May 9, 2019

Alabama Senate on verge of passing bill making abortion a felony

A pro-life rally in Washington, D.C. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The Alabama state Senate is prepared to pass a bill on Thursday that would outlaw abortion at basically every stage of pregnancy, making it the strictest abortion law in the country, before "a fight broke out" and the chamber tabled the vote, the Washington Post reports.

Details: The bill would make abortion a felony and criminalize the procedure for doctors, who could face up to 99 years in prison if convicted, according to AL.com. After the bill passed Alabama's House without any exceptions last week, the state's Senate Judiciary Committee adopted an amendment to allow abortions for rape or incest. The ACLU of Alabama has already signaled its intention to challenge the law in court if it's passed and signed by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey.

The big picture: Conservative lawmakers in the U.S. have introduced a slew of new state laws limiting abortion rights in 2019. On Tuesday, Georgia's governor signed a bill into law that prohibits abortions as soon a doctor can detect the first fetal heartbeat, following the lead of state governments in Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky and Iowa.

Go deeper: A surge of restrictive state abortion bans take aim at Roe v. Wade

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Pandemic forces startups to shift gears

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Spaces CEO Brad Herman had an early warning about COVID-19 because his startup supplies VR attractions to a number of theme parks in China. Realizing that the business he spent the last few years building was going to evaporate, Herman quickly found a new way to apply his team's know-how: helping companies host Zoom teleconferences in VR.

Why it matters: Many startups are rethinking the viability of their core businesses in the wake of the coronavirus. Spaces' move is one of many such pivots likely to crop up in the coming months.

International coronavirus treatment trial uses AI to speed results

Hydroxychloroquine is one of the drugs that will be included in the trial. Photo: John Philips/Getty Images

The first hospital network in the U.S. has joined an international clinical trial using artificial intelligence to help determine which treatments for patients with the novel coronavirus are most effective on an on-going basis.

Why it matters: In the midst of a pandemic, scientists face dueling needs: to find treatments quickly and to ensure they are safe and effective. By using this new type of adaptive platform, doctors hope to collect clinical data that will help more quickly determine what actually works.

Go deeperArrow45 mins ago - Health

We can't just flip the switch on the coronavirus

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It feels like some big, terrible switch got flipped when the coronavirus upended our lives — so it’s natural to want to simply flip it back. But that is not how the return to normalcy will go.

The big picture: Even as the number of illnesses and deaths in the U.S. start to fall, and we start to think about leaving the house again, the way forward will likely be slow and uneven. This may feel like it all happened suddenly, but it won't end that way.

Go deeperArrow59 mins ago - Health