Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, July 16, 2022


The Rock, Bernal Hill, San Francisco








Fuck You

With Olivia Rodrigo and Lily Allen

[Verse 1: Lily Allen]

Look inside, look inside your tiny mind

Then look a bit harder

'Cause we're so uninspired, so sick and tired

Of all the hatred you harbour

So you say it's not okay to be gay

Well, I think you're just evil

You're just some racist who can't tie my laces

Your point of view is medieval


[Chorus: Lily Allen]

Fuck you, fuck you very, very much

'Cause we hate what you do

And we hate your whole crew

So please, don't stay in touch

Fuck you, fuck you very, very much

'Cause your words don't translate

And it's getting quite late

So please, don't stay in touch

[Verse 2: Olivia Rodrigo, Lily Allen & Olivia Rodrigo]

Do you get, do you get a little kick out of being small minded?

You want to be like your father, it's approval you're after

Well, that's not how you find it

Do you, do you really enjoy living a life that's so hateful?

'Cause there's a hole where your soul should be

You're losing control of it

And it's really distasteful


[Chorus: Olivia Rodrigo, Lily Allen & Olivia Rodrigo]

Fuck you, fuck you very, very much

'Cause we hate what you do

And we hate your whole crew

So please, don't stay in touch

Fuck you, fuck you very, very much

'Cause your words don't translate

And it's getting quite late

So please, don't stay in touch


[Bridge: Crowd]

Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you

Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you

Fuck you


[Verse 3: Lily Allen]

You say you think we need to go to war

Well, you're already in one

'Cause it's people like you that need to get slew

No one wants your opinion



Doctors for Assange Statement


Doctors to UK: Assange Extradition

‘Medically & Ethically’ Wrong 



Ahead of the U.K. Home Secretary’s decision on whether to extradite Julian Assange to the United States, a group of more than 300 doctors representing 35 countries have told Priti Patel that approving his extradition would be “medically and ethically unacceptable”.


In an open letter sent to the Home Secretary on Friday June 10, and copied to British Prime Minster Boris Johnson, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland, the Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, the doctors draw attention to the fact that Assange suffered a “mini stroke” in October 2021. They note:


“Predictably, Mr Assange’s health has since continued to deteriorate in your custody. In October 2021 Mr. Assange suffered a ‘mini-stroke’… This dramatic deterioration of Mr Assange’s health has not yet been considered in his extradition proceedings. The US assurances accepted by the High Court, therefore, which would form the basis of any extradition approval, are founded upon outdated medical information, rendering them obsolete.”


The doctors charge that any extradition under these circumstances would constitute negligence. They write:


“Under conditions in which the UK legal system has failed to take Mr Assange’s current health status into account, no valid decision regarding his extradition may be made, by yourself or anyone else. Should he come to harm in the US under these circumstances it is you, Home Secretary, who will be left holding the responsibility for that negligent outcome.”


In their letter the group reminds the Home Secretary that they first wrote to her on Friday 22 November 2019, expressing their serious concerns about Julian Assange’s deteriorating health.


Those concerns were subsequently borne out by the testimony of expert witnesses in court during Assange’s extradition proceedings, which led to the denial of his extradition by the original judge on health grounds. That decision was later overturned by a higher court, which referred the decision to Priti Patel in light of US assurances that Julian Assange would not be treated inhumanely.


The doctors write:


“The subsequent ‘assurances’ of the United States government, that Mr Assange would not be treated inhumanly, are worthless given their record of pursuit, persecution and plotted murder of Mr Assange in retaliation for his public interest journalism.”


They conclude:


“Home Secretary, in making your decision as to extradition, do not make yourself, your government, and your country complicit in the slow-motion execution of this award-winning journalist, arguably the foremost publisher of our time. Do not extradite Julian Assange; free him.”


Julian Assange remains in High Security Belmarsh Prison awaiting Priti Patel’s decision, which is due any day.




Sign the petition:


If extradited to the United States, Julian Assange, father of two young British children, would face a sentence of 175 years in prison merely for receiving and publishing truthful information that revealed US war crimes.

UK District Judge Vanessa Baraitser has ruled that "it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America".

Amnesty International states, “Were Julian Assange to be extradited or subjected to any other transfer to the USA, Britain would be in breach of its obligations under international law.”

Human Rights Watch says, “The only thing standing between an Assange prosecution and a major threat to global media freedom is Britain. It is urgent that it defend the principles at risk.”

The NUJ has stated that the “US charges against Assange pose a huge threat, one that could criminalise the critical work of investigative journalists & their ability to protect their sources”.

Julian will not survive extradition to the United States.

The UK is required under its international obligations to stop the extradition. Article 4 of the US-UK extradition treaty says: "Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense." 

The decision to either Free Assange or send him to his death is now squarely in the political domain. The UK must not send Julian to the country that conspired to murder him in London.

The United Kingdom can stop the extradition at any time. It must comply with Article 4 of the US-UK Extradition Treaty and Free Julian Assange.



Dear friends, 

Recently I’ve started working with the Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee. On March 17, Ruchell turned 83. He’s been imprisoned for 59 years, and now walks with a walker. He is no threat to society if released. Ruchell was in the Marin County Courthouse on August 7, 1970, the morning Jonathan Jackson took it over in an effort to free his older brother, the internationally known revolutionary prison writer, George Jackson. Ruchell joined Jonathan and was the only survivor of the shooting that ensued. He has been locked up ever since and denied parole 13 times. On March 19, the Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee held a webinar for Ruchell for his 83rd birthday, which was a terrific event full of information and plans for building the campaign to Free Ruchell. (For information about his case, please visit: www.freeruchellmagee.org.)

Below are two ways to stream this historic webinar, plus 

• a petition you can sign

• a portal to send a letter to Governor Newsom

• a Donate button to support his campaign

• a link to our campaign website. 

Please take a moment and help. 

Note: We will soon have t-shirts to sell to raise money for legal expenses.

Here is the YouTube link to view the March 19 Webinar: 


Here is the Facebook link:


Sign the petition to Free Ruchell:


Write to Governor Newsom’s office:




Ruchell’s Website: 



Charlie Hinton


No one ever hurt their eyes by looking on the bright side



Tell Congress to Help #FreeDanielHale


U.S. Air Force veteran, Daniel Everette Hale has recently completed his first year of a 45-month prison sentence for exposing the realities of U.S drone warfare. Daniel Hale is not a spy, a threat to society, or a bad faith actor. His revelations were not a threat to national security. If they were, the prosecution would be able to identify the harm caused directly from the information Hale made public. Our members of Congress can urge President Biden to commute Daniel's sentence! Either way, Daniel deserves to be free.





Laws are created to be followed

by the poor.

Laws are made by the rich

to bring some order to exploitation.

The poor are the only law abiders in history.

When the poor make laws

the rich will be no more.


—Roque Dalton Presente!

(May 14, 1935 – Assassinated May 10, 1975)[1]

[1] Roque Dalton was a Salvadoran poet, essayist, journalist, political activist, and intellectual. He is considered one of Latin America's most compelling poets.







Screenshot of Kevin Cooper's artwork from the teaser.


 “In His Defense” The People vs. Kevin Cooper

A film by Kenneth A. Carlson 

Teaser is now streaming at:



Posted by: Death Penalty Focus Blog, January 10, 2022



“In his Defense,” a documentary on the Kevin Cooper case, is in the works right now, and California filmmaker Kenneth Carlson has released a teaser for it on CarlsonFilms.com


Just over seven months ago, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered an independent investigation of Cooper’s death penalty case. At the time, he explained that, “In cases where the government seeks to impose the ultimate punishment of death, I need to be satisfied that all relevant evidence is carefully and fairly examined.”


