On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Online data, medical records could be used to put women in jail under new abortion laws
Criminal justice correspondent Tami Abdollah has the details. Plus, January 6 hearings shift the focus to former Vice President Mike Pence, money reporter Medora Lee examines Fed rate hikes amid inflation, a massive heat wave continues and golf’s US Open tees off.
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Good morning, I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Thursday, the 16th of June, 2022. Today, how new abortion laws could be used to put women in jail. Plus, shifting the focus to Pence in January 6th hearings, and more.
Here are some of the top headlines:
- The Justice Department has unveiled federal hate crimes charges against the accused shooter in the Buffalo grocery store massacre last month. Authorities say the 18 year old specifically targeted Black victims in the attack that left 10 people dead. A 26 count complaint includes 10 murder charges.
- Researchers in China say they may have picked up alien signals using the world’s largest radio telescope. Some experts though say the signals may just be radio interference.
- And the Colorado Avalanche jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final last night. The Av’s beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in overtime.
Under new abortion laws, medical records, police statements and online data could be used to put women in jail. National Correspondent on Criminal Justice Tami Abdollah has more.
If the Supreme Court decides to overturn Roe V. Wade, lawmakers and law enforcement actually have a lot of different ways to go after women and healthcare providers who may be participating in any way in allowing women to get abortions. And that’s largely because we live in 2022 and we have so much [more] technology at our fingertips than we did back in 1973 when Roe V. Wade was decided.
Law enforcement and authorities, they have a slew of data that they could potentially access. That includes period tracking apps, telehealth appointments, mail-in pharmacy requests, other online medical records and data that they could use as evidence in criminal cases. And the fact is that as part of a criminal investigation, law enforcement is allowed to access certain information that pushes forward that investigation. So even though we have HIPAA, this federal health privacy law, in many states healthcare providers can and they sometimes even must disclose protected information to law enforcement. So that is, if a woman arrives at the hospital and has an issue, they can get those records. If investigators want, they can subpoena records from period tracking apps to build a case against someone, or they can engage in other types of surveillance, again, that further a criminal investigation, which is one reason why some women’s health clinics have actually moved to paper records or encrypted communications to prevent law enforcement from gaining any access to that data through surveillance.
We have a lot of new technology, but some of the old technology is just so easy for law enforcement to obtain, like your credit card purchases, your travel, the research. And then you add to that the research you did online, who you might have texted with, there’s an entire sort of digital trail and footprint that we have that’s part of our lives today that people don’t really think of, but that could be used against women or the healthcare providers who are helping women seek abortions.
For Tami’s full story, check out today’s episode description.
The House January 6th Committee will reconvene today as the spotlight shifts to former Vice President Mike Pence. The committee will address former President Donald Trump’s effort to pressure Pence to overturn the election in his favor. Pence, as the Senate president, presided over the counting of electoral votes on January 6th, 2021, and Trump tried to get him to reject electors from certain states that President Joe Biden won. Pence became the target of rioters who stormed the Capitol as the mob even shouted at one point, “Hang Mike Pence.”
Audio from the Capitol riot:
Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence.
According to witness testimony to the committee, Trump himself even spoke approvingly of calls that Pence should be hung, something Trump has denied. The hearing begins this afternoon at 1:00 PM Eastern time.
The Federal Reserve is in the midst of an interest rate hiking cycle. The latest increase came yesterday to its benchmark short term Fed funds rate and Money Reporter Medora Lee tells us that more hikes are coming to fight inflation.
The Fed has started raising interest rates to try to get inflation under control. And when the Fed does this, it’s raising its short term interest rate benchmark interest rate. It’s called the Fed funds rate. And basically, whenever it does that, that has a ripple effect through the economy. By raising that rate, all other interest rates will likely follow. That means that credit card interest rates will rise, mortgage rates will rise, but then on the good side, your savings rate and your CD rates will probably also rise. It might take a little bit of time, but it’ll eventually get there and try to catch up with the rate hikes.
The biggest one we’ll see is the first, and you’ll probably hear a ton about are mortgage rates. Mortgage rates are heavily influenced by the 10 year treasury and the 10 year treasury yield is pretty sensitive to interest rate hikes. If you’ve already bought a house and you locked in a very low rate, since rates were near zero for most of the pandemic as the Fed tried to loosen money supply and monetary conditions, you’re okay. You’ll just keep paying the same rate you locked in. But if you’re looking to buy a house now, you will probably be paying a lot more interest on that. I think I heard this morning it’s about up to about 6% or more now for a 30 year mortgage. You might be having to lower the value of the house that you can afford to make up for that interest payment.
I just want to tell you that with interest rate hikes coming, there’s no doubt about them coming quicker and bigger than we thought they were going to come. I would recommend that people start organizing their debt and start trying to pay off the highest interest rate debt that you have, or maybe consolidating things into a lower rate with like credit cards and things like that, or maybe trying to negotiate a lower fixed rate for now because we know they’re coming for sure. Your interest rates on those types of debt will only go up.
A massive heat wave continues to bake much of the US. The National Weather Service had an excessive heat warning through last night for most of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, and a heat advisory for much of the Midwest and South, stretched all the way to the coastal Carolinas, covering about a third of the country’s population. Some areas could get relief today, but severe thunderstorms could move into the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic today according to the NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. And temperatures will again climb well above normal today in the Rockies and Southwest, according to the National Weather Service. An excessive heat warning is in effect for parts of California and Arizona, where highs will again soar into the triple digits.
Golf’s US Open begins today in Brookline, Massachusetts outside Boston. But the event comes amid the controversial Saudi backed LIV Golf Series. The PGA Tour suspended 17 golfers from joining LIV, but the US Golf Association has decided to allow LIV golfers, including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and others to compete in the US Open. Golfweek’s David Dusek has more.
The USGA announced that Phil Mickelson, 2016 US Open champion Dustin Johnson and other players who competed in the LIV Series Golf Championship that took place outside of London, those players who have already qualified to compete in the US Open will be allowed to play in the USOpen. And that comes on the heels of all of those players being suspended by PGA Tour commissioner, Jay Monahan. The news was all over the place and a lot of people were wondering whether the USGA would let those players compete or not. So look for a lot of awkward press conferences, tough questions, and potentially some confrontations that come about early in the week during the press conferences when Mickelson and Dustin Johnson and others may be confronted by media and asked some very, very tough questions about their involvement with the LIV golf group.
Now, the golf course itself, the country club is going to be playing to just over 7,200 yards, and it’s going to be playing also to a par of 70. The holes are as short as the 11th, which is a downhill, 135 yard par three to as long as 615 yards for the gigantic par five 14th hole. There’s going to be high fescue. There’s going to be thick rough. The greens are going to be running lightning fast and have a lot of undulation and wave to them. So this is really going to test a player’s ability to hit the ball far, power, as well as accuracy, their ability to recover. And they’re going to have to putt lights out.
This is going to be a complete and thorough test of golf. As far as players to watch, I think at the top of the list you have to put Justin Thomas. He won in a dramatic playoff with this big Sunday charge at Southern Hills to capture his second PGA championship just a month ago. After that, I think you also have to take a look at Scottie Scheffler, The Masters’ champion, one of the best ball strikers out there. He should also definitely be a factor.
You can watch this week on NBC, USA network, and Peacock. And follow along with golfweek.com, part of USA TODAY Sports.
You can also find new episodes of 5 Things every morning of the year, right here wherever you’re listening right now. Thanks to PJ Elliott for his great work on the show, and I’m back tomorrow with more than 5 Things from USA TODAY.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism