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Federal court strikes down Wisconsin anti-abortion law similar to Texas statute

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A Wisconsin law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital is unconstitutional, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Monday, addressing a topic the U.S. Supreme Court is considering during its current term.

Abortion providers in Wisconsin had challenged the state law, which requires doctors to have privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (50 km). The law’s supporters said the measure ensures continuity of care while opponents say it serves almost no public health value and is intended to shut clinics.

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A federal judge in March permanently blocked the Wisconsin law, ruling that the health benefits, if any, were outweighed by the burden on women’s health caused by restricted access to abortion.

The U.S. Supreme Court earlier in November agreed to take up a major abortion case for the first time since 2007. In that case, Texas abortion providers are challenging state requirements that they have admitting privileges and costly hospital-grade surgical facilities.

In the Wisconsin case, the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said a statute that curtails the constitutional right to an abortion, such as the Wisconsin and Texas laws, cannot withstand challenge without evidence that it is justified by benefits.

The evidence presented to the Texas legislature and discussed in the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals was weak and was nonexistent in the Wisconsin case, Judge Richard Posner found in an opinion concurred in by Judge David Hamilton.

Judge Daniel Manion dissented, saying that Wisconsin had a rational basis for the law.

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Abortion remains a contentious issue in the United States more than four decades after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized the procedure and some states have sought to chip away at a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.

The Supreme Court has allowed some state restrictions on abortions, such as permitting states to mandate parental consent for minors. But the top court has said states cannot impose an “undue burden” on the right to end a pregnancy.

(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by David Gregorio)

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Dying to work: Robert Reich on ‘reopening’ while COVID-19 continues to claim lives

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Most of Europe and all fifty states of the US are in various stages of “reopening.” But why, exactly?

The pandemic is still with us. After the first tentative steps to ease the lockdown in Germany – the most successful large European country to halt the spread of the virus thanks to massive testing – the disease has shown signs of spreading faster.

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Fox News legal analyst: ‘I will defend to the death’ Twitter’s right to fact check Trump

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Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano on Wednesday shot down President Donald Trump's threat to regulate Twitter after the company fact checked one of his tweets.

A note added to the president's tweet encouraged users to "get the facts about mail-in ballots," which Trump had wrongly called "no less than substantially fraudulent."

"We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen," Trump wrote in response to the fact check.

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Stock-dumping GOP senator faces swift backlash for claiming ‘total exoneration’ after DOJ drops probe

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Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) on Wednesday took a victory lap hours after the United States Department of Justice announced that it had dropped its investigation into her stock trading activities during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Just like Donald Trump, I've been completely and totally exonerated," she wrote on Twitter before then taking a shot at "the fake news media, career politicians, and Swamp elites who thought they were going to take me down."

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