A year after Roe struck down, taxpayer-funded “crisis pregnancy centers” expand in Mississippi.
USDA to spend $2.3 billion on food aid programs.
Russian mercenary boss says Ukraine war “based on lies”, threatens rebellion.
A year after Roe struck down, taxpayer-funded “crisis pregnancy centers” expand in Mississippi
Saturday will mark a year since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health, which repealed the federal abortion rights protections in Roe v. Wade. Since then, nearly 20 states have either passed near-total abortion bans or heavily restricted when and under what circumstances abortions are permitted. The bans have caused an exodus of OBGYNs and other women’s healthcare specialists. Fearing lawsuits and long prison sentences, physicians have fled to less-restrictive states where they are free to give their patients the care they need.
Mississippi has a near-total ban with exceptions only for rape (when reported to police) and the life of the mother. There is no exception for incest. When the ban went into effect, Gov. Tate Reeves promised to make Mississippi a more “pro-life” state through new programs to support mothers and infants. A year later and there has been modest progress. Reeves expanded Medicaid care for new mothers from 2 months after birth to up to a year after birth. But lifetime support remains lacking, and Mississippi still ranks among the country’s highest maternal and infant death rates.
Reeves is redirecting $10 million in tax credits to those who donate to “crisis pregnancy centers”, mostly run by religious organizations. Leaving aside questions of separation of church and state, the dozens of new centers have had a limited impact in making Mississippi a more supportive environment for new mothers. As Michelle Colon, a reproductive health advocate in Jackson, said, “You can give somebody today a little gift bag with, you know, one pack of Pampers and a pack of baby wipes. That’s enough to get you through, what, a couple of days?” Colon said. “But we’re talking about long-term assistance, that long-term help they claim that they do, and that’s just not true.”
USDA to spend $2.3 billion on food aid programs
Even as pandemic-era food aid to schools and households has come to an end, food inflation remains high. According to a recent Household Pulse Survey from the Census Bureau, 11.3% of American households reported not having enough food to eat in the past 7 days. In Mississippi, the number stood at 13.4%.
To combat food insecurity, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be spending a total of $2.3 billion. About $1.3 billion will go towards additional food purchases for school meal programs across the states. Another $1 billion will go to support the food banks and community kitchens on which many low-income households rely.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack previously announced $500 million in aid to domestic farmers who are facing price crunches due to the war in Ukraine. Vilsack has also announced $400 million to support domestic fertilizer producers.
Russian mercenary boss says Ukraine war “based on lies”, threatens rebellion
Yevgeny Prigozhin, chief of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, has released two videos condemning Russia’s military leadership. In the first video, released yesterday, Prigozhin alleged that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was “based on lies”. He accused powerful members of Russia’s defense forces of tricking Putin into invading. Ahead of the invasion, Putin declared the war necessary to head off aggression from Ukraine towards majority-Russian regions in the east. Putin also stated his goals of “de-Nazifying” and “demilitarizing” Ukraine. Prigozhin decried these rationales as “pretty stories”, but blamed Russia’s defense minister Sergei Shoigu for pushing them rather than Putin himself.
In a later release, Prigozhin accused the Russian military of shelling a position held by Wagner fighters. The video shows shattered trees and a blazing trench, with Prigozhin claiming many of his recruits were killed in today’s “friendly fire” attack. In retaliation, Prigozhin said that he and his troops would punish defense minister Shoigu. He ordered other units to stand down and not offer resistance.
“There are 25,000 of us and we are coming to sort things out. … Those who want to join us, it’s time to finish with this mess,” Prigozhin said.