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Newsletter: Today: Spoiling for a Fight on Abortion

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Protesters rally in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday against a strict abortion bill.
(Mickey Welsh / Montgomery Advertiser)

Alabama lawmakers have voted to effectively ban abortion in the state, part of a move by several states designed to provoke a larger confrontation in the U.S. Supreme Court.

TOP STORIES

Spoiling for a Fight on Abortion

The conservative push to outlaw abortion has reached another milestone: On Tuesday, Alabama’s Republican-controlled Senate passed a bill that bans the procedure at all stages of pregnancy, with no exception for rape and incest victims. The punishment for doctors caught performing an abortion: up to 99 years in prison. The legal twist here is that even the bill’s supporters acknowledge it is unconstitutional and a deliberate attempt to provoke a lawsuit that could push the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision. Since President Trump secured a conservative majority on the court, a number of states in the South and Midwest have passed laws to restrict abortion access — and trigger a fight.

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Trump’s Trade Gamble

With a growing economy at his back and little resistance from Republicans, Trump has been free to impose tariffs on America’s trading partners with few political repercussions. Yet his protectionist approach — particularly with China, as well as with traditional allies Canada and the European Union — presents a high-stakes gamble for him and other Republicans in the 2020 election. Trump has been testing the patience of some of his staunchest allies in Congress, many of whom have long billed themselves as opponents of trade barriers and skeptics of government subsidies.

More Politics

-- Atty. Gen. William Barr has appointed a U.S. attorney to examine the origins of the Russia investigation. Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee has struck a deal with Donald Trump Jr. to appear for a closed-door interview next month.

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-- House Democrats are demanding Barr hand over documentation behind the Trump administration’s decision not to defend the Affordable Care Act in court and threatening to use their subpoena power if needed.

-- Wary of the political risks and practical difficulties of Medicare-for-all proposals that would move every American into a government health plan, Democrats increasingly are embracing more modest plans to use Medicare to expand insurance coverage.

-- Homeland Security officials considered arresting thousands of migrant families who had final deportation orders and removing them from the U.S. in a show of force. The idea was tabled but reportedly is still under consideration.

The Toll of Sex Abuse in the Boy Scouts

For decades, the Boy Scouts of America has closely guarded a trove of secret documents that detail sexual-abuse allegations against troop leaders and others. The most complete public accounting of the abuse so far came in 2012 when The Times published a searchable database of 5,000 files and case summaries that are part of the Scouts’ blacklist known as the “perversion files.” Seven years later, more details are emerging about the scope of sex abuse in the youth organization, which says it is considering bankruptcy protection.

Not the Caravan You’re Thinking Of

They are immigrants from places like Colombia and Peru, and they’ve paid $23 apiece for their journey. They are domestic violence survivors, single mothers, proud grandmothers. Some are divorced. But don’t expect Trump to be tweeting about la caravana de mujeres, a private bus in Spain that takes single women from Madrid to small, rural towns for an evening of food, drink and dance with local farmers. And as our latest Column One feature explains, the hope is to find love.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

On this date in 1964, a story in the Los Angeles Times announced the first stamp commemorating President John F. Kennedy after his assassination. The stamp was based on a photograph taken by The Times’ William S. Murphy. To see the image in full and get the story of how the image was taken and ended up being used by the U.S. Postal Service, read on.

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A portion of a portrait of then-Sen. John F. Kennedy, taken on Nov. 13, 1958, during an informal news conference at actor Peter Lawford's home in Santa Monica.
(William S. Murphy / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

-- Jackie Goldberg received more than 70% of the vote to win the special election to fill an open seat on the Los Angeles Unified school board.

-- Laura Janke, a former USC soccer coach who is cooperating with a federal investigation into college admissions fraud, has pleaded guilty in Boston to a racketeering conspiracy charge.

-- A onetime addict on L.A.’s skid row has something to say about the homeless problem. He told his story to columnist Steve Lopez.

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-- San Francisco has become the first U.S. city to ban the use of facial recognition tools by its police and other municipal departments.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- Why are so many “Game of Thrones” fans outraged? Columnist Mary McNamara says it is all part of the game.

-- Director Jim Jarmusch’s “The Dead Don’t Die” has started the Cannes Film Festival off on an apocalyptic note.

-- Hulu’s parents — Walt Disney Co. and Comcast Corp. — have agreed to an amicable divorce, giving the Burbank entertainment giant full custody of the streaming video site.

-- Tim Conway, the comedian’s comedian best known for his work on “The Carol Burnett Show,” has died at 85.

NATION-WORLD

-- Russian President Vladimir Putin told Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo that he was eager to repair relations between their two countries despite sharp differences, including over the escalating crisis in Iran.

-- Police in Tijuana say an American man was arrested after running over several people with a truck in a chaotic chase to the San Ysidro border crossing.

-- In Germany, police say more bodies have been found in a mysterious crossbow case.

-- New guidelines from the World Health Organization say that if you want to save your brain from dementia, keep the rest of your body well with exercise and healthful habits rather than relying on vitamins or other pills.

BUSINESS

-- Wall Street is focusing its blame for Uber’s big price drop on Morgan Stanley, while columnist Michael Hiltzik thinks the IPO could change Wall Street’s thinking about its “unicorns.”

-- Will Trump’s China trade war kill Polestar’s plan to take on Tesla in the U.S.?

SPORTS

-- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has placed Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias on paid administrative leave after Urias was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic battery.

-- The Lakers lost badly during the season but were one of the big winners in NBA draft lottery, moving up considerably to land the fourth pick in June’s draft.

OPINION

-- When it comes to foreign policy, columnist Doyle McManus writes that Trump has whims and beliefs but no coherent strategy. The result is unforced errors and crises around the globe.

-- The Cadiz plan to pump out water and drain the desert is a bad idea.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he’s not allowed to disclose which two counties were hacked by Russians in the 2016 election because he signed a nondisclosure agreement. (Tampa Bay Times)

-- Thoughts on the rise of Islamophobia in modern-day China. (China File)

-- Remember Tamagotchi, the little plastic “digital pets”? They’re back … for $59.99 an egg. (Wired)

ONLY IN L.A.

John and Molly Chester left behind their day jobs in L.A. — as a docu-series director and a personal chef, respectively — to turn a former horse ranch into a self-sustaining, biodynamic 213-acre farm that produces fruit and vegetables for some of L.A.’s trendiest restaurants. They’ve also turned their eight-year-long odyssey into a documentary. Sound like a dream (or “Green Acres”)? The reality is that the fantasy involves a lot of hard work.

If you like this newsletter, please share it with friends. Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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