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Daily News Flash with Maya Rockymoore on Obama’s Saudi Visit, Obamacare Deadline, and More Assaults on Women’s Reproductive Health

Uprising’s guest expert Maya Rockymoore, President of the Center for Global Policy Solutions, a social-change non-profit dedicated to making policy work for people and their environment, analyzes today’s news headlines:

President Obama is visiting the wealthy oil-rich Gulf state of Saudi Arabia, for the first time in 5 years. US-Saudi relations have been historically close but news reports suggest ties have been strained for the past year with the Saudi government funding regimes that the US has nominally opposed, such as in Syria and Egypt. The US-Iran détente has also made the Saudis nervous. According to Al Jazeera, “Saudi figures threatened a ‘major shift’ away from Washington, warning that Riyadh might ‘go it alone’ if Obama continued to neglect Saudi demands for the type of coercive action they grew accustomed to under former President George W. Bush.” Click here for an Al Jazeera article about the story.

Six million people have obtained health insurance as the Obamacare deadline fast approaches. President Obama had initially hoped that at least 7 million Americans would have signed up by the Monday March 31st deadline but the 6 million figure has surpassed newer, lowered expectations. Much misinformation persists about the Affordable Care Act and the compliance it requires. Progress is very checkered with states like California and Connecticut smoothly able to sign up people for plans, while states like Maryland are struggling. Texas is one of the worst, with some people believing the ACA is actually banned there. Click here for a Politico article and here for a New York Times article about the story.

We examine two more blows to women’s reproductive rights. A federal appeals court yesterday upheld a controversial Texas law that has led to the closure of many abortion clinics in that state. Texan women including state senator Wendy Davis, loudly opposed the law when it was first enacted. And in South Dakota, Gov. Dennis Daugaard approved a law banning abortions if they are based on sex selection. Pointing to a cultural phenomenon among Asian immigrants in the state that many point out doesn’t actually exist, the law requires doctors to not perform abortions if pregnant mothers have a sex preference for their fetuses. Such sex selection abortion laws are being increasingly introduced on a state and federal level. Click here for a Commondreams article and here for a Think Progress report about the story.