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Opposing sides of abortion fight prepare to navigate new landscape after Supreme Court decision

Jacob Scott

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Washington — Nearly 50 years after the Supreme Court established a constitutional right to an abortion, the prospect of a ruling that allows more limits on the procedure has come into focus in the days since the justices weighed the constitutionality of a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

A decision from the Supreme Court is not expected until summer 2022, but groups on both sides of the battle are already preparing to open a new front. During oral arguments that spanned nearly two hours, the conservative justices seemed open to upholding the Mississippi law at the center of the dispute, which would pave the way for states to enact more stringent abortion laws. 

The arguments in the case, known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, was the culmination of a decades-long campaign from anti-abortion rights advocates pushing for the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade to be overturned. With the election of former President Donald Trump in 2016 and his appointment of three justices who expanded the court’s conservative majority to 6-3, the goal of dismantling Roe became more attainable.

In the run-up to the Supreme Court hearing the Mississippi case, Susan B. Anthony List, an organization that works to elect politicians who oppose abortion, rolled out a $10 million television and digital ad campaign in the District of Columbia and battleground states to educate people about the legal fight. The organization also has a canvassing operation active in six states.

“In June, if we get the decision we’re hoping for, we will have already been talking to Americans in battleground states in particular about the impact that this Dobbs case is going to have on their election and on the whole country,” said Mallory Quigley, the group’s vice president of communications. “This has been a years-long effort to try and educate people.”

Coinciding with arguments in the Mississippi case last week, the Family Policy Alliance, a conservative organization, launched a campaign to prepare for a possible decision overturning or gutting Roe, which includes a multi-pronged effort focused on education and mobilization of voters.

Republican-led states have been preparing for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe. A dozen already have so-called “trigger bans” on the books, in which most abortions would be outlawed in the event of a ruling reversing the 50-year-old decision. The Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights research organization, estimates 26 states are poised to attempt to ban abortion if Roe is scrapped or weakened, which could affect 36 million women of reproductive age. 

On the other side of the abortion debate, though, 14 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws protecting the right to an abortion, either by codifying the right or allowing abortions before fetal viability. 

“What the next year would probably look like are these states looking to enforce abortion bans and pass more restrictions on abortion, and basically how do you get through thinking about how to weather that storm of bans and then move to how to protect abortion rights where it’s possible in those more progressive states, and how to build the case to roll back abortion bans and restrictions over time,” Elizabeth Nash, principal policy associate for state issues at the Guttmacher Institute, said.

In Mississippi, which has one clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, that provides abortion services, pro-abortion rights advocates warn a decision upholding the law would curb access for communities that need it most.

“I’m sure some women probably could go somewhere else, but the majority of the patients that we see, they’re barely making it there, and they live in the state,” Shannon Brewer, the clinic’s director, told reporters after oral arguments. “These are the women who are going to be affected the most, are the ones who are needing the services the most because they can’t afford to jump on an airplane and fly somewhere.”

If the Supreme Court gives the green light for bans on abortion before viability — the point at which a fetus can survive outside of the womb, generally between 22 and 24 weeks — Brewer said her clinic would assist women “in some shape or form” in getting an abortion through referrals to other states or in a similar capacity. 

Beyond state laws banning abortion before viability, Nash said restrictions on medication abortion could become the next big focus for states. The Food and Drug Administration approved the pills to end an early pregnancy in 2000, and the agency is reviewing restrictions on medication abortion, which were relaxed by the Biden administration during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nineteen states require a clinician providing a medication abortion to be with the patient when the drug is administered, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

“Between the federal action and how telehealth has permeated practice, we’re seeing past restrictions on medication abortion,” she said. “I expect to see that in 2022 and beyond.”

While some of the justices indicated a willingness to overturn Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the landmark decisions that prohibit states from banning abortion before viability, it’s unclear whether five members would go that far.

Julie Rikelman, a lawyer for the Center for Reproductive Rights who argued on behalf of Jackson Women’s Health Clinic last week, said after the arguments that they’re prepared to continue fighting to protect abortion rights in the federal and state courts even if the high court rules against the clinic.

“We will not stop fighting, because it is just too important for people and their families, for them to be able to make this decision for themselves,” she said.

The Battle Over Abortion


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‘Moon Knight’ Took Marvel in a Different Orbit, but It Didn’t Rise to the Occasion

Jacob Scott

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Before anyone writes that off as an anomaly, “Eternals” tackled a similar introduction of a dense mythology on the bigger screen, with equally mixed results. It’s a reminder that while film-goers have had more than a decade to get to know characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, introducing some of these lesser-known heroes can pose a more formidable challenge beyond catering to the most ardent fans.
For Marvel, there are warning signs in that, since “Moon Knight” will be followed by several series based on second-tier characters, although the next two on the horizon, “Ms. Marvel” (which is due in June) and “She-Hulk,” at least have the benefit of sharing franchises and name recognition with existing Avengers.
Ultimately, “Moon Knight’s” murky storytelling appeared to squander its principal assets, which included the cool look of the character — a costume that was too seldom used — and the presence of Isaac, who possesses additional genre credentials via the “Star Wars” sequels.

Taking its time in peeling back the layers of the character’s complicated backstory, “Moon Knight” took a weird plunge into the Egyptian mythology behind it, in ways that became increasingly confounding and surreal.

By the time the protagonist’s two halves, Steven Grant and Marc Spector, wound up in a psychiatric hospital talking to an anthropomorphic hippo in the penultimate chapter, the question wasn’t so much being able to keep up with the story as whether bothering to do so was worth the effort.

