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Reproductive Rights

A Riverside city council member says the county sheriff libeled her when he said on social media that she had supported defacing the historic courthouse during a July abortion rights protest. The Press-Enterprise reported Friday that City Council Member Clarissa Cervantes sued Sheriff Chad Bianco for posting false comments that have immensely harmed her reputation. Bianco has refused demands to apologize and says the lawsuit is probably as fictional as most of her social media posts after protesters left green handprints on the historic Riverside courthouse. Cervantes has condemned the vandalism and says she didn't participate in the protest.

A new regulation coming into force in Poland that requires pregnancy information to be uploaded to the national digital system has women's organizations concerned that it will be another way for the conservative government to control women's lives. The Health Ministry regulation takes effect Saturday, with women's groups suggesting that authorities may monitor pregnancies as another means of control in the country with a very strict anti-abortion law. The ministry had denied this, saying the information will help doctors treat patients by providing them with vital information. Abortion is allowed in Poland only if pregnancy threatens the woman's health or results from crime.

The Supreme Court begins a new term on Monday at a time of diminished public confidence and justices sparring openly over the institution’s legitimacy. The court seems poised to push American law to the right on issues of race, voting and the environment. Back in June, the conservative majority overturned nearly 50 years of constitutional protections for abortion rights. Now, the court is diving back in with an aggressive agenda that appears likely to split the six conservative justices from the three liberals. Joining the nine-member court is new Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the court’s first Black woman.

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An Arizona judge has refused to suspend her order that allowed enforcement of a pre-statehood law making it a crime to provide an abortion. Friday's ruling from Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson means the state’s abortion providers will not be able to restart procedures. Abortions were halted on Sept. 23 when Johnson ruled that a 1973 injunction must be lifted so that the Civil War-era law could be enforced. Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich sought the order lifting the injunction. Planned Parenthood argued newer laws take precedence. They asked Johnson to put her ruling on hold to allow an appeal.

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Women are gathering across Michigan to strategize how to preserve abortion rights in their state. The small, personal conversations are playing out alongside more traditional get-out-the-vote efforts, with major stakes for both abortion rights and the mostly Democratic candidates who support them. Michigan is one of a handful of places where abortion rights will be on the ballot in November, after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June and left the issue to states to decide. A 1931 ban has been on hold since a state court judge’s ruling, but it is no guarantee that the procedure won’t one day be outlawed unless voters approve a state constitutional amendment.

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A former television broadcaster is making his case to replace the Democratic governor of New Mexico, as the candidates clash in a live-broadcast debate. The first debate ahead of the Nov. 8 general election was held Friday night on KOB 4. Republican nominee Mark Ronchetti highlighted pocketbook issues and frustrations with crime in his bid to unseat first-term Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The governor reiterated her support for abortion access and expanded social programs, including tuition-free college and no-pay child care. Early voting begins Oct. 11 by absentee ballots that can be mailed and turned in by hand.

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says that if re-elected she will uphold the state’s abortion ban that provides no exceptions for rape or incest. Her remarks came Friday during her reelection campaign’s lone debate with her Democratic challenger, state lawmaker Jamie Smith,  The Republican governor explained her position simply as “pro-life." She pledges to push for expanded parental leave in the state and alleviate the toll of inflation on people’s budgets. Smith called Noem’s stance extreme and said it was endangering women’s lives. He also said it was causing concern among physicians for its lack of clarity on when an abortion is allowed — only to save the life of a pregnant woman.

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Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said during a debate against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke that Texas would send busloads of migrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border to more cities. O’Rourke on Friday pledged tighter gun laws as parents whose children were killed in the Uvalde school shooting stood outside an auditorium hosting their only debate. The promises reflected how Abbott and O’Rourke are eager to spotlight vastly different issues with just three weeks before early voting begins in a competitive Texas governor’s race.

