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Charlotte May Repeal LGBT Protections in Exchange for Changes to HB2

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LGBT Groups Call Potential Deal Between City, GOP Lawmakers ‘Foolish and Dangerous’ 

LGBT groups are urging officials in Charlotte not to compromise with Republican state lawmakers by repealing the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance in exchange for changes to House Bill 2. 

The Charlotte City Council could vote as early as Monday to symbolically repeal the ordinance, which prompted the Legislature to pass HB2 rendering local LGBT protections invalid. 

But in a letter Friday to Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, LGBT groups said the compromise, designed to mitigate economic backlash over the anti-LGBT law and backed by the state Chamber of Commerce, would be “foolish” and “dangerous.” 

“With more than 200 business leaders, major entertainers, and the NCAA and NBA unifying against HB2, including cancelling plans to move to or perform in the city, times have been undoubtedly difficult in Charlotte and across North Carolina,” Equality North Carolina, the Human Rights Campaign and the National Center for Transgender Equality wrote to Roberts. “But make no mistake, your votes on February 22 did not cause this. The reckless actions of state leaders, elected to protect all citizens, did. They are the ones who jeopardized and continue to jeopardize the state’s economic opportunities.

“The road ahead may be long, and the challenges today may feel insurmountable, but we write today to urge you to stay the course,” the groups wrote. “Backing down in the face of hate isn’t right and it won’t work.” 

The Charlotte Observer shed light on possible terms of the compromise in an editorial Friday: 

Charlotte’s move, according to sources: Rescind the anti-discrimination ordinance the city passed in February, along with others that have been rendered invalid by state law. Council members could call it a “cleaning up” of ordinances that have no power. That’s better politically than calling it a repeal.

The General Assembly’s corresponding move: Repeal and replace HB2 – or at least key parts of it. The replacement could take several forms. One possibility is to allow cities to craft ordinances making sexual orientation a protected class, as Charlotte did, so long as local voters approved the measure in a referendum. Republicans could say they’re letting citizens make the choice, not “radical” city leaders, a concept that could soothe at least some conservative voters back home.

The compromise is not a formal deal. It’s the product of discussions that began with council members who want to save Charlotte from HB2 boycotts – including the 2017 NBA All-Star Game – without abandoning protections against discrimination for the city’s gays and lesbians.

The Observer reported Monday that council members believe they have the required six votes to repeal the ordinance. However, Roberts opposes the compromise and likely would veto the repeal. It’s unclear whether the council would have the necessary seven votes to override her veto. 

Monday’s meeting begins at 5 p.m. Eastern and can be watched live here.  

There are several lawsuits surrounding HB2, which legal experts have called unconstitutional.

 

Image by Julia Sims via Twitter 

 

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‘Don’t Breathe Easy Yet’: Abortion Pill Safe Only ‘For Now’ Experts Say After SCOTUS Ruling

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In a largely expected ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected an attempt to have a decades-old prescription drug widely used to induce abortions, mifepristone, pulled from the market, but only because the group that filed the lawsuit lacked standing. The court did not rule on the actual merits of the case, nor on the drug’s safety and viability, or the FDA’s decision to approve the medication. Civil rights and other legal experts have long held Republicans, especially after Roe v. Wade was overturned, want to go after medication abortion and contraception, and warn after Thursday’s SCOTUS ruling those efforts will continue.

Mifepristone, which was first approved for use in France in 1988, was approved for prescription use in 2000 by the U.S. Food and Drug administration, which states it is safe to use.

“Justice Brett Kavanaugh, writing for the court, wrote that while plaintiffs have ‘sincere legal, moral, ideological, and policy objections to elective abortion and to FDA’s relaxed regulation of mifepristone,’ that does not mean they have a federal case,” NBC News reports.

Justice Kavanaugh advised the plaintiffs that they “may present their concerns and objections to the president and FDA in the regulatory process or to Congress and the president in the legislative process.”

“And they may also express their views about abortion and mifepristone to fellow citizens, including in the political and electoral processes,” he added.

READ MORE: GOP Will Ban IVF if Trump Wins After Southern Baptists Condemnation: Expert

Robert Reich, the professor of public policy and former U.S. Cabinet Secretary, wrote: “The Supreme Court dismissing challenges to the FDA’s approval of mifepristone is good news, but the fight’s not over. A MAGA-controlled FDA could effectively ban all abortion medications without even involving the courts or Congress. Abortion access is on the ballot this fall.”

Legal journalist Cristian Farias, added, “Today’s decision denying standing to religious doctors challenging the FDA’s approval of mifepristone says nothing about states doing the same. That’s a big problem, because Trump judge Matthew Kacsmaryk allowed a trio of states to intervene in this very case. He’s on a mission.”

Also pointing to the Kacsmaryk decision, Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern warns, “Today’s decision will probably not stop him from issuing more nationwide restrictions on mifepristone.”

Legal experts say the way the court ruled was anticipated, the physicians’ claim to standing was “utterly ridiculous,” and warn the right will return with another attack on medication abortion.

Attorney Moe Davis, the well-known and outspoken retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, professor of law, and judge, declared: “To be clear, the Supreme Court did not decide the merits of the case. They said the party challenging mifepristone lacked standing (i.e., they couldn’t show they suffered any injuries) to bring the case. Another party could (and will) try again. This isn’t a win, it’s a delay.”

Professor of law and legal historian Mary Ziegler said, “The fight over abortion pills and the Comstock Act isn’t over. Other plaintiffs are ready to bring identical claims and assert they have standing. And conservatives argue that a Trump DOJ could enforce the Comstock Act as a ban and force SCOTUS to take up the q.”

