A Virginia police officer who was asked to perform a welfare check at a deserted home around 4 a.m. Saturday was shot by a suspect inside and died that evening. Big Stone Gap Officer Michael Chandler, who turned 29 Saturday, was found lying unconscious in a ditch along the driveway, according to the Virginia State Police. Chandler was taken to Norton Community Hospital and then flown to Johnson City Medical Center. He succumbed to his injuries around 7 p.m. A suspect, who has not yet been publicly identified, was taken into custody by a joint task force of the Kingsport Tennessee Police Depart...
A new law limiting the use of abortion-inducing medication in Texas goes into effect Thursday.
The law makes it a felony to provide the medication after seven weeks of pregnancy, putting Texas at odds with federal regulations. It also makes it a crime to send the medication through the mail.
Medical abortion is the most common way women in Texas terminate their pregnancies, according to state data.
These new restrictions reflect a growing concern among abortion opponents about the rise of “self-managed” abortions, in which pregnant people obtain the medications from out-of-state or international providers, with or without a prescription.
There’s evidence that more women turn to self-managed abortions when legal abortion is restricted. Texans have been unable to access abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy since Sept. 1, when a controversial new ban went into effect.
“Texas is looking at the ways that people are navigating around restrictions and trying to essentially make that as unsafe and as frightening for people as possible in order to deter them,” said Farah Diaz-Tello, senior legal counsel for If/When/How, a reproductive justice legal group.
Diaz-Tello and other advocates worry that the new criminal penalties may make pregnant Texans fearful of seeking medical care after a self-managed abortion.
What is a medical abortion?
For a medical abortion, a pregnant patient takes two different medications, 24 to 48 hours apart, to induce an abortion.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has determined that a pregnant person can use these medications up to 70 days after their last menstrual cycle — or roughly in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. But the FDA requires that the drug be dispensed directly from a health care provider, rather than at a pharmacy.
Even before this new law, Texas already had imposed additional restrictions on accessing abortion medication. Texas is one of at least 19 states that restricts patients from using an online doctor visit to get abortion-inducing medications, according to The Kaiser Family Foundation. Instead, the state requires these medications to be prescribed in-person by a doctor.
In this new law, Texas lists 27 different potential complications as a result of using this two-drug regimen, ranging from incomplete abortion to death of the patient to complications with future pregnancies.
However, while there is some risk with any medical procedure, multiple long-term studies have shown that medical abortion is highly effective at terminating a pregnancy and few patients experience significant side effects.
According to Texas Department of Health and Human Services data, medical abortion was the most common abortion method in Texas, accounting for 53 percent of all terminated pregnancies in 2020.
Abortion proponents say patients choose medical abortions for a range of reasons, including that it’s less invasive than a surgical procedure. Patients can also take the second medication, which can induce miscarriage-like symptoms, wherever it’s safest for them to do so.
“Medication abortion really allows people the control to find the setting and the timing that works best for them,” said Dyana Limon-Mercado, executive director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes. “There’s all different reasons. You have people who maybe have unfortunately experienced sexual assault, and for them being able to have more control over the procedure ... feels safer to them.”
Medical abortion is different than emergency contraception, commonly known as the “morning-after pill.” Taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy. It is not abortion-inducing and is not effective if the patient is already pregnant.
Out-of-state, international providers work around restrictions
Texas’ new law also specifies that no one may provide abortion medication “by courier, delivery or mail service.”
Texas already required the medication to be provided by a physician in person. But this specific clause addresses a growing concern among abortion opponents that patients are trying to circumvent the required doctor visit by getting the drugs by mail, especially with the state’s new restrictions that bans abortions after around six weeks.
Called a “self-managed abortion,” this usually entails ordering abortion-inducing drugs online, with or without a prescription, from doctors, pharmacies and other providers out of state or overseas.
The FDA has attempted to crack down on some providers, including AidAccess, a group founded in 2018 by Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, a European doctor. AidAccess provides abortion-inducing medications to women in areas that have restricted access to the procedure.
Gomperts has said she will continue prescribing to patients in Texas. She told CBS News in September that she believes she is on solid legal ground since it is legal to prescribe this medication where she is based.