That investigation is ongoing, with no word from any of the parties involved on its progress.


Cooper has been on death row since 1985 for the murder of four people in San Bernardino County in June 1983. Prosecutors said Cooper, who had escaped from a minimum-security prison and had been hiding out near the scene of the murder, killed Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter, Jessica, and 10-year-old Chris Hughes, a friend who was spending the night at the Ryen’s. The lone survivor of the attack, eight-year-old Josh Ryen, was severely injured but survived.


For over 36 years, Cooper has insisted he is innocent, and there are serious questions about evidence that was missing, tampered with, destroyed, possibly planted, or hidden from the defense. There were multiple murder weapons, raising questions about how one man could use all of them, killing four people and seriously wounding one, in the amount of time the coroner estimated the murders took place.


The teaser alone gives a good overview of the case, and helps explain why so many believe Cooper was wrongfully convicted.



New Legal Filing in Mumia’s Case

By Johanna Fernández

The following statement was issued January 4, 2022, regarding new legal filings by attorneys for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Campaign to Bring Mumia Home

In her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston wrote, “There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.”

With continued pressure from below, 2022 will be the year that forces the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and the Philly Police Department to answer questions about why they framed imprisoned radio journalist and veteran Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal. Abu-Jamal’s attorneys have filed a Pennsylvania Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petition focused entirely on the six boxes of case files that were found in a storage room of the DA’s office in late December 2018, after the case being heard before Judge Leon Tucker in the Court of Common Pleas concluded. (tinyurl.com/zkyva464)

The new evidence contained in the boxes is damning, and we need to expose it. It reveals a pattern of misconduct and abuse of authority by the prosecution, including bribery of the state’s two key witnesses, as well as racist exclusion in jury selection—a violation of the landmark Supreme Court decision Batson v. Kentucky. The remedy for each or any of the claims in the petition is a new trial. The court may order a hearing on factual issues raised in the claims. If so, we won’t know for at least a month. 

The new evidence includes a handwritten letter penned by Robert Chobert, the prosecution’s star witness. In it, Chobert demands to be paid money promised him by then-Prosecutor Joseph McGill. Other evidence includes notes written by McGill, prominently tracking the race of potential jurors for the purposes of excluding Black people from the jury, and letters and memoranda which reveal that the DA’s office sought to monitor, direct, and intervene in the outstanding prostitution charges against its other key witness Cynthia White.

Mumia Abu-Jamal was framed and convicted 40 years ago in 1982, during one of the most corrupt and racist periods in Philadelphia’s history—the era of cop-turned-mayor Frank Rizzo. It was a moment when the city’s police department, which worked intimately with the DA’s office, routinely engaged in homicidal violence against Black and Latinx detainees, corruption, bribery and tampering with evidence to obtain convictions. 

In 1979, under pressure from civil rights activists, the Department of Justice filed an unprecedented lawsuit against the Philadelphia police department and detailed a culture of racist violence, widespread corruption and intimidation that targeted outspoken people like Mumia. Despite concurrent investigations by the FBI and Pennsylvania’s Attorney General and dozens of police convictions, the power and influence of the country’s largest police association, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) prevailed. 

Now, more than 40 years later, we’re still living with the failure to uproot these abuses. Philadelphia continues to fear the powerful FOP, even though it endorses cruelty, racism, and multiple injustices. A culture of fear permeates the “city of brotherly love.”

The contents of these boxes shine light on decades of white supremacy and rampant lawlessness in U.S. courts and prisons. They also hold enormous promise for Mumia’s freedom and challenge us to choose Love, Not PHEAR. (lovenotphear.com/) Stay tuned.

Workers World, January 4, 2022


Pa. Supreme Court denies widow’s appeal to remove Philly DA from Abu-Jamal case


Abu Jamal was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder of Faulkner in 1982. Over the past four decades, five of his appeals have been quashed.


In 1989, the state’s highest court affirmed Abu-Jamal’s death penalty conviction, and in 2012, he was re-sentenced to life in prison.


Abu-Jamal, 66, remains in prison. He can appeal to the state Supreme Court, or he can file a new appeal.


KYW Newsradio reached out to Abu-Jamal’s attorneys for comment. They shared this statement in full:


“Today, the Superior Court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to consider issues raised by Mr. Abu-Jamal in prior appeals. Two years ago, the Court of Common Pleas ordered reconsideration of these appeals finding evidence of an appearance of judicial bias when the appeals were first decided. We are disappointed in the Superior Court’s decision and are considering our next steps.


“While this case was pending in the Superior Court, the Commonwealth revealed, for the first time, previously undisclosed evidence related to Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case. That evidence includes a letter indicating that the Commonwealth promised its principal witness against Mr. Abu-Jamal money in connection with his testimony. In today’s decision, the Superior Court made clear that it was not adjudicating the issues raised by this new evidence. This new evidence is critical to any fair determination of the issues raised in this case, and we look forward to presenting it in court.”



Demand Mumia's Freedom:

Governor Tom Wolf -1(717) 787-2500  Fax 1 (717) 772-8284
Office of the Governor
508 Main Capitol Building
HarrisburgPA  17120    
After calling the governor, send an online communication about our concerns.   https://www.governor.pa.gov/contact/#PhoneNumber
Let us know what there response was, Thank you.  Mobilization4Mumia@gmail.com


Questions and comments may be sent to: info@freedomarchives.org



A Plea for the Compassionate Release of 

Leonard Peltier

Video at:


Screen shot from video.

Sign our petition urging President Biden to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier.




Email: contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

Address: 116 W. Osborne Ave. Tampa, Florida 33603


Bury My Heart with Leonard Peltier

How long will he still be with us? How long will the genocide continue?

By Michael Moore

—VIA Email: michaelmoore@substack.com

LEONARD PELTIER, Native American hero. An innocent man, he’s spent 44 years as a political prisoner. The prosecutor who put him behind bars now says Peltier is innocent. President Biden, go to Mass today, and then stop this torture. (Sipa/Shutterstock)

American Indian Movement leader, Leonard Peltier, at 77 years of age, came down with Covid-19 this weekend. Upon hearing this, I broke down and cried. An innocent man, locked up behind bars for 44 years, Peltier is now America’s longest-held political prisoner. He suffers in prison tonight even though James Reynolds, one of the key federal prosecutors who sent Peltier off to life in prison in 1977, has written to President Biden and confessed to his role in the lies, deceit, racism and fake evidence that together resulted in locking up our country’s most well-known Native American civil rights leader. Just as South Africa imprisoned for more than 27 years its leading voice for freedom, Nelson Mandela, so too have we done the same to a leading voice and freedom fighter for the indigenous people of America. That’s not just me saying this. That’s Amnesty International saying it. They placed him on their political prisoner list years ago and continue to demand his release.


And it’s not just Amnesty leading the way. It’s the Pope who has demanded Leonard Peltier’s release. It’s the Dalai Lama, Jesse Jackson, and the President Pro-Tempore of the US Senate, Sen. Patrick Leahy. Before their deaths, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and Bishop Desmond Tutu pleaded with the United States to free Leonard Peltier. A worldwide movement of millions have seen their demands fall on deaf ears. 


And now the calls for Peltier to be granted clemency in DC have grown on Capitol Hill. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), the head of the Senate committee who oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs, has also demanded Peltier be given his freedom. Numerous House Democrats have also written to Biden. 


The time has come for our President to act; the same President who appointed the first-ever Native American cabinet member last year and who halted the building of the Keystone pipeline across Native lands. Surely Mr. Biden is capable of an urgent act of compassion for Leonard Peltier — especially considering that the prosecutor who put him away in 1977 now says Peltier is innocent, and that his US Attorney’s office corrupted the evidence to make sure Peltier didn’t get a fair trial. Why is this victim of our judicial system still in prison? And now he is sick with Covid.


For months Peltier has begged to get a Covid booster shot. Prison officials refused. The fact that he now has COVID-19 is a form of torture. A shame hangs over all of us. Should he now die, are we all not complicit in taking his life? 


President Biden, let Leonard Peltier go. This is a gross injustice. You can end it. Reach deep into your Catholic faith, read what the Pope has begged you to do, and then do the right thing. 


For those of you reading this, will you join me right now in appealing to President Biden to free Leonard Peltier? His health is in deep decline, he is the voice of his people — a people we owe so much to for massacring and imprisoning them for hundreds of years. 


The way we do mass incarceration in the US is abominable. And Leonard Peltier is not the only political prisoner we have locked up. We have millions of Black and brown and poor people tonight in prison or on parole and probation — in large part because they are Black and brown and poor. THAT is a political act on our part. Corporate criminals and Trump run free. The damage they have done to so many Americans and people around the world must be dealt with. 


This larger issue is one we MUST take on. For today, please join me in contacting the following to show them how many millions of us demand that Leonard Peltier has suffered enough and should be free:


President Joe Biden


Phone: 202-456-1111

E-mail: At this link



Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland


Phone: 202-208-3100

E-mail: feedback@ios.doi.gov


Attorney General Merrick Garland


Phone: 202-514-2000

E-mail: At this link



I’ll end with the final verse from the epic poem “American Names” by Stephen Vincent Benet: 


I shall not rest quiet in Montparnasse.

I shall not lie easy at Winchelsea.

You may bury my body in Sussex grass,

You may bury my tongue at Champmedy.

I shall not be there. I shall rise and pass.

Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.



PS. Also — watch the brilliant 1992 documentary by Michael Apted and Robert Redford about the framing of Leonard Peltier— “Incident at Oglala”



The Moment

By Margaret Atwood*


The moment when, after many years 

of hard work and a long voyage 

you stand in the centre of your room, 

house, half-acre, square mile, island, country, 

knowing at last how you got there, 

and say, I own this, 


is the same moment when the trees unloose 

their soft arms from around you, 

the birds take back their language, 

the cliffs fissure and collapse, 

the air moves back from you like a wave 

and you can't breathe. 


No, they whisper. You own nothing. 

You were a visitor, time after time 

climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming. 

We never belonged to you. 

You never found us. 

It was always the other way round.


*Witten by the woman who wrote a novel about Christian fascists taking over the U.S. and enslaving women. Prescient!



Union Membership—2021

Bureau of Labor Statistics

U.S. Department of Labor

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Thursday, January 20, 2022

Technical information: 

(202) 691-6378 • cpsinfo@bls.gov • www.bls.gov/cps

Media contact: 

(202) 691-5902 • PressOffice@bls.gov

In 2021, the number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions continued to decline (-241,000) to 14.0 million, and the percent who were members of unions—the union membership rate—was 10.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The rate is down from 10.8 percent in 2020—when the rate increased due to a disproportionately large decline in the total number of nonunion workers compared with the decline in the number of union members. The 2021 unionization rate is the same as the 2019 rate of 10.3 percent. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were 17.7 million union workers.

These data on union membership are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 eligible households that obtains information on employment and unemployment among the nation’s civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over. For further information, see the Technical Note in this news release.

Highlights from the 2021 data:

• The union membership rate of public-sector workers (33.9 percent) continued to be more than five times higher than the rate of private-sector workers (6.1 percent). (See table 3.)

• The highest unionization rates were among workers in education, training, and library occupations (34.6 percent) and protective service occupations (33.3 percent). (See table 3.)

• Men continued to have a higher union membership rate (10.6 percent) than women (9.9 percent). The gap between union membership rates for men and women has narrowed considerably since 1983 (the earliest year for which comparable data are available), when rates for men and women were 24.7 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

• Black workers remained more likely to be union members than White, Asian, or Hispanic workers. (See table 1.)

• Nonunion workers had median weekly earnings that were 83 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($975 versus $1,169). (The comparisons of earnings in this news release are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be important in explaining earnings differences.) (See table 2.)

• Among states, Hawaii and New York continued to have the highest union membership rates (22.4 percent and 22.2 percent, respectively), while South Carolina and North Carolina continued to have the lowest (1.7 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively). (See table 5.)

Industry and Occupation of Union Members

In 2021, 7.0 million employees in the public sector belonged to unions, the same as in the private sector. (See table 3.)

Union membership decreased by 191,000 over the year in the public sector. The public-sector union membership rate declined by 0.9 percentage point in 2021 to 33.9 percent, following an increase of 1.2 percentage points in 2020. In 2021, the union membership rate continued to be highest in local government (40.2 percent), which employs many workers in heavily unionized occupations, such as police officers, firefighters, and teachers.

The number of union workers employed in the private sector changed little over the year. However, the number of private-sector nonunion workers increased in 2021. The private-sector unionization rate declined by 0.2 percentage point in 2021 to 6.1 percent, slightly lower than its 2019 rate of 6.2 percent. Industries with high unionization rates included utilities (19.7 percent), motion pictures and sound recording industries (17.3 percent), and transportation and warehousing (14.7 percent). Low unionization rates occurred in finance (1.2 percent), professional and technical services (1.2 percent), food services and drinking places (1.2 percent), and insurance (1.5 percent).

Among occupational groups, the highest unionization rates in 2021 were in education, training, and library occupations (34.6 percent) and protective service occupations (33.3 percent). Unionization rates were lowest in food preparation and serving related occupations (3.1 percent); sales and related occupations (3.3 percent); computer and mathematical occupations (3.7 percent); personal care and service occupations (3.9 percent); and farming, fishing, and forestry occupations (4.0 percent).

Selected Characteristics of Union Members

In 2021, the number of men who were union members, at 7.5 million, changed little, while the number of women who were union members declined by 182,000 to 6.5 million. The unionization rate for men decreased by 0.4 percentage point over the year to 10.6 percent. In 2021, women’s union membership rate declined by 0.6 percentage point to 9.9 percent. The 2021 decreases in union membership rates for men and women reflect increases in the total number of nonunion workers. The rate for men is below the 2019 rate (10.8 percent), while the rate for women is above the 2019 rate (9.7 percent). (See table 1.)

Among major race and ethnicity groups, Black workers continued to have a higher union membership rate in 2021 (11.5 percent) than White workers (10.3 percent), Asian workers (7.7 percent), and Hispanic workers (9.0 percent). The union membership rate declined by 0.4 percentage point for White workers, by 0.8 percentage point for Black workers, by 1.2 percentage points for Asian workers, and by 0.8 percentage point for Hispanic workers. The 2021 rates for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics are little or no different from 2019, while the rate for Asians is lower.

By age, workers ages 45 to 54 had the highest union membership rate in 2021, at 13.1 percent. Younger workers—those ages 16 to 24—had the lowest union membership rate, at 4.2 percent.

In 2021, the union membership rate for full-time workers (11.1 percent) continued to be considerably higher than that for part-time workers (6.1 percent).

