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abortion legislation blocked, debt restrict repair, caregivers’ COVID deaths : NPR


The anti-abortion legislation in Texas has been placed on maintain, however it’s unclear if folks in search of abortions will really have the ability to get them.


We speak right here of a Texas legislation that bans abortions after six weeks. It was elaborately designed in methods to make it exhausting to deliver a lawsuit to cease it. Nonetheless, the U.S. Justice Division sued, and final evening a federal choose granted a request to briefly halt the legislation whereas court docket proceedings proceed. Lawyer Basic Merrick Garland known as the choice a, quote, “victory for ladies in Texas and for the rule of legislation.”

MARTIN: NPR’s justice correspondent Carrie Johnson is with us this morning. Hey, Carrie.


MARTIN: Precisely what did the court docket do right here?

JOHNSON: Choose Robert Pitman mentioned Texas had concocted what he calls an unprecedented scheme to dam most abortions within the nation’s second-largest state. The choose mentioned Texas had drafted this legislation deliberately to make it exhausting for federal courts to evaluate any authorized challenges. And he discovered the U.S. Justice Division had the fitting to sue as a result of some federal workers and businesses might be uncovered to legal responsibility underneath this legislation and, importantly, as a result of the federal authorities was combating to vindicate folks’s elementary constitutional rights. The choose went as far as to say, this court docket won’t sanction yet another day of this offensive deprivation of such an essential proper. And he issued a preliminary injunction. No civil lawsuits could be filed, accepted or dominated on by state court docket clerks or judges whereas litigation on this case continues, the choose mentioned.

MARTIN: OK, so Choose Pitman says that this was an unprecedented scheme – his phrases – to dam most abortions in Texas. Clarify that scheme. I imply, clarify why the legislation is so controversial.

JOHNSON: Properly, in bans virtually all abortions within the state after about six weeks of being pregnant, with no exception for rape, sexual abuse or incest. Six weeks is when many individuals do not even know they’re pregnant. The legislation permits personal residents to deliver civil lawsuits towards anybody who helps a girl get an abortion, like an Uber driver, and to gather at the least $10,000 in damages in the event that they win in court docket. After all, the Justice Division says this legislation is unconstitutional and likewise that it violates a long time of Supreme Court docket precedent on abortion.

MARTIN: What impact has this legislation had on folks there? I imply, it has been in impact for 36 days, proper?

JOHNSON: It has. And abortion suppliers say it is put folks in some horrible and determined conditions. They’ve needed to flip sufferers away crying. And, after all, folks from Texas have been frantically making an attempt to get abortions in different states, like Oklahoma or Kansas or Colorado or New Mexico. The choose on this case cited proof as many as half or three-quarters of appointments in a few of these states have been crammed by folks from Texas. However some Texans cannot afford to journey, so the suppliers say they’re in an inconceivable state of affairs.

MARTIN: OK, so now the Justice Division has gained this non permanent halt to the legislation. Does that imply folks in Texas who need abortions can get them?

JOHNSON: Properly, virtually instantly, the Texas legal professional common filed a discover of enchantment within the case. They’re making an attempt to get to the fifth Circuit Court docket of Appeals, which is a really conservative court docket. However abortions won’t immediately resume as a result of docs worry they might be sued except that is completely resolved. Complete Girl’s Well being, which has a number of clinics in Texas, says it is working with workers and docs to renew offering the complete scope of abortion care as quickly as potential, probably as much as 18 weeks, however it tweeted that there is a lengthy street forward. And abortion rights opponents additionally see extra forward. The group Texas Proper to Life mentioned they’re assured this legislation goes to resist authorized problem.

MARTIN: Are we prone to see this go to the Supreme Court docket, Carrie?

JOHNSON: It is fairly doubtless that this case will get again to the Supreme Court docket. And, after all, Rachel, the court docket’s already going to evaluate a special legislation in Mississippi that seeks to ban abortions after 15 weeks. That is going to be heard in December.

MARTIN: NPR’s justice correspondent Carrie Johnson, thanks.

JOHNSON: Thanks.


MARTIN: All proper, Congress seems to be inching ever so slowly to a deal that retains the U.S. authorities paying its payments.

INSKEEP: Senate leaders say they might vote quickly to extend the debt restrict, although only for a couple of weeks, which might postpone the struggle till someday round Thanksgiving. As a result of the vacations, after all, is the time if you need to have a debate that would destroy the U.S. economic system. White Home spokeswoman Jen Psaki says this isn’t the White Home’s first alternative.


JEN PSAKI: If we’re the perfect choices, why kick the can down the street a few extra weeks? Why create an extra layer of uncertainty? Why not simply get it achieved now?

MARTIN: Kicking the can – received to adore it. NPR congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell has been following all of this and joins us this morning. Hey, Kelsey.


MARTIN: I do not get why delaying this entire factor for a few months is useful.

SNELL: Properly, you aren’t alone. There are many senators who additionally agree with that. You realize, however that is type of nonetheless an issue that senators have to determine easy methods to navigate, and some weeks provides them the chance to, you already know, keep away from rapid threats of default as a result of they’re nonetheless by some means in a struggle concerning the course of for getting this achieved. You realize, the specter of default could be very actual. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that default or a downgrade may trigger a recession, and that is all at a time when the economic system is basically hardly on regular floor. However leaders are combating about course of, and so they’re mainly arguing about who ought to take the blame for the present degree of debt within the nation.

