Red Tape, Racist Sentencing, Gates of Hell: Editors’ Picks, 6/19-6/25

On “Counter Earth,” the imagined alternate universe of cartoonist Ruben Bolling, women are able to exercise their constitutional right to choose abortion, while seemingly endless red tape makes unilaterally waging war a logistical nightmare, requiring President Obama to endure a series of obstacles designed to discourage him from going through with it, like traveling 500 miles to an “Armed Crisis Center,” and being forced to look at pictures of civilians who might become “collateral damage.” via Tom the Dancing Bug.

The wave of anti-choice, anti-family planning legislation that has swept the nation will, undoubtedly, do little to lower abortion rates. In fact, Alternet highlights 9 states where awful new GOP policies will actually drive up the rate of abortions.

A new study shows that life expectancy in most U.S. counties has fallen behind the average in the world’s healthiest nations–and women are faring worse than men. Feministing has more on the trend, and what needs to be done to reverse it.

The Florida Independent reports that another new anti-abortion movie is in the works. This one, titled Gates of Hell, imagines a future in which African-American terrorists murder abortion providers.

Last week we reported on a political ad that depicted Los Angeles City Council member and Congressional candidate Janice Hahn as a stripper who was cozy with gangsters in our “No Comment” section. This week, Slate caught up with the men who starred in the video, Kue Dog and Uncle Head of the hip-hop trio Splack Pack. They were the ones singing the refrain, “Give us your cash, bitch, so we can shoot up the streets.” When asked about the use of the word bitch, Uncle Head replied, “I don’t consider the word ‘bitch’ as sexist. They say it on TV now. … As long as nobody calls my daughter a bitch, I’m cool,” an answer which, incidentally, is another excellent contender for the “No Comment” section.

GOOD reports on the disturbing findings of a new study on the impact of skin color on prison sentencing:

Even after controlling for things like prior convictions, crime severity and thinness, women with light skin received sentences that were 12 percent shorter on average than dark-skinned women. Lighter women also had their actual time served reduced by about 11 percent.

Finally, two days before President Obama announced his plans to begin drawing down troops from Afghanistan, PBS’s Margaret Warner sat down with three influential Afghan women–who had met with senior members of the Obama administration and Congress on the topic of negotiating peace with the Taliban in Washington–to get their views on the situation in their country. Watch the interview to hear what they had to say about including women’s voices in discussions on a peace agreement with the Taliban.

ABOVE: Portion of this week’s Tom the Dancing Bug comic strip.

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