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First lady Jill Biden says Republican leaders have underestimated the power of women and that it's up to Democrats to make sure the GOP doesn't make that mistake again. She told Democratic women at a luncheon on Friday that Americans are let down when “extremists” attack rights that most Americans support, like a woman's right to an abortion. And she said she gets angry when politicians “treat government like a sport” or “perform political stunts” to score points. Jill Biden says women will decide the outcome of the November midterm elections "because we don’t just get angry, we get to work.”

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A University of Idaho memo warning staffers not to refer students to abortion or birth control providers has placed the school at the center of a debate over First Amendment rights and access to reproductive health care. But UI Provost Torrey Lawrence says the school was just trying to protect employees from punitive state laws. One of the laws bars the use of state funds to promote or endorse abortion or emergency contraception. Another makes it illegal for non-health care providers to advertise abortions or birth control. It's not clear exactly how the laws apply to the rest of Idaho's approximately 900,000 state employees, or if they affect others who get state funds like foster parents.

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A Michigan homeowner has been charged with shooting and wounding an 84-year-old woman who was canvassing door-to-door against a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee the right to abortion in the state. Ionia County Prosecutor Kyle Butler says Richard Harvey was charged Friday with felonious assault and reckless discharge of a firearm causing injury charges. Harvey is being held in the county jail. Butler says State Police investigated the Sept. 20 shooting in Odessa Township, and submitted charging recommendations to the prosecutor’s office. Harvey is being represented by a public defender, who has not not responded to a message seeking comment.

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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned that his Republican opponent is a far-right politician who would take the state backward while state Sen. Darren Bailey asked voters to consider whether the Democratic incumbent’s first term has improved their lives as the two candidates met for an online forum. Friday's event hosted by the Illinois Associated Press Media Editors largely focused on questions of public safety, economics and abortion rights that have already dominated the campaign for months. The Democrat is heavily favored in the race and spent millions on attacks against one of Bailey’s competitors in the June GOP primary election.

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The U.S. Supreme Court's decision striking down a constitutional right to abortion and sending the issue to the states has groups on both sides of the debate focusing more than ever on races this fall for state supreme courts. Whether abortion access is maintained, restricted or eliminated in any state could depend on whether a state's high court has a majority of Democratic or Republican justices. Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio are among the states where the races are drawing heavy interest and spending as the midterm elections approach.

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The stakes are high for Democrat Beto O’Rourke on Friday night in his only debate against Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas. O’Rourke is trying to close in on two-term incumbent with six weeks until Election Day. Abbott has tried to refocus the race to his hard-line immigration measures on the U.S.-Mexico border as anger in Texas is apparent over a new abortion ban and the Uvalde school massacre. Early voting is set to begin in just over three weeks. O'Rourke has visited many strongly Republican counties in an effort to weaken the wall of rural support that's helped the GOP offset losses in big cities and suburbs.

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A man shot and wounded an 84-year-old Michigan woman who was canvassing door-to-door against a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee the right to abortion in the state. The State Police are investigating the Sept. 20 shooting at a home in Odessa Township, a community about 130 miles northwest of Detroit. The Detroit News reported Thursday that the canvasser, Joan Jacobson, told investigators that she was asking a woman at the home to vote against Proposal 3 in November but was told to leave. She says she was shot while walking to her car. Richard Harvey, who lives at the home, told WOOD-TV he shot Jacobson accidentally while she was arguing with his wife and refusing to leave.

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India’s Supreme Court has ruled that all women, regardless of marital status, can obtain abortions up to 24 weeks into their pregnancies. Previously, under Indian law, married women could have abortions up to 24 weeks into their pregnancies, but single women were limited to 20 weeks. On Thursday, the court extended the 24-week period to all women. It said denying single women the same access to abortion violated the right to equality before the law under India’s Constitution. The judgment was cheered by reproductive rights activists, who said the court has ensured that the law does not discriminate and expands the right to safe and legal abortions to single women.

