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First Thing: Lindsey Graham proposes nationwide 15-week abortion ban | US news

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Senator Lindsey Graham proposed legislation on Tuesday for a nationwide 15-week abortion ban, a politically risky strategy as a backlash grows to the US supreme court ruling earlier this summer overturning federal protections for the procedure.

Polling shows that 57% of Americans disapproved of the court’s June reversal of the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling guaranteeing access to abortion, and 62% say the procedure should be legal in all or most cases.

The proposal by Graham, a hardline South Carolina Republican, will be called the “Protecting Pain-capable Unborn Children from Late-term Abortions Act”. It stands almost no chance of becoming law, but is seen by analysts as an attempt to frame the discussion around abortion, with fewer than 60 days until the midterms.

The White House and top Democrats promptly decried Graham’s efforts.

“Today, Senator Graham introduced a national ban on abortion which would strip away women’s rights in all 50 states. This bill is wildly out of step with what Americans believe,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

  • Could Graham’s legislation pass? Even if Republicans seize control of the Senate chamber in November, Graham’s bill is unlikely to pass because the current Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, has indicated he would be unwilling to lift the filibuster – a procedure that requires a bill to win the support of 60 senators – for the abortion issue.

Louisiana woman carrying skull-less fetus forced to travel to New York for an abortion

Nancy Davis, a Louisiana woman who was denied an abortion despite her fetus having a rare and fatal condition, stands on the steps of the state Capitol holding her one-year-old daughter, Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Baton Rouge, La. Davis, alongside her Attorney Ben Crump, abortion proponents and family, addressed the media on Friday. (AP Photo/Stephen Smith)
Nancy Davis called on the state’s lawmakers to at least clarify the wording of their abortion ban – if not repeal it entirely. Photograph: Stephen Smith/AP

A Louisiana woman who was carrying a skull-less fetus that would die within a short time after birth, traveled about 1,400 miles to New York City to terminate her pregnancy after her local hospital denied her an abortion amid uncertainty over the procedure’s legality.

Davis’s trek was necessary because Louisiana has outlawed abortion with very few exceptions after the US supreme court’s decision in June to eliminate federal abortion rights that which were established by its 1973 Roe v Wade ruling. New York is among the states where abortion remains legal.

Nancy Davis, 36, told the Guardian that she was about 10 weeks pregnant in late July when an ultrasound at Woman’s hospital in Baton Rouge – Louisiana’s capital – showed that her fetus was missing the top of its skull, a rare but fatal condition known as acrania that kills babies within days – and sometimes minutes – of birth.

  • Doesn’t Louisiana’s abortion ban contain a general exception for fetuses that cannot survive outside their mothers’ wombs? Yes and the law’s author – state senator Katrina Jackson – has insisted that Davis could have legally obtained an abortion without having to go across the country.

  • So why wasn’t Davis allowed one? Acrania is not explicitly included in the list of conditions for exemption so officials at the hospital where Davis had her ultrasound refused to provide an abortion for her, apparently fearing that they could be exposed to prison time, fines and forfeiture of their licenses to practice if they performed the procedure.

Ken Starr, who investigated Bill Clinton over Monica Lewinsky affair, dies at 76

FILE: Prosecutor In Clinton Whitewater Probe Ken Starr Dies At 76FILE - SEPTEMBER 14, 2022: It was reported that Ken Starr, a former federal judge who led the investigation against former President Bill Clinton during the 1990s Whitewater probe, has died at 76 due to complications from surgery. Starr also joined former President Donald Trump’s legal team during his first impeachment trial. WASHINGTON, : Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on impeachment inquiry 19 November on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. Starr is expected to testify that US President Bill Clinton misused “the machinery of government” to illegally interfere with the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit and Starr’s criminal investigations. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOTO by Luke FRAZZA (Photo credit should read LUKE FRAZZA/AFP via Getty Images)
Kenneth Starr in November 1998 at a House judiciary committee hearing. He died from complications from surgery, his family said. Photograph: Luke Frazza/AFP/Getty Images

Ken Starr, the lawyer who relentlessly pursued Bill Clinton over his affair with Monica Lewinsky, has died at the age of 76, according to a statement issued by his family.

Starr was a prosecutor whose Whitewater investigation led to the impeachment of Clinton in 1998. He died yesterday, at Baylor St Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, of complications from surgery, the statement said.

A Reagan judicial appointee and US solicitor general under George HW Bush, Starr presented many arguments before the US supreme court.

Starr also served as independent counsel, president and chancellor of Baylor University and dean of the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, the family statement said, and described their loved one as having had “a distinguished career in academia, the law and public service”.

  • What had Starr done more recently? In January 2020, Starr served as a member of Donald Trump’s legal team in the then-president’s first impeachment trial over dealings with Ukraine. Last year it was also reported that Starr had waged a “scorched-earth” legal campaign to persuade federal prosecutors to drop a sex-trafficking case against the late sex offender and billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein.

