continuation of undermining women's health and their right to choose. I will not allow them to jeopardize women's lives by turning back the clock and sending them to have back-alley procedures. The good news is, if they can't even elect a Speaker of the House, there's no chance they can reverse Roe v. Wade, the law of the land. #iStandWithPP

Posted by Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez on Friday, October 9, 2015
Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez
My speech from yesterday’s hearing on the GOP’s latest attempt to demonize Planned Parenthood and the continuation of undermining women’s health and their right to choose. I will not allow them to jeopardize women’s lives by turning back the clock and sending them to have back-alley procedures. The good news is, if they can’t even elect a Speaker of the House, there’s no chance they can reverse Roe v. Wade, the law of the land. #iStandWithPP

Puerto Rican Women Everyone Should Know


Historical Puerto Rican Women

These are just some of the women who, historically speaking, has played a critical role in our communities. Feel free to post a comment and a link of other historical Puerto Rican women that have played a critical role in our society!

Ana Irma Rivera Lassén, J.D., 1955


A feminist, activist, and lawyer. She was the third woman and the first Puerto Rican of obvious African descent and openly gay President of Puerto Rico’s Bar Association.

Ana Roque de Duprey, 1853-1933


A teacher and feminist, she founded the first “women’s only” magazine in Puerto Rico. She also helped found the University of Puerto Rico campuses in San Juan and Mayagüez.

Dr. Antonia Pantoja, 1922-2002


An educator and organizer, Pantoja founded the educational institution ASPIRA in 1961, Boricua College in 1970, and several other organizations and institutions throughout her life. She was integral in getting bilingual education in New York City schools and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996.

[Photo: Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños]

Blanca Canales Torresola, 1906-1996


A member of the influential Canales family of Jayuya, Torresola was a teacher and revolutionary, playing a leading role in the 1950 Nationalist Insurrection, where she declared the Second Republic. For this she spent 17 years in prison.

Caridad de la Luz, “La Bruja,” 1977


La Bruja is a Bronx born and raised poet and actress who started performing at the Nuyorican Poets Café. She has performed and acted on film, television and web series. She also facilitates writing workshops for inner-city youth and was named in 2005 by El Diario/ La Prensa as one of the 50 most distinguished Latinas.

[Photo: Shirley Rodriguez]

Esmeralda Santiago, 1948


Born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York, Santiago is a graduate of Harvard University and the author of When I Was Puerto Rican and other critically acclaimed novels and memoirs. She is also a spokesperson for public libraries and has advocated for women survivors of domestic violence.

Dr. Evelina López Antonetty, 1922-1984


Called the “Hell Lady of the Bronx” for her fierce advocacy on behalf of Puerto Rican, Black and other historically oppressed peoples in New York City. She fought for bilingual education, community control of public schools, the creation and survival of Hostos Community College, and founded the community institution United Bronx Parents in 1965.

Dr. Helen Rodríguez Trías, 1929-2001


Pediatrician, educator, and women’s rights activist, she was born in New York City and earned her M.D. at the University of Puerto Rico. In 1960, she helped establish the island’s first center of care for newborn babies and in 1970 she became the head of pediatrics at Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx. In NYC, she brought attention to the mass sterilization of Puerto Rican women and reproductive rights. She was the first Puerto Rican and Latina president of the American Public Health Association and was awarded the Presidential Citizen’s Medal in 2001.

Julia de Burgos, 1917-1953


Poet, Teacher, Essayist, and Feminist. She was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico and died in El Barrio/ East Harlem, NY. De Burgos had her first verses published at age 19 and published several books including, Poemas en Veinte ZurcosPoemas Exactos de mí Misma and Canción de la Verdad Sencilla.

Jennifer Lopez, July 1969



Jennifer Lynn Lopez (born July 24, 1969), also known as J. Lo, is an American actress, author, fashion designer, dancer, producer, and singer. She became interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry following a minor role in the 1986 film My Little Girl, to the dismay of her Puerto Rican parents, who believed that it was an unrealistic career route for a Hispanic

Lolita Lebrón, 1919-2010


A leader in the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, New York Chapter, Lebrón led a small brigade on an attack of the U.S. Congress on March 1, 1954 to bring global attention to Puerto Rico’s colonial status. For this act she was incarcerated until 1979. She later became a voice for human rights and non-violent protest against the U.S. Navy’s presence on the island of Vieques.