Union Representation

In 2021, 15.8 million wage and salary workers were represented by a union, 137,000 less than in 2020. The percentage of workers represented by a union was 11.6 percent, down by 0.5 percentage point from 2020 but the same as in 2019. Workers represented by a union include both union members (14.0 million) and workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union contract (1.8 million). (See table 1.)


Among full-time wage and salary workers, union members had median usual weekly earnings of $1,169 in 2021, while those who were not union members had median weekly earnings of $975. In addition to coverage by a collective bargaining agreement, these earnings differences reflect a variety of influences, including variations in the distributions of union members and nonunion employees by occupation, industry, age, firm size, or geographic region. (See tables 2 and 4.)

Union Membership by State

In 2021, 30 states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below that of the U.S. average, 10.3 percent, while 20 states had rates above it. All states in both the East South Central and West South Central divisions had union membership rates below the national average, while all states in both the Middle Atlantic and Pacific divisions had rates above it. (See table 5 and chart 1.)

Ten states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent in 2021. South Carolina had the lowest rate (1.7 percent), followed by North Carolina (2.6 percent) and Utah (3.5 percent). Two states had union membership rates over 20.0 percent in 2021: Hawaii (22.4 percent) and New York (22.2 percent).

In 2021, about 30 percent of the 14.0 million union members lived in just two states (California at 2.5 million and New York at 1.7 million). However, these states accounted for about 17 percent of wage and salary employment nationally.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on 2021 Union Members Data

Union membership data for 2021 continue to reflect the impact on the labor market of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Comparisons with union membership measures for 2020, including metrics such as the union membership rate and median usual weekly earnings, should be interpreted with caution. The onset of the pandemic in 2020 led to an increase in the unionization rate due to a disproportionately large decline in the number of nonunion workers compared with the decline in the number of union members. The decrease in the rate in 2021 reflects a large gain in the number of nonunion workers and a decrease in the number of union workers. More information on labor market developments in recent months is available at: 

www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-and- response-on-the-employment-situation-news-release.htm.



Resources for Resisting Federal Repression

Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 

The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. 

Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.

Emergency Hotlines

If you are contacted by federal law enforcement you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities. 

State and Local Hotlines

If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for: 

National Hotline

If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:

Know Your Rights Materials

The NLG maintains a library of basic Know-Your-Rights guides. 

WEBINAR: Federal Repression of Activists & Their Lawyers: Legal & Ethical Strategies to Defend Our Movements: presented by NLG-NYC and NLG National Office

We also recommend the following resources: 

Center for Constitutional Rights

Civil Liberties Defense Center

Grand Jury Resistance Project

Katya Komisaruk

Movement for Black Lives Legal Resources

Tilted Scales Collective






1) Document Shows Uvalde Officials Sought Favorable Account of Police Action

Top Uvalde officials wanted to highlight the heroics of officers at Robb Elementary. The state police director refused to do so.

By J. David Goodman, July 15, 2022


Steven McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, has said that officers had enough firepower to confront the gunman within three minutes of his entering the school in Uvalde.

Steven McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, has said that officers had enough firepower to confront the gunman within three minutes of his entering the school in Uvalde. Credit...Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The New York Times

HOUSTON — Days after the massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, the leaders of the grieving city fumed during a closed-door meeting with Steven McCraw, the state’s top police official.


They objected to Mr. McCraw’s public criticism of the response by city police officers to the May 24 massacre that killed 19 children and two teachers and, in a one-page document, laid out their own version of events, one that praised the officers for initially rushing to the gunfire and saving hundreds of other children in the school.


The document prepared by Uvalde officials and labeled “narrative” was obtained by The New York Times after a public information request. Its account of events differed in significant aspects from the one described by Mr. McCraw’s agency, the Department of Public Safety, which is leading the police investigation into the shooting and the law enforcement response.


The Uvalde officials pushed the document across the table to Mr. McCraw, asking him to publicly endorse it, according to a state police official who requested anonymity to describe the meeting on June 2. Mr. McCraw refused.

The heated encounter at Uvalde City Hall, which has not been previously reported, was among the earliest indications of a simmering feud between state and local officials that has since exploded into public view over who should be blamed for the 77 minutes it took heavily armed officers to kill the gunman after he first entered Robb Elementary School.


The competing accounts have obscured the actions of the police and angered the victims’ families, who have pleaded for reliable information. The clearest picture yet is expected to come on Sunday when a Texas House committee is set to report the results of its investigation, one of several overlapping inquiries into what took place.


The committee’s report was expected to spread blame beyond Chief Pete Arredondo, the head of the small Uvalde school district police force who Mr. McCraw has said was principally responsible for a law enforcement response that he has called an “abject failure.”


Instead, the committee was expected to find fault broadly among the several law enforcement agencies and officers that responded, including dozens of officers from the U.S. Border Patrol, the local sheriff’s office and the Department of Public Safety, according to a person familiar with the investigation.


The conclusion, the person said, would be that the delayed response was not one person’s failure, but rather that of dozens of trained officers and supervisors. Nobody knew what was going on and nobody tried to take charge, the person said, citing failures of inaction and communication by the agencies.

Such a finding would echo what others have already concluded after studying the sometimes contradictory versions of events offered by state and local officials.


“There was no incident commander, that’s the truth of the matter — it was complete system failure,” said State Senator Roland Gutierrez, who represents the area and has been critical of the version presented by the state police that holds no other law enforcement agencies accountable. “Why didn’t they take command and control of the situation?” he asked.


Mr. McCraw had said that Chief Arredondo had been in charge at the scene and had made “the wrong decision” in treating the gunman as barricaded inside the classroom — a situation that would call for a more careful, tactical approach — rather than as someone who was actively shooting and whom officers are trained to immediately confront. Chief Arredondo has not spoken publicly but said in an interview with The Texas Tribune that he did not see himself as the incident commander.


In the account the Uvalde officials laid out in their narrative, they focused on the quick arrival of officers at the school and their success in containing the gunman inside a pair of connected classrooms while clearing children from the rest of the school. They described a scene that was dangerous to officers and a response that was not chaotic but focused on getting children to safety.


“There was zero hesitation on any of these officers’ part, they moved directly toward the gunfire,” the document said, only to be repelled when the gunman fired at them. Two of the officers were grazed by debris from the gunfire.


“The total number of persons saved by the heroes that are local law enforcement and the other assisting agencies is over 500 per U.C.I.S.D.,” the document said, referring to Chief Arredondo’s department, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police force. “But for U.P.D. and U.C.I.S.D. being on scene IMMEDIATELY, that shooter would have had free range on the school.”


The document also said that specially trained Border Patrol agents had been pushing to clear the other classrooms first. “BORTAC insisted that all the rooms be cleared, i.e. all the children and teachers be removed, PRIOR to use of the shields and breach of Room 112,” the document said.

“Absent the shields, every U.P.D. officer was of the opinion that breaching the door was suicide and every Texas Ranger or D.P.S. agent who took their statements agreed,” the document read. “Not a single officer present, including D.P.S. troopers and Texas Rangers, believed that they could save lives by approaching that door and being killed one by one.”


That description conflicted with the account Mr. McCraw has presented of officers not following standard training, developed after the deadly shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, that calls for officers to quickly confront a gunman and end the shooting. At a hearing in the State Capitol last month, Mr. McCraw said officers had enough firepower to confront the gunman within three minutes of his entering the school, but had been prevented from doing so by Chief Arredondo.


The Uvalde officials, in their document, made no reference to a lack of keys as a reason for the delayed confrontation with the gunman, which Chief Arredondo had said in his interview was another big reason for the delay.


Instead, they defended the protracted response, saying that the extended time period before confronting the gunman was “not wasted but each minute was used to save lives of children and teachers.”


Some of the footage from the scene raises questions about the city’s account.


Video from the hallway of Robb Elementary — which was reviewed by The Times last month and published by The Austin American-Statesman this week — made clear that shields began arriving in the hallway outside the classrooms long before the officers moved in.


And several Border Patrol agents had expressed frustration at the lengthy delay in getting clearance to enter the classroom, a person briefed on the investigation told The Times.


The gathering at Uvalde City Hall had been arranged by Gov. Greg Abbott’s office because of rising tensions between Uvalde officials, including Mayor Don McLaughlin and the county judge, Bill Mitchell, and state police officials.

By that point, more than a week after the shooting, Mr. McLaughlin had requested that the Justice Department conduct its own review of the shooting, an indication that he did not trust the state police to impartially review the actions by officers.


And several key points about the shooting and the police response had already changed during a series of news conferences convened by the state. For instance, Mr. Abbott, speaking in Uvalde a day after the massacre, said that “the reason it was not worse is because law enforcement officials did what they do,” and praised “their quick response.” The governor later said he had been “misled” about the facts.


After the video from the hallway emerged, Mr. Abbott told reporters on Thursday that “none of the information in that video was shared with me on that day.”


Also in attendance at the June meeting was the local district attorney, Christina Mitchell Busbee, and the Uvalde city attorney. The mayor, county judge and local district attorney did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for the state police declined to comment.


Mr. Abbott’s chief of staff attended the meeting, as did his general counsel, who sought to play the role of mediators.


But things quickly went off the rails, the senior official said.


The Uvalde officials voiced their strong displeasure with Mr. McCraw. Early in the roughly hourlong meeting, the city attorney presented the document, which was the product of interviews with police officers who responded to the scene, the senior official said. The Uvalde officials wanted Mr. McCraw to have another news conference in which he would present the narrative from the document. He told them he did not agree with its summary, the senior official said.

Ms. Busbee, the district attorney, also objected to its release and argued the point with the city attorney, the senior official said. Some in the room raised their voices.

“I objected to the release of any information given that the Texas Rangers had only begun their investigation and there was no way to assess whether that narrative was accurate,” Ms. Busbee said in an email. “I was concerned with the release of inaccurate or incomplete information that would adversely affect the investigation and further traumatize the families.”


The document was not made public at the time.



2) Irish Eyes Aren’t Smiling

By Maureen Dowd, July 16, 2022

Demonstrators outside Stormont where the Northern Ireland Assembly met for the first time in three years, to discuss the extension of abortion rights in the country, at Stormont, Belfast on 21st November 2019.
Demonstrators outside Stormont where the Northern Ireland Assembly met for the first time in three years, to discuss the extension of abortion rights in the country, at Stormont, Belfast on 21st November 2019. Credit...Mary Turner for The New York Times

GALWAY, Ireland — I came to Ireland four years ago to cover the searing story of the Scarlet Letter in the Emerald Isle.


Back then, Ireland had a harsh abortion law, shaped by the views of the Catholic Church. The Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, added in 1983, gave fetuses rights equal to the mother’s, ensuring abortion would be illegal, even in cases of rape or incest. Anyone getting the procedure or buying abortion pills online faced up to 14 years in prison. Women were forced to sneak out of the country and go to London if they wanted abortions. Some women went to loan sharks to get the money to travel.


In 2018, a referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment roiled Ireland with turbulent arguments on a subject that had been subterranean for eons. Edna O’Brien captured the tortured drama in her novel “Down by the River,” based on the sensational 1992 case of a 14-year-old who was raped by a friend’s father and became suicidal when she was barred from leaving the country to get an abortion. She later miscarried.


There was also the heart-wrenching 2012 story of Savita Halappanavar, who rushed to a Galway hospital in distress the day after her baby shower. She was told that her 17-week-old fetus was going to die. As she went into septic shock, she begged the medical team to remove the fetus and save her life. One midwife coldly reminded her that she was in “a Catholic country.” She died after her stillborn infant. The horror of that case galvanized the Emerald Isle.


I felt grateful as I covered the referendum, which passed resoundingly, that I lived in a more enlightened America, which had long had the protection of Roe.


Now I am back and stunned that Ireland and the United States have traded places. Ireland leaped into modernity, rejecting religious reactionaries’ insistence on controlling women’s bodies. America lurched backward, ruled by religious reactionaries’ insistence on controlling women’s bodies.


Once, Ireland seemed obsessed with punishing women. Now it’s America.


During the repeal debate, I had dinner in Dublin with prominent women from both sides of the issue. It got passionate.


Una Mullally, a columnist for The Irish Times, was there that night, making the case for repeal. I talked to her on Thursday, curious to see what she thought about Ireland and America swapping roles: Ireland growing less benighted; America more so. Ireland less influenced by the dictates of the Catholic Church; America more influenced, reflecting the views of the five right-wing Catholics on the Supreme Court and Neil Gorsuch, an Episcopalian who was raised Catholic. Ireland once had too much church in the state. Now America does.


“If you had told me 15 years ago that abortion would be legal in Ireland and illegal in many parts of the United States, I would have suggested that you see a psychiatrist,” said Niall O’Dowd, the founder of Irishcentral.com and author of “A New Ireland: How Europe’s Most Conservative Country Became Its Most Liberal.” He mused darkly, “Now that the world has turned upside down, there will be charter flights from America to Ireland for abortions.”


Mullally called it painful to watch but not surprising. “I thought this was going to happen,” she said, citing Donald Trump’s inflammatory claim during a 2016 debate that Hillary Clinton’s stance on abortion meant “You can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.” Trump also said in an interview that “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who get abortions, later amending it to say that doctors should be punished. “I thought, ‘That’s it,’” Mullally recalled. “People thought there was this American dream but it’s clearly becoming more of an American nightmare.”


She is mystified at the weak response of President Biden and the Democrats, calling it “appeasement” and “magical thinking,” given that Trump and the Republicans had spent years loading the courts with conservatives who were restricting abortion.


“Democrats saying, ‘Women’s rights are on the ballot’ and ‘Vote in November!’ is offensive,” she said. “This is not about votes for your party. Nothing is as important as bodily autonomy. And November? This happened in June. People should be out on the streets. Rape victims are crossing state lines.” That includes the horrifying case of the 10-year-old in Ohio who was raped and had to travel to Indiana to get an abortion.


A segment of Americans never accepted Roe; it was the source of endless, divisive battles. But in Ireland, legalized abortion seems to be accepted; some doctors don’t offer it; others will. And the church isn’t fighting back much; its power was decimated by the pedophile priest scandal.


“As the Irish feminist Ailbhe Smyth said, the greatest victory in 2018 was that the referendum carried without the country being split,” Mullally said. “It’s about creating an empathetic framework of discourse so that people are not at each other’s throats.”


She gets it. Why don’t we?



3) What Will Happen if Doctors Defy the Law to Provide Abortions?

By Dov Fox, July 17, 2022

Mr. Fox, a professor of law at the University of San Diego School of Law and director of its Center for Health Law Policy and Bioethics, is the author of “Medical Disobedience.”


Ben Jones

Days after Texas banned most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy in September 2021, Dr. Alan Braid disclosed that he had “provided an abortion to a woman, who though still in her first trimester, was beyond the state’s new limit.” Dr. Braid wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece that when he was a medical resident before Roe v. Wade, he had seen “teenagers die from illegal abortions. One I will never forget. When she came into the ER, her vaginal cavity was packed with rags. She died a few days later from massive organ failure, caused by a septic infection.” Dr. Braid resolved, “I can’t just sit back and watch us return to 1972.”


