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Chris Hadfield
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A Wave of New Abortion Restrictions Is Eroding Roe v. Wade

The dream of overturning Roe v. Wade may yet come to pass for abortion opponents. But as state-level restrictions on the right to abortion continue to mount, the anti-abortion movement is steadily chipping away at the spirit of Roe while it remains on the books.

The case that recognized a constitutional right to abortion, Roe v. Wade, is now 41 years old, and 2014 marks the 41st year of determined opposition to the ruling.


A new report from the Guttmacher Institute shows that the past few years have brought the anti-Roe camp the most significant victories it has achieved in four decades. The inroads against the right to abortion have come, by and large, in state legislatures, not in courts. They have been piecemeal. They have come brick-by-brick. But they have constructed a new foundation that effectively limits abortion rights for millions of American women. Last year alone, 70 new laws to restrict access to abortion were enacted in 22 states.


The restrictions come in many forms. Nine states now ban abortions beyond 20 weeks, about a month before the point of fetal viability established as the permissible threshold in post-Roe Supreme Court litigation. Thirty-nine states prohibit physician assistants, certified nurse midwives and nurse practitioners from providing early abortions, limiting the practice to licensed doctors. Eight states enacted new limits on the licensing of abortion clinics in 2013. Most notorious was Texas’s licensing law, ruled unconstitutional in October and currently under review by an appeals court, that would result in the closure of about a third of the state’s abortion clinics.

The Guttmacher report chronicles the magnitude of the trend:

In 2000, 13 states had at least four types of major abortion restrictions and so were considered hostile to abortion rights (see Troubling Trend: More States Hostile to Abortion Rights as Middle Ground Shrinks); 27 states fell into this category by 2013. In contrast, the number of states supportive of abortion rights fell from 17 to 13, while the number of middle-ground states was cut in half, from 20 to 10. The proportion of women living in restrictive states went from 31% to 56%, while the proportion living in supportive states fell from 40% to 31% over the same period.

The dream of overturning Roe v. Wade may yet come to pass for abortion opponents. But as state-level restrictions on the right to abortion continue to mount, the anti-abortion movement is steadily chipping away at the spirit of Roe while it remains on the books.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

Credit: Neom
Technology & Innovation
  • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
  • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
  • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
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Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?

Videos
  • From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
  • "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
  • Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.

COVID-19 brain study to explore long-term effects of the virus

A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.

Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.

Coronavirus
  • The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
  • Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
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Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation

Better reskilling can future-proof jobs in the age of automation. Enter SkillUp's new coalition.

Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.

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