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Alabama Governor Kay Ivey

REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

Republicans rally to protect IVF

After Alabama’s Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos should be legally considered children this week, lawmakers are scrambling to pass legislation to protect in vitro fertilization.

The ruling only applies to the three families who brought the initial lawsuit, but its wording has many medical professionals worried it could be used against them. Three major fertility clinics halted IVF treatments in the state this week.

While all of Alabama’s Supreme Court justices are Republican, many politicians in their party are trying to distance themselves from the ruling and take action to counteract it. Republican legislators, who have a super-majority in Alabama, are considering introducing a bill to protect the treatment. Donald Trump has condemned the ruling and is urging Alabama’s GOP to protect IVF.

Does this mean the GOP is pro-choice now? No, we wouldn’t go that far.

The Alabama ruling has highlighted the schism among Republicans who believe life begins at conception and those who want to protect reproductive services. Republicans are also realizing that reproductive restrictions rally Democrats, and extreme positions like this one are gifts to their opponents ahead of the 2024 election.

Alabama Supreme Court Justices arrive during the State of the State address at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024.

Frozen embryos are children, according to Alabama Supreme Court

Alabama’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that frozen embryos should be considered children. The case involved a 2020 incident in an Alabama hospital when a patient removed frozen embryos and dropped them on the floor.

The ruling complicates the legality of in vitro fertilization and could dissuade fertility doctors from practicing in the state out of fear of being brought up on criminal charges.

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Texas Supreme Court stands firm on limiting abortion access

The Texas Supreme Court on Monday overturned a lower court's decision to grant Kate Cox, who is carrying a fetus with a fatal condition, a “medical emergency” exception for an abortion. Doctors have told Cox that not having the procedure could risk her future fertility.
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Jess Frampton

Where does the US presidential election stand one year out?

A year out, the 2024 election looks like a coin flip.

National polling averages from 538 and RealClearPolitics currently have President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump – the two major parties’ presumptive nominees – in a statistical dead heat. Because of the Electoral College, though, the outcome of US elections is determined not by the national popular vote but by the states – and, increasingly, by a very small number of voters in a handful of swing states. Trump carried most of these in 2016, and Biden flipped most of them in 2020. The former was decided by about 78,000 votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin; the latter, by about 44,000 voters in Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia.

The 2024 election is likely to be just as close. Polls consistently show that most Americans dislike both Biden and Trump and would rather not have to choose between them. That both candidates will have a narrow path to victory is guaranteed. The only surprise at this point would be a landslide for either.

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Biden's 2024 election vulnerabilities and strengths
Biden's 2024 election vulnerabilities | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Biden's 2024 election vulnerabilities and strengths

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. And a Quick Take to kick off your week on a Monday here in New York City. And yeah, everyone, everyone talking about those polls, New York Times and Siena showing that Biden is behind Trump, not just in overall popularity, but also specifically in how voters in key swing states will vote. And, of course, that's the Electoral College. That's how you actually get elected president of United States. So, yeah, Biden supporters very concerned about that. But we are a year away, so it is early.

Having said that, a few things that I think are worth paying attention to. Number one, 71% of Americans say Biden, 80-year-old Biden is too old to run for president. Look, very few people actually work regularly with an 80-year-old. So I get it. And in a year's time, I'm fairly confident he's going to be a year older. So this is not something that Biden can do much of anything about. And there is material downside. Having said that, Biden is more obviously aging physically where intellectually, you know, one one-on-one in small meetings, he's still actually able to hold down meetings reasonably well.

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Migrants sit on their belongings in the back of a truck

Reuters

Hard Numbers: Migrants in the middle, people smugglers freed, bridge workers killed, South Carolina upholds abortion ban

7,000: The UN says 7,000 migrants – those fleeing Africa, and those returning – have been stuck in Niger since the coup in the West African country last month prompted the closing of borders. Niger has been suspended from the African Union and ECOWAS since the coup, but diplomatic efforts to restore constitutional order have failed … which means these discouraged migrants might have a helluva wait.

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Beat Box and Balloon

Luisia Vieira

Hard Numbers: Hip-hop hits half a century, rising death toll from Hawaii fires, Malaysia checks rainbow Swatches, abortion tops US concerns, India passes new data law

50: This Friday marks 50 years since the date commonly recognized as the birthday of hip hop, when Jamaican-born DJ Kool Herc rocked a party at a residential building on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, cutting together drum breaks for people to dance to and throw rhymes over. The New York-born art form — which encompasses MC’ing, DJ’ing, breakdancing, and graffiti — has since spread around the globe to become the single most influential worldwide cultural movement of the past half-century. For a look at what the culture was like in the early days, there’s nothing better than the 1982 cult-classic film “Wild Style.”

55: The death toll from devastating wildfires in Maui, Hawaii, has now risen to 55. Strong winds from Hurricane Dora and dry conditions fueled by climate change contributed to the blazes. But scientists say the growth of a "highly flammable" invasive plant ruining the natural ecosystem is also making it easier for fires to spread.

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US map showing the number of abortions by state

Luisa Vieira

The Graphic Truth: US abortion rates after Dobbs

It’s now been a year since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, paving the way for many states to roll back their own abortion rights. Some have all but banned access, while others have introduced fetal heartbeat laws, making the procedure (and medication abortions) legal until six weeks of gestation, before many women know they are pregnant.

As access has been severely curtailed across much of the South and Midwest, blue states – like Colorado and Illinois – have seen an influx of women traveling to their states in pursuit of abortion care. We take a look at abortion rate changes from April 2022, just before the Dobbs decision, to March 2023.

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