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Court strikes down North Carolina ‘transvaginal ultrasound’ anti-abortion law

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A North Carolina law requiring doctors to perform an ultrasound and describe the displayed images to women seeking abortions constitutes compelled speech that violates the patients’ free speech rights, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Monday.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district judge’s decision that struck down the 2011 provision, agreeing that doctors could not be forced to disseminate the state’s message discouraging abortion.

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“This compelled speech, even though it is a regulation of the medical profession, is ideological in intent and in kind,” Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote in a unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel.

“While the state itself may promote through various means childbirth over abortion, it may not coerce doctors into voicing that message on behalf of the state in the particular manner and setting attempted here,” the ruling said.

North Carolina’s Republican-led legislature passed the abortion measure over a veto by then-Governor Beverly Perdue, a Democrat.

Several groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood Federation of America, challenged the law on constitutional grounds. They said requiring abortion providers to explain the images in an ultrasound to patients before performing the procedure infringed upon their right to free speech.

“We’re thrilled that the appellate court rejected this unconscionable attempt to intrude on the doctor-patient relationship,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

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The U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in 1973 but lawmakers in more conservative states have enacted laws that seek to place restrictions on the procedure.

Republican lawmakers in North Carolina have defended the ultrasound requirement as providing crucial information for women making an irrevocable decision. Under the law, women could avert their eyes and not listen to the explanation of the fetus images.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Why saying ‘OK boomer’ at work is considered age discrimination – but millennial put-downs aren’t

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The phrase “OK boomer” has become a catch-all put-down that Generation Zers and young millennials have been using to dismiss retrograde arguments made by baby boomers, the generation of Americans who are currently 55 to 73 years old.

Though it originated online and primarily is fueling memes, Twitter feuds and a flurry of commentary, it has begun migrating to real life. Earlier this month, a New Zealand lawmaker lobbed the insult at an older legislator who had dismissed her argument about climate change.

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Republicans are getting scared about Gordon Sondland’s Wednesday impeachment testimony: report

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Ambassador Gordon Sondland may be the most dangerous witness for President Donald Trump in the impeachment hearings so far, and that's in part because he has a lot to lose.

And according to CNN's Shimon Prokuecz, his scheduled testimony for Wednesday morning is making Republicans nervous:

Multiple GOP sources say they are most worried about what Gordon Sondland will do tomorrow - and whether he will turn on the President. The fear, Republicans say, is that he could undercut the last GOP defense. @mkraju

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‘There is no managing Donald Trump’: White House Republicans blasted for their myth of ‘adults in the room’

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Republicans who thought they could manage Donald Trump were taken down in The New Yorker on Tuesday.

The Susan Glasser article was titled, "The spectacular failure of the Trump wranglers."

"On Tuesday, nearly seven hours into the marathon third day of public impeachment hearings, Kurt Volker tried to explain to the House Intelligence Committee what it was like to carry out the nearly impossible task of wrangling U.S. policy toward Ukraine during the Presidency of Donald Trump," Glasser wrote. "Volker, a veteran Republican diplomat who had been serving, since 2017, as Trump’s Special Representative to Ukraine, said that he realized last spring that he had a 'problem,' and that it was Trump himself.

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