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Reproductive Rights

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Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed into law the nation’s strictest abortion ban. The ban, passed by state lawmakers last week, prohibits all abortions with few exceptions. Stitt signed the bill on Wednesday. Providers have said they will stop performing the procedure as soon as the bill is signed. The law is part of an aggressive push in Republican-led states to scale back abortion rights. The only exceptions included in the law are to save the life of a pregnant woman or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest that has been reported to law enforcement.

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Police believe an overnight fire in Wyoming that damaged a building being renovated to house a new abortion clinic was deliberately set. Authorities are trying to determine the identity of a possible suspect seen running away from the building before dawn Wednesday. Police say the person was carrying what appeared to be a gas can and a black back. The blaze damaged the inside of the building under renovation to house the clinic in Casper, the second-biggest city in a state where opposition to abortion is widespread. The clinic was set to open in June as only the second place in the state to offer abortions.

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Former President Donald Trump’s crusade for vengeance suffered two devastating blows when Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger won their primaries despite rejecting Trump’s entreaties to reverse his 2020 election loss. It’s a huge warning sign for the way Republican voters view the former president’s crusade to punish those who were not willing to overturn the will of the voters in 2020. Voters also demonstrated an openness to embracing some scandal-plagued candidates. Former football great Herschel Walker won his U.S. Senate primary in Georgia despite his checkered past, while Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene shrugged off challengers who criticized her headline-grabbing, bombastic behavior.

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A poll finds that public approval of the Supreme Court has fallen following the leak of a draft opinion that would overturn the Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing abortion rights nationwide. The Marquette Law School Poll released Wednesday finds that disapproval of the nation’s highest court was especially pronounced among the roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults who oppose overturning Roe, while support for the court was high among those in favor. The poll also found increased partisan polarization in approval.  The draft opinion, obtained by Politico, would overrule Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to end a pregnancy. The official opinion is expected to be released sometime in the next month.

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One of the last anti-abortion Democrats in Congress was facing his toughest primary challenge yet in Tuesday's runoff, while a staunch gun safety advocate ousted her House colleague in a fierce member-on-member congressional primary in suburban Atlanta. In northwest Georgia, far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a conspiracy-peddling provocateur who has endorsed calls to assassinate prominent Democrats, coasted to victory. Primary elections Tuesday in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota and Texas are offering a glimpse of what the next Congress could look like, with some marquee matchups testing whether voters want to elect agents of change or a return to normal.

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Democratic U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar is locked in a tight primary runoff against progressive Jessica Cisneros in South Texas’ largest district. Early Wednesday, the race was too early to call. Cuellar was leading Cisneros by 175 votes, or 0.38 percentage points, out of 45,209 ballots counted as of 2 a.m. ET Wednesday. In March, Cisneros forced the runoff after she came within 1,000 votes of Cuellar, a nine-term incumbent, in the primarily Hispanic district with a large Catholic population. The winner will face Cassy Garcia, who won the Republican runoff for the seat.

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State Rep. Bee Nguyen is advancing to a runoff in the Democratic primary for Georgia secretary of state. It was too early to tell which of the other four Democrats she will face in the June 21 contest. Nguyen has served in the state House since winning a 2017 special election to succeed Stacey Abrams in a district that includes parts of DeKalb County just east of the Fulton County line and some parts of the city of Atlanta. She is also a vice chair of the state Democratic Party. Abrams is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor after narrowly losing the election to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in 2018.

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California senators have approved giving people the power to sue those who traffic in illegal firearms, mimicking a Texas law that is intended to deter abortions. They acted hours after Tuesday’s deadly elementary school shooting in Texas. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom sought the bill in response to a Texas law allowing people to go after those who provide or assist in providing abortions. The California version would allow people to file civil lawsuits against anyone who distributes illegal assault weapons, parts that can be used to build weapons, guns without serial numbers, or .50 caliber rifles. Republican Sen. Andreas Borgeas said legislators should instead empower law enforcement to act.

More than 40 Democratic members of Congress are asking Google to stop what they see as the unnecessary collection and retention of peoples' location data. They're concerned it could be used to identify women seeking abortions. The group of Democrats on Tuesday sent a letter to the CEO of Google's parent company saying that if abortion were to become illegal in the U.S., the cellphone location data collected and retained by the company could be used by far-right extremists looking to crack down on women seeking reproductive health care. Privacy experts fear pregnancies could be surveilled and the data shared with police or sold to vigilantes.

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Generations of women came together for a Manhattan protest against the U.S. Supreme Court’s anticipated ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. There were women who have been fighting for nearly a half century to hold on to abortion rights; there were daughters who now face the prospect of a long battle to regain those rights. The abortion war would seem to be a forever war. So mothers who joined their daughters at the May 14 protest, marching to Manhattan on the Brooklyn Bridge, were not only raging against the court and its expected decision; they were entrusting their cause to another generation.

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Planned Parenthood says it will offer abortion services at its clinic in Moorhead, Minnesota, if North Dakota’s only abortion clinic does not quickly relocate from Fargo should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade. Planned Parenthood says it expected Red River Women’s Clinic, a private clinic not affiliated with it, to make the short move across the river by July 1 if necessary. The Fargo clinic has long operated as the only abortion provider in the state. Owner Tammi Kromenaker says she would cross over to Moorhead if forced to do so, but has been too busy to explore details of such a move. She adds that “there are too many unknowns to confirm a specific date” for relocation.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing back on the decision by the conservative Catholic archbishop of San Francisco to deny her Communion over her support of abortion rights. Pelosi says she respects that people have opposing views but not when they impose them on others. The California Democrat says she comes from a large family with many members who oppose abortion. She says she respects "people’s views about that. But I don’t respect us foisting it onto others.” Pelosi spoke Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Last month, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said he would refuse her Communion after she vowed to codify into law the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion.

