AG Paxton Commends 5th Circuit
Decision Regarding Exclusion of
Planned Parenthood from Medicaid
AUSTIN, TX – Attorney General Ken Paxton today commended the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit after it reversed the district court’s decision preventing Texas from eliminating Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid program.
“The 5th Circuit’s ruling shows that the district court applied the wrong legal standard,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Planned Parenthood’s reprehensible conduct, captured in undercover videos, proves that it is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, so we are confident we will ultimately prevail.”
During oral argument, the attorney general’s legal team recounted raw, unedited footage from eight hours of undercover videos showing violations of medical and ethical standards by Texas Planned Parenthood officials. This footage was also described in the Fifth Circuit’s opinion.
In the videos, Planned Parenthood employees admit that some doctors performed abortions to obtain fetal tissue for their own research and would manipulate the timing and methods of abortions.
The Fifth Circuit included a picture of the fetal tissue Planned Parenthood was harvesting. Federal laws prohibit researchers from performing abortions to secure fetal tissue for their own research under such circumstances, and prohibits modifying abortion procedures to obtain tissue for research purposes.
In December 2016, the inspector general of Texas Health and Human Services removed Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program for the video footage of actions that “violate generally accepted medical standards,” and for making false statements to law enforcement.
Though Planned Parenthood is still under investigation, it receives around $3.1 million a year in Texas Medicaid funding.
Supporters rally for justice for 7-year-old
girl killed in Texas shooting
Mention of “white shooter” brings out million man march. Two days earlier a man killed his 3 children, an infant, a toddler, and a 5-year-old, and severely wounded his wife, but no protest nor march. These crimes are hate crimes!
HOUSTON, TX – Community members rallied at a Texas business near where a 7-year-old girl was fatally shot when a gunman opened fire on the car she and her family were riding in last weekend in an attack that some believe was race related.
The Harris County sheriff has not said theSunday shooting of Jazmine Barnes, a black child who was fatally struck after a gunman described as a possibly white man in his 30s or 40s opened fire on the family’s car at around 6:50 a.m., was motivated by race, but he has said investigators are not ruling anything out.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said Thursday they were focusing “on identifying who this individual is, who this coward is” and finding the red, four-door pickup truck he is believed to have been driving during the shooting.
Jazmine’s mother, who was wounded in the shooting and treated at a hospital and released, said at Saturday’s rally that she appreciates the outpouring of support from around the nation.
“It is going to be justice for her, and I feel it in the bottom of my heart,” said Jazmine’s mother, LaPorsha Washington. “It’s going to be justice for her, because there’s too many people out here looking for this man.”
Washington spoke of the pain of losing a child and said Jazmine’s siblings were next to her when she was shot. She said supporters are giving them strength.
“My babies, man, they come to me and they’re, ‘Momma, are you all OK?’ … helping me, faith in me. And it’s supposed to be the other way around,” Washington said. “It’s not supposed to be like this.”
Washington said they did nothing to provoke the gunman, and she believes it possibly could have been a hate crime.
Police on Thursday released a sketch of the suspect and released surveillance video of what they believe is the red pickup truck he was driving during the shooting.
Attorney Lee Merritt, who is assisting Jazmine’s family, said Saturday that he believes the shooting could be race-related, and he said previously that there seemed to be no other motivation for the crime but race.
“There was no other justification or the motivation that the family could identify, other than a white male who was a complete stranger to them decided to target their family,” Merritt said Thursday at a news conference with the sheriff.
“He had a chance to look into the car, see young girls, observe that family, and without any other explanation he decided to riddle the car with bullets,” Merritt said Thursday.
Supporters on Saturday shouted “What do we want? Justice! Who do we want it for? Jazmine! Say her name! Jazmine!” and “Whose child? Our child!” at the rally.
“However it is defined, it is a hateful and vicious act with violence and guns on innocent women and children driving for a Sunday morning coffee break,” U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents part of Houston, said Saturday. “That should not be acceptable in this country.”
She called the strong turnout at the rally “a powerful expression of really what America is about, and what this great city is about.”
A reward of around $100,000 for information leading to the killer has been raised in an effort spearheaded by activist Shaun King.
Basketball great Shaquille O’Neal and a Houston police officer stepped up to pay for the girl’s funeral. Houston Texans star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins said he will pledge his playoff check to help the family and find the suspect.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter Friday that “Investigators have received many potential leads since releasing the suspect sketch” in the killing
Spacey will be arraigned at Nantucket District Court on January 7 on a charge of indecent assault and battery, according to the district attorney of Cape and Islands, Massachusetts.
Prosecutors did not name the alleged victim of the July 2016 incident but former Boston-based television news anchor Heather Unruh told a news conference last year that police were investigating a complaint by her son against the “House of Cards” and “American Beauty” star.
