Republicans continue to seek the erosion of reproductive rights with a series of measures at the federal and state level. Last week the Republican-controlled House approved a bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks. The vote came months after Republicans were forced to withdraw their initial version following dissent from women in their own party. The new revised measure drops a requirement that rape and incest survivors who seek an exemption must first report to police. But it instead imposes a mandatory waiting period for such women of at least 48 hours before they can have an abortion. The so-called Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is based on the medically debunked contention that fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Its passage in the House is seen as largely symbolic, with Senate Democrats opposed and a previous veto threat from President Obama. But it shows Republicans remain determined to advance an anti-choice agenda on the national level as they do so in the states. According to The New York Times, 11 states have passed at least 37 new anti-abortion laws in the first five months of this year. We are joined by Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
Three peace activists who infiltrated a nuclear weapons site have been freed from prison after their convictions were overturned. In 2012, the self-described Transform Now Plowshares broke into the Y-12 nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Known as the "Fort Knox of Uranium," the complex holds enough uranium to make 10,000 nuclear bombs. The activists cut holes in the fence to paint peace slogans and threw blood on the wall, revealing major security flaws at the facility, which processes uranium for hydrogen bombs. The break-in sparked a series of congressional hearings, with The New York Times describing it as "the biggest security breach in the history of the nation’s atomic complex." The three were convicted of damaging a national defense site. After two years behind bars, a federal appeals court recently vacated their convictions, saying the prosecution failed to prove the three intended to "injure the national defense." All three were released this weekend until their resentencing on a remaining charge of damaging government property. They have likely already served more time than they are set to receive under their new sentencing. We are joined by two of the activists — Sister Megan Rice, an 85-year-old Catholic nun, and Michael Walli — as well as their attorney, Bill Quigley.
Ninety years ago today, on May 19, 1925, Malcolm X was born in Omaha, Nebraska. He would go on to become one of the most influential political figures of the 20th century. We hear Malcolm X in his words speaking in 1964 — half a year before his assassination — delivering his famed speech, "By Any Means Necessary."
Full episodes of Democracy Now! can be viewed at the link: http://freespeech.org/collection/democracy-now.
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