While You Weren’t Looking: 5 stories from the week that aren’t about North Korea

While You Weren’t Looking: 5 stories from the week that aren’t about North Korea

This week’s news was dominated by America’s return to 20th century-style nuclear brinksmanship. But as the world waited with bated breath to see what the president of the United States would threaten North Korea with next, major policy changes and victories were playing out across the country.

Here’s what you might have missed while you were stockpiling the bunker.

Trump administration defunds teen pregnancy education program

Some of the materials used by the Oklahoma City County Health Department in the Teen Pregnancy Prevention program
Some of the materials used by the Oklahoma City County Health Department in the Teen Pregnancy Prevention program Sue Ogrocki/AP

This week the Trump administration said it plans to cut off a federal grant program for teen pregnancy education, shocking many of the advocacy groups and agencies responsible for overseeing those programs.

The Teen Pregnancy Prevention program was created by Barack Obama in 2010 to give federal grants to programs that work to prevent unwanted teen pregnancy in areas that need it most. The program had been funded through the year 2020, but now the Department of Health and Human Services has told the 81 organizations across the country that receive those grants that they will be cutting off funds in 2018.

Some suspect that social conservatives within the administration orchestrated the decision in an attempt to shift the U.S. sexual education policy away from safe sex curricula and toward controversial “abstinence only” programs.

Active duty transgender service members file lawsuit against Trump

Equality March for Unity and Pride participants march past the White House in Washington, D.C.
Equality March for Unity and Pride participants march past the White House in Washington, D.C. Carolyn Kaster/AP

On Wednesday, five active-duty transgender service members filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military.

The lawsuit names Trump as well as Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford among defendants in the case.

Trump announced the decision to ban transgender people from military service via Twitter in July. The policy has yet to officially go into effect.

USDA bans the term “climate change”

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Mark Schiefelbein/AP

A new report in the Guardian claims that employees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have been instructed not to make references to the changing climate in published works.

According to internal emails obtained by the Guardian, some employees in the agency have been instructed to use alternative terms like “weather extremes” instead of “climate change,” and “build soil organic matter, increase nutrient use efficiency” instead of “reduce greenhouse gasses.”

Oregon passes landmark fair scheduling law

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. Gillian Flaccus/AP

On Tuesday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law the nation’s first statewide fair scheduling law. The law mandates that any employer operating in Oregon with more than 500 employees nationwide must adhere to a set of fair scheduling practices that include one week’s notice for all shift assignments and a mandatory 10-hour rest period between shifts.

Labor activists have increasingly come to focus on fair scheduling as a major battle in the struggle for workers’ rights. Major employers like Starbucks have come under fire in recent years for their erratic scheduling practices, which advocates say are abusive and upend the lives of their employees outside of work.

Chicago sues Justice Department over sanctuary cities crackdown

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Jean-Marc Giboux/AP

The city of Chicago has filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department over the current administration’s attempted crackdown on so-called “sanctuary cities.”

The lawsuit challenges the Justice Department’s policy of ending federal policing grants for jurisdictions that choose not to aid Immigration and Customs Enforcement in carrying out deportations.

In a statement, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the policy was forcing the city to “choose between strengthening our police department and the rights of Chicago’s residents as a welcoming city.”