Luisa Capetillo, 1879-1922


Capetillo was a labor organizer, essayist, and radical feminist born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. She was a leader in the American Federation of Labor, organized tobacco workers and women for universal suffrage and helped pass the island’s minimum wage laws. She is also credited with being the first woman in Puerto Rico to wear pants in public, for which she was arrested.

Dr. Mayra Santos-Febres, 1966


A novelist, literary critic, and intellectual, her works have been translated into several languages. Her novels and poems are used by colleges and universities to engage in challenging topics, such as race, gender and sexuality in Caribbean societies. She organizes the Festival de la Palabra in Puerto Rico.

Melissa Mark-Viverito, 1969


She is the Speaker of the New York City Council – the first Puerto Rican and Latina to hold the position – and represents a district encompassing El Barrio/ East Harlem and the South Bronx. She is a graduate of Columbia University and has worked in labor and human rights issues.

Miriam Colón, 1936


A stage and film actress for over 60 years, she is the founder and director of New York’s Puerto Rican Traveling Theater and winner of the Obie Award’s Lifetime Achievement in the Theater category in 1993.

Nicholasa Mohr, 1938


A Nuyorican writer, her books such as Nilda and El Bronx, detail Puerto Rican life in the barrios of New York. She has won several awards including the New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year and was a National Book Award finalist.

Nydia Velázquez, 1953


The first Puerto Rican woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Velázquez serves since 1993 and represents a district encompassing Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Born in Puerto Rico, she has an M.A. in political science from New York University and has been the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus since 2011.

[Photo: Queens Courier]

Pura Belpré, 1899-1982


The first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City’s public library (NYPL) system, Belpré was a writer, a collector of folktales and advocate for bilingual and children’s literature. Her work in the 115th Street library branch during the 1920s integrated Latin American and Spanish-language literature in the NYPL and validated the presence of the growing Puerto Rican community. She was awarded the New York Mayor’s Award for Arts and Culture in 1982.

Rita Moreno, 1931


An actress and winner of the Grammy, Oscar, Tony and Emmy awards, Moreno was born Rosa Dolores Alverio in Humacao, Puerto Rico. She is known best for playing Anita in West Side Story in 1961 for which she was the first Puerto Rican and Latina to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Rosie Pérez, 1964


Pérez is a screen and stage actress, dancer, choreographer, filmmaker and activist born in Buschwick, Brooklyn. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Fearless in 1993. Pérez also directed the 2006 film Yo Soy Boricua Pa’ Que Tú Lo SepasShe also participated in acts of civil disobedience against the U.S. Navy in Vieques.

Sonia Sotomayor, J.D., 1954


Born and raised in the Bronx, NY, Sotomayor went to Yale Law School and served on the U.S. Circuit Court and Court of Appeals in New York. Since 2009 she has been an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, the first Puerto Rican and Latina to hold this position.

BORICUA: Yajaira Sierra-Sastre: Future Latina Astronaut Brings Flavor To Food In Space

The delicious taste of Latin food is one of the most representative elements of the Hispanic community in the United States. Now Puerto Rican Dr. Yajaira Sierra-Sastre, has made sure that these delicious dishes are being enjoyed even in space!

Born in Arroyo, Puerto Rico, the scientist will be the only Hispanic among six specialists chosen by NASA for the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) project. Starting this month, the group will live for four months at an isolated planetary module in Hawaii, simulating the life of astronauts in a future base on Mars.

But if somebody thought that this Latina would starve herselve with canned foods, they were very wrong. She has ensured that the daily menu has a plate of paella and beans flavored with some rich ingredients like pepper sauce, cilantro and annatto.

In the study new strategies for food preparation during space travel will be tested. The team of scientists is entrusted to improve the cuisine of astronauts. The organization also prepared a contest in which the public can participate by sending suggestions of dishes to be used during the investigation.

Sierra-Sastre holds a doctorate in nanomaterials chemistry from Cornell Universityand is very close to reaching her goal of becoming an astronaut. Due to her specialty in materials, she is also expected to participate in the research on new habitat designs, including cloth, socks, rugs and towels.


Posted: Updated: 

Planned Parenthood EXPOSES GOP Rep FALSE INFORMATION During Hearing



Parenthood President Cecile Richards, who’ll be on tonight’s show, no doubt expected a contentious hearing today when she appeared before the House Oversight Committee. But what she probably didn’t expect is what Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) had in store for their exchange.
As the accompanying video shows, the Utah Republican put a chart on display, purporting to show that over the last decade, the number of prevention services provided by the health care group has steadily declined, while the number of abortions has steadily increased.

Planned Parenthood president stands up to House GOP grilling


Part of the problem, as MSNBC’s Zack Roth reported, is that the information in the chart is misleading [Update: this is what the chart would have looked like if it were honest]. But nearly as important is the fact the congressman presenting the image as devastating evidence simply didn’t know what he was talking about.


When Richards said she’d never seen it before, Chaffetz replied: “It comes straight from your annual reports.”
Moments later, Richards shot back: “My lawyers just informed me that the source of this information is Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group. I would check your source.”
The Utah Republican lectured the Planned Parenthood chief, certain that the misleading image had come from Planned Parenthood materials. It apparently didn’t occur to Chaffetz to actually look at the darned thing – it literally says, “Source: Americans United for Life,” in all capital letters, on the chart he was so excited about.
The GOP lawmaker thought he’d use this “proof” to embarrass Planned Parenthood, but it was Chaffetz who looked ridiculous.
Of course, this was just part of a long, multi-part hearing. Perhaps other Republican members of the Oversight Committee were better prepared?
Unfortunately, no. Paul Waldman’s report in the Washington Post highlighted another noteworthy moment.
…Rep. Jim Jordan, one of the most conservative members of the House, used his time shouting at Richards because she admitted at one point that she had originally “apologized for the tone and statements” in the “sting” videos that started this controversy. Apparently Jordan imagined that in making this admission, she had fallen into a trap and would now have to admit that Planned Parenthood had committed some kind of misconduct. Watching his voice get louder and louder, it seemed as though Jordan was thinking, “I’ve really got her now.” But what did he actually prove? Nothing.
Nor did any of the other Republicans. All seemed to have some very specific question they had prepared, one that was designed to produce a “gotcha” moment. But Richards didn’t have any trouble answering any of them, because the accusations that drove them aren’t all that controversial unless your starting point is that abortion is evil and so is anything in any way connected to it. That’s a position many people hold, but it isn’t a position most Americans hold, and it doesn’t actually tell you whether we should shut down the government.
Watching much of the proceedings, I was reminded of the congressional committee hearings in early August over the international nuclear agreement with Iran. Republicans had months to prepare their best arguments and sharpest questions, but they fired nothing but blanks. Slate’s William Saletan attended all three hearings and came away flabbergasted: “Over the past several days, congressional hearings on the deal have become a spectacle of dishonesty, incomprehension, and inability to cope with the challenges of a multilateral world…. I came away from the hearings dismayed by what the GOP has become in the Obama era. It seems utterly unprepared to govern.”
It was hard not to draw a similar conclusion today. Republicans on this committee prepared for months to grill the Planned Parenthood president, having ample time to organize their thoughts, coordinate their lines of attack, read their own charts, etc.
But the GOP lawmakers, once again, seemed confused, lost in details they didn’t understand.
Even for the most rabid, far-right opponents of women’s reproductive rights, congressional Republicans are poor allies – not because they’re moderate or overly deferential, but because they don’t seem to do their homework especially well. They create opportunities to advance their interests, but then let those opportunities pass as a result of negligence and incompetence.
Disclosure: My wife works for a Planned Parenthood affiliate, but she played no role in this report, her work is unrelated to the controversial videos, and she had nothing to do with today’s congressional hearing.

Bad news for GOP: Eliminate funding to Planned Parenthood? 61% Oppose 35% Support



Planned Parenthood’s standing in the public eye has not been diminished despite months of concerted attacks by Republicans, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll has found.

The poll found that the women’s health organization is viewed favorably by 47% of Americans and unfavorably by 31% in the Sept. 20-24 survey. That is about the same — even a tad better — than the 45%-30% split found in a Journal/NBC poll in July.

At a time when Republicans have been calling for cutting off federal funding to Planned Parenthood and threatening to shut down the government to do so, the new poll found that a strong majority of Americans — 61% — oppose eliminating funding, while 35% support a funding cut off.

The issue cuts along party lines: Among Republicans, 55% support a funding cut-off.  By contrast, only 19% of Democrats and 34% of independents favor stripping the group’s funding.

But even among people who want to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, only 27% favored forcing a government shutdown to accomplish the goal.

“If this happens, this is going to be very difficult for the American public to understand,” said GOP pollster Bill McInturff, who helped conduct the survey.

Republicans have mounted a concerted attack on Planned Parenthood in the wake of this summer’s disclosure of secretly-taped videos that show employees talking about the scientific-research use of fetal tissue and organs from pregnancies terminated in Planned Parenthood facilities.

The group provides an array of women’s health services including cancer screening and contraception as well as abortion. The group is already prohibited from using federal aid for abortions.

The poll found a clear partisan difference of opinion on the group:  Democrats viewed the group positively, by 73%-9%; Republicans were 18% positive, 59% negative.

Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster who helped conduct the survey, said the poll illustrated the political calculation of Carly Fiorina and other GOP presidential candidates who have leaned hard into criticism of Planned Parenthood: It will help rally primary voters, even if it hurts candidates among voters in the general election.



VIDEO: Emmys 2015: Viola Davis Speaks the Truth

To underline her history-making Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series victory, How to Get Away With Murder’s Viola Davis had a tear-inducing speech at the ready. After opening with a Harriet Tubman quote, the veteran character actress went on to point out the continued scarcity of roles for minority actresses in Hollywood, saying:

“You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

Hopefully her words — along with wins by Uzo Aduba and Regina King — will help change that. 

‘In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me, over that line. But I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line.’

That was Harriet Tubman in the 1800s. And let me tell you something: The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.

You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So here’s to all the writers, the awesome people that are Ben Sherwood, Paul Lee, Peter Nowalk, Shonda Rhimes, people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black.

And to the Taraji P. Hensons, the Kerry Washingtons, the Halle Berrys, the Nicole Beharies, the Meagan Goods, to Gabrielle Union: Thank you for taking us over that line. Thank you to the Television Academy. Thank you.


I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.


“I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.”

– Mary Wollstonecraft,
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Mary Wollstonecraft Author profile
born in London, The United Kingdom April 27, 1759
died September 10, 1797
About this author
Mary Wollstonecraft was an eighteenth century British writer, philosopher, and feminist. Among the general public and specifically among feminists, Wollstonecraft’s life has received much more attention than her writing because of her unconventional, and often tumultuous, personal relationships. After two ill-fated affairs, with Henry Fuseli and Gilbert Imlay, Wollstonecraft married the philosopher William Godwin, one of the forefathers of the anarchist movement; they had one daughter, Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. Wollstonecraft died at the age of thirty-eight due to complications from childbirth, leaving behind several unfinished manuscripts.
During her brief career, she wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children’s book. Wollstonecraft is best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), in which she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear to be only because they lack education. She suggests that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and imagines a social order founded on reason.
After Wollstonecraft’s death, Godwin published a Memoir (1798) of her life, revealing her unorthodox lifestyle, which inadvertently destroyed her reputation for a century. However, with the emergence of the feminist movement at the turn of the twentieth century, Wollstonecraft’s advocacy of women’s equality and critiques of conventional femininity became increasingly important. Today Wollstonecraft is regarded as one of the founding feminist philosophers, and feminists often cite both her life and work as important influences.
Information courtesy of Wikipedia.org(less)