Amy Brenneman opens up about the abortion she had when she was 21.

'The Leftovers' actress joined several other women in filing a briefing with the Supreme Court.

Today, the Supreme Court is hearing what's been called the most significant abortion case in more than two decades.

It's a case that will determine whether or not states can enact strict abortion laws aimed at shutting down clinics, and it's a case that may have far-reaching consequences for the future of reproductive rights in America.

It's called Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, and it tackles the constitutionality of Texas' HB2 anti-abortion law.


Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Ahead of the case, a number of women shared their stories with both the court and with the world. Among them was actress Amy Brenneman.

During her junior year of college, Brenneman had an abortion. Until now, she'd never publicly shared the story but only because it was so uneventful.

Photo by Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images.

Here she writes for Cosmopolitan:

"My abortion story is absolutely uneventful. It has left no scars. But in this current political climate, one in which a woman who makes the responsible choice of not bringing an unwanted child into this world is forced to drive 500 miles or is violently harassed on her way to the clinic door or is pushed to take matters into her own hands, this uneventful-ness seems downright miraculous. May it always be so uneventful. May abortion once again be accepted for what it always has been: a necessary component of responsible family planning."

In a video recorded for the Center for Reproductive Rights, Brenneman tells her story, which begins during her junior year of college.

She had been doing everything the "right" way, she says. She and her boyfriend had been having safe sex, but as no form of birth control is 100% effective, she became pregnant — a pregnancy she wasn't equipped to deal with.

GIFs from the Center for Reproductive Rights.

She eventually went on to have two children of her own at a time in her life when she was ready and able to parent.

And that's not at all odd. Many women who've had abortions either already have children (61%) or plan on having children at another point in their lives. In cases where a pregnancy is terminated as the result of a fetus being non-viable or threatening to the life of the woman, many of those pregnancies are even planned.

Still, in Brenneman's case, this was an unplanned pregnancy, and she chose to terminate it for the sake of her own well-being and the well-being of her future family. And legally, this is her choice to make. Whether somebody else would do the same thing in her situation is beside the point — that's why it's called a choice.

The world we now live in, the world of laws like HB2, would have taken Brenneman's uneventful experience and turned it into a nightmare.

Rather than that simple experience of finding a doctor in a phone book, undergoing a quick procedure, and being able to move on with her life, things could have been so different.

Since 2010, more than 231 new abortion restrictions have been implemented by states across the country. HB2 just happens to be one of the harshest.

Here are three things restrictive abortion laws like HB2 do to make things as inaccessible and uncomfortable as legally possible.

Recall how Brenneman called her abortion "uneventful"? Lawmakers are actively trying to make sure that's not the case anymore.


1. Restrictions on clinics would have made finding a doctor a whole lot tougher for Brenneman.

HB2 includes a host of provisions aimed at shutting down clinics. From requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals (often difficult to get and totally unnecessary) to regulating the size of hallways, signage, or even bathrooms, these provisions — called targeted regulation of abortion provider (TRAP) laws — serve one purpose: to make it harder for clinics to stay in business.

Lawmakers claim these regulations benefit women's health, though it's unclear how making sure a hallway can accommodate two rolling beds at the same time (something that you'd almost never need to do in an abortion clinic) accomplishes that. And it's not as though there's any data to back lawmakers up. The only data that seems to matter is the number of clinics that get shut down as a result.

2. With laws like these on the books, Brenneman may have had to wait up to 72 hours after an appointment with her doctor before having a procedure.

Dozens of states have waiting periods for abortions, often ranging from 24 to 72 hours. The stated goal of these periods is to make sure the woman is comfortable with her decision (as though she wasn't able to make up her mind on her own), but the end effect is that it often requires the person seeking the abortion to take off from work (a luxury many don't have), travel to one of just a few clinics in the state, stay in a hotel for multiple nights (which can be expensive) — all before having this simple procedure. What Brenneman described as "uneventful" suddenly becomes a stressful, multi-day road trip for basic health care.

3. Brenneman would have been forced to wade through piles of medically-dubious "counseling" designed to discourage her from going through with the procedure.

Six states require that the person seeking the abortion be told that personhood begins at conception. Four states make doctors tell women inaccurate information about their future post-abortion fertility. Five states require that doctors tell a woman that there's a link between abortion and breast cancer (there's not).

The goal here is to confuse and manipulate the woman. Officially, these are all presented as being in her best interest, but given the inaccuracy of so many of the claims that need to be made, it's hard to believe it's for anybody's good.

Today, as the Supreme Court hears arguments in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, this is how we fight back — by telling our stories.

We all know somebody who has had an abortion (though we may not know it). In her opinion post at Cosmo, Brenneman recounts asking former NARAL president Nancy Keenan why it seems the marriage equality movement has been able to make sure leaps forward in such a short amount of time while reproductive rights seem to be going in the wrong direction. Her answer? "Stories."

"The tide of marriage equality turned when same-gender couples began to tell their very specific stories: not being allowed in the hospital room of their partner, not being able to adopt children together, not being seen as equal to their heterosexual peers," writes Brenneman.

She's not wrong — and this is exactly why we've recently seen more women come forward to share their stories, whether it be through the #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag, A is For's "Abortion Tweets Theater," or even in the story of Wendy Davis, whose famous 13-hour filibuster of the bill that would eventually become HB2 made her a national hero to some women. Sharing stories makes a difference.

And that's what it'll take to move the needle on reproductive rights, too: stories. There's a lot of shame and stigma attached to abortion, but people like Brenneman are speaking out, filing briefings with the court, and just generally fighting back.

You can watch Amy Brenneman tell her story in the video below.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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