Monday, February 2, 2009

Updates on domestic spying and data mining, abortion service proposal at UW Health under attack

Domestic Spying
So it’s pretty official that the Bush administration spied on all of us with the willing help of telecommunications corporations. This whistleblower and former NSA analyst talks about how, under the auspices of keeping non-threatening people safe and separate from terrorists, journalists were spied on full-time. In the meantime, President Obama has nominated former law professor and noted Bush spying critic David Kris for the Assistant Attorney General position at the National Security Agency.

Wired says the data mining extended to other personal information including credit cards. Under the guise of protection, how are citizens guaranteed that these anti-terrorism dragnets aren’t leaving everyone exposed to hackers and identity thieves?

Reproductive Rights
Internationally, Obama overturned the global gag rule which would end the ban on international aid programs that go to family planning programs that include abortion in their education or service programs.

Women might not get such benefits in Wisconsin if anti-choice legislators and doctors get their way. Protests this weekend in front of local UW Health facilities brought a proposal to offer second trimester abortion services back into the headlines. UW Health is clear on its rules that abortion services would be paid for by insurance (or out of the pockets of service patients) and that doctors and nurses have the right to opt out if they hold their own personal objections. Ultimately it isn't the right of anti-abortion doctors or legislators to decide for women who need an abortion which is only one of a spectrum of reproductive services that are vital to women's equality, health care and self-determination.

Did you hear that nonprofit organizations are hoping to get some of the federal stimulus funds? It’s a good idea to put some fuel into organizations that build houses and help with disaster relief. The ACLU, however, never accepts government funding. Our only stimulus comes from the generous support of our donors and members. Don’t forget to renew your membership! Our members are the lifeblood of our organization and we thank all of our many supporters who are keeping Team ACLU going strong. Join today on the ACLU of Wisconsin website.