Let's get one thing straight: birth control is not abortion. If someone is pregnant, birth control cannot terminate that pregnancy. So trying to stand against birth control because of a religious objection to abortion is like standing against blood transfusions, appendectomies or antibiotics for the same reason.
But that didn't stop the Supreme Court from deciding that companies could put the health and safety of their employees at risk by not providing them health insurance that covers birth control.
Birth control isn't just used for contraceptive purposes. Many women also use it to treat endometriosis, hormonal imbalances or other medical issues. Now, they'll be forced to pay hundreds of dollars for something that should be legally granted to them under the Affordable Care Act.
The Supreme Court based its decision on the the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). But religious freedom means that individuals should be able to practice their beliefs without being persecuted. It doesn't legalize corporations pushing those beliefs on others. And it certainly shouldn't allow anyone to put their employees in real physical, emotional and financial danger. That's exactly what the Supreme Court has allowed Hobby Lobby and countless other privately held companies to do.
The RFRA was passed by Congress, and it's been used to try and restrict people's freedoms many times since. Now it's Congress' job to fight back. Sign the petition to ask your member of Congress to step in and restore reproductive rights for all Americans.
The danger of certain pesticides on bees has come into the spotlight more and more in the past weeks. Now, a panel of independent scientists operating as the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides has said that neonicotinoids and fipronil (which account for 40% of the insecticide market) are harming the environment and bee populations.
As bumblebees die out, so too will the produce we take for granted. Most of the fruits and vegetables we eat rely on pollinators, and the world would be a very dull (and unhealthy) place without them.
Some environmentalists estimate that the common bumblebee species populations have plummeted by 95 percent in the last few years. Whether it is indeed pesticide use, habitat destruction, climate change or disease from non-native species, we must take seriously the immediate danger to these vital members of our ecosystems. If we don't act fast, the bumblebees -- and the crops they pollinate -- could be gone for good.
It's time for us, and for our leaders, to start taking bumblebee die-off seriously. One American bumblebee species is already listed as "critically endangered," and more will probably be on the list soon. Tell the U.S. Department of the Interior to take action to protect bumblebees before it's too late!
Hawaii. When most of us think of it, we think of pristine landscapes and clear water, a paradise that no one would dare do anything to damage.
But now, news is breaking that the island of Kaua'i is ground zero for companies like Dow, DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta and BASF to test their pesticide-tolerant crops. For 3-4 growing seasons a year, with very little oversight, these companies experiment with excessive amounts of the most toxic agricultural chemicals. Sometimes pesticides (neurotoxins, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, etc) are applied 10-16 times a day, causing a toxic film to cover nearby homes, schools and hospitals.
But locals are getting the attention of the international community and saying enough is enough. As stories break all over the world, more and more people are joining the movement and focusing the lens on Kaua'i and the disgraceful things that are going on in the name of profits and owning the rights to the food people around the world are eating.
Step One: mobilize. Sign the pledge to stand with Kaua'i and Hawaii in telling the chemical companies to stop poisoning paradise, and join the global movement to stop them from taking over our food system with their chemicals.
Uganda's horrific anti-gay law is notorious. It can land people in prison for years for even expressing support for LGBT rights. Gay couples themselves can be locked away for life, for the mere "crime" of loving someone of the same gender. And Uganda's foreign minister, Sam Kutesa, has done nothing to stop those policies from instilling fear and pain throughout the country. In fact, Kutesa told the press after the law passed, most Africans "hate and fear" homosexuality.
These policies have had a devastating effect on LGBT Ugandans. Extreme anti-gay violence -- including lynching, blackmail and arson -- has increased tenfold since the bill's passage. Clearly, Kutesa sees no problem with the environment of bigotry he is abetting, which is why it's so alarming that he is now the president of the United Nation's general assembly.
Though the position is often largely ceremonial, this year, Kutesa will be able to oversee agenda-setting for the UN's next round of development goals, potentially changing the focus of the group's future initiatives. Just as importantly, his appointment signifies the UN's willingness to overlook hatred, violence and corruption from its leaders -- which is no way to encourage peace throughout the world.
The UN has put incredible power in the hands of this homophobe. Clearly this was not a serious consideration during the appointment process. It's important that we send the message that the world is watching and that we disapprove. Demand that UN leaders revoke Kutesa's appointment to the general assembly presidency immediately!
Stop and think for a moment. These days, what is your first reaction to hearing about a school shooting stealing the lives of innocent children? Is it shock? Horror that something this tragic could happen in a country like ours?
Or is it to sigh and say "another one"?
Yesterday morning, families near Portland, Oregon had to wait in fear to learn if their children had survived the school day. This is the 74th school shooting on record since the Sandy Hook massacre stole the lives of 20 elementary school children.
And yet our politicians, still deep in the pockets of the NRA and other pro-gun lobbyists, still refuse to take action.
When will we decide enough is enough? When will our politicians finally stop taking money from the NRA and other gun lobbyists and finally start protecting our children from unnecessary, horrific gun deaths? That time must be now.
Take action today. Tell your representatives that enough is enough. We demand real, effective gun control NOW.