Friday, February 23

OK’s abortion law, Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed: 5 Things podcast

On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Oklahoma’s abortion law and its ripple effect

National correspondent Bill Keveney reports. Plus, a top U.N. official says a ceasefire won’t be easy in Ukraine, national correspondent Elizabeth Weise tells us we’re close to the point of no return on climate change, the Senate confirms Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court and the first completely private mission to space is set to launch.

Podcasts:True crime, in-depth interviews and more USA TODAY podcasts right here.

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Friday, the 8th of April 2022. Today, America’s changing abortion landscape, plus new climate worries, and more.

Here are some of the top headlines:

  1. At least two people are dead after a shooting in Tel Aviv. The attacker from the occupied West Bank was killed in a shootout with police earlier today. It’s the fourth deadly attack in Israel by Palestinian assailants in less than three weeks and comes around the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Clashes in Jerusalem during Ramadan last year eventually sparked the Gaza war.
  2. Three local officials in Shanghai have been fired over the recent response to a COVID-19 outbreak in China’s largest city. Residents have complained of harsh lockdown conditions leading to supply shortages.
  3. And Sungjae Im leads the Masters after day one. The South Korean golfer shot five under.

The Guttmacher Institute is a reproductive health and rights think tank based in New York. It estimates that 26 states home to 36 million women of reproductive age are likely to ban abortion in some way, if the Supreme Court rules against the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Roe v. Wade in 1973, prohibited states from banning abortions before viability, meaning at around 23 or 24 weeks of pregnancy. But until a possible overturn like that happens, states are starting to make their own laws on abortion, including most recently, Oklahoma. National Correspondent Bill Keveney chatted with Producer PJ Elliott about the law and its potential repercussions in other states.

Bill Keveney:

It’s a near total ban on abortion. There’s no time limit like six weeks or 15 weeks as in other states. You couldn’t do it unless the mother’s life was in danger, and they have a specific definition for that. And one of the big things is that the person providing the abortion, the doctor, could be subject to up to a 10-year prison term for it, which is a pretty heavy penalty compared to in some other states.

PJ Elliott:

So why are healthcare groups saying that this law is going to be the most cruel yet for women?

Bill Keveney:

I think it’s because it doesn’t even have any timeframe. The Texas ban, there’s six weeks, which is about the time you get a fetal heartbeat. So, that gives you a little time. The Supreme Court is going to make a decision on a Mississippi bill that gives you about a 15-week window. All of these would either weaken, or if they’re held up, be seen as weakening or perhaps even overturning Roe versus Wade, because that was based on viability, which a lot of people are saying is about 23 or 24 weeks for the baby. So, any shortening of that. So since there’s only one very narrow exception, the people who pose it are saying that’s the harshest ban. The sponsor of it in Oklahoma legislature called it the strongest legislation. They’re kind of saying the same things from opposite perspectives.

PJ Elliott:

Is this something that’s going to be sort of a domino effect that we could see in other states?

Bill Keveney:

Yes. And it’s kind of a continuation of what’s a domino effect when states are setting their own policies. When Texas instituted its ban in September, a lot of women were going to surrounding states and Oklahoma got 45% of the Texans going out of state for an abortion. So, that’s almost half. What that’s done is a wait time at an Oklahoma clinic, went from two to three days to at least two weeks. So people had to wait longer, which can make a pregnancy more complicated. And then some people in Oklahoma were going to states like Kansas, where they could get an abortion faster. And if the Oklahoma ban takes effect, if it’s signed by the governor and it also has to go into effect in terms of there could be lawsuits against it, so that could hold it up. But if that went into effect, everybody from Texas, a bigger state in Oklahoma would then have to go to other states that are more receptive, like Colorado or New Mexico. So it does have a ripple or domino effect.

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Taylor Wilson:

You can find Bill’s full story in today’s episode description.

Ukraine is warning that despite Russia’s military pullback from Kyiv and other cities in the north, the country remains vulnerable. That was the message from Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba yesterday in Brussels. The scene in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha is increasingly horrifying. Its mayor, Anatoliy Fedoruk, said 320 civilians were confirmed dead as of yesterday, though officials expect that number to rise. The city was once home to 50,000 people. That number has now dwindled to just 4,000. The mayor also said that most victims died from gunshots, not from shelling. And some corpses were found with their hands tied. Investigators have previously said that some appeared to be shot at close range. The scene in the northern city of Chernihiv is one of mass destruction after Russian forces severely damaged infrastructure there. Viktiriia Veruha is a volunteer coordinating aid distribution.

Viktiriia Veruha:

It’s good days for right now. At last, we can bring food. So it’s still not safe place. It’s still, we have no electricity, but right now we at last can bring some food, some medicine, and it’s good news. And ever great people from Chernihiv, it’s also very important, because we don’t know what will be in future.

Taylor Wilson:

Six weeks after invading, Russian forces have failed to oust Ukraine’s central government, something Western countries said was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s initial goal. Russia is now shifting its military attention to Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, which has already been hit by frequent Russian shelling in recent weeks. And shelling has continued in the southern Mykolaiv and Kherson regions. The United Nations estimates, the war has displaced some 6.5 million people within Ukraine and another four million have left the country as refugees. As for the possibility of peace anytime soon, the UN’s Humanitarian Chief, Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths is in Kyiv this week. He told the AP yesterday that a ceasefire won’t be easy.

Martin Griffiths:

No, it’s difficult because this is a hot war. And the secretary general asked me to follow up possibilities of what he describes as humanitarian ceasefire for the whole country, “To end the carnage,” were his words. Obviously we all want that to happen, but as you know, you’re here, that’s not going to happen immediately.

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