Mississippi moves closer to banning abortions after 15 weeks

Updated 28 February 2018
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Mississippi moves closer to banning abortions after 15 weeks

MISSISSIPPI: Mississippi moved a step closer on Tuesday to passing the United States’ most restrictive abortion law when a state Senate committee approved a bill banning most procedures after 15 weeks of gestation.
The measure, House Bill 1510, now heads to the full Senate after passage by the Public Health and Welfare Committee, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves said in a statement. Current state law bans abortion at 20 weeks after conception.
A vote is expected in the Republican-controlled Senate by March 7, a spokeswoman for Reeves said by phone. The bill passed the state House of Representatives earlier this month.
“I appreciate the work of the committee and look forward to seeing our state continue to lead the way in protecting the lives of unborn children,” said Reeves, a Republican who presides over the Senate.
Republican Governor Phil Bryant told the Mississippi Today website after passage in the Republican-controlled House this month that if the Senate approved the measure he would sign it.
A representative for Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, could not be reached for comment.
Seventeen states ban abortion at about 20 weeks after fertilization or its equivalent of 22 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which opposes abortion limits.
The Mississippi bill includes an exception in the case of severe fetal abnormality or a medical emergency, which it defines as a threat to the woman’s life or a serious risk of impairing a major bodily function.
Felicia Brown-Williams, the Mississippi state director for Planned Parenthood Southeast, has told Mississippi Today the proposed ban was unconstitutional and bad policy.
The US Supreme Court legalized abortion in its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. It has banned prohibiting abortion before the fetus is able to live outside the womb, usually seen at about 20 weeks of gestation.
The Guttmacher Institute said last month that about 926,200 US abortions were performed in 2014, down 12 percent from 2011.
Americans tend to split roughly down the middle on abortion access, with 49 percent saying they supported it and 46 percent saying they opposed it in a 2017 Gallup poll. (Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington Editing by Leslie Adler)


Jordan charity gathers hotel leftovers to feed poor

Updated 13 June 2018
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Jordan charity gathers hotel leftovers to feed poor

  • A team of volunteers collect unwanted food from lavish Ramadan buffets
  • Bandar Sharif began his ‘Family Kitchen’ initiative 10 years ago

AMMAN: At the end of a lavish Ramadan buffet in the banquet hall of one of Amman’s five-star hotels, a young Jordanian charity worker rushes to gather up left-over food that his team of volunteers will package and redistribute to needy families.
Bandar Sharif began his ‘Family Kitchen’ initiative 10 years ago, angered by the amount of food thrown away by hotels during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, traditionally a period when consumption levels double across the region.
“What we do is eliminate this waste, we salvage the food and provide it to people who are in desperate need of it,” said Sharif, a 33-year-old teacher.
His team of volunteers now works all year round to collect unwanted food from large wedding parties, bakeries and restaurants.
This year the initiative has focused on the Palestinian refugee camp of Baqaa, one of the depressed areas in a country that has seen some of the biggest protests in years this month over steep price hikes, which are backed by the International Monetary Fund.
Critics say the price hikes are to blame for rising poverty in Jordan.
Family Kitchen’s initiative this year provides ‘iftar’ meals — eaten by Muslims after sunset during the holy month of Ramadan — to 500 families in the impoverished refugee camp on the outskirts of Amman.
A third of the camp’s 120,000 residents have an income below the national poverty line and around 17 percent are unemployed, the UN refugee body says.
“Our families are very poor, there is a lot of poverty in the community, so they need this support, they need these meals in order to ensure that they have food the next day,” said Kifah Khamis, who runs a charity in the sprawling camp.
One camp resident, Um Thair, a mother of four, said she could not have coped without the meals delivered to her family.
“I was able to save money. During Ramadan I didn’t have to buy a lot of food or shop a lot, we got most of our meals from the charity, we would come everyday and get our iftar meal,” she said.