The sixth and final episode brought the plot to a messy close, seeking to stop the goddess Ammit from proceeding to “purify the souls of Cairo, and then the world.” In the customary credit sequence, the producers capped that off by introducing a third personality, Jake Lockley, also rooted in the comics. While that seemingly spelled the end for the show’s villain (Ethan Hawke), the finish — giving the god Khonshu the protégé he sought — paved the way for further adventures should Marvel so choose.

That last twist might be cause for celebration in narrower confines of the Marvel fan universe, but “Moon Knight” too often felt like it was one long Easter-egg sequence, conspicuously preaching to that choir.

Granted, Marvel has made clear that Disney+ offers the chance to explore different kinds of stories, but “Moon Knight” feels at best like a quirky showcase for Isaac and at worst a failed experiment in terms of execution and tone.

That doesn’t mean this “Moon” won’t somehow rise again, if the closely held streaming data justifies it. But the promise that surrounded this property has faded, providing further evidence that even Marvel isn’t immune from setbacks as it moves into its next phase.

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Start-up Pony.ai says it’s the first self-driving company to get a taxi license in China

Jacob Scott

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Autonomous driving start-up Pony.ai can collect fares for robotaxi rides in parts of two major Chinese cities as of Sunday.

Pony.ai handout

BEIJING — Self-driving start-up Pony.ai announced Sunday it received a taxi license, the first of its kind in China.

The license allows Pony.ai to operate 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district of the southern city of Guangzhou, the company said.

The Chinese start-up, which is backed by Toyota, received approval from Beijing city late last year to charge fees to operate a commercial robotaxi business in a suburban district of the city. It is not the same as a taxi licence.

Baidu’s Apollo Go also received approval in the same Beijing district last year.

Pony.ai was valued at $8.5 billion in early March. The company said its Nansha taxi license required 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents, among other factors.

The start-up said it plans to launch commercial robotaxi businesses in two other large Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing self-driving cars in those cities and in California. 

Robotaxis in China currently have a human driver present for safety.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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How to watch Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies: TV channel, NBA live stream info, start time

Jacob Scott

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Who’s Playing

Memphis @ Minnesota

Current Records: Memphis 2-1; Minnesota 1-2

What to Know

The Memphis Grizzlies’ road trip will continue as they head to Target Center at 10 p.m. ET this past Saturday to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Memphis will be strutting in after a win while Minnesota will be stumbling in from a loss.

The Grizzlies are hoping for another victory. They beat the Timberwolves 104-95 this past Thursday. The victory came about thanks to a strong surge after the first quarter to overcome a 39-21 deficit. Memphis’ success was spearheaded by the efforts of power forward Brandon Clarke, who had 20 points in addition to eight rebounds, and shooting guard Desmond Bane, who shot 7-for-15 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points and six boards.

Barring any buzzer beaters, Memphis is expected to win a tight contest. They might be worth taking a chance on against the spread as they are currently on a two-game streak of ATS wins.

Memphis’ win brought them up to 2-1 while the Timberwolves’ defeat pulled them down to a reciprocal 1-2. A couple offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Grizzlies come into the game boasting the second most points per game in the league at 115.6. But Minnesota is even better: they rank first in the league when it comes to points per game, with 115.9 on average. Tune in for what’s sure to be a high-scoring contest.

How To Watch

When: Saturday at 10 p.m. ET Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, Minnesota TV: ESPN Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.) Follow: CBS Sports App Ticket Cost: $76.96

Odds

The Grizzlies are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Timberwolves, according to the latest NBA odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Grizzlies as a 3-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See NBA picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Memphis have won 19 out of their last 28 games against Minnesota.

Apr 21, 2022 – Memphis 104 vs. Minnesota 95 Apr 19, 2022 – Memphis 124 vs. Minnesota 96 Apr 16, 2022 – Minnesota 130 vs. Memphis 117 Feb 24, 2022 – Minnesota 119 vs. Memphis 114 Jan 13, 2022 – Memphis 116 vs. Minnesota 108 Nov 20, 2021 – Minnesota 138 vs. Memphis 95 Nov 08, 2021 – Memphis 125 vs. Minnesota 118 May 05, 2021 – Memphis 139 vs. Minnesota 135 Apr 02, 2021 – Memphis 120 vs. Minnesota 108 Jan 13, 2021 – Memphis 118 vs. Minnesota 107 Jan 07, 2020 – Memphis 119 vs. Minnesota 112 Dec 01, 2019 – Memphis 115 vs. Minnesota 107 Nov 06, 2019 – Memphis 137 vs. Minnesota 121 Mar 23, 2019 – Minnesota 112 vs. Memphis 99 Feb 05, 2019 – Memphis 108 vs. Minnesota 106 Jan 30, 2019 – Minnesota 99 vs. Memphis 97 Nov 18, 2018 – Memphis 100 vs. Minnesota 87 Apr 09, 2018 – Minnesota 113 vs. Memphis 94 Mar 26, 2018 – Memphis 101 vs. Minnesota 93 Dec 04, 2017 – Memphis 95 vs. Minnesota 92 Feb 04, 2017 – Memphis 107 vs. Minnesota 99 Nov 19, 2016 – Memphis 93 vs. Minnesota 71 Nov 01, 2016 – Minnesota 116 vs. Memphis 80 Oct 26, 2016 – Memphis 102 vs. Minnesota 98 Mar 16, 2016 – Minnesota 114 vs. Memphis 108 Feb 19, 2016 – Memphis 109 vs. Minnesota 104 Jan 23, 2016 – Minnesota 106 vs. Memphis 101 Nov 15, 2015 – Memphis 114 vs. Minnesota 106

Injury Report for Minnesota

No Injury Information

Injury Report for Memphis

Dillon Brooks: Game-Time Decision (Foot) Santi Aldama: Out (Knee) Killian Tillie: Out (Knee)

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