In other news …

Pieper Lewis, right, speaks with attorney Magdalena Reese during a sentencing hearing Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, in Des Moines, Iowa. Lewis, who was initially charged with first-degree murder after she stabbed her accused rapist to death in June 2020, was sentenced Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in an Iowa court to five years of closely supervised probation and ordered to pay $150,000 restitution to the man’s family. (Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Des Moines Register via AP)
Pieper Lewis, right, speaks with her attorney, Magdalena Reese, during a sentencing hearing in Des Moines, Iowa. Photograph: Zach Boyden-Holmes/AP
  • A teenage human trafficking victim who was initially charged with first-degree murder after she stabbed her accused rapist to death was sentenced yesterday in an Iowa court to five years of closely supervised probation. Pieper Lewis, 17, was also ordered to pay $150,000 restitution to the man’s family.

  • British authorities protected Prince Andrew from US prosecutors investigating his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, according to a new book by a US attorney who led the investigation in New York. Geoffrey Berman’s claims may cause consternation in a royal family dealing with the death of the Queen.

  • More than 50 winners of the world’s most prestigious environmental prize are calling on the UN to reject a bid by Vietnam to join the international organization’s human rights council (UNHRC) amid a crackdown on the country’s climate activists.

  • Ontario, California, was once at the center of the dairy industry. Now it’s home to Amazon’s largest warehouse and hundreds of others – with dangerous consequences. More than 600 warehouses are clumped into Ontario’s 50 square miles (129.5 sq km), feeding the country’s ever-growing hunger for online shopping.

Don’t miss this: My father’s family kept slaves – and he defended it. Acknowledging it matters

‘Family histories like mine are at the foundation of the culture we live in, a reality we have to confront,’ says Maud Newton.
‘Family histories like mine are at the foundation of the culture we live in, a reality we have to confront,’ says Maud Newton. Illustration: Jon Key/The Guardian

“Just a little more than three of my lifetimes ago – I’m 51 – my ancestors were holding people in bondage,” writes Maud Newton. “‘Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it’ was a frequent warning in the schoolrooms of my childhood, one typically given in connection with major events like the fall of Rome or the American revolution. But there is no more intimate connection to history than through our individual families. And with the rise of laws forbidding discussions of racist histories, sharing our own ancestors’ shameful wrongdoings has never been more urgent.”

… or this: I was angry about being left out of my father’s will. Then I found peace in the woods

Moniek Kramer for ‘A new start after 60’ / The Guardian, Ede, The Netherlands Photography by Judith Jockel
‘I wanted to make a paradise for my children’ … Moniek Kramer. Photograph: Judith Jockel/The Guardian

Moniek Kramer always wanted a little house in the countryside. At the age of 65, struggling with the fallout from her father’s death, she finally got it. She had been reading an article about Henry David Thoreau, the 19th-century American philosopher whose book Walden is based on his experience of living in a woodland cabin. An advert caught her eye: “‘Are you looking for your own Walden hut?” The next day she was on a train out of Amsterdam, and an hour later the sellers met her at the station. She plundered her pension – and moved in.

Climate check: World heading into ‘uncharted territory of destruction’, says climate report

Victims of heavy flooding from monsoon rains crowd carry relief aid through flood water in the Qambar Shahdadkot district of Sindh Province, Pakistan, Sept. 9, 2022. The United Nations says weather disasters costing $200 million a day and irreversible climate catastrophe looming show the world is “heading in the wrong direction.” (AP Photo/Fareed Khan, File)
People in Pakistan carry relief aid through flood water. Photograph: Fareed Khan/AP

The world’s chances of avoiding the worst ravages of climate breakdown are diminishing rapidly, as we enter “uncharted territory of destruction” through our failure to cut greenhouse gas emissions and take the actions needed to stave off catastrophe, leading scientists have said. Despite intensifying warnings in recent years, governments and businesses have not been changing fast enough, according to the United in Science report published yesterday. We are in danger of provoking “tipping points” in the climate system that will mean more rapid and in some cases irreversible shifts.

Last Thing: Unboxing, bad baby and evil Santa – how YouTube got swamped with creepy content for kids

longread youtube for kids for web
When children first started flocking to YouTube, some seriously strange stuff started to appear – and after much outcry, the company found itself scrambling to fix the problem. Illustration: YouTube/Guardian Design

In 2015, with kids’ material ballooning on YouTube, the company introduced YouTube Kids, an app with bigger, bubblier buttons for smaller fingers and settings for parents including a built-in timer. The company unveiled it as “the first Google product built from the ground up with little ones in mind”. YouTube hoped that children would only watch on the app, not its main site. But that didn’t happen. And soon, kids’ content mutated and as the company tried to promote its wholesome content, it was blindsided by a strange beast born within its walls, charging hard in another direction.

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