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Vox Sentences: Abortion rights win in North Carolina

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Federal judge declares abortion ban unconstitutional; China is using multiple strategies to expand its influence in the media field.

An abortion ban struck down

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
  • A federal judge has struck down North Carolina’s law banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy as unconstitutional, a victory for abortion rights groups in the state. [NPR / Matthew S. Schwartz]
  • Judge William Osteen gave state legislators 60 days to either amend the state’s law, passed in 1973 and amended to be more restrictive in 2015, or appeal to a higher court. [AP News / Emery P. Dalesio]
  • Immediately after President Trump’s election, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and the Center for Reproductive Rights challenged three state-level abortion laws, including North Carolina’s. [News and Observer / Will Doran]
  • The state claimed it never intended to enforce the law, but Osteen argued in his ruling that amendments in 2015 that made the law more restrictive suggested the opposite. [NPR / Matthew S. Schwartz]
  • The decision was made amid a wave of new restrictions on abortion from GOP-led statehouses around the country. Last week, Mississippi’s Republican governor signed a “heartbeat bill” that would ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. [The Washington Post / Reis Thebault and Emily Wax-Thibodeaux]
  • This year, lawmakers in 14 states have introduced bills that ban abortions after six weeks — early enough that many women don’t know they’re pregnant. The bills won’t all pass. But the underlying hope is that a challenge could make its way to a Supreme Court with a conservative majority that could overturn Roe v. Wade. [Politico / Rachana Pradhan]

How China is influencing the media

  • Beijing is using a variety of tools to influence media outlets and their views on China. They do this through spreading accessibility to Chinese state-run TV and radio shows globally, creating extensive advertising campaigns and infiltrating foreign media outlets by purchasing stakes in them, according to a new report released Monday by Reporters Without Borders. [Time / Amy Gunia]
  • The report states that journalists are a tool to relay Chinese propaganda to the public, including inviting journalists from around the world on all-expenses-paid trips to conferences in China to help spread positive coverage. [DW / William Yang]
  • China is also exporting some of its censorship and surveillance tools like search engine Baidu and chatting app WeChat, while encouraging other authoritarian countries to do the same. [Focus Taiwan News Channel / Joseph Yeh]
  • China sees the distribution of their media globally as a way to combat “hostile Western media.” [Global Voices / Jennifer Creery]
  • An earlier report showed that China attempts to change Western opinion through the distribution of English-language accounts on social media that favor China. [SC Magazine / Bradley Barth]


  • A hateful comment was posted on Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s office door, accusing her of encouraging “jihad against the Jews.” [New York Post / Tamar Lapin]
  • About 800 ancient Chinese relics will return from Italy to China. Some of them seem to be “of illicit origin.” How did these relics end up in Italy anyway? [CNN / Julia Hollingsworth]
  • The manager of an Arby’s restaurant in Oklahoma was charged with first-degree murder for shooting a customer who she said threatened her. [AP News]
  • The Indianapolis Zoo has lost its two youngest elephants to the herpes virus in eight days. [ABC News / Karma Allen]
  • A new report details how the Trump White House decided to back a federal lawsuit that wants to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act. [NYT / Maggie Haberman and Robert Pear]


“The Supreme Court has clearly advised that a state legislature may never fix viability at a specific week but must instead leave this determination to doctors.” [Federal Judge William Osteen, on Monday, declaring that a North Carolina ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy is unconstitutional]

Watch this: China’s trillion dollar plan to dominate global trade

China’s Belt and Road Initiative is the most ambitious infrastructure project in modern history. It spans over 60 countries and will cost over a trillion dollars. The plan is to make it easier for the world to trade with China, by funding roads, railways, pipelines, and other infrastructure projects in Asia and Africa. [YouTube / Sam Ellis]

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