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US Supreme Court lets stand Kentucky law with abortion restrictions

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The US Supreme Court on Monday let stand a Kentucky law that requires doctors to make patients seeking an abortion look at fetal images taken by echocardiogram and to listen to their heartbeat.

Without explanation, as is customary, the top US court refused to hear a suit challenging the state law, which was passed in 2017.

The law requires doctors to show patients echocardiogram images of the fetus and describe to them its size and organs and have them listen to its heartbeat if it is detectable, even if the patient objects.

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Kentucky’s authorities justified the measure as needed to obtain the patient’s “informed consent” before proceeding with an abortion.

In a brief, the only clinic that practices abortions in Kentucky argued that the restrictions were inappropriate.

“There is no area of medicine that considers the forced display and description of diagnostic images over the patient’s objection or against their will to be appropriate or part of informed consent,” it said.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which supports the clinic, said it was “extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court will allow this blatant violation of the First Amendment and fundamental medical ethics to stand.”

“By refusing to review the Sixth Circuit’s ruling, the Supreme Court has rubber-stamped extreme political interference in the doctor-patient relationship,” said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project.

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The Supreme Court legalized the right to abortion in 1973, but opposition to it remains strong in parts of American society, particularly in the so-called Bible Belt states of the South and mid-section of the country.

US President Donald Trump, who campaigned on a pledge to appoint only opponents of abortion to the Supreme Court, has so far named two of the court’s nine justices.

Their arrival has galvanized abortion opponents who are counting on the new justices to overturn the 1973 decision, or at least allow states to restrict access to the procedure.

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The first big test will occur in March, when the court examines a Louisiana law whose restrictions on abortion are similar to those of a Texas law that the court struck down nearly four years ago.


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New Zealand may postpone general election after 4 test positive for COVID-19: PM Jacinda Ardern

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New Zealand locked down nursing homes nationwide Wednesday after a 102-day streak without the coronavirus ended, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the outbreak could force her to postpone next month's general election.

Ardern said authorities were scrambling to trace anyone who had been in contact with four Auckland residents who tested positive Tuesday, ending the dream run in which the virus had been contained at New Zealand's borders.

A three-day stay-at-home order for Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city with a population of 1.5 million, was announced on Tuesday night and went into force at lunchtime on Wednesday.

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2020 Election

Android phones to get ‘ShakeAlert’ earthquake warnings — and phones may double as tremor detectors

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Android phones will receive warnings triggered by a "ShakeAlert" earthquake early-warning system implemented on the West Coast by the US Geological Survey and partners.

ShakeAlert uses signals from hundreds of seismometers across the state to trigger warning messages that "an earthquake has begun and shaking is imminent," according to the system's website.

"We saw an opportunity to use Android to provide people with timely, helpful earthquake information when they search, as well as a few seconds warning to get themselves and their loved ones to safety if needed," principal software engineer Marc Stogaitis said in a blog post.

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2020 Election

‘Don’t talk about racism, racist’: Trump scorched after claiming Biden-Harris campaign has a ‘racism problem’

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President Donald Trump continued to lash out at Kamala Harris after the California Democrat was chosen to join the 2020 Democratic Party ticket as presumptive nominee Joe Biden's running mate.

At a news conference following the selection, Trump complained about Harris being "nasty."

After 10 p.m. on Monday, Trump tweeted out an attack ad claiming "Joe Biden has a racism problem."

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's line of attack:

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