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An Iowa Supreme Court decision is holding back the state's solidly Republican Legislature and governor from banning abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Iowa is among GOP-controlled states that would be expected to ban abortion, except for state high court decisions recognizing the right under the state constitutions. The issue is most immediate in Iowa, where a court now dominated by Republican appointees is expected to decide in the coming weeks whether to uphold the ruling, decided just four years ago. The Iowa case highlights the inevitable confrontation between new abortion bans being prepared in anticipation of Roe’s reversal and state constitutions.

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Georgia takes center stage in Tuesday’s primary elections as Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger try to fight back challengers endorsed by Donald Trump. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia is testing Republican voters’ tolerance for controversy in her primary. In Alabama, three Republicans are in a tight race for the nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby. In Arkansas, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders is a front-runner for the Republican nomination for governor. In two Texas runoffs, Attorney General Ken Paxton is trying to hold off Land Commissioner George P. Bush, while congressman Henry Cuellar is facing a progressive challenger.

If the Supreme Court follows through on overturning Roe v. Wade, abortion will likely be banned or greatly restricted in about half of U.S. states. But experts and advocates fear repercussions could reach even further, affecting care for women who miscarry, couples seeking fertility treatments and access to some forms of contraception. Many supporters of abortion bans insist they are only interested in curtailing abortion, and legislation passed so far often has exceptions for other reproductive care. But rumblings in the GOP have doctors concerned, and laws banning abortion could also have unintended side effects.

Georgia takes center stage in Tuesday’s primary elections as Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger try to fight back challengers endorsed by Donald Trump. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia is testing Republican voters’ tolerance for controversy in her primary. In Alabama, three Republicans are in a tight race for the nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby. In Arkansas, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders is a front-runner for the Republican nomination for governor. In two Texas runoffs, Attorney General Ken Paxton is trying to hold off Land Commissioner George P. Bush, while congressman Henry Cuellar is facing a progressive challenger.

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One of the last anti-abortion Democrats in Congress is in the toughest reelection battle of his career in South Texas. Rep. Henry Cuellar is trying to win the nomination for a 10th term in a primary runoff Tuesday against challenger Jessica Cisneros. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders are standing by Cuellar despite his staunch anti-abortion views. Cisneros is an immigration attorney who supports abortion rights. The runoff is a test of how much abortion rights will energize voters in the midterm elections. A leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion last month showed that the court may overturn abortion rights this summer.

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For some female incumbents running for reelection in Congress this year, holding their seats comes with a new challenge. Because of redistricting, some of those congressional districts will be tougher to win. It’s too early to know how many female representatives were hurt by the once-a-decade process because maps haven’t been finalized in several states. But in states with new district boundaries set, the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University found more than a dozen women who are running in significantly tougher territory. This comes as female representatives make up about 28% of the 435 House members.

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The conservative Catholic archbishop of San Francisco says he will no longer allow U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to receive Communion because of her support for abortion rights. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said Friday in his notification to Pelosi that he sent her a letter on April 7 expressing his concerns after she vowed to codify the Supreme Court’s Row vs. Wade decision into law after Texas approved a law banning most abortions but that she never responded. Cordileone says he told Pelosi she must either repudiate her support of abortion rights or stop speaking publicly about her Catholic faith. Otherwise he says he must declare she cannot receive Communion.

Oklahoma is only days from enacting the toughest U.S. state ban on abortion and providers are preparing to stop terminating pregnancies. Meanwhile, questions remained Friday about how the law’s limited exceptions would be enforced. The law allows abortions to save a pregnant patient’s life “in a medical emergency” and in cases of rape, sexual assault or incest that have been reported to law enforcement. It doesn’t spell out who decides what is considered a medical emergency, and the rape and incest exception won’t help victims who don’t report the crimes. Abortion providers said they are likely to be cautious and are planning to refer some patients to states like Colorado or Kansas.

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The loudest voices in the abortion debate are often characterized along a starkly religious divide, the faithful versus not. But the reality is much more nuanced, both at an Alabama abortion clinic and in the nation that surrounds it. The clinic’s staff of 11 — most of them Black, deeply faithful Christian women — have no trouble at all reconciling their work with their religion. And as the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to dismantle the constitutional right to an abortion, they draw on their faith that they will somehow continue. God is on our side, they tell each other. God will keep this clinic open.

The loudest voices in the abortion debate are often characterized along a starkly religious divide, the faithful versus not. But the reality is much more nuanced, both at an Alabama abortion clinic and in the nation that surrounds it. The clinic’s staff of 11 — most of them Black, deeply faithful Christian women — have no trouble at all reconciling their work with their religion. And as the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to dismantle the constitutional right to an abortion, they draw on their faith that they will somehow continue. God is on our side, they tell each other. God will keep this clinic open.

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Abortion providers in Oklahoma say they will no longer provide the service in the state after the governor signs the latest anti-abortion measure heading to his desk. The bill passed Thursday is part of an aggressive push in Republican-led states across the country to scale back abortion rights. The bill would prohibit all abortions, except to save the life of a pregnant woman or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest that has been reported to law enforcement. It now heads to Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who is expected to sign it.

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