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This Week in Civil Liberties (11/08/2013)

Rekha Arulanantham,
Litigation Fellow,
ACLU National Prison Project
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November 8, 2013

The “Nursing Mothers Provision” of what newly passed federal bill requires ACLU plaintiff Bobbi Bockoras’ employer to provide her with a clean and private location in which to pump breast milk?

Which German magazine published a statement from Edward Snowden on Americans’ civic responsibility to push back against government secrecy?

In which state do two private prison companies continue to operate, despite having bribed judges to sentence 6,500 teenagers to serve time in prisons run by those companies?

In which federal court did the ACLU file an emergency request to block Texas’s anti-abortion law?

New Mexico police officers subjected a man to multiple searches of his anal cavity for what minor traffic violation?

106 Degrees and Dead Bugs. “Good Enough” For Breastfeeding Moms?

For the last six years, Bobbi Bockoras has worked at Saint Gobain Verallia, a glass-bottling factory in Port Allegany, PA operating heavy machinery. She’s one of a few women that work on the male-dominated factory line. While pregnant with her second child, Bockoras notified her supervisor that she would need accommodations to pump breast milk, as legally required by the “Nursing Mothers Provision” of the Affordable Care Act. Ignorant of the new law, Bockoras was harassed and forced to pump in a room covered in dirt and dead bugs and where temperatures could reach up to 106 degrees.

Statement from Edward Snowden

Last Sunday the German Magazine Der Spiegel published a statement from Edward Snowden that it translated from English to German. “We must not allow the existence of spying technology to determine political policy; we have a moral duty to ensure our law and values constrain surveillance programs and protect basic human rights,” wrote Snowden on the NSA’s dragnet surveillance programs. Snowden has provided the ACLU with the original English text.

Perhaps the Saddest Profit Motive Ever

In Pennsylvania, there are two companies called PA Child Care LLC and Western PA Child Care. You might think that these companies offer services and supports to kids to help them become productive adults. You’d be wrong.

These companies offered kickbacks to two Luzerne County, PA judges in exchange for these judges contracting with the company and sentencing 6,500 teenagers to spend time in two for-profit youth prisons these companies run. And although the two judges found guilty of accepting bribes are now serving prison terms themselves, the two private youth prisons remain open and continue to profit from incarcerating children in Pennsylvania.

We are Not Giving Up, Texas Women

This week the ACLU filed an emergency request with the Supreme Court to temporarily block a Texas law that requires doctors who perform abortion to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

Anal Probe for a Traffic Stop?

David Eckert was pulling out of a Wal-Mart parking lot when police officers pulled him over for failing to stop at a parking lot stop sign. Police ordered Eckert to step out of his vehicle, and that’s when he committed the highly suspicious act of “clenching his buttocks.” The officers’ natural reaction? This man must be hiding narcotics in his anal cavity.

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