What’s occurring proper now’s that Republicans pitched an thought to, you already know, get out of the way in which and let Democrats cross a short-term improve proper now for the debt restrict. And that is based mostly on a greenback determine, not a date. So they might say that, you already know, they’ve a sure variety of {dollars} of debt that they will proceed to pay earlier than they must do one thing extra long-term. However one of many phrases of the deal was that Republicans need Democrats to just accept that any long-term suspension of the debt restrict must be achieved utilizing finances reconciliation, which is a device that Democrats have already mentioned they do not need to use.

MARTIN: Yeah, so we have been speaking for weeks about how Democrats do not need to do that. They do not need to use reconciliation. Are they altering their thoughts?

SNELL: Nope, they aren’t. They are saying they’re tremendous with a short-term plan, however they are saying it would not change their emotions about reconciliation. You realize, Bernie Sanders, the chairman of the Finances Committee, flat-out mentioned they would not associate with reconciliation. In order that they’re on this limbo ready for anyone to blink once more. And they also do not have a full deal but, partially as a result of they’re nonetheless understanding these particulars. They’ve solely received about 10 days to go earlier than the date when the Treasury Division thinks they will be unable to pay their payments anymore.

MARTIN: Proper. So what’s prone to change then between now and December?

SNELL: Properly, Congress does like to have a struggle on the holidays as a result of it is type of a battering ram, and so they get to power folks to cave within the curiosity of going residence to their households, which isn’t precisely one thing that provides, you already know, the markets or on a regular basis folks an entire lot of religion, proper?


SNELL: You realize, it additionally provides Democrats extra time to weaken Republican defenses – in the event you ask Democrats, they are saying that is what is going on to occur – provides Democrats time to make use of reconciliation to do what they really need to do with it, which is cross the remainder of President Biden’s agenda. However Republicans additionally assume that this entire time may give them time to harden their positions and make it possible for folks within the American public imagine that Democrats are chargeable for trillions in new spending and completely have to deal with the votes on their very own.

MARTIN: All proper, NPR congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell doing the work this morning. Thanks. We admire it.

SNELL: Thanks for having me.


MARTIN: All proper, we have got some information now on a secondary toll of the coronavirus pandemic.

INSKEEP: A examine estimates greater than 140,000 kids in the USA have misplaced a father or mother or grandparent caregiver to COVID-19. This examine, printed in the present day within the journal Pediatrics, additionally exhibits that many of the kids are racial and ethnic minorities.

MARTIN: NPR well being correspondent Rhitu Chatterjee joins us this morning to speak about this. Hello, Rhitu.


MARTIN: Oh, that is powerful – 140,000 kids dropping the people who find themselves closest to them of their lives. I imply, it is troublesome to soak up. What extra are you able to inform us about this knowledge?

CHATTERJEE: Yeah. In order that quantity, Rachel, was solely till the tip of June. We’re now in October. So I spoke with writer Susan Hillis. She’s an epidemiologist on the CDC. And he or she estimates that now we’re speaking about 175,000 children orphaned by the pandemic. And to be clear, the examine defines orphan as dropping both one or two mother and father.

SUSAN HILLIS: Because of this for each 4 COVID-19 deaths, one youngster was left behind and not using a mom, father and/or grandparent who supplied for that kid’s residence, wants and nurture.

CHATTERJEE: And the longer the pandemic continues, the extra children will probably be affected.

MARTIN: So we all know COVID-19 has hit communities of shade particularly exhausting, and we’re seeing that right here, too, proper?

CHATTERJEE: So this has affected extra children in these communities. And this is the precise breakdown from Hillis

HILLIS: Sixty-five % of all kids experiencing COVID-associated orphanhood or loss of life of their main caregiver are of racial and ethnic minority. That’s such an excessive disparity.

CHATTERJEE: And in the event you look nearer at particular person teams, American Indian and Alaska Native children have been 4.5 occasions extra prone to have misplaced a main caregiver in comparison with white children, Black children have been 2.4 occasions extra doubtless and Hispanic children virtually twice as doubtless.

MARTIN: It feels inadequate to ask what sort of impact that is going to have on kids, what sort of trauma. I imply, dropping a father or mother is life-changing, to say the least.

CHATTERJEE: Yeah. So we all know that dropping a father or mother can put children liable to financial, meals and housing insecurity, particularly once we’re speaking about communities of shade, that are already deprived. And I have been talking with psychological well being care suppliers, who’re seeing a few of the emotional impacts. Dr. Warren Ng is a baby psychiatrist at Columbia College, and he primarily works with children in communities of shade. And he says even grieving has been troublesome for these kids. Many did not even get to see their father or mother within the hospital or say goodbye.

WARREN NG: They weren’t capable of go to a funeral. There wasn’t actually the identical set of, I believe, rituals and buildings which might be meant to assist help folks via a troublesome course of.

CHATTERJEE: In order that’s made it a lot exhausting for these children to kind of take care of this trauma. And we all know that dropping a father or mother additionally places them at a better threat of abuse and sexual violence and likewise psychological well being issues like despair, nervousness and suicide.

MARTIN: Proper. So what are businesses that concentrate on kids and youngsters’s psychological well being – what are they considering when it comes to easy methods to assist these children?

CHATTERJEE: So the authors are calling for rapid motion, and one of many issues they are saying is we all know that loving and supportive households shield children from the influence of trauma, so ensuring that these kids can keep secure inside rapid or prolonged households. Households have that help. And children with no prolonged household – ensuring they will discover foster houses or be adopted shortly. However the issue is, Rachel, there isn’t any systematic method of discovering these children and getting them the care they want.

MARTIN: NPR’s Rhitu Chatterjee, thanks a lot.

CHATTERJEE: Thanks, Rachel.

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