Unruh told reporters the 59-year-old had sexually assaulted her son on the holiday island of Nantucket after plying him with alcohol late at night in a bar in July 2016.
Unruh described her son at the time as a “star-struck, straight” 18-year-old.
“Kevin Spacey bought him drink after drink after drink, and when my son was drunk, Spacey made his move and sexually assaulted him,” Unruh told the news conference in Boston.
“Spacey stuck his hand inside my son’s pants and grabbed his genitals,” Unruh said. Her intoxicated son, whom she did not name, panicked and froze.
When Spacey left briefly to use the bathroom, he allegedly fled to his grandmother’s house, where he is said to have told his sister what had happened.
Spacey was considered one of the finest actors of his generation. His career has nose-dived following allegations of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen men in the United States and Britain.
The first public report of alleged abuse by him came from actor Anthony Rapp, who claimed that Spacey sexually abused him when Rapp was 14, in 1986.
Spacey apologised to Rapp, claiming not to remember the incident, but remained silent as accusations against him mushroomed.
As a result, Netflix dropped Spacey from its political thriller series “House of Cards,” and he was dumped from his scenes in Ridley Scott’s film “All the Money in the World.”
Spacey is one of the most high-profile figures in the torrent of allegations that have brought down male power players from the worlds of politics, finance, entertainment and journalism, in the wake of accusations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein 14 months ago.
As the arraignment was announced, a bizarre video was shared by Spacey’s Twitter account of the actor apparently addressing his sacking by Netflix — while in character as President Frank Underwood from “House of Cards.”
“Oh sure, they may have tried to separate us, but what we have is too strong, too powerful. After all, we shared everything, you and I,” Spacey says in Underwood’s signature southern drawl, in the video entitled titled, “Let Me Be Frank.”
“I told you my deepest, darkest secrets. I showed you exactly what people are capable of. I shocked you with my honestly, but mostly I challenged you and made you think. And you trusted me, even though you knew you shouldn’t. So we’re not done, no matter what anyone says. And besides, I know what you want. You want me back.”
The three-minute vignette marks Spacey’s first public performance since the allegations against him came to light.
“Of course, some believed everything and have been just waiting with baited breath to hear me confess it all. They’re just dying to have me declare that everything said is true and that I got what I deserved,” he goes on.
“Only you and I both know it’s never that simple, not in politics and not in life,” he says — apparently an allusion to the allegations against both the actor and his Machiavellian character on the show.
Disney actor Stoney Westmoreland
charged in underage sex case
SALT LAKE CITY – Former Disney Channel actor Stoney Westmoreland has been charged with six felony counts after authorities said he tried to have sex with a 13-year-old boy.
Prosecutors say the 48-year-old Westmoreland was on the dating app Grindr when he found a profile that appeared to be an underage boy but was operated by a police detective in Salt Lake City, near where the show “Andi Mack” is filmed.
He also sent explicit photos, authorities said.
A message left with Westmoreland’s agent, Mitchell Stubbs, was not immediately returned.
Charging documents say Westmoreland was arrested Dec. 13 after he took a car to meet the boy so they could go back to his hotel room.
Charges filed Friday include attempted exploitation of a minor and enticing a minor.
Westmoreland has been dropped from his role as the grandfather of the teenage title character in the Disney show after his arrest.
Westmoreland’s other acting credits include “Scandal” and “Breaking Bad.”
Federal Judge Rules State Must Pay for
Inmate’s Gender Surgery
A federal judge in Idaho has ruled that the state must pay for the gender reassignment surgery of a man who has been living as a woman.
The Thursday ruling involved the case of Adree Edmo, a 31-year-old transgender inmate in Pocatello who is currently in a men’s prison. Edmo was sentenced for sexual abuse of a child under 16 back in 2012, according to the Idaho State Journal, and will be in prison until 2021.
There is no such thing as transgender, it is GENDER DYSPHORIA! Every person in America has guaranteed rights except Children, this is against the laws of this land!!!! Robert StrongBow
Edmo’s suit contends that “she lived full-time as a woman, dressing in women’s clothes and wearing women’s cosmetics” before serving time in jail.
Edmo was diagnosed with gender dysphoria by a prison psychiatrist in June of 2012, just months after sentencing. Gender reassignment surgery is one potential treatment for the condition.
“Many transgender individuals are comfortable living with their gender role, expression and identity without surgery,” U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill wrote in the Thursday ruling. “For others, however, gender confirmation surgery … is the only effective treatment.”
“The state has six months to provide Edmo with the surgery, which will restructure her physical characteristics to match her gender identity,” the Associated Press reported.
