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Two years after a leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion signaled that the nation’s abortion landscape was about to shift dramatically, the issue is still consuming the nation’s courts, legislatures and political campaigns — and changing the course of lives.

On Wednesday, a ban on abortion after the first six weeks of pregnancy, often before women realize they’re pregnant, took effect in Florida, echoing laws in two other states. In Arizona, meanwhile, lawmakers voted to repeal a total ban on abortion dating back to 1864, decades before Arizona became a state — and the governor signed it a day later. Also this week, the Kansas Legislature increased funding for anti-abortion centers, while advocates in South Dakota submitted the required number of signatures for a ballot measure to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.

The status of abortion in states across the country has changed constantly, with lawmakers passing measures and courts ruling on challenges to them. Currently, 14 states are enforcing bans on abortion at all stages of pregnancy, with limited exceptions. Most Democratic-led states, meanwhile, have taken steps to preserve or expand access.

“Some of it’s exactly what we knew would happen,” said David Cohen, a professor at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University who studies abortion policy, “and others have been big surprises that have put, frankly, the anti-abortion movement on their heels.”

Although more than 20 states have begun enforcing abortion bans of varying degrees since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, studies have found that the number of monthly abortions nationally is about the same — or higher — than it was before the ruling. Asked to weigh in on the emotional debate, voters have supported the position favored by abortion rights advocates on all seven statewide ballot measures since then.

The Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case was released officially on June 24, 2022, upending nearly 50 years of abortion being legal nationwide. But the world caught a glimpse of it about six weeks earlier, on May 2, after a news outlet published a leaked draft.

“With the Dobbs decision, the will of the people is now able to be adhered to,” said Stephen Billy, vice president of state affairs for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. He said abortion rights supporters have sought to create uncertainty about laws he says are clear — especially with assertions that the bans bar abortion in medical emergencies: “They’ve tried to sow political division just to advance their policy agenda,” he said.

At the time Politico published the leaked draft, Amanda Zurawski was undergoing fertility treatment and was about two weeks away from learning she was finally pregnant. The Austin, Texas, woman had always supported abortion rights, and was mad that the right to abortion was on the verge of disappearing. But she didn’t expect a direct impact in her life.

That changed months later when she was denied an abortion despite a premature rupture of membranes, which can lead to dangerous internal bleeding. Days later, she was diagnosed with sepsis, a life-threatening reaction to infection. Her daughter, Willow, was ultimately aborted, but Zurawski nearly died in the process because of the delay.


Voters in Chad headed to the polls on Monday to cast their ballot in a long delayed presidential election that is set to end three years of military rule under interim president, Mahamat Deby Itno.

Deby Itno seized power after his father who ran the country for more than three decades was killed fighting rebels in 2021. Last year, the government announced it was extending the 18-month transition for two more years, which provoked protests across the country.

There are 10 candidates on the ballot, including a woman. Some 8 million people are registered to vote, in a country of more than 17 million people, one of the poorest in the world. Analysts say Deby Itno is expected to win the vote. A leading opposition figure Yaya Dillo, the current president’s cousin, was killed in February in circumstances that remain unclear.

The oil-exporting country of nearly 18 million people has not had a free-and-fair transfer of power since it became independent in 1960 after decades of French colonial rule.

Chad is seen by the U.S. and France as one of the last remaining stable allies in the vast Sahel region following military coups in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger in recent years. The ruling juntas in all three nations have expelled French forces and turned to Russia’s mercenary units for security assistance instead.

Earlier this year, Niger’s junta ordered all U.S. troops out, meaning Washington will lose access to its key base in Agadez, the center of its counter-terrorism operations in the region. The U.S. and France still have a military presence in Chad, who consider it an especially critical partner.

The West also fears that any instability in Chad, which has absorbed over half a million refugees from Sudan, could increase the flow of illegal migrants north towards Europe.

“These are all the reasons the West is staying relatively quiet about the democratic transition in Chad,” said Ulf Laessing, head of the Sahel program at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. “Everybody just wants this vote to pass so Deby Itno gets elected so they continue to work with him and preserve the stability of the region,” he added.