READ MORE: ‘Birth Control and Dental Dams and Food’: Fox News Host’s Rant Goes Viral

Alex Aronson, former Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, now Executive Director of the non-profit organization Court Accountability, responded to Thursday’s ruling from a tactical perspective.

“Classic Roberts Court maneuver:

-grant dangerous, frivolous, right-wing case with no business on its docket;

-light country’s hair on fire;

-smack down frivolous case to be hailed as reasonable and moderate, giving cover to other destruction.

-still advance right-wing agenda”

Professor of law Melissa Murray, making clear this ruling is likely not the end, warned, “don’t breathe easy yet.”

“This decision preserves access to medication abortion… FOR NOW,” she wrote. “There will be another case–with better plaintiffs–before the Court faster than Thomas can book a ride on Crow’s private jet.”

READ MORE: ‘Lying’: Johnson Slammed for Latest Claim on Trump Respecting Peaceful Transfer of Power

 

Image via Shutterstock

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‘These Kinds of Folks’: Jim Jordan Wants to Block Fani Willis and Alvin Bragg

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Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, increasing his efforts to use the tools of his office to support, protect, and promote Donald Trump, has been speaking with Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan about defunding federal prosecutions of the now-criminally convicted ex-president, according to a report by Politico Playbook.

Thursday morning Donald Trump is meeting with House Republicans, barely blocks away from the violent and deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol he incited, at the restaurant where one of the pipe bombs was discovered outside on January 6, 2021. Republicans, according to Punchbowl News’ Max Cohen, are singing the indicted ex-president “Happy Birthday,” and have presented him with the bat and ball from the congressional baseball game, which the GOP won Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, asked if Trump has committed to respect the peaceful transfer of power, an irritated and frustrated Speaker Johnson told reporters, “Of course he respects that. And we all do and we’ve all talked about it ad nauseam.”

READ MORE: GOP Will Ban IVF if Trump Wins After Southern Baptists Condemnation: Expert

Trump has been urging Speaker Johnson to pass legislation that would allow an ex-president to move any state-level prosecutions against them to the federal courts. It’s an idea that has been met with skepticism among Republicans, but “there’s an education effort underway inside the House GOP,” Politico reports, citing remarks by the bill’s sponsor, U.S. Rep. Russell Fry (R-SC).

Chairman Jordan wants to take those efforts to defund those federal prosecutions, specifically defunding Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Office, and extend them to state prosecutors who have brought cases against the ex-president. State and local law enforcement agencies, including district attorneys offices, are eligible for federal grants.

“That country certainly sees what’s going on, and they don’t want Fani Willis and Alvin Bragg and these kinds of folks to be able to continue to use grant dollars for targeting people in a political lawfare type of way,” Chairman Jordan told Politico Playbook.

READ MORE: ‘Birth Control and Dental Dams and Food’: Fox News Host’s Rant Goes Viral

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GOP Will Ban IVF if Trump Wins After Southern Baptists Condemnation: Expert

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Republicans will ban in-vitro fertilization (IVF) if Donald Trump is elected after the Southern Baptist Convention voted on Wednesday to condemn the practice, a political scientist is predicting. IVF involves manual fertilization of eggs, some of which are destroyed if not implanted, which is murder according to those who believe life begins at conception.

“The SBC is the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., with over 50,000 churches and over 14 million faithful, and has become a political force in recent decades,” Reuters reports. “The resolution called on ‘Southern Baptists to reaffirm the unconditional value and right to life of every human being, including those in an embryonic stage, and to only utilize reproductive technologies consistent with that affirmation.’

Largely white and Republican, the Southern Baptist Convention is the second-largest Christian denomination in the U.S. after Catholics.

“The move may signal the beginning of a broad turn on the right against IVF, an issue that many evangelicals, anti-abortion advocates and other social conservatives see as the ‘pro-life’ movement’s next frontier — one they hope will eventually lead to restrictions, or outright bans, on IVF at the state and federal levels,” Politico reports Wednesday.

READ MORE: ‘Birth Control and Dental Dams and Food’: Fox News Host’s Rant Goes Viral

“Southern Baptists are the base of the Republican Party,” writes professor of political science David Darmofal. “Parties are responsive to their bases. The Southern Baptist Convention just voted to oppose IVF. Republicans will ban IVF if Trump wins.”

According to the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) over 86,000 babies, about 2.3%, were born via IVF in 2021, largely due to infertility.

America already has a declining fertility rate, meaning that more people are dying than are being born, according to the CDC.

“The general fertility rate in the United States decreased by 3% from 2022, reaching a historic low,” CDC reports. “This marks the second consecutive year of decline, following a brief 1% increase from 2020 to 2021. From 2014 to 2020, the rate consistently decreased by 2% annually.”

READ MORE: ‘Lying’: Johnson Slammed for Latest Claim on Trump Respecting Peaceful Transfer of Power

The U.S. Senate on Thursday will vote on legislation to protect IVF.

Other critics are sounding the alarm as well.

“When Sen. Katie Britt and Sen. Ted Cruz say IVF is safe and Dems are fear-mongering, she’s lying, and today the SBC told on her,” Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Kyle Whitmire wrote.

“I could care less if Southern Baptists oppose the science of IVF that has helped so many people to have families that they otherwise would not have,” noted neuroscientist Bryan William Jones. “You be you. What I do care about is that Southern Baptists are working politically to PREVENT families from having access to IVF.”

The Biden campaign Wednesday afternoon posted video of Donald Trump praising the SBC and vowing, “I’ll be with you side by side.”

Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: Buttigieg on Martha-Ann Alito: Flags Symbolizing Love vs. Insurrection Are Different

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