You might be missing this

National news that might not be hitting headlines

by Ainsley Shaw, Reporter

When every major news story is covering a global pandemic, other important stories tend to get buried and go unnoticed. Here’s what you might be missing amidst the chaos.

Some state governments are exploiting COVID-19 to delay most abortion services.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order that “all licensed health care professionals and all licensed health care facilities shall postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition of, or to preserve the life of, a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician.” In March, Texas officials claimed that abortions are among the list of “nonessential surgeries” and most should be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many other states have made moves to stop or restrict most abortion services including Ohio, Iowa, Alabama, Oklahoma and Tennessee. These restrictions are big steps backward and extremely dangerous decisions. If a woman can’t get access to an abortion, it is possible that she could go to dangerous lengths to do it herself. Lengths that could result in her own death.

Domestic abuse cases have risen dramatically since the start of quarantine.

The coronavirus pandemic has created a highly dangerous environment for domestic violence inside homes all over the world. Since people are stuck at home all day every day, it’s much harder for victims to escape and receive the help they need. According to NBC News, Houston, TX police saw a roughly 20% increase in domestic violence calls from February to March and Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC, observed an 18% rise in March compared to March of 2019. During the second half of March, 1,765 National Domestic Violence Hotline callers reported that their abusive partner was leveraging COVID-19 to “further isolate, coerce, or increase fear in the relationship,” according to Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.

President Trump wants to order a 60-day halt in issuing green cards and ban immigration during the pandemic.

Using health concerns as grounds, this executive order will shut out tens of thousands of individuals attempting to find employment and shelter in the U.S. According to The New York Times, business groups who utilize foreign labor fought back against his claim which led Trump to shy away from his bigger plan to suspend guest worker programs. Guest worker visas provide individuals from foreign countries with temporary employment in the U.S. “By pausing immigration, we will help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens,” President Trump said. “It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad. We must first take care of the American worker.”

Protesters are breaking shelter in place and social distancing orders.

Rallies against the stay-at-home orders are taking place all over the United States. The individuals involved are calling for state officials to reopen all businesses that were deemed nonessential even though the pandemic still poses major health threats. About 300 protesters crowded the Texas State Capitol steps last Saturday along with Alex Jones’ Austin-based conspiracy website InfoWars for a “You Can’t Close America” rally. And the majority of the attendees weren’t wearing masks although the city of Austin requires everyone to these days.

Homeless populations hit hard by coronavirus.

More often than not, homeless individuals rely on money handed to them by people passing by. Due to shelter in place orders, less and less people are outside and most businesses that serve as spots for them to go during the day have shut down. And the use of cash has also been discouraged as it can spread the coronavirus around. Although we’re being advised to avoid large crowds of people, it may not be an option for homeless individuals because they don’t have access to an area where they can self-isolate. It also may not be an option for them to avoid homeless shelters (which are typically very crowded). Homeless shelters remain open at this time. The majority aren’t well protected against the pandemic and can’t get access to the resources and proper care they need. Click here to make a donation to The Salvation Army which is continuing to provide care to homeless populations during COVID-19 or make a donation to a local homelessness agency/non-profit (such as one based in Downtown Austin) if you can.