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Planned Parenthood was filing a lawsuit Thursday against a bill that would ban most abortions in South Carolina, effectively stopping the measure from going into effect even as the governor was scheduled to sign it into law at a public statehouse ceremony.

The bill has been one of Republican Gov. Henry McMaster’s chief priorities since he took office in 2017. It is similar to abortion restriction laws that a dozen states have previously passed. All are tied up in court. Federal law, which takes precedence over state law, currently allows abortion.

The House passed its bill by a 79-35 vote Wednesday after hours of emotional testimony from both supporters and opponents, and gave the measure final approval on Thursday. Moments after the second vote Thursday, Planned Parenthood announced that it was filing a lawsuit. The “South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act,” like other similar laws currently being challenged, is “blatantly unconstitutional,” said Jenny Black, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.

Supporters of restrictive abortion laws are trying to get the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court in the hopes that — with three justices appointed by Republican former President Donald Trump — the court could overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision supporting abortion rights. The Supreme Court has previously ruled that abortion is legal until a fetus is viable outside the womb — months after a heartbeat can be detected, Black noted.

State bills to restrict or ban abortion “are plainly absurd,” Black said. “There is no other way around it.”

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson issued a statement Thursday saying that his office “will vigorously defend this law in court because there is nothing more important than protecting life.”

Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit argues that South Carolina’s new law “is in flagrant violation of nearly five decades of settled Supreme Court precedent.” The suit says a high rate of women, especially African Americans, die during or immediately after childbirth in South Carolina. The abortion ban would fall hardest on low-income women, who wouldn’t be able to travel to a nearby state where abortion is still permitted, the suit says.

Black said the focus on abortion wastes taxpayer money and ignores a host of other important issues such as health care, unequal treatment of women, and education, Black said.



Maya Moore startled basketball when she stepped away from the WNBA before the season. She has spent a lot of her time trying to help a family friend overturn a conviction.

Jonathan Irons has been incarcerated since 1997, convicted in the nonfatal shooting of a homeowner during a burglary. He is serving a 50-year sentence but has asked a judge to reopen his case. He is scheduled for a hearing Oct. 9 in Missouri.

Moore plans to be in the courtroom. She said there was no physical evidence — no DNA, fingerprints or footprints — linking Irons to the crime.

“I’ve known Jonathan for over a decade, and I’m fighting to make sure his case gets a fair review. I’m trying to call attention to the prosecutorial misconduct that I believe resulted in his being wrongfully sent to prison for 50 years as a teenager,” Moore told The Associated Press by phone Sunday night. “This hearing will hopefully give us a perfect opportunity to show why this conviction lacks integrity for so many different reasons.”

Moore has kept a low profile during her time away from basketball. She had done only one interview , talking to The New York Times over the course of a few months to chronicle Irons’ story.

Irons, then 16, had been seen with a gun in the St. Louis suburb of O’Fallon on the evening of Jan. 14, 1997, according to court records cited by the Times. The victim returned home and confronted a burglar, the records said. Shots were fired and the victim was hit in the right temple. A week later, Irons was arrested. The detective in the case said Irons confessed, but the detective wasn’t available to be cross-examined at trial because he was ill. He has since died.

Moore spent time over the weekend in Washington speaking to the Congressional Black Caucus. She started a petition on Change.org to further spread the word about Irons.


A federal court judge will hear motions in a lawsuit over a North Carolina law that mandates the revocation of drivers' licenses for unpaid traffic tickets even if the driver can't afford to pay.

Advocacy groups sued in May, seeking to declare the law unconstitutional. A hearing will be held Wednesday in Winston-Salem on motions for a preliminary injunction and class certification.

The judge also will consider a motion by the defendant, the commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles, for a judgment in his favor.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups sued on behalf of indigent residents facing license revocation or whose licenses have been revoked.

They're asking that a judge declare the law unconstitutional, saying it violates due process rights under the 14th Amendment.