Along with the arrival of refugees from Sudan, Chad is also dealing with high food prices partly caused by the war in Ukraine and a renewed threat from the Boko Haram insurgency spilling over from its southwestern border with Nigeria.

In March, an attack the government blamed on Boko Haram killed 7 soldiers, reviving fears of violence in the Lake Chad area after a period of peace following a successful operation launched in 2020 by the Chadian army to destroy the extremist group’s bases there. Schools, mosques and churches reopened and humanitarian organizations returned.


The state Supreme Court announced Friday that it will decide whether mobile voting sites are legal without allowing any lower appellate courts to rule first.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative law firm, sued in December 2022 on behalf of Racine County Republican Party Chair Ken Brown, alleging Racine city officials illegally used a voting van to collect absentee ballots that year. A circuit judge ruled in January that state law doesn’t allow mobile voting sites to operate.

Racine City Clerk Tara McMenamin and the Democratic National Committee asked the state Supreme Court in February to review the case without letting any lower appellate courts rule on it first.

Justice Janet Protasiewicz’s election win in 2023 gave liberals a 4-3 majority on the court, increasing the likelihood of a reversal. Brown filed a motion in March asking Protasiewicz to recuse herself from the case but she declined.

The justices issued an order Friday afternoon indicating they had voted 4-3 to take the case. All three conservative justices dissented. Chief Justice Annette Ziegler, a member of the conservative block, wrote that the case hasn’t been fully briefed and the liberal justices are trying to help Democrats make political gains ahead of the November elections.


Jurors in the hush money trial of Donald Trump heard a recording Thursday of him discussing with his then-lawyer and personal fixer a plan to purchase the silence of a Playboy model who has said she had an affair with the former president.

A visibly irritated Trump leaned forward at the defense table, and jurors appeared riveted as prosecutors played the September 2016 recording that attorney Michael Cohen secretly made of himself briefing his celebrity client on a plan to buy Karen McDougal’s story of an extramarital relationship.

Though the recording surfaced years ago, it is perhaps the most colorful piece of evidence presented to jurors so far to connect Trump to the hush money payments at the center of his criminal trial in Manhattan. It followed hours of testimony from a lawyer who negotiated the deal for McDougal’s silence and admitted to being stunned that his hidden-hand efforts might have contributed to Trump’s White House victory.

“What have we done?” attorney Keith Davidson texted the then-editor of the National Enquirer, which had buried stories of sexual encounters to prevent them surfacing in the final days of the bitterly contested presidential race. “Oh my god,” came the response from Dylan Howard.

“There was an understanding that our efforts may have in some way...our activities may have in some way assisted the presidential campaign of Donald Trump,” Davidson told jurors, though he acknowledged under cross-examination that he dealt directly with Cohen and never Trump.

The testimony from Davidson was designed to directly connect the hush money payments to Trump’s presidential ambitions and to bolster prosecutors’ argument that the case is about interference in the 2016 election rather than simply sex and money. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has sought to establish that link not just to secure a conviction but also to persuade the public of the significance of the case, which may be the only one of four Trump prosecutions to reach trial this year.

“This is sort of gallows humor. It was on election night as the results were coming in,” Davidson explained. “There was sort of surprise amongst the broadcasters and others that Mr. Trump was leading in the polls, and there was a growing sense that folks were about ready to call the election.”

Davidson is seen as a vital building block for the prosecution’s case that Trump and his allies schemed to bury unflattering stories in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. He represented both McDougal and porn actor Stormy Daniels in negotiations that resulted in the purchase of rights to their claims of sexual encounters with Trump and those stories getting squelched, a tabloid industry practice known as “catch-and-kill.”

Davidson is one of multiple key players testifying in advance of Cohen, the star prosecution witness who paid Daniels $130,000 for her silence and also recorded himself, weeks before the election, telling Trump about a plan to purchase the rights to McDougal’s story from the National Enquirer so it would never come out. The tabloid had previously bought McDougal’s story to bury it on Trump’s behalf.

At one point in the recording, Cohen revealed that he had spoken to then-Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg about “how to set the whole thing up with funding.” To which Trump can be heard responding: “What do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?”

Trump can be heard suggesting that the payment be made with cash, prompting Cohen to object by saying “no” multiple times. Trump can then be heard saying “check” before the recording cuts off.

