Women sue TX officials after being forced to carry life-threatening, non-viable pregnancies.
Alabama to put first inmate to death after string of botched executions.
Global wheat prices soar after Russia threatens ships near Ukraine.
Women sue TX officials after being forced to carry life-threatening, non-viable pregnancies
Thirteen women from Texas have sued the state’s (recently impeached) Attorney General Ken Paxton and the state medical board after suffering through life-threatening and non-viable pregnancies. The women say the state’s restrictive abortion ban endangered their lives and put their babies through unnecessary suffering. They contend that the state’s abortion bans are written in a way that makes doctors afraid to act in the best interest of their patients. The women and several state healthcare providers are demanding that the laws be clarified.
In December of last year, Samantha Casiano found out that she was carrying a baby afflicted by anencephaly, a disorder that prevents a baby’s neck and skull from forming normally. Casiano could not afford to travel out of state for an abortion and the state ban prevented her from getting on in Texas. So Casiano’s baby was born early, and lived for just four hours. In court today, Casiano’s attorney asked her what she was thinking during those four sad hours. Casiano replied, “I just kept telling myself and my baby that I’m so sorry that this had to happen to you. I felt so bad. She had no mercy. There was no mercy there for her”.
Court adjourned briefly when Casiano’s distress caused her to become physically ill on the stand.
Another woman, Amanda Zurawski, became septic after being denied an abortion when her water broke too early. She survived after spending three days in the ICU. Speaking about the callous questioning by the state’s attorney, Zurawski remarked, “I survived sepsis and I don’t think today was much less traumatic than that”.
Alabama to put first inmate to death after string of botched executions
In a 2-1 decision, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Alabama can execute James Barber, 64, today. Barber was convicted of beating a 75-year-old woman to death in 2001 during a robbery.
Barber’s execution will proceed despite concerns that the state has not sufficiently addressed problems with its execution procedures. Last year, the state botched one execution and indefinitely delayed two others. In July 2022, the execution of Joe Nathan James, Jr., was delayed by 3 hours due to difficulties in finding a vein to administer the lethal injection. Over the following months, the IV teams performing the executions of Alan Miller and Kenneth Eugene Smith failed to find a suitable vein before a midnight deadline.
Barber had sought a reprieve from the federal 11th Circuit after Alabama’s State Supreme Court ruled his July 20 execution could proceed, despite it being unclear whether the Department of Corrections had solved the problem. Attorneys for the state claimed they had hired a new IV team for Barber’s execution and contended that the problem was resolved.
However, one of the 11th Circuit judges was not convinced by the state’s claim. Judge Jill Pryor observed that Alabama’s execution review process was conducted “entirely outside the scope of any court’s or the public’s scrutiny, and without saying what went wrong or what it fixed as a result.” Pryor wrote that Alabama “swears it is ready to try again, with Mr. Barber as its guinea pig,” she wrote.
Global wheat prices soar after Russia threatens ships near Ukraine
Earlier this week, Russia announced it was pulling out of a UN-brokered deal that allowed shipments of grain to leave Ukrainian ports for the world market. Ukraine produces about 40% of the world’s grain and several third-world countries depend on Ukrainian grain to feed their impoverished citizens. But those who live on the edge of starvation are not to only ones who will be affected by the end of the deal. Consumers the world over expected to see grain prices rise sharply, and in fact they have risen already.
Since the deal expired, Russia has been bombarding the Ukrainian port at Odessa, destroying infrastructure and thousands of tons of grain. Today, Russia announced today that it would regard any civilian ships approaching Ukraine as potential military targets. While they did not explicitly threaten to fire upon the ships, the warning will make it less likely any ship will venture towards Ukraine.