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Keith Ellison gave up a safe seat in Congress to run for Minnesota attorney general, saying it was his best chance to push back against the policies of Donald Trump. Now Ellison is locked in a tough reelection fight after four tumultuous years that put Minnesota in the world spotlight over the police killings of George Floyd and other Black men. His Republican opponent, hedge fund lawyer Jim Schultz, says Ellison deserves much of the blame for the surge in violent crime that followed. Ellison is using the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision rolling back abortion rights to rally Democrats and suburban swing voters.

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Protesters have marched in Rome and Milan, as well was other Italian cities, to defend the right to abortion in Italy, which they fear is under threat after a far-right party led in parliamentary elections. Organizers said Wednesday they feared Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party will launch “a triad of ‘God, homeland and family’” policies — a reference to her political manifesto. The right-wing coalition she leads is expected to form a new government in the coming weeks. Before the Sept. 25 election for Parliament, Meloni said she would respect a 1978 law guaranteeing access to abortion, but would push for measures, such as economic help, for women who decide to give birth instead of aborting.

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A federal judge has barred Indiana from enforcing a 2016 law’s provisions that require abortion clinics to either bury or cremate fetal remains, finding that they violate the U.S. Constitution. U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young ruled Monday that the law’s requirements infringe on the religious and free speech rights of people who do not believe aborted fetuses deserve the same treatment as deceased people. The Indianapolis Star reports that Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita says his office will appeal the ruling. The law containing the provisions was signed in 2016 by then-Gov. Mike Pence, before he became vice president.

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The three women who want to be Oregon’s next governor clashed over gun rights, abortion and other hot-button topics in a debate, just six weeks before election day. The debate was held at Oregon State University-Cascades, in Bend, Oregon, and televised and livestreamed by local TV. There are 1 million registered Democrats and 729,000 registered Republicans in Oregon. But there are also 1 million registered voters claiming no party affiliation. Which way they swing come Nov. 8 could be decisive in whether a Republican will be Oregon’s governor for the first time since 1987, or an independent since 1935.

Kansas' only Democrat in Congress is hoping abortion-rights voters remain fired up enough to save her swing-district seat even if some of them blame her party for housing and grocery prices. Democrat Sharice Davids is seeking a third term against Amanda Adkins, a former corporate executive and former chair of the state's Republican Party. Adkins says President Joe Biden and Democratic incumbents have ruined the national economy. Democrats are painting Adkins as an anti-abortion extremist. She supported a failed proposal to amend the Kansas Constitution to allow the Republican-controlled Legislature to restrict or ban abortion, while Davids opposed it.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed more than a dozen laws aiming to make California an abortion sanctuary state. Several of the new laws would clash with restrictions in other states. They would block some out-of-state subpoenas and empower California's insurance commissioner to penalize health insurance companies that divulge information to out-of-state entities. Other states have passed laws allowing people to sue anyone who performs or aids in an abortion. Conflicts seem inevitable as more people travel for abortion services. One law professor says there is a lot of gray area when reconciling conflicting state laws.

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Connecticut Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski is accusing Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont of lying that he'd pose a risk to Connecticut's abortion rights law. In their first of two planned debates on Tuesday, the GOP candidate accused the governor of trying to scare women in order to distract voters on economic issues. Lamont, however, says Stefanowski is the one scaring women by making political contributions to anti-abortion candidates. Recent polling shows Lamont leading Stefanowski among likely women voters. The two major party candidates were joined by Independent candidate Rob Hotaling.

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Abortion laws in South Carolina almost certainly won’t get more restrictive after Republicans in the General Assembly couldn’t agree on a total ban. The South Carolina House voted in a special session Tuesday to reject tweaks the state Senate made to the current six-week ban. The House wanted to see a ban on all abortions, with exceptions for rape, incest, or if the life of the mother was threatened. State Senate President Thomas Alexander says it is “almost impossible” for the House and Senate to reach a compromise. That's because senators don't have the votes for a stricter law than the six-week ban.

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