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Women from the remote U.S. territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands will likely have to travel farther than other Americans to terminate a pregnancy if the Supreme Court overturns a precedent that established a national right to abortion in the United States.

Hawaii is the closest U.S. state where abortion is legal under local law. Even so, Honolulu is 3,800 miles (6,100 kilometers) away — about 50% farther than Boston is from Los Angeles.

“For a lot of people who are seeking abortion care, it might as well be on the moon,” said Vanessa L. Williams, an attorney who is active with the group Guam People for Choice.

It’s already difficult to get an abortion in Guam, a small, heavily Catholic island of about 170,000 people south of Japan.

The last physician who performed surgical abortions there retired in 2018. Two Guam-licensed doctors who live in Hawaii see patients virtually and mail them pills for medication abortions. But this alternative is available only until 11 weeks gestation.

Now there’s a possibility even this limited telehealth option will disappear.

A recently leaked draft opinion indicated the Supreme Court could overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision and allow individual states to ban abortion. About half of them would likely do so, abortion rights advocates say. Oklahoma got a head start Wednesday when its governor signed a measure prohibiting all abortions with few exceptions.

All three U.S. territories in the Pacific — Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa — also have the potential to adopt prohibitions, according to a 2019 report by the Center for Reproductive Rights. None have legal protections for abortion, and they could revive old abortion bans or enact new ones, the report said.

Traveling to the nearest states where abortion is allowed — Hawaii or the U.S. West Coast — would be prohibitive for many women.

A nonstop flight from Guam to Honolulu takes nearly eight hours. Only one commercial airline flies the route. A recent online search showed the cheapest tickets going for $1,500 roundtrip in late May.

Williams said many Guam residents need time off work, a hotel room and a rental car to travel for an abortion, adding more costs.

Hawaii legalized abortion in 1970, three years before Roe. The state today allows abortion until a fetus would be viable outside the womb. After that, it’s legal if a patient’s life or health is in danger.

Flying to a country in Asia that allows abortion would be quicker, but several reproductive rights advocates on Guam said they hadn’t heard of anyone doing that. For one, it would require a passport, which many don’t have, said Kiana Yabut of the group Famalao’an Rights.

Without Roe, Guam could revert to an abortion ban dating to 1990. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the law unconstitutional in 1992, but it has never been repealed.

James Canto, Guam deputy attorney general, agreed under questioning by a Guam senator this month that existing abortion laws in various states and territories would “be the law of the land” if Roe was overturned.


The State Bar of Texas sued Wednesday to punish state Attorney General Ken Paxton for his failed efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election based on bogus claims of fraud, raising a new legal danger for the Republican the day after he secured his party’s nomination for a third term.

The state bar asked a Dallas-area court to impose unspecified discipline on the state’s top lawyer, alleging that Paxton’s petitioning of the U.S. Supreme Court to block President Joe Biden’s victory was “dishonest.” The formal accusation of professional misconduct makes Paxton one of the highest-profile attorneys to face a potential threat to their law license for a role in former President Donald Trump’s effort to delegitimize his defeat.

The petition to a Collin County court came the day after Paxton defeated Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush in a Republican runoff election. That victory sets him up for a general election contest with Rochelle Garza, a South Texas Democrat and civil rights lawyer, as Paxton is also facing a trial over long-delayed state fraud charges and a separate FBI investigation prompted by criminal allegations from the attorney general’s own staff. One of Paxton’s lawyers, Philip Hilder, declined to comment.

The bar has been investigating complaints over Paxton’s election suit since last summer and opened a similar disciplinary proceeding against his top deputy earlier in May. Paxton forecast this month that the bar would seek to discipline him, decrying it as “a liberal activist group” and saying he stood behind his challenge to the “unconstitutional 2020 presidential election.”

A spokesman for the bar, which is a branch of the Texas Supreme Court, declined to comment. The group previously said that “partisan political considerations play no role” in its actions.

