A Texas woman’s abortion case has the country talking.
Last week, Texas authorities arrested 26-year-old Lizelle Herrera for a “self-induced abortion” and charged her with murder. After the hospital she went to for care tipped off the sheriff's office. The unprecedented arrest got the attention of activists on both sides of the abortion debate. Since TX law explicitly exempts a woman from a criminal charge for aborting her own pregnancy. Despite this, TX does have one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. And while the law that Herrera violated remained unclear, she was held on $500,000 bond as her case was investigated. Now, the local DA says he will drop the charges saying that "it is not a criminal matter." But the case has added another layer to the debate surrounding a woman’s right to choose. Here’s where things stand around the country:
Where restrictions are tightening: A number of states have restricting abortion on their to-do list. Missouri’s House is looking at a bill that would allow lawsuits against anyone who helps someone cross state lines to get an abortion. Oklahoma lawmakers gave the ‘OK’ to a near-total ban on abortion. And last month, Idaho’s governor signed a bill modeled after the Texas law. (But the state’s Supreme Court temporarily blocked it last week.)
Where states are stepping up: Others are taking a different path. Maryland’s lawmakers overrode Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) veto of a bill that expands abortion access. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) vetoed a bill that would’ve banned abortion after 15 weeks. But the Republican-controlled legislature could still vote to override the veto. While states like Colorado and New Jersey are protecting the right to an abortion.
Herrera's case highlights the early signs of what could happen if Roe v. Wade was overturned. A reality that could happen this year. Giving way to at least a dozen "trigger laws." But it also shows the effects of restrictive abortion legislation. And what could happen when people criminalize pregnant people's choices. Leaving them without autonomy or safe options for treatment.
Alabama. Last week, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed two bills targeting transgender kids in the state. Making it the third state to pass these types of restrictions. And the first to criminalize it. In AL, it will be considered a crime for doctors to provide gender-affirming care for patients under 19. And they could face up to 10 years in jail for prescribing puberty blockers or hormonal treatments. Meanwhile, the second law bans trans kids from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity. The bills also came with a last-minute amendment blocking educators from talking to kids in grades K-5 about gender or sexual orientation. If that sounds familiar, it’s because last month Florida signed a similar law into place. Now, the ACLU says it plans to challenge the laws, calling them “harmful.”
But there is some hope: Starting today Americans can now pick “X” for their gender on passports. And no medical documents are needed to make the change. The move is considered a win for trans rights.
Prime Minister Imran Khan. Yesterday, he became Pakistan's first PM to be ousted by its Parliament following a no-confidence vote. In 2018, when he assumed the role Khan was a highly-favored and popular cricket player turned politician. But under Khan's leadership, the country’s been struggling with sky-rocketing inflation, foreign debt, and more. He tried to cling to power by trying to dissolve Parliament. And blamed criticisms against him on a “US conspiracy.” Which the US said, is not true. Now, lawmakers will pick a new PM as soon as today with all eyes on opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif. A new election will be held in October 2023.
Will Smith’s. On Friday, the Academy banned Smith from attending the Oscars for 10 years after slapping Chris Rock. But this doesn’t mean that he can’t be nominated again in the future. And he still gets to keep the Oscar he won for "King Richard." Smith said he accepts and respects the decision.
Scottie Scheffler. Yesterday, the US golfer won the 2022 Masters—bringing home his first major win of his career and the $2.7 million winner's purse.
Skimm'd by Rashaan Ayesh, Melanie De Lima, Kamini Ramdeen-Chowdhury, and Mariza Smajlaj
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