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    The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion. Friday's ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. In anticipation of the decision, several states led by Democrats have taken steps to protect abortion access. The decision also sets up the potential for legal fights between the states over whether providers and those who help women obtain abortions can be sued or prosecuted.

      Abortion bans that were put on the books in some states in the event Roe v. Wade was overturned have started automatically going into effect, while clinics elsewhere — including Alabama, Texas and West Virginia — have stopped performing abortions for fear of prosecution, sending women away in tears. America was convulsed with anger, joy, fear and confusion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe. The canyon-like divide across the U.S. over the right to terminate a pregnancy was on full display, with abortion rights supporters calling it a dark day in history, while abortion foes welcomed the ruling as the answer to their prayers.

        The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision allowing states to ban abortion is stirring alarm among LGBTQ advocates. They fear that the ruling could someday allow a rollback of legal protections for gay relationships, including the right for same-sex couples to marry. In the majority opinion issued Friday that overturns the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, Justice Samuel Alito said the decision applied only to abortion. But critics discounted that statement. In a separate concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas said the court should review other precedents, including decisions legalizing same-sex marriage and striking down laws criminalizing gay sex. A protester at a Topeka, Kansas, abortion-rights rally said conservatives would not stop with abortion.

          Democratic leaders across the nation are vowing to help women who travel to seek abortions. They also pledged Friday to shield patients and medical professionals from being pursued by authorities in states where the procedure becomes outlawed after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade. On the West Coast, the Democratic governors of California, Washington and Oregon issued a joint “multi-state commitment,” saying they will work together to defend patients and care providers. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, also a Democrat, emphasized the importance of the November election. In that state, the GOP controls the Legislature but lacks veto-proof majorities to outlaw abortion.

            Doctors across Wisconsin have stopped providing abortions, even as questions remain about the enforceability of a 173-year-old state ban. The state's abortion providers took the step Friday immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed the right to abortion nationwide. Wisconsin has an 1849 law that bans abortion, except to save the life of the mother, but whether that law is enforceable is expected to be challenged in court. Planned Parenthood Wisconsin Medical Director Kathy King says nearly 70 women had abortion procedures scheduled for Friday and Saturday, but that the group instead helped those women make appointments for abortions in states where it's legal.

              Religious Americans are deeply divided in their views on abortion. That is clearly reflected in reactions from faith leaders to the Supreme Court’s momentous ruling overturning Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to abortion. The decision is being hailed by leading Catholic bishops, even though a majority of U.S. Catholics support abortion rights. It's also welcomed by many evangelical Christian leaders. Some mainline Protestant leaders are decrying the ruling, however. Several Jewish organizations say the decision infringes on Jewish traditions that accept the need for abortions.

                A federal court has put a temporary hold on the government's order for Juul to stop selling its electronic cigarettes. Juul filed the emergency motion so it can appeal the sales ban from the Food and Drug Administration. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington granted the request later Friday. A day earlier, the FDA said Juul must stop selling its vaping device and its cartridges. The agency said Juul didn't give it enough information to evaluate the potential health risks of its e-cigarettes. In its court filing, the company disagreed, saying it provided enough.

                Evidence in the corruption trial of State Auditor Kathy McGuiness suggests that McGuiness expected an employee to handle a controversial contractor payment that is at the heart of the criminal case. But the defense said Friday that McGuiness had no way of knowing the employee tasked with handling such payments wouldn't be available. That's because she decided to quit while on vacation. McGuiness is being tried on felony counts of theft and witness intimidation, and other misdemeanor charges. Prosecutors allege, among other things, that McGuiness orchestrated the no-bid contract in question then deliberately kept the contract payments under $5,000 to avoid having to get them approved by the Division of Accounting.

                FRIDAY, June 24, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- There was a decrease in HIV testing and diagnoses during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, according to research published in the June 24 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

                FRIDAY, June 24, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., on Friday signed off on the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 through 17 years. It is the final step to making the shots available to this age group. The two-dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has already gained approval for use in older children.

                The Tennessee attorney general’s office has filed an emergency motion asking a federal appeals court to let the state immediately begin banning abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy. The state also has a trigger law that was written to ban nearly all abortions if Roe v. Wade was overturned. That ban cannot take effect until 30 days after Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling. But the six-week ban could be implemented as early as next week, if the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agrees to lift a court injunction. Planned Parenthood officials say they plan to keep providing abortions for now.