Trump’s lawyers sought earlier in the day to blunt the potential harm of Davidson’s testimony by getting him to acknowledge that he never had any interactions with Trump — only Cohen. In fact, Davidson said, he had never been in the same room as Trump until his testimony.

He also said he was unfamiliar with the Trump Organization’s record-keeping practices and that any impressions he had of Trump himself came through others.


Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer said Saturday that the onetime movie mogul has been hospitalized for a battery of tests after his return to New York City following an appeals court ruling nullifying his 2020 rape conviction.

Attorney Arthur Aidala said Weinstein was moved to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan after his arrival on Friday to city jails.

“They examined him and sent him to Bellevue. It seems like he needs a lot of help, physically. He’s got a lot of problems. He’s getting all kinds of tests. He’s somewhat of a train wreck health wise,” Aidala said.

A message left with the hospital was not immediately returned Saturday.

Frank Dwyer, a spokesperson with the New York City Department of Correction, said only that Weinstein remains in custody at Bellevue. Thomas Mailey, a spokesperson for the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, said Weinstein was turned over to the city’s Department of Correction pursuant to the appeals ruling. Weinstein had been housed at the Mohawk Correctional Facility, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Albany.

On Thursday, the New York Court of Appeals vacated his conviction after concluding that a trial judge permitted jurors to see and hear too much evidence not directly related to the charges he faced. It also erased his 23-year prison sentence and ordered a retrial.

Prosecutors said they intend to retry him on charges that he forcibly performed oral sex on a TV and film production assistant in 2006 and raped an aspiring actor in 2013.

Weinstein remained in custody after the appeals ruling because he was convicted in Los Angeles in 2022 of another rape and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.


Lawyer Keith Davidson concluded his testimony in Donald Trump’s hush money trial late Thursday afternoon after spending about 6 1/2 hours on the witness stand over two days. Davidson’s testimony was followed by that of forensic analyst Douglas Daul, who testified about his findings on Michael Cohen’s cell phone.

During the course of the day, jurors heard for the first time recordings of calls between Cohen and Davidson, as well as a briefing Cohen gave Trump about plans to buy former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story.

Thursday’s proceedings began with a contempt hearing over whether the former president violated his gag order again.

Judge Juan M. Merchan heard from both prosecutors and one of Trump’s defense attorneys about four more prospective violations, including comments Trump made about the political makeup of the jury and comments he made to reporters in the courthouse hallway. No immediate decision on potential sanctions was made.

Prosecutors have said that Trump and others conducted a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election by purchasing and burying salacious stories that might hurt his campaign.

Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records to cover up hush money payments — including $130,000 given to porn actor Stormy Daniels by Cohen — recording them instead as legal expenses.


Israeli officials sound increasingly concerned that the International Criminal Court could issue arrest warrants for the country’s leaders more than six months into the Israel-Hamas war.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has written in general terms about ICC action against Israeli troops and officials, and Israel’s foreign ministry has said it is also tracking reports of pending action.

The ICC was established in 2002 as the permanent court of last resort to prosecute individuals responsible for the world’s most heinous atrocities – war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and the crime of aggression.

The Rome Statute creating the ICC was adopted in 1998 and entered into force when it got 60 ratifications on July 1, 2002. The U.N. General Assembly endorsed the ICC, but the court is independent. Without a police force, the ICC relies on member states to arrest suspects, which has proven to be a major obstacle to prosecutions.

Netanyahu said Friday on the social platform X that Israel “will never accept any attempt by the ICC to undermine its inherent right of self-defense.”

“While the ICC will not affect Israel’s actions, it would set a dangerous precedent,” he wrote.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said late Sunday that it had informed missions abroad of “ rumors ” that the court could order the arrest of senior Israeli political and military officials. The ministry did not give a source for the rumors.

The ICC’s 124 member states have signed on to the Rome Statute. Dozens of countries did not sign and do not accept the court’s jurisdiction over war crimes, genocide and other crimes. They include Israel, the United States, Russia and China.

The ICC becomes involved when nations are unable or unwilling to prosecute crimes on their territory. Israel argues that it has a functioning court system, and disputes over a nation’s ability or willingness to prosecute have fueled past disputes between the court and individual countries.

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