Texas Right to Life legislative director John Seago said he hopes this new law is just the beginning of the state’s effort to rein in online and out-of-state providers.
“We see this as the future of the pro-life fight that is going to be around ... even after Roe or even after states are able to pass very stringent pro-life laws,” Seago said. “I don't think we have all the policy tools on the table to appropriately regulate this issue.”''
Disclosure: Planned Parenthood and Texas Department of Health and Human Services have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.
Chilean paleontologists on Wednesday presented their findings on a dinosaur discovered three years ago in Patagonia which they said had a highly unusual tail that has stumped researchers
The remains of the Stegouros elengassen were discovered during excavations in 2018 at Cerro Guido, a site known to harbor numerous fossils, by a team who believed they were dealing with an already known species of dinosaur until they examined its tail.
"That was the main surprise,” said Alexander Vargas, one of the paleontologists. “This structure is absolutely amazing."
"The tail was covered with seven pairs of osteoderms ... producing a weapon absolutely different from anything we know in any dinosaur," added the researcher during a presentation of the discovery at the University of Chile.
The osteoderms -- structures of bony plaques located in the dermal layers of the skin - were aligned on either side of the tail, making it resemble a large fern.
Paleontologists have discovered 80 percent of the dinosaur's skeleton and estimate that the animal lived in the area 71 to 74.9 million years ago. It was about two meters (almost seven feet) long, weighed 150 kilograms (330 pounds) and was a herbivore.
According to the scientists, who published their research in the journal Nature, the animal could represent a hitherto unknown lineage of armored dinosaur never seen in the southern hemisphere but already identified in the northern part of the continent.
"We don't know why (the tail) evolved. We do know that within armored dinosaur groups there seems to be a tendency to independently develop different osteoderm-based defense mechanisms," said Sergio Soto, another member of the team.
The Cerro Guido area, in the Las Chinas valley 3,000 km (1,800 miles) south of Santiago, stretches for 15 kilometers. Various rock outcrops contain numerous fossils.
The finds there allowed the scientists to surmise that present-day America and Antarctica were close to each other millions of years ago.
"There is strong evidence that there is a biogeographic link with other parts of the planet, in this case Antarctica and Australia, because we have two armored dinosaurs there closely related" to the Stegouros, said Soto.
© 2021 AFP
NYT's Maggie Haberman busts Mark Meadows for denying his own book: 'He has a history of lying about my reporting'
Donald Trump's former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows "has a history of lying about my reporting before he confirms it," New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman shared on CNN Thursday. "I can't describe which one is worse...it’s bad that they are on the one hand acknowledging they were imperiling all of these people [with the positive COVID-19 test]. Not actually acknowledging."
Haberman recalled the antigen tests that former president Donald Trump brushed off as insignificances at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when he returned a negative result from a different test shortly after the positive.
"He’s pretending, 'No, this wasn’t a positive.' He’s surprised people didn’t see this as some act of radical transparency. The test that he is describing were antigen tests," Haberman said. "The antibodies. All that [he] said is there were no antibodies. We don’t know whether there was virus in his system or not. There is an actual science to this - it is not you get a positive and a negative and you go with whichever you like."
When pressed on why the antigen test reserved a spot in Meadows' book, Haberman quipped, "I think Mark Meadows needs to make money, honestly. I think he has legal bills and they are not being paid by the former president. I think he got an advance -- who knows how much it was. I think he is trying to sell a book. I don’t know that the former president is upset about this [because] the people I have spoken to [said] he wasn’t. He may get upset looking at the coverage. That’s often what happens. Why Mark Meadows does certain things is a mystery."
In Meadows' book, he also commented on Trump's bronze hue.
"I thought that was odd," Haberman commented. "What is confusing about watching this, particularly from what you showed from Newsmax, is [Meadows] is trying so hard to not offend the former president. He is trying so hard not to say things that are going to upset him. Yet describing -- and I’m not saying Meadows did something wrong, it’s just a fact. We also know Trump considers covering him accurately to be covering him unfairly or in a way that he doesn’t like. The fact that he described how bad he looked -- skin hue, dark circles under his eyes -- certainly is true."
Watch the video below to see the full exchange.
12 02 2021 06 20 28 www.youtube.com