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Morning Update: Abortion In America's South

Trump cuts expert panels, the sexual assault definition loophole, Prince Harry is peak dad. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, June 17.

Posted on June 17, 2019, at 8:00 a.m. ET

Navigating restrictive abortion laws in the South

Over the last few months, tension over the issue of abortion has reached fever pitch in the US as Ohio, Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana passed bans on abortions after six weeks, and Alabama passed a total ban on abortion.

In the midst of a raging national debate, networks of volunteers and funds in America’s South have sprung into action, helping women get abortions.

What they’re up against is huge. Six states in the US have only one abortion clinic each, including Mississippi, Kentucky, Missouri, and West Virginia. As one activist put it, “People don’t realize that a post-Roe society is already here for many because they can’t get to a clinic.”

Read these stories:

👉 Abortion rights volunteers have adopted a radical approach to get around restrictions in the South. A collection of funds and nonprofits have come together to set up a system, executed through a large encrypted group chat, to shepherd patients in need across state lines. That means paying for hotels, gas, food, and childcare and finding companions, drivers, and doulas.

👉This mom and her seven kids have dedicated their lives to helping women get abortions in the South. The Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund helps women get abortions when they can’t afford them. It’s run by Laurie Bertram Roberts and her seven kids — six daughters and one son, ages 16 through 24.

👉She got an abortion in Arkansas at 21 weeks. Soon, that could be illegal. A 25-year-old woman tried to get an abortion for five months. By the time she made it to the clinic, it was almost too late.

SNAPSHOTS

Trump ordered dramatic cuts to expert science panels. The Trump Administration wants to dramatically cut the expert panels that widely advise federal agencies on pollution, public health, spending, and planning, according to a White House executive order.

A man pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing a 22-year-old Iowa State University golfer while she played alone on a course. Golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena was attacked at the Coldwater Links golf course in Ames by a man who had been living in the woods nearby. Collin Richards, 22, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder.

One of the kids from Stranger Things has a new show that tricks people trying to find work. After Gaten Matarazzo shared the news of the new prank show on Twitter, many users hit back against the idea of playing pranks on vulnerable people looking for work.

Taylor Swift made a surprise appearance at the iconic Stonewall Inn. The singer surprised guests when she turned up at the Stonewall, a historic landmark known as the site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, a pivotal moment in the fight for LGBTQ rights. Swift jumped on stage for an impromptu performance of “Shake It Off” and invited Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson to join in.

Bryan Bedder / Getty Images

He held her down, choked her, and masturbated onto her. The law said it wasn’t sexual assault.

The facts are not in dispute: Justin Schneider, a married father, offered Lauren a ride from an Anchorage gas station. Once inside the car, Schneider was on top of her, choking her.

Lauren blacked out. When she woke up, the man was zipping up his pants and asking her if she needed something to wipe her face. Schneider admitted that he did it to satisfy his sexual desires. He admitted that he ejaculated on her face. But he was not charged with sexual assault.

That’s because in Alaska, sexual assault has a very narrow definition. Because Schneider touched only his own genitals, his actions didn’t qualify as sexual assault. In the aftermath, Alaska lawmakers last month voted to close what has been dubbed the “Schneider loophole.”

But out of 54 US states and territories, 44 of these jurisdictions, including Alaska, do not have a legislated definition of sexual contact that explicitly mentions contact with semen. The survivor of that attack is sharing her difficult story for the first time.

BuzzFeed News

US jurisdictions where the law regards ejaculating on another person as "sexual contact" or "sexual acts."

Prince Harry shared a new photo of royal baby Archie for his first Father's Day

I think it’s safe to say Prince Harry is enjoying fatherhood.

The Duke of Sussex posted a sweet photo to Instagram of him holding one-month-old Archie, and it’s incredibly sweet.

Have a look:


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