Since Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overruled Roe, many clinicians around the country will be risking their careers and freedom if they provide abortion care. Seventeen states have enacted near-total bans on abortion, or they’re trying to. Many of these bans allow almost no exceptions, including for rape or a woman’s health. Now providers who illegally terminate a pregnancy face punishments that range from a suspension on practicing medicine to a $100,000 fine to a life sentence in prison.


Michigan’s chief medical executive, Natasha Bagdasarian, has written that these laws force doctors to choose between breaking the law and “breaking the oath we have taken on behalf of our patients.” A Missouri obstetrician-gynecologist, David Eisenberg, said on “The Daily” podcast before Roe fell that his professional commitment to make abortion care available to patients in need is “a part of my moral and religious worldview.” He added, “I am a conscientious provider.”


Though Dr. Eisenberg did not say he would break any laws, some doctors who identify as conscientious providers in post-Roe America may seek to provide abortions in violation of state laws, just as many did before Roe. A federal statute ought to protect clinician conscience in principled ways — not only for those who deny care, but also for those who deliver it.


And if lawmakers won’t protect conscientious providers, then judges should. Courts can recognize a legal defense of medical disobedience that would significantly reduce the punitive sanctions that some states impose for supplying clinically reasonable services in the name of conscience. This partial defense should also waive possible collateral consequences of a felony conviction, such as license revocation and disenfranchisement. That mitigation would go a long way to repair the one-sided exemptions already entrenched across the United States.


The American legal regime that governs medical conscience is broken. While conscientious providers find virtually no refuge in the conscience clauses that are codified in almost every state, refusers are protected almost categorically. And just about all of these conscience laws are reserved for denials of care. Conscientious refusers are often shielded from being fired, disciplined, held liable or found guilty for violating standards of care and endangering patients, even in serious ways. Conscientious refusers usually don’t have to tell patients about their options, or help them to access care elsewhere. But few protections exist for doctors who have equally conscientious reasons to provide abortions.


To be sure, there are crucial differences among the various services that conscientious providers might seek to supply. Some are safer or more effective than others. Some require costly facilities and staff, while others involve nothing more than a prescription pad. Some fall squarely within the medical norm, while others push its boundaries, or cross them.


These particulars matter. But the moral commitment to treat patients can be just as sincere and noble as the values that move other doctors to turn patients away. Even more important: Conscientious providers honor patients’ wishes, while conscientious refusers override them.


Yet all too often, only the consciences of refusers count in the eyes of the law. This asymmetry drives desperate patients underground and selectively burdens conscientious providers. It’s true that accommodating conscientious providers would undermine the government’s considered judgment that people shouldn’t have access to the health care the government has prohibited. But on particularly fraught questions — about life and death, impairment and identity — freedom of conscience in medicine can sometimes be important enough to shore up deserving appeals. This can be true even at the expense of other state interests, so long as accommodations are constrained by whatever harms they inflict on other people.


One reason to protect conscience in medicine is to preserve the moral integrity of clinicians who claim it. This applies to conscientious providers, too. Forcing doctors and nurses to stand by and do nothing to help patients in need flies in the face of clinicians’ fundamental charge to heal, promote health and relieve suffering. Also, openness to conscientious dissent, within limits, lets a pluralistic society adapt to moral change from the inside.


Congress or the courts should recognize a partial defense of medical disobedience. This defense shouldn’t be available to every clinician who invokes conscience to provide prohibited care. In the related context of religion, the Supreme Court has adopted a know-it-when-I-see-it test for whether someone’s putative beliefs qualify as genuine and morally weighty. That test would exclude “an asserted claim so bizarre,” odious or self-interested “as not to be entitled to protection.”


And doctors would have to show more than that they acted out of deeply held convictions. The care that they conscientiously provide must also be medically indicated and come with the informed consent of a patient or an appropriate surrogate. So a mercy killing of someone who had been pressured to exercise the option wouldn’t qualify. Nor would any intervention whose benefits haven’t been proven worth the risks through peer-reviewed studies or clinical practice. The requirement that care be clinically reasonable would rule out conscience claims to undertake the discredited conversion therapy that at least 20 states prohibit to try to turn gay kids straight. Other cases are closer calls. Bans on puberty blockers are passed or pending in some states to affirm a minor’s gender identity, though the evidence is still out about long-term risks to fertility and bone density.


America’s culture wars leave many people convinced that conscience has come to represent little more than a card that defeated camps play when they have nothing else to lose. But it can be more than that. States vigorously safeguard the consciences of refusers. Congress and the courts ought to protect the consciences of providers, too. It has been over a century since judges flexed their common-law authority to introduce any major category of mitigation. Dobbs gives reason to recover that muscle memory and recognize a limited defense of medical disobedience.



4) Dr. Caitlin Bernard Was Meant to Write This With Me Before She Was Attacked for Doing Her Job

By Tracey A. Wilkinson, July 15, 2022

Dr. Wilkinson is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine.


Haris Mulaosmanovic/Getty Images

Earlier this week I was preparing to write a guest essay with my colleague Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an OB-GYN here in Indiana. We wanted to write about the chilling effect that the overturning of Roe v. Wade has had on medicine in our state and around the country in just a few short weeks. But then Dr. Bernard became a target of a national smear campaign for speaking out about her 10-year-old patient, a rape victim from Ohio who needed an abortion and had to travel to Indiana to receive one, given the restrictions in her home state.


On Wednesday night, our state’s attorney general said his office would be investigating Dr. Bernard. So I’m writing this essay myself — not only to bring attention to the chilling effect on medicine we’re seeing at this moment but also because I’m terrified that I or any one of our colleagues could soon face what Dr. Bernard is going through after delivering care to our patients.


When we talk about the importance of reproductive health care in the lives of our patients, we sometimes weave in patient stories to humanize the often complex legal and medical concepts for the audience. Dr. Bernard told the story of her patient from Ohio as an example of how abortion bans can affect the most vulnerable.


The attacks on her were instantaneous and fierce. Multiple state attorneys general and high-profile conservatives suggested that Dr. Bernard was a liar. Pundits questioned her integrity, and articles in numerous news outlets cast doubt on the story, with The Wall Street Journal editorial board declaring it a “fanciful tale” that was “too good to confirm.”


On Wednesday, a suspect in the Ohio rape case was arraigned after reportedly confessing. But the attacks against Dr. Bernard have continued. Indiana’s attorney general said on Fox News on Wednesday evening that his office is investigating her, despite the fact that the abortion the 10-year-old patient received was legal in the state. The network showed Dr. Bernard’s photo on the air. On Thursday, The Indianapolis Star reported that she had filed the requisite paperwork associated with the procedure.


Political attacks on abortion providers are, of course, nothing new. And that’s not all that providers and their staff face: They have been targeted, harassed and in some cases even murdered for providing legal health care to their patients; some types of attacks against them recently have increased. This moment, post-Roe v. Wade, feels particularly frightening and is chilling to anyone who cares for patients, especially anyone providing reproductive health care.


This saga has had real-world repercussions for Dr. Bernard. The local police have been alerted to concerns for her physical safety.


