This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Restoring Some Rights in Arizona

Arizona is a state that has been a leader in restricting the rights of Latinos and of women. But this week there has been some push-back from the Federal Courts. First came a ruling striking down the overly restrictive abortion policy.
A federal appellate panel struck down Arizona’s abortion law on Tuesday, saying it was unconstitutional “under a long line of invariant Supreme Court precedents” that guarantee a woman’s right to end a pregnancy any time before a fetus is deemed viable outside her womb — generally at 24 weeks.
The law, enacted in April 2012 despite vociferous protest by women’s and civil rights groups, made abortions illegal if performed 20 weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period, or roughly 18 weeks after fertilization, even if the woman learned that the fetus had no chance of surviving after birth. At 18 weeks, many fetal abnormalities can be detected through sonograms.
The 20 week timing, also introduced in other states, is based on a theory (and only a theory) that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks. A woman, of course, can feel pain at any time, but these people don't seem to care about that.

Then came the ruling on arresting someone on suspicion of being an undocumented immigrant just because they were Latino, as discussed by Lawrence Downes in the New York Times.
How do we know that Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., is a racial profiler, an abuser of power who has subjected Latinos for years to unconstitutional arrests, detention and harassment?
We know, because a federal court says so — Judge G. Murray Snow of United States District Court in Phoenix, in a 142-page opinion released on Friday, excoriated the Maricopa Sheriff’s Office for violating the Fourth and 14th Amendment rights of Latinos by illegally using race as a factor in questioning people in neighborhood sweeps and traffic stops.The sheriff acknowledged his lawlessness by stating, over and over, his intention to go after “the illegals” without ever answering the unanswerable question: What does an illegal immigrant look like?
These cases may be appealed to the Supreme Court for final adjudication, but at least things are moving in the right direction.

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