                The annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association was held this year from June 3 to 7 in New Orleans and attracted more than 15,000 participants from around the world, including clinicians, academicians, allied health professionals, and others interested in diabetes. The conference highlighted the latest advances in diabetes research and improving patient care, with presentations focusing on treatment recommendations and advances in management technology.

                Kentucky’s so-called trigger laws means abortion has largely been outlawed in the state upon the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade on Friday. The state’s only two abortion clinics, both in Louisville, halted abortions Friday. The Kentucky law passed in 2019 declares that abortion would become illegal “effective immediately” if Roe v. Wade is overturned. The measure contains a narrow exception allowing a physician to perform a procedure necessary to prevent the death or permanent injury of a pregnant woman. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said the ruling triggers a ban that also includes victims of rape or incest. Republican state Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a candidate for governor, hailed the ruling as “a new era.”

                Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has tested positive for COVID-19. A news release from the governor's office disclosed the positive test Friday. Edwards says he does not currently have any symptoms and will follow recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will isolate for five days. His office says the Democratic governor is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and has received his recommended booster doses. A spokesperson says Edwards traveled Sunday to California for a conference and returned to Louisiana on Thursday.


                The overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday triggers a 2020 Idaho law banning all abortions except in cases of reported rape or incest, or to protect the mother’s life. That law takes effect 30 days after the court’s decision. In cases of rape or incest, the law requires pregnant women to file a police report and provide a copy of the report to the provider prior to an abortion. Pregnant women in Idaho seeking abortions will have to travel out of state, with the nearest abortion providers in Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Colorado.

                Congress has passed a bill that aims to keep up the expanded, pandemic-era distribution of free meals for all students this summer. Final passage Friday of the Keep Kids Fed Act in the U.S. House came less than a week before rule changes for child nutrition programs were set to expire June 30. The bill now goes to President Joe Biden for his signature. The legislation is intended to extend the rules that were adopted soon after COVID-19 disrupted schools nationwide. The rules allow summer meal distribution sites to operate in any community with need, rather than just where there’s a high concentration of low-income children.

                North Carolina Republican legislative leaders want Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein to ask a federal court to restore a state law banning nearly all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore wrote to Stein on Friday following the U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier in the day overturning abortion protections. A federal judge struck down the 20-week limit in 2019 and extended the abortion right to the point of fetal viability, which is generally between 24 and 28 weeks. Moore and Berger say they are ready to take action to get the injunction lifted if Stein is not.

                President Joe Biden is vowing to try to preserve access to abortion after the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade. He's calling for voters to elect more Democrats who would safeguard rights upended by the court’s decision. Short of that, his options are limited. Biden assailed the ruling Friday, saying other legal precedents ensuring same-sex marriage and access to birth control could also be at risk. He says, “This is an extreme and dangerous path this court is taking us on." Republicans and conservative leaders are celebrating the culmination of a decades-long campaign to undo the nationwide legalization of abortion that began with Roe v. Wade in 1973.

                A Massachusetts couple whose prematurely born baby girl died less than two weeks after she was delivered has sued one of Boston’s most prestigious hospitals for losing the infant’s body. The lawsuit filed Thursday says that baby Everleigh’s body was inadvertently thrown away by a Brigham and Women’s Hospital employee in August 2020 along with soiled linens from the hospital’s morgue. A lawyer for the couple says it was like losing their baby all over again. The negligence and emotional distress suit seeks more than $1.3 million. The hospital’s chief medical officer said in a statement that he sympathizes with the family.

                The Supreme Court's decision to end the constitutional right to abortion likely will lead to legal battles as already divided states grapple with the new landscape of abortion access. Even before Friday's opinion, lawmakers, activists and legal scholars were arguing over whether Republican-led states can enforce abortion bans beyond their borders. That speculation could soon become reality as abortion opponents become more emboldened to try novel approaches to prevent women from crossing state lines to get an abortion.

                Gov. Tom Wolf and leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature are working through their remaining differences as they try to produce an agreement on a roughly $42 billion budget plan that they say marshals new aid for Pennsylvania's public schools and environmental cleanups while cutting corporate taxes. Greasing the skids is a massive influx of tax receipts. Lawmakers are also expected to approve more money for services for the disabled, children and elderly and significant sums for mental health services and school security, including counseling. A big sticking point is the amount of aid that Wolf, a Democrat, wants for public schools.

                The Associated Press is making available the full text of the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the nationwide right to abortion. Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the final opinion issued Friday that Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey were wrong and had to be overturned. The text begins with “Abortion presents a profound moral issue on which Americans hold sharply conflicting views. Some believe fervently that a human person comes into being at conception and that abortion ends an innocent life."

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