NY Governor Extends Protections to Transgender State Employees

Today, New York Governor David Paterson signed an executive order barring discrimination against state employees on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. Seeing the high numbers of transgender people who report discrimination in the workplace, this is great news for those current and future employees who will be affected.

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IRS Audits Single Mother For Not Making Enough Money

This is absurd. Via Raven’s Eye, Danny Westneat at the Seattle Times has uncovered a case in which the IRS audited a single mother with two kids, who earns $10 an hour at Supercuts and lives with her parents. What was their reason for doing so? Random selection? An incorrectly completed return? No, they just thought that she was too poor to be telling the truth:

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Widespread Sexual Abuse Against Children Commited by Peacekeeping Forces

Trigger Warning: this post contains descriptions and links to descriptions of sexual abuse against children.

I woke up this morning to two emails from readers, and they both contained this story (thanks Jean and Rich): a new study shows that peacekeepers and aidworkers in post-conflict areas are sexually abusing children much more than we’d like to believe.

Children as young as six are being sexually abused by peacekeepers and aid workers, says a leading UK charity.

Children in post-conflict areas are being abused by the very people drafted into such zones to help look after them, says Save the Children.

After research in Ivory Coast, southern Sudan and Haiti, the charity proposed an international watchdog be set up.

Save the Children said it had sacked three workers for breaching its codes, and called on others to do the same.

The three men were all dismissed in the past year for having had sex with girls aged 17 - which the charity said was a sackable offence even though not illegal.

The UN has said it welcomes the charity’s report, which it will study closely.

Save the Children says the most shocking aspect of child sex abuse is that most of it goes unreported and unpunished, with children too scared to speak out.

ICE Detainees Lack Medical Care

Last week, Miss Sarajevo left a comment with a link to this series of articles in The Washington Post, and I’m just finally getting around to writing about it. The series, “Careless Detention,” is about the terrifying, unethical and downright inhumane medical treatment of immigrants imprisoned by ICE, generally while fighting or awaiting deportation for infractions that are usually non-violent and in fact so mild as to verge on the ridiculous. Since 9/11, Bush and his buddies have really stepped up anti-immigrant measures (which were already largely poor and in place), broadened definitions of who could be deported, increased raids and decided that those seeking asylum must do so while behind bars. Our government is imprisoning both documented and undocumented men and women (and though not mentioned in this series, also children), often without due process, and then, quite simply, killing them with medical neglect, or otherwise abusing/torturing them with inappropriate or an outright lack of medical treatment.

If you think that the medical treatment of some immigrants who are not in trouble with ICE is appalling (and it is), be prepared to learn a new definition of the word.

Part 1: “System of Neglect” focuses on those who have died custody due to profound medical indifference:

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Hospital Will Not Deport Honduran Immigrant Over Insurance

Good news, folks: Sonia del Cid Iscoa will not be forcibly (or apparently otherwise) deported to Honduras. Even better, her condition has improved markedly and at an exceptional rate. (Thanks to Lindsay for the update.)

St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center on Tuesday reached agreement with lawyers representing Sonia del Cid Iscoa, ending an international legal drama over whether a legal immigrant could be forcibly transported from the country by a medical facility.

Iscoa, 34, did not have sufficient medical insurance to cover long-term care, St. Joseph’s could not offer it, and there were no apparent programs that could take her.

The hospital planned to fly her to a government hospital in Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Iscoa’s family went to Maricopa County Superior Court to get a temporary restraining order, and all parties were scheduled to appear before a judge on Friday.

But Iscoa’s condition has improved so markedly in the past several days that the discussion has changed.

“She has begun to take semisolid food. She is on room air, as opposed to supplemental oxygen. And she’s not had dialysis for a week, which is a huge improvement,” said attorney John Curtain. “Because of this the hospital at present is not contemplating sending her to Honduras.”
Of course, I find it odd that St. Joseph’s is no longer contemplating forced deportation now that Iscoa is seemingly doing well without dialysis, but was more than willing to deport her to a hospital that had no dialysis equipment back when she did need it. There’s some ethics for ya. One almost has to wonder if the decision came out of newfound financial ability, a moral revelation, or just some really shitty publicity that needed to be plugged up.

Though not entirely clear from the article, it does seem like Iscoa’s family is still going to need money to pay off medical bills, and since she’s still in recovery, her struggle is far from over.

The fact that Iscoa’s immediate crisis has been resolved is also no reason to stop discussing the issue and go back to our happy lives like it didn’t happen. Because this isn’t and never was just about one woman — it’s also about the approximately 8 immigrant patients that this one hospital forcibly deports each month, and who knows how many others that are deported by other hospitals across the nation.

Breathe a sigh of relief for Iscoa, but don’t stop talking.

Hospital Attempts Deportation of Woman With Inadequate Insurance

An immigrant woman from Honduras who has very recently awakened from a coma is being threatened with what can effectively be called deportation, because she does not have the insurance needed to cover her medical bills. (Don’t read the comments in these articles unless you want to lose your lunch.) But here is the real kicker: while it would be repulsive and incredibly inhumane to deport an uninsured/under-insured person with a serious medical condition because of their undocumented status, despite the lack of adequate facilities for their care in their nations of citizenship, it isn’t even the case here. Sonia del Cid Iscoa has a current visa and in the U.S. legally. (All emphasis in quoted text is mine.)

A gravely ill woman at risk of being removed from the country for lack of adequate insurance coverage awoke from a coma Tuesday.

The hospital has been seeking to return her to her native Honduras; her family took the hospital to court.

[. . .]

Iscoa, 34, has a valid visa and has lived in the United States for more than 17 years. She has no family in Honduras.

But St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center sought to have her sent to Honduras when she went into a coma April 20 after giving birth to a daughter about 8 weeks premature. Iscoa has an amended version of Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System coverage that does not cover long-term care, Curtin said. But her family worried that the move would seriously harm her, or, at the very least, prevent her from ever returning to the United States.

Iscoa’s mother, Joaquina del Cid Plasecea, obtained a temporary restraining order to keep her from being moved. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Carey Hyatt also ordered that the family post a $20,000 bond by Tuesday to cover St. Joseph’s costs of postponing the transfer.

However, Curtin said that the hospital gave the family three more days to come up with the money before a hearing Friday.

If the family can prove that Iscoa would suffer irreparable injury by a move, the bond will be refunded and Iscoa will not be transferred. But if Hyatt determines that Iscoa is not in imminent danger by a move, the family will forfeit the bond.

A stipulation to a court order issued by Hyatt Tuesday evening said that the parties were “actively exploring alternative sources of securing payment for the medical bills of Sonia Iscoa.”

Air Force Charges Victim in Her Own Rape

This post, written by Cara, originally appeared on Feministing

This news item made my stomach turn: Cassandra Hernandez, a female Air Force airman was raped, reported her attack and then subsequently became a court-martial defendant, herself.

The story goes down like this: Hernandez was at a party, where she was drinking. She says that three male airman raped her. She went to the hospital and filed a report accusing her attackers. Due to stress and harsh interrogation tactics by the Air Force, she eventually refused to testify against the airmen.

The Air Force then charged her with underage drinking (of which she admits to being guilty, but that's hardly the point, now is it?) and, along with her three attackers, "indecent acts." I had a hell of a lot of trouble finding an official definition for "indecent acts," and the best one I came up with is a "form of immorality relating to sexual impurity which is not only grossly vulgar, obscene, and repugnant to common propriety, but tends to excite lust and deprave the morals with respect to sexual relations." Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the basic translation seems to be "a sexual act, particularly one that is not generally accepted in society, such as sex with multiple partners."

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