In bringing a court action against an attorney, the bar can seek punishment ranging from a written admonition to a suspension or disbarment. The disciplinary process resembles a trial and could include both sides eliciting testimony and obtaining records through discovery.

The bar complaint against Paxton alleges that he “misrepresented” facts to the Supreme Court in a suit seeking to overturn Biden’s victor. The suit was backed by Trump. The high court threw out the lawsuit that and the Justice Department under Trump found no evidence of fraud that could have changed the election’s outcome.

Before winning the nomination on Tuesday, Paxton drew an unusual number of primary challenges after eight of his top deputies told the FBI in 2020 that the attorney general had been using his office to benefit a wealthy donor. The eight, who eventually quit or were fired, accused him of bribery, abuse of office and other crimes prompting an ongoing federal investigation.

Paxton has denied wrongdoing and separately pleaded not guilty in a state securities fraud case that has languished since 2015.


A frustrated Ohio Supreme Court rejected Republican-drawn Statehouse maps for a fifth time Wednesday, extending the string of GOP defeats in a redistricting process that has ground the state’s legislative primaries to a halt.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor was clearly angered by the Republican-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission’s decision to resubmit maps that the high court found unconstitutional once before, calling it “a stunning rebuke of the rule of law.” Still, the court denied a request by voting rights and Democratic groups to hold commissioners in contempt, concluding, as it has before, that it has no power under the law to do so.

The court ordered the seven-member panel to reconvene and pass “entirely new” maps that meet constitutional requirements by June 3. Ohio’s map fight comes amid the once-per-decade political mapmaking process that all states must undertake to reflect population changes from the U.S. Census.

The state is also grappling for the first time with new rules for drawing the maps, which have presented legal and logistical surprises at every turn. A combination of Republican foot-dragging and legal wrangling has extended redistricting well into the 2022 election season and completely stymied Ohio’s legislative primaries. Maps were supposed to be completed last fall.

O’Connor, a Republican, faulted a separate, federal three-judge panel for making her court’s job more difficult. She said the judges effectively rewarded the redistricting commission’s inaction when they signaled that they will impose the rejected legislative maps favored by Republicans this Friday if the state cases aren’t resolved by then.

“The federal court provided the Republican commission members not only a roadmap of how to avoid discharging their duties but also a green light to further delay these proceedings” by stating its intentions, she wrote.

It was not immediately clear how the conflicting court proclamations would unfold, given that the federal court was set to act Friday and the state court process now extends a week beyond that.

State Sen. Vernon Sykes, the redistricting commission’s Democratic co-chair, said he is committed to meeting the court’s June 3 deadline.


Former reality TV star Josh Duggar was sentenced Wednesday to about 12 1/2 years in prison after he was convicted of receiving child pornography.

Duggar was also convicted of possessing child pornography in December, but U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks dismissed that conviction after ruling that, under federal law, it was an included offense in the receiving child pornography count.

Prosecutors had asked U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks to give the maximum term of 20 years to Duggar, whose large family was the focus of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting.” They argued in a pre-sentencing court filing that Duggar has a “deep-seated, pervasive and violent sexual interest in children.”

The judge sentenced Duggar to 12 years and seven months in prison, one day after denying a defense motion to overturn the guilty verdict on grounds of insufficient evidence or to order a new trial.

U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes said he was pleased with the sentence.

“While this is not the sentence we asked for, this is a lengthy sentence,” Fowlkes said outside the courthouse.

Duggar, whose lawyers sought a five-year sentence, maintains his innocence. Defense attorney Justin Gelfand said he is grateful Brooks declined to impose the full 20-year sentence requested by prosecutors.

“We’ll immediately file the notice of appeal within the next 14 days,” Gelfand said.

Duggar was arrested in April 2021 after a Little Rock police detective found child porn files were being shared by a computer traced to Duggar. Investigators testified that images depicting the sexual abuse of children, including toddlers, were downloaded in 2019 onto a computer at a car dealership Duggar owned.