“Idaho Department of Correction spokesman Jeff Ray said IDOC will be addressing some of the issues raised by the ruling — including whether the state will appeal, and where Edmo will be housed after her surgery — in the days to come. There are currently 30 inmates with gender dysphoria in state custody, according to the ruling.”
Edmo, it’s worth noting, has already received some taxpayer-funded treatment for gender dysphoria. That includes hormone therapy. However, they also have a disturbing history of attempting a crude sort of self-surgery.
“Edmo testified that she feels depressed, embarrassed and disgusted by her male genitalia. Her gender dysmorphia was so severe that in 2015 she tried to remove her testicles using a disposable razor blade,” the AP reported.
“She was unsuccessful at that time, though she continued to be troubled by thoughts of self-castration. In December 2016 she made another attempt, studying anatomy, boiling her razor blade in an attempt to make it sterile and managing to remove one of her testicles before she began to lose too much blood and called for help.”
In Judge Windmill’s ruling, he contended that the denying Edmo gender reassignment surgery was unconstitutional.
“For more than forty years, the Supreme Court has consistently held that consciously ignoring an prisoner’s serious medical needs amounts to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment,” the ruling read.
“I think the thing that makes this case so important is that this is a procedure that is necessary for some transgender inmates, and in fact is lifesaving care, but it’s almost universally denied and banned by prisons across the country,” said Amy Whelan, an attorney with the group that represented Edmo, the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “There is no state that I’m aware of that has ever provided the surgery without being ordered by a court to do so.”
There are two reasons why this line of thought is pretty much bunk, however: the surgery remains elective and there’s no actual evidence that it’s effective.
The first part is pretty straightforward. Adree Edmo will survive whether or not the surgery is performed. Given their past, one would hope prison officials might take more care in not allowing razors anywhere near Edmo’s cell, but there’s no risk of death if the surgery isn’t performed. When you consider the fact that surgeries like this can cost tens of thousands of dollars and there are 30 inmates with gender dysphoria in the Idaho system alone, you quickly begin to grasp the burden this would be on taxpayers for what amounts to an elective surgery.
And then there’s the efficacy of the surgery, which has always been in debate. There are plenty of studies on this, but I’d like to reference two: one by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2016 and one by the U.K. Guardian in 2004.
I reference these specifically because neither could be categorized by the left as bastions of retrograde conservatism. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services conducted the study under the Obama administration, which was almost uniformly friendly to any dubious excess of political correctness when it fit under the aegis of transgender rights. The Guardian, meanwhile, has long been the paper of record if you want to know what British progressives who aren’t thinking for themselves are thinking.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services study was issued in response to a request that gender reassignment be covered under Medicare. They declined based on a paucity of evidence for the efficacy of the procedures.
“Based on a thorough review of the clinical evidence available at this time, there is not enough evidence to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with gender dysphoria,” the Centers concluded, according to the Heritage Foundation.
“There were conflicting (inconsistent) study results—of the best designed studies, some reported benefits while others reported harms. The quality and strength of evidence were low due to the mostly observational study designs with no comparison groups, potential confounding, and small sample sizes. Many studies that reported positive outcomes were exploratory type studies (case-series and case-control) with no confirmatory follow-up.”
Meanwhile, the Guardian discovered what opponents of the surgery have long claimed; they found “no conclusive evidence that sex change operations improve the lives of transsexuals, with many people remaining severely distressed and even suicidal after the operation.”
“There is a huge uncertainty over whether changing someone’s sex is a good or a bad thing,” Chris Hyde, the director of the University of Birmingham’s aggressive research intelligence facility, told the Guardian. “While no doubt great care is taken to ensure that appropriate patients undergo gender reassignment, there’s still a large number of people who have the surgery but remain traumatized — often to the point of committing suicide.”
That, indeed, remains the problem. Of the studies out there, one demonstrated a higher mortality rate for those who underwent sexual reassignment therapy, including a higher rate of attempted suicides. Another found that “(t)he evidence concerning gender reassignment surgery in both (male-to-female) and (female-to-male) transsexism has several limitations in terms of: (a) lack of controlled studies, (b) evidence has not collected data prospectively, (c) high loss to follow up and (d) lack of validated assessment measures.”
In short, at best we can say that we don’t know how efficacious these procedures are. At worst, there’s evidence that they cause injury to the individual involved, both physically and mentally.
This is what a judge wants the state of Idaho — which means the taxpayers of Idaho — to fund: a surgery where the effectiveness isn’t demonstrated on a prisoner with clear mental instability issues. One should certainly have the choice, in a free society, to pursue elective surgical options for conditions even if the benefit hasn’t necessarily been demonstrated.
However, one also ought not to have a claim to pursue it using someone else’s money — particularly if the reason they’re getting that money is because they’re behind bars. This is an absurd decision which desperately needs to be appealed.