The Apoca-List: A look back at things that pushed us closer to oblivion in 2012, and a few that may have drawn us back from the brink.
Published: December 26, 2012
Meanwhile, advocacy groups like Protect Our Defenders urge Congress to pass the STOP Act, legislation that would take sexual assault investigations outside the military chain of command, saying the problem isn't isolated to Lackland or even the Air Force — something illustrated in alarming detail in this year's documentary Invisible War by filmmaker Kirby Dick, which chronicled stories of several women across the branches who were not only raped in the military but ravaged by a system unwilling to prosecute their rapists.
By the Defense Department's own estimate, some 19,000 active duty servicemen and women were raped or sexually assaulted in the military in 2010. Another damning statistic from that DoD: 82 percent of women and 90 percent of men who chose to come forward with complaints of sexual assault or harassment said they wouldn't do it again if given the choice.
He-Man women-haters club (or the Texas GOP)
So goes another turbulent year for women's health in Texas.
With state family planning funding cut to the bone, the Women's Health Program survived the 2011 Lege as the sole bright spot for women's health care in the state, providing cancer screenings and contraception to thousands of uninsured, low-income women. But the Texas GOP's bullheadedness on the Planned Parenthood front has threatened to dismantle it.
At issue is a rule lawmakers passed defining who can provide services under the WHP, a Medicaid-waiver program aimed at reducing unplanned pregnancies in Texas. The program, which saved the state millions, drew 90 percent of its $36 million annual cost from the feds.
Though PP's family planning clinics — i.e. non-abortion providers — care for nearly half the clients enrolled in the program, the state banned the organization entirely, passing a rule that kicks "affiliates" of abortion providers out of the program.
Early this year Texas lost its standoff with the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which said it could not legally fund a program that arbitrarily gives the boot to qualified providers.
Fiscal consequences be damned, Gov. Rick Perry and company chose to forego federal funding (90 percent of the program, remember) and promised to start a fully state-funded WHP.
But as the legal battles continue to shake out, Perry has made it clear that, should the courts rule Texas can't ban PP, he'd rather kill the program altogether. A new lawsuit PP filed in federal court this month seeks to keep Perry from following through on that threat.
As the media heralded the importance of "Hispanic vote" after November's election, San Antonio's own Castro twins were front and center to explain it to the nation.
Mayor Julián Castro had his moment in the limelight as keynote speaker at the DNC, but following President Obama's impressive numbers among Hispanics — winning anywhere from 70 to 75 percent of the vote, depending on what poll you consider — the Mayor and twin Congressman-elect Joaquín Castro hit the national media circuit. Their message to the GOP: Latinos are part of the American family, whether you like it or not, and you need them to win elections.
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