Idaho passes Texas-style abortion ban. US will accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. NATO to send 40,000 more troops to eastern border.
Idaho passes Texas-style abortion ban
Idaho has become the second state in the nation to pass an anti-abortion bill modeled on Texas’ “Heartbeat Act”. Like the Texas law, the enforcement of the law relies on private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who provides a woman with an abortion after 6 weeks. However, the parties with standing to bring suit are considerably more narrow. Only the family of the woman, the man who impregnated her or his family can sue. Any such individual can sue abortion providers for at least $20,000.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little expressed misgivings about the law, even though he signed it. Little said that the enforcement mechanism that deputizes private citizens may prove to be “unconstitutional and unwise”. Little also had concerns about the potential impact of the law on victims of rape or incest. Unlike the Texas law, a rapist cannot sue anyone who provides an abortion to his victim; but his immediate family can.
Other states across the country are eyeing similarly restrictive abortion laws. The Oklahoma House of Representatives has passed a Texas-style bill that would ban abortions altogether. If it becomes law, it could have a major impact on women seeking abortions in Texas as well, since many have obtained procedures in Oklahoma. South Dakota has also recently passed a bill severely restricting access to abortion pills.
US announces it will accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees
The White House has announced that as many as 100,000 Ukrainian refugees will be admitted to the US. Priority will be given to especially vulnerable individuals who might be targeted by Russian invaders like journalists, activists and LGBT individuals.
The Biden administration has also announced a change to regulations governing the asylum application process. The officials hope that the changes will both streamline the process of applying for asylum for those fleeing oppression and discourage economic migration. The new regulations will make it easier to admit deserving asylum seeker and to deport those who do not qualify more quickly. These changes will start taking effect in the late spring.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has launched an operation to deport several hundred Columbians under Title 42. Title 42 is a COVID-related public health measure that allows the US to quickly expel migrants from its borders, whether they qualify for asylum or not.
NATO to send 40,000 more troops to eastern border
Today, President Biden met with the leaders of other NATO countries in Brussels. Among other things, members of the bloc agreed to send more weapons into Ukraine. However, they have ruled out the idea of establishing even a limited no-fly zone in Ukraine. In response to concerns about Russia’s front in Ukraine moving westward, NATO will be sending 40,000 more troops to its eastern border in Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania.
The US has also announced that it will levy additional sanctions against Russian oligarchs and members of the Duma, Russia’s parliament. Defense companies and other Russian entities will also be subject to further restrictions.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims that thousands of residents from the besieged city of Mariupol have been forcibly deported to Russian controlled territory. The ministry says that Russian forces have sent over 6000 people to Donetsk and Luhansk as hostages.
NATO estimates that as many as 40,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, wounded or captured in Ukraine since the invasion. Earlier this week, a pro-Kremlin tabloid in Russia briefly published figures purportedly from Russia’s own Ministry of Defense, indicating that 9,600 Russian soldiers had died in Ukraine.
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