Roe v. Everyone: States take on abortion

Mar 28, 2013 18:42 UTC

An anti-abortion sign is seen during the Ninth Annual Walk for Life West Coast rally in San Francisco, California, January 26, 2013. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Nearly six months after an election that underscored the political divide over abortion, North Dakota’s governor enacted a law that bans abortions in most cases once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, or as early as six weeks. It is the most restrictive abortion law in the United States.

The North Dakota law has  plenty of company. In 2011 and 2012, U.S. states passed more than 130 restrictions on abortion, according to abortion rights group the Guttmacher Institute. Among those provisions are fetal heartbeat laws like North Dakota’s, as well as “fetal pain” laws, which make abortion illegal after 20 weeks based on controversial research that suggests a fetus can experience pain at that time. Ten states have passed such laws in recent years. (Roe v. Wade allowed the right to abortion services until a medically accepted point of viability, to be determined by the doctor, and generally considered 22-24 weeks.)

Politicians in these states argue that their measures are intended to protect women’s health, make abortion procedures more safe and curtail abortions provided for spurious reasons like the fetus’ gender or race. Many also argue, as North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple did this week, that state legislatures have a “legislative right to find out if these laws can stand.”

Below are seven states that have added provisions, restrictions or caveats on how and when women can get abortions. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and many of these bills are being replicated in states not listed below. Most of these provisions are mired in appeals.

How we left Iraq

Mar 19, 2013 14:45 UTC

In the early hours of March 20, 2003, an air raid siren and ten-minute round of explosions in Baghdad punctuated the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. A 13-year-old Iraqi who witnessed the ensuing war, which killed an estimated 176,000 to 189,000 people and forced millions out of the country, would be 23 this year. On the tenth anniversary of the invasion, a generation that grew up amid war now faces a future in a country plagued by political crisis, human rights abuses, and violence.

What's next for them?

The stated goal of the invasion was to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction – which never materialized – and topple dictator Saddam Hussein, who turned up in a farmhouse cellar later that year and ultimately was hanged for his role in a massacre of Iraqis in 1982.

The civilian casualty count was grisly, with at least 134,000 Iraqis killed, according to a report from the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. Reuters journalist Daniel Trotta points out that this number does not account for deaths caused indirectly by the war, such as ruined infrastructure and “the mass exodus of doctors” from the country.

Girls just wanna have fundamental representation in government

Mar 7, 2013 22:49 UTC

Co-authored by Clare Richardson.

PHOTO: An Afghan parliament member (L) votes on a list of cabinet nominees at the parliament house in Kabul, January 16, 2010. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

It’s International Women’s Day, but hold the confetti. More than a century after the first Women’s Day celebration—a socialist proposal inaugurated in 1909—fewer than one in five parliamentarians worldwide are women.

Acknowledging the inequality, many countries have implemented voluntary or mandatory minimums for the percentage of women in government. Such quotas are supported by a wealth of leaders, including U.N. Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, who has said she “[encourages] countries to use quotas to expand women’s participation in parliament.”

World Wrap: North Korea threatens to scrap truce

Danielle Wiener-Bronner
Mar 5, 2013 17:41 UTC

North Korea warns it may call off its 60-year truce with South Korea, the search for a new pope continues after Benedict’s unprecedented resignation, and Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez could be on his last legs. Today is Tuesday, March 5, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

North Korean villagers dance and soldiers take a rest at a North Korean village near the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in this picture taken just south of the border in Paju, north of Seoul, February 15, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Facing sanctions, North Korea threatens to end truce with South. In response to North Korea’s February 12 nuclear test, the U.S. and China have brokered a provisional deal on a draft U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution.  The details of the agreement are yet to be revealed, but U.N. diplomats have given a general outline: