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Wednesday, May 06th

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Transgender school kids face fresh prejudice by ‘bathroom bully’ bills

transgender kidsWhen Eli Erlick was 8 years old, she would sometimes pretend to be sick, just so she could leave school and go home to use the bathroom. She had asked to use the girls’ bathroom at her school in Mendocino County, California, but she wasn’t allowed to.

“I had no idea why I couldn’t do this,” Erlick said. “I didn’t even know the word ‘transgender.’ I just knew that I was a girl,” she said, and so it didn’t feel right to use the boys’ bathroom. This continued until she was 13, when she began her gender transition.

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Obama Commutes Sentences for 22 Convicted of Federal Drug Crimes

Obama commutes drug convictsPresident Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 22 drug offenders serving time in federal prison, accelerating the administration’s efforts to reduce penalties for many of those convicted of such crimes.

Obama’s decision, announced on Tuesday, more than doubles the number of commutations he has issued, and is the latest sign that the White House is taking aim at a drug war the president has characterized as counterproductive.

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Woman who says she miscarried gets 20 years in prison for feticide

Pro choice protestsAn Indiana judge on Monday sentenced a 33-year-old woman, Purvi Patel, to 20 years in prison on charges of feticide and neglect of a dependent.

Patel is the first woman in Indiana to be convicted under the state’s feticide law. Activists say the case highlights the way that prosecutors across the U.S. are increasingly using laws designed to protect expecting mothers to criminalize women for terminating a pregnancy or allegedly harming an unborn child.

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Tortured for Being Gay in Indiana

Tortured for being gay in IndianaAs he got ready for his first day at Arsenal Tech High School in Indianapolis, Darnell “Dynasty” Young augmented his back-to-school shopping by dipping into his mother’s closet.

“Some of the items he chose included knee-high boots, purses, rings, and bangles,” report court papers subsequently filed by his lawyer.

Dynasty had no reason to believe that the kids at his new school would be any less accepting than those during his first two years of high school in Arizona.

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American Pharmacists Association discourages involvement in executions

Amer. pharmacistsThe American Pharmacists Association has adopted a policy discouraging pharmacists from participating in executions that use drugs.

The APhA's House of Delegates voted Monday to adopt the new policy, discouraging pharmacist involvement " on the basis that such activities are fundamentally contrary to the role of pharmacists as providers of healthcare."

The delegates met in San Diego during the 2015 APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition.

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Fight over religious objection proposals shifts to Arkansas

Arizona gay rightsThe fight over religious objection proposals facing increasing criticism from businesses and advocates who call them a license to discriminate against gays and lesbians has shifted toward Arkansas, which was poised to become the second state this year to enact such a measure.

A final vote could come as early as Tuesday in the state House on the proposal that would prohibit state and local government from infringing on someone's religious beliefs without a "compelling" reason. Unlike Indiana — where Republicans were working on adding language to clarify the state's recently enacted law after a firestorm of protests — Arkansas lawmakers said they weren't seeking to modify the measure.

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Spence Jackson, Spokesperson for Late Missouri Auditor Found Dead

Spence JacksonVeteran Missouri state official Robert "Spence" Jackson, who was media director for the late state auditor Tom Schweich, was found dead Sunday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 44.

Jackson’s death comes about a month after Schweich’s suicide. Amid the subsequent turmoil in the state’s Republican Party, Jackson emerged as a strong critic of Schweich’s political adversaries, to the point of calling for the resignation of a top party official.

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