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A large Missouri hospital chain briefly stopped providing emergency contraception amid confusion over whether the state’s abortion ban could put doctors at risk of criminal charges for providing the medication, even for sexual assault victims.

St. Luke’s Health Kansas City said in a statement Wednesday that it would resume offering the medication known as the morning after pill, a day after it told The Kansas City Star that its Missouri hospitals would halt emergency contraception.

It did so after the state’s attorney general issued a statement stating unequivicolly that emergency contraception is not illegal under an abortion ban that was enacted minutes after Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The Missouri law bans all abortions except in cases of medical emergency.

“Saint Luke’s Health System is aware of and continues to closely monitor legal developments regarding Missouri’s abortion trigger law, including recent comments from the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and the Governor of Missouri regarding the use of emergency contraceptives,” St. Luke’s said Wednesday. “Following further internal review, Saint Luke’s will now resume providing emergency contraceptives, under new protocols, at all Missouri-based Saint Luke’s hospitals and clinics.”

The statement said the “ambiguity of the law, and the uncertainty even among state officials about what this law prohibits, continues to cause grave concern and will require careful monitoring.”

Since the Supreme Court ruling, abortion rights supporters have warned about the ambiguity of some state abortion bans and that contraception could be targeted.

Lawmakers in some states with majority-conservative legislatures have suggested that. Already in Idaho, emergency contraception was prohibited at school-based health clinics last year under a law banning public funding for “abortion related services.”

Adding to the worries were comments from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who in a separate concurring opinion urged colleagues to overturn other high court rulings protecting same-sex marriage, gay sex and the use of contraceptives.


Police at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier say the building was vandalized early Saturday when seven windows were broken and a message painted outside the main door reacting to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned a constitutional right to abortion.

Police say the vandalism took place at around 2 a.m. Saturday. The message painted on the granite portico said “If abortions aren’t safe you’re not either.”

The Capitol Police estimated damage was in excess of $25,000. The Statehouse had been expected to open Saturday for its summer tour, but that has been postponed. The Statehouse is now scheduled to open on Monday morning.

The vandalism came in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that reversed Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court decision that provided a constitutional right to abortion.

The decision is not expected to have any immediate effect on a woman’s right to an abortion in Vermont. The state has a law on the books guaranteeing the right to an abortion. State voters are also scheduled to cast ballots in November on whether to amend the state constitution to protect reproductive rights.


Two Des Moines men who were sentenced to life in prison without parole for murders committed when they were teenagers must stay behind bars, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled on Friday.

James Dorsey and Fernando Sandoval have been trying for decades to have their convictions and sentences overturned. This time lawyers argued that their clients should not have been tried as adults because the crimes were committed when they were 18 and 19 years old.

In Dorsey’s case, he was only five days past his 18th birthday when he killed Juanita Weaver during a home invasion in 1984. He argued that modern medical and social science shows the brain does not fully mature until age 25, the Des Moines Register reported.

State law states that youth who commit crimes before they turn 18 cannot be sentenced to life in prison without parole. But once someone turns 18, they face the full penalties prescribed by law.

Justice Christopher McDonald, who wrote both majority opinions, acknowledges that the 18th birthday might be an arbitrary place to draw a line, but said a line must be drawn somewhere. He cited many areas outside criminal law where turning 18 triggers new rights and responsibilities.

Sandoval was 19 in 2004 when he shot and killed two men during a fight outside a Des Moines bar. McDonald held that Sandoval has passed the statute of limitations to challenge his conviction.


The Michigan Supreme Court on Friday reinstated a lawsuit against a senior living center where an 89-year-old woman was locked out in cold weather and died a few weeks later.

In a 4-2 order, the court said Independence Village in Oxford had a duty to provide reasonable care. The case will return to Oakland County court.

Virginia Kermath was wearing only a nightgown when she apparently walked out a side door without her keys in December 2013. She was outdoors for 14 minutes. Hypothermia and frostbite contributed to her eventual death.

Lower courts said the harm to Kermath wasn’t foreseeable by Independence Village. But the Supreme Court disagreed.

“The potential burden associated with taking reasonable measures to prevent residents from being locked out and unable to alert staff, such as installing a buzzer or cameras, appears minimal when compared to the potential harm that could befall residents,” the court said.

In a court filing, Independence Village said Kermath chose independent senior living and that she and her family never indicated that she needed supervision at night.


A Wisconsin circuit court judge ruled Wednesday that it was legal for private grants from a group funded by Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg to be sent to the Democratic stronghold of Madison to help it run the 2020 election during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ruling from Dane County Circuit Judge Stephen Ehlke affirmed an earlier decision by the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission rejecting a complaint challenging the grant money from the Chicago-based Center for Tech and Civic Life as illegal bribery. It is the latest in a series of court rulings, both in Wisconsin and nationally, upholding the legality of the private grant money.

The lawsuit challenging that ruling as it pertained to Madison was brought on behalf of five voters by Erick Kaardal, a former secretary and treasurer for the Republican Party of Minnesota, who is an attorney for the conservative Thomas More Society. Kaardal also filed four nearly identical lawsuits challenging the grant money being awarded in four other heavily Democratic cities: Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha and Green Bay. Those cases are all pending. The one targeting the grant money in Madison is the first to have a ruling.

President Joe Biden won battleground Wisconsin over Donald Trump by just under 21,000 votes. That victory has been upheld by numerous courts, survived recounts ordered by Trump as well as independent and partisan reviews. Much of the attention from Republicans since Trump’s loss has focused on the propriety of the Zuckerberg-funded grant money.

Ehlke ruled that nothing in Wisconsin law prohibited the acceptance of private funding to help run elections. He also rejected arguments that the money went to communities to help Democrats, noting that the grant money went to any community that applied for it, regardless of how its residents tend to vote.

The Center for Tech and Civic Life gave $8.8 million in grants to Wisconsin’s five largest cities — all Democratic strongholds that voted for Biden over Trump — as part of more than $10 million it gave to over 200 communities statewide. No community that applied for a grant in Wisconsin was turned down.


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.


A disorderly conduct conviction can’t disqualify someone from obtaining a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Wisconsin, a unanimous state Supreme Court ruled Friday in a decision could dramatically broaden who can carry hidden firearms, knives and stun guns.

The court found that disorderly conduct isn’t a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence under federal law and therefore doesn’t disqualify a person from holding a concealed carry license. Justice Jill Karofsky, a member of the court’s liberal minority, concurred but in a separate opinion called on legislators to close a “dangerous loophole” that will allow domestic abusers to carry concealed weapons.

“Though legally correct, this result is as nonsensical as it is dangerous,” Karofsky wrote. “When a domestic abuse perpetrator, who has engaged in threats to kill or any other type of domestic violence, has access to a gun, the lethality risk for his victim increases significantly.”

The case revolves around Daniel Doubek, of Green Bay. According to court documents, Doubek broke into his estranged wife’s trailer in Door County in 1993 waving a board and shouting threats. He was ultimately convicted of disorderly conduct.

The state Justice Department granted Doubek a concealed carry permit in 2016, five years after carrying concealed weapons became legal in Wisconsin. The agency revoked his license in 2019 following an audit that revealed his disorderly conduct conviction.

Federal law prohibits states from issuing concealed carry permits to people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. The Justice Department found Wisconsin’s disorderly conduct statute qualifies as misdemeanor domestic violence as defined under federal code.

Doubek sued to regain his permit, arguing that Wisconsin’s disorderly conduct statute doesn’t match the federal definition of misdemeanor domestic violence. The federal definition requires “the use or attempted use of physical force.” But the state disorderly statute doesn’t mention the use of force, defining disorderly conduct instead as violent, abusive, indecent, profane or other undefined conduct that causes a disturbance, he argued.

A judge in Green Bay upheld the license revocation but Doubek appealed. The 2nd District Court of Appeals sent the case directly to the state Supreme Court without ruling on it.

Writing for the majority, Justice Brian Hagedorn said a disorderly conduct conviction in Wisconsin can’t disqualify someone from holding a concealed carry license in the state.

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