My colleagues and I have watched all this in horror. We are worried that this could happen to us, too. A law that recently went into effect in Indiana mandates that doctors, hospitals and abortion clinics report to the state when a patient who has previously had an abortion presents any of dozens of physical or psychological conditions — including anxiety, depression, sleeping disorders and uterine perforation — because they could be complications of the previous abortion. Not doing so within 30 days can result in a misdemeanor for the physician who treated the patient, punishable with up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.


The law is written so broadly that a primary care provider who sees a patient with depression, an anesthesiologist whose patient has an allergic reaction to a medication or a radiologist who notes a patient has free fluid in the abdomen could be punished with a fine and jail time if they don’t report these things as possible complications of that person’s prior abortion. Any health care provider so charged could easily become a target of national attention, with attacks against them professionally and personally.


While clinicians are generally required to have malpractice insurance, such coverage does not typically cover expenses related to criminal charges. And while malpractice insurance often covers legal counsel during a malpractice claim, the same is not true for criminal charges. In addition to those tangible repercussions of such charges, physicians are at professional and financial risk that could end their careers and affect their families. Health care systems must not abandon their physicians when they are most at risk, in order to avoid bad press.


Laws like these are too often written by politicians without medical expertise, and too often use medically inaccurate definitions. Lawmakers can claim that the laws aren’t intended to hurt patients, but they instill fear in providers that will have implications for patients nonetheless.


It’s worth noting that all of this is happening in Indiana, which is currently more accepting of abortion and care for pregnant women than some of its neighboring states. It’s worse next door; for now Indiana is a haven for some patients in the region who need care. This is expected to change when lawmakers in our state begin a special session later this month and attempt to pass further abortion restrictions, possibly including a near total ban. It is unclear if that legislation will include exceptions for rape or incest.


Our medical and ethical responsibility as clinicians is grounded in delivering comprehensive, safe and evidence-based health care. If providing that care results in threats to professional and personal safety, patients will suffer. Doctors have sworn to do no harm. Clearly, many of those in power have not.



5) What New Abortion Bans Mean for the Youngest Patients

One 10-year-old became the focus of debate, but more than 1,000 girls under 15 seek abortions each year. “How are we going to help the pregnant kids?”

By Dana Goldstein and Ava Sasani, July 16, 2022

New abortion bans in nearly a dozen states do not make exceptions for rape or incest, leaving young adolescents with less access to the procedure.
New abortion bans in nearly a dozen states do not make exceptions for rape or incest, leaving young adolescents with less access to the procedure. Credit...Jamie Kelter Davis for The New York Times

She was just 10 years old, so young that many people were horrified when they heard it, and others refused to believe it. But the ordeal of the child rape victim in Ohio who had to cross state lines for an abortion, and the ugly political fight that followed, have highlighted two uncomfortable facts: Such pregnancies are not as rare as people think, and new abortion bans are likely to have a pronounced impact on the youngest pregnant girls.


New bans in nearly a dozen states do not make exceptions for rape or incest, leaving young adolescents — already among the most restricted in their abortion options — with less access to the procedure. Even in states with exemptions for rape and incest, requirements involving police reports and parental consent can be prohibitive for children and teenagers.


“The situation out of Ohio is in no way unique,” said Katie McHugh, an OB-GYN in Indiana and board member of the group Physicians for Reproductive Health, which favors abortion rights. “This is a situation that every abortion provider has seen before.”


The number of pregnancies in the United States among girls under the age of 15 has fallen sharply in recent decades with greater access to contraception and a drop in adolescent sexual activity. But state and federal data suggest there are still thousands of such cases each year. And nearly half of these pregnancies end in abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights and surveys clinics regularly.


In 2017, the last year for which data was available, the institute concluded there were 4,460 pregnancies among girls under 15, with about 44 percent ending in abortion. In Ohio alone, 52 girls under 15 received an abortion in 2020 — an average of one every week, according to the state Department of Health.


It is unclear how often these pregnancies are the result of incest or rape. Children in this age group are generally below the age of sexual consent, though sexual contact between two similar-aged young teenagers is not always considered a crime. And some states allow children to marry with parental permission.


In Ohio, sex with a person under the age of 13 is a first-degree felony. Abortion is now banned in the state after around six weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest.


The startling age of the Ohio rape victim helped propel doubt over her story, which quickly morphed into a political firestorm after it was reported in The Indianapolis Star. Abortion rights advocates and President Biden pointed to the girl’s experience as the tragic consequence of abortion bans. Conservatives questioned whether the child existed, and even the Ohio attorney general initially said he found no evidence of such a victim.


Those questions were quelled when a 27-year-old man was charged in the child’s rape, and records showed that the doctor who provided the abortion in Indiana reported it to the state.


That doctor, Caitlin Bernard, later tweeted, “My heart breaks for all survivors of sexual assault and abuse. I am so sad that our country is failing them when they need us most.”


Lauren Ralph, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, said her research shows that adolescents who seek abortion tend to be firm in their choice but face barriers such as lack of transportation, and parental notification and consent laws, which exist in the majority of states. Minors who seek to avoid parental notification, such as in the case of incest or when a parent would seek to compel pregnancy, are often required to file a police report or appear before a judge.


Those are high and sometimes impossible bars to clear, experts said, especially for individuals without legal assistance, and young victims who may have been hurt by the adults closest to them.


With some Americans living up to 400 miles away from the nearest legal abortion provider, the new state bans stand to affect teenagers severely.


“We know that young people already faced many more barriers to accessing abortion prior to the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Dr. Ralph said. “What will happen with this decision is that those barriers for young people living in restricted states will now multiply.”


Dr. Bernard, the Indiana OB-GYN who provided an abortion for the 10-year-old Ohio girl, said in an interview in early July, before the political firestorm erupted, that she had experience treating other very young rape victims.


The hardest case of her career, she said, was one where a mother brought her 14-year-old daughter in for an appointment after the girl was raped. The mother wanted her daughter to have an abortion.


“But the patient said, ‘I don’t want to kill my baby,’” Dr. Bernard recalled. “She felt as though abortion was wrong.”


Dr. Bernard said she told the mother that she could not perform the abortion without the 14-year-old’s verbal consent. Eventually, the mother persuaded her daughter to undergo the procedure.


Indiana, which currently allows abortions at up to 22 weeks, may enact its own stricter limits soon in a special legislative session scheduled for late July.


In Oklahoma, a law that bans nearly all abortions makes exceptions for cases of rape or incest, but only if those crimes have been reported to law enforcement.


Wendi Stearman, the Republican legislator behind that Oklahoma law, defended high barriers for exceptions.


As for the 10-year-old in Ohio, “It’s horrific, what happened there,” she said. “But even more horrific is taking the life of another child.”


Ms. Spearman said laws should not cater to worst-case scenarios.


“Laws should be made for the general, and that is an incredibly rare instance,” she said.


It is not uncommon for some anti-abortion lawmakers and organizations to oppose rape exceptions to abortion bans, sometimes even in the case of child victims. In a statement praising the arrest of a 27-year-old suspect in the Ohio case, Ohio Right to Life expressed concern for the young girl and her family but called her abortion a “band-aid solution” that “only added to the pain and violence perpetuated against her. The victim deserved better.”


Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said, “The violence of rape will not be cured by the violence of abortion. The love and support that this child needs will be ongoing, not momentary.”


Yet abortion providers and doctors who care for the youngest patients say that approach fails to recognize the needs and desires of young victims and their families.


In Colorado, Kristina Tocce, medical director for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said she had provided an abortion to a 13-year-old incest victim and had recently treated her youngest patient ever: an 11-year-old Texan who flew to Denver for an abortion alongside a parent. Though that patient was treated before Roe was overturned, the child was forced to leave Texas because the state had found a legal workaround to ban abortions after six weeks of gestation, without exceptions for rape or incest.