TLC canceled “19 Kids and Counting” in 2015 following allegations that Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter years earlier. Authorities began investigating the abuse in 2006 after receiving a tip from a family friend but concluded that the statute of limitations on any possible charges had expired.

Duggar’s parents said he had confessed to the fondling and apologized. After the allegations resurfaced in 2015, Duggar apologized publicly for unspecified behavior and resigned as a lobbyist for the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group.

Months later, he publicly apologized for cheating on his wife and a pornography addiction, for which he then sought treatment.

In seeking a 20-year sentence, prosecutors cited the graphic images — and the ages of the children involved — as well as court testimony about the alleged abuse of Duggar’s sisters.

Duggar’s past behavior “provides an alarming window into the extent of his sexual interest in children that the Court should consider at sentencing,” federal prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum.

“This past conduct, when viewed alongside the conduct for which he has been convicted, makes clear that Duggar has a deep-seated, pervasive, and violent sexual interest in children, and a willingness to act on that interest” the court filing said.

Prosecutors also noted that Duggar’s computer had been partitioned to evade accountability software that had been installed to report to his wife activity such as porn searches, according to experts.

“There is simply no indication that Duggar will ever take the steps necessary to change this pattern of behavior and address his predilection for minor females,” prosecutors wrote.

“Duggar accepts that he is before this Court for sentencing and that this Court must impose a penalty,” his attorneys wrote. “That is justice. But Duggar also appeals to this Court’s discretion to temper that justice with mercy.”


Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that an underage girl can get an abortion without parental consent if she had been raped.

The court ruled that it was not necessary to have filed a crime report about the rape; the victim only has to swear she was raped.

The court held last year that it was unconstitutional to punish abortion. As Mexico’s highest court, its ruling bars all jurisdictions from charging a woman with a crime for terminating a pregnancy.

Statutes outlawing abortion are still on the books in most of Mexico’s 32 states, however, and nongovernmental organizations that have long pushed for decriminalization are pressing state legislatures to reform them. Abortion was already readily available in Mexico City and some states.


A court in Pakistan’s capital on Monday ordered police not to arrest several journalists without its permission, days after complaints were lodged accusing the TV anchors of inciting hatred against the military.

The order by Athar Minallah, chief justice at the Islamabad High Court, followed petitions from journalists Arshad Sharif, Sami Abrahim and Moeed Pirzada, who are known as critics of the military and were fearing arrest.

A court in the city of Lahore ordered that a fourth journalist, Imran Riaz, not be arrested. Under Pakistan’s legal system, people can seek a court order protecting them from arrest by police.

A fifth journalist, Sabir Shakir, is currently not in Pakistan but is also protected by Minallah’s order.

There was no immediate comment from the government.

The five journalists had feared arrest after residents in various parts of Pakistan filed similar complaints against them last week, urging police to arrest them on charges of treason.


A court in Pakistan’s capital has ordered an investigation into the controversial arrest of a former human rights minister over a decades old land dispute.

Chief Justice Ather Minallah of the Islamabad High Court late Saturday ordered the probe in response to a petition from the daughter of former minister Shireen Mazari.

Minallah questioned the decision by officials in Islamabad to allow police from a Punjab provincial district to make the arrest in the capital.

Mazari, who served in the Cabinet-level position under former Prime Minister Imran Khan, had been detained by police near her Islamabad home earlier in the day.

Fawad Chaudhry, former information minister in Khan’s administration, alleged that Mazari — the senior leader in Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party — had been politically targeted by the new administration of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif under the guise of a land dispute dating back to 1972.

Hours after Mazari’s arrest, Chief Minister of Punjab province Hamza Shahbaz ordered her release and late Saturday she was brought to the Islamabad court for an urgent hearing. She was then released.

Mazari has been critical of Sharif’s government on Twitter since Khan’s government was toppled in a no-confidence vote in Parliament last month. Khan’s party lawmakers resigned from the body’s lower house in protest and Khan is mobilizing supporters through public rallies across the country to pressure the government into an early election.

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