The British government wants to make it easier for couples to divorce, spurred by the case of a woman ordered to stay in what she called a loveless marriage.

The Supreme Court ruled in July that Tini Owens must remain married to her husband of 40 years despite her wish to leave him. The judges called it a "very troubling case" but said their hands were tied by the country's divorce laws.

English law requires a spouse to prove unreasonable behavior, adultery, desertion or a five-year separation unless both parties agree to divorce.

BuzzFeed News reported Friday that ministers are due to open a consultation on reform. A government spokeswoman in the House of Lords, Charlotte Vere, confirmed that "we are looking at ways to reduce conflict in a divorce."


for a hearing in their divorce case.

They're due in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on Thursday. Vanessa Trump filed for divorce in March. Afterward, they issued a joint statement saying they will "always have tremendous respect for each other."

The 2007 birth of the couple's first child made Donald Trump Sr. a grandfather a decade before he became president.

The Trumps were married in 2005 and have five children. Former Fox News Channel personality Kimberly Guilfoyle recently left the network amid news that she's dating Donald Trump Jr. She has joined a super PAC supporting the president. The divorce, initially listed as uncontested, is now contested.



Judicial authorities on Wednesday told the brother-in-law of Spain's King Felipe VI that he must report to a prison within five days in order to serve five years and 10 months for fraud and tax evasion, among other crimes.

Inaki Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball medal winner who has been married for two decades to the king's sister, Princess Cristina, is the closest person to the ruling family of the Bourbons to be convicted and imprisoned.

The case was seen as instrumental in prompting the abdication in 2014 of Juan Carlos I, who passed on the throne to Felipe. Public broadcaster TVE showed Urdangarin and his lawyer arriving Wednesday by car at the Palma de Mallorca court after landing on a commercial flight from Geneva, where the 50-year-old lives with his wife Cristina.

He left minutes later, without making any remarks to the crowd of reporters and cameras awaiting him. The provincial court ruled last year that Urdangarin embezzled about 6 million euros ($7 million) between 2004 and 2006 by exploiting his "privileged status" in the royal family to obtain public contracts related to sports events.

Spain's Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the lower court's decision, but acquitted him of forgery and reduced his prison sentence by five months. Cristina, who became the first member of the Spanish royal family to face criminal charges, was acquitted for aiding her husband's crimes and only fined as a beneficiary in the scheme. She had already paid a 265,000-euro fine ($311,500), but Tuesday's Supreme Court ruling on the appeal halved the amount.

It wasn't immediately clear where the former duke will serve the prison sentence, although in theory he has the right to choose any of the facilities in Spanish territory.

Urdangarin could still appeal to the Constitutional Court, but experts say that would be futile because the country's top court has not taken in any appeals for imprisonments beyond the five year mark in the past.


Five western nations have warned Kosovo against repealing or amending a law on a war crimes court, saying it would suffer negative consequences "in international and Euro-Atlantic integration."

A statement Thursday from the nations — the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Italy — said they were "deeply concerned by ongoing efforts to undermine the work of the Specialist Chambers." It called on Kosovo politicians and lawmakers "to abandon any thought of repealing or re-negotiating any aspect of the law ... (because that) calls into question Kosovo's commitment to the rule of law."

In December, a group of Kosovo lawmakers tried to amend the law, seeking to extend its jurisdiction over Serbs, their former adversaries in the 1998-1999 war for independence. The court now has jurisdiction only over potential war crimes suspects who were Kosovo citizens.

"(This move) puts the interests of certain individuals above the interests of Kosovo society. We condemn such a move," the nations said.

Kosovo detached from Yugoslavia following a three-month NATO air war in 1999 to stop a bloody Serbian crackdown against ethnic Albanian separatists. It then declared unilateral independence from Serbia in 2008, a move recognized by 114 states but not by Serbia.

The court law was passed in 2015 as a result of U.S. and European pressure on Kosovo's government to confront alleged war crimes that the Kosovo Liberation Army committed against ethnic Serbs.



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