It was the 11-year-old’s first time on an airplane, Dr. Tocce said.


In Texas, state records show over 200 children aged 15 and younger received abortions in 2021, before the ban was passed. One of those patients was 11 or younger, and 30 were 12 or 13 years old.


Dr. Tocce predicted an influx of patients in Colorado, where abortion remains legal without a gestational limit. Even in states that allow for the procedure in cases of rape or incest, the burden of proving that patients qualify for an exemption may intimidate providers, who will not want to risk prosecution, she noted.


“Those exceptions are in print, only they essentially mean nothing when everyone who practices there is too afraid,” she said.


In Madison, Wis., Jennifer Ginsburg, executive director of the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center, said she was saddened but unsurprised to hear the story of the Ohio victim.


Just a few months earlier, her center, which works with victims of child abuse, had referred a 10-year-old girl, impregnated by her stepfather, for an abortion at Planned Parenthood.


Ms. Ginsburg and her team provide counseling and support for young abuse victims and their family members, while also ensuring that any forensic evaluations conducted for police investigations do not compound a child’s trauma. If a victim wanted an abortion, the center would help connect them to nearby providers.


But shortly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe, doctors in Wisconsin halted abortion services. Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, is battling Wisconsin’s Republican-led Legislature over the validity of a century-old law that criminalizes nearly all abortions, including those that are the result of rape and incest. Mr. Evers and his attorney general have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the ban.


Ms. Ginsburg said Safe Harbor was not waiting for the results of the governor’s suit. She was planning with other local organizations to assist young victims in traveling out of state for an abortion — a plan that advocates are increasingly turning toward as more states outlaw the procedure.


“How are we going to help the pregnant kids?” she asked.


Margot Sanger-Katz contributed reporting.



6) 3 Imprisoned for Fiery 1995 Subway Murder Are Exonerated

The three men were convicted as teenagers for killing a subway token clerk after setting the booth ablaze, but New York police detectives elicited false confessions from them, prosecutors say.

By Sean Piccoli and Ed Shanahan, July 15, 2022


Vincent Ellerbe, left, watches as Thomas Malik and James Irons embrace their lawyers after the three men were cleared.

Vincent Ellerbe, left, watches as Thomas Malik and James Irons embrace their lawyers after the three men were cleared. Credit...Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times

The killing was shocking even for a New York City awash in violence at the time.


Around 1 a.m. on Nov. 26, 1995, two men approached a subway token booth in Brooklyn, poured gas through the slot and lit a book of matches. The resulting explosion leveled the structure and sent the clerk inside flying, his body in flames. He died two weeks later.


Three teenagers, Vincent Ellerbe, James Irons and Thomas Malik, subsequently confessed to the crime, were convicted of second-degree murder and were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.


On Friday, a state court judge cleared the three, much older now, at the request of the Brooklyn district attorney, who said his office had determined the confessions were false and had been coerced by detectives whose work in dozens of other cases has come under scrutiny.


“The findings of an exhaustive, years long re-investigation of this case leave us unable to stand by the convictions of those charged,” the district attorney, Eric Gonzalez, said in a news release, adding that there were “serious problems with the evidence on which these convictions are based.”


In vacating the convictions, the judge, Matthew J. D’Emic, freed Mr. Irons and Mr. Malik, both 45, from prison. Mr. Ellerbe, 44, was released on parole in 2020.


Speaking to a courtroom packed with relatives and supporters, Mr. Ellerbe delivered an emotional account of his life behind bars. He said he has a 26-year-old daughter who grew up without him, and that he had developed epilepsy while in prison.


“Twenty-five years I had to look in the mirror knowing that I was in prison for something I had nothing to do with,” he said in a quiet, sometimes halting voice. As he spoke, Mr. Malik’s wife, Michele, wept openly.


“The penitentiary breaks you or turns you into a monster,” Mr. Ellerbe added, “and I had to become something I’m not just to survive.”


Mr. Ellerbe was 17 when he was arrested; Mr. Irons and Mr. Malik were 18. In addition to pressuring them into confessing, Mr. Gonzalez said, the lead detectives, Louis Scarcella and Stephen Chmil, failed to divulge the shaky nature of witness identifications and ignored factual inconsistencies in evidence and in the young men’s confessions.


For Mr. Scarcella, who retired in 1999, the dismissal of the convictions was another blemish on a career during which he led a unit that handled some of the most high-profile crimes and investigated more than 500 homicides a year.


His reputation began to crumble in 2013 after one of his most celebrated investigations — into the murder of a Hasidic rabbi in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood — unraveled amid defense claims that he had framed a suspect.


Despite Mr. Scarcella’s insistence that he had done nothing wrong, the district attorney’s office began a review of about 70 of his cases. The inquiry has so far resulted in more than a dozen exonerations — roughly a third of the 33 the district attorney’s office Conviction Review Unit has spawned since 2014 — and New York City has paid tens of millions of dollars to settle lawsuits stemming from cases in which he was involved.


Richard E. Signorelli, a lawyer who has represented Mr. Scarcella in such suits, said the retired detective had “an exemplary career with the Police Department” and “unequivocally denies all accusations of wrongdoing in this case.”


Police officials did not respond to a request for comment on the exonerations or to a question about whether they planned to reopen its investigation into who killed the clerk, Harry Kaufman, a 22-year transit veteran.


The killing of Mr. Kaufman, 50, reverberated well beyond New York, in part because it occurred several days after the opening of the movie “Money Train,” which featured a scene depicting a similar crime.


The deadly assault, at the Kingston-Throop Avenues station in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, was one of seven such fire attacks on token booths in the days after the movie's release.


Bob Dole, the Senate majority leader at the time and Republican presidential candidate, called for a boycott of the film in the wake of the attack, although the authorities never established whether it was inspired by the fictional crime.


Speaking in court on Friday, Lori Glachman, an assistant district attorney, said Mr. Kaufman had been “working overtime to earn money to send his son to college” when he was killed in what she called “a heinous, heinous crime.” Still, she said, investigators had reached the “inescapable conclusion” that the convictions “cannot stand.”


Mr. Irons’s lawyer, David Shanies, said the police had subjected his client to “threats, lies, sleep deprivation and physical violence.” And, while he thanked the district attorney’s office for its work, he also criticized it for a “carefully tailored” set of conclusions that discredited only the police, remaining silent on the prosecutors’ conduct.


A spokesman for Mr. Gonzalez, Oren Yaniv, said the review had found no violation of rules requiring that prosecutors share exculpatory information with defense lawyers.


Ronald L. Kuby, who represented Mr. Malik at trial and in his quest for exoneration, said on Friday that coerced confessions of the type Mr. Scarcella and Mr. Chmil were accused of extracting in the case would be unlikely now because such interviews are videotaped.


That and other criminal justice reforms in the intervening years, he said, would have spared his clients, so “the actual people who murdered Harry Kaufman may have been captured.”


Reached by phone on Friday, Mr. Kaufman’s widow and son expressed a range of emotions about the turn of events, which they said they had only been made aware of on Thursday.


“If they didn’t do it, who did?” Mr. Kaufman’s son, Adrian, said, adding that he was skeptical that anyone else would be charged in the killing. “I don’t think there will be justice brought for his family.”


His mother, Stella Kaufman, echoed that sentiment.


“Everybody wants to know how I feel,” she said. “I feel like there’s no justice for Harry.”


Kirsten Noyes contributed research.