Jul 18, 2018

Democrats target state legislatures to save abortion rights

Photo: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Forward Majority, a Democratic group focused on winning back state legislatures, is targeting at least four Republican-controlled states to uphold women's reproductive right in case the Supreme Court votes to overrule Roe v. Wade.

Why it matters: 2018 is not just about the national races — the group is pushing Democrats to focus their efforts at the state level, arguing that if Dems can break any of the states' GOP trifectas then they'll be able to avoid efforts to criminalize abortion.

  • Yes, but: There were 14 states that passed stricter abortion laws in 2016 alone. Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature and the Governor's office in a majority of the states.
  • The state of play: Forward Majority is targeting Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida. The group identified anywhere between three and 19 state assembly seats Democrats need to flip in order to win at least one chamber of the state legislature.
  • The bottom line: Democrats are thinking ahead and working to "transform the landscape for women's reproductive rights in a post-Roe world," the group's report says.

Go deeper: How both sides view abortion as an election issue in 2018.

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

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The S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq all entered correction territory on Thursday, down 10% from their recent record highs amid a global market rout that began earlier this week.

The big picture: Stocks fell 3% for a time on Thursday, extending the market’s worst week since the financial crisis in 2008 following a spike in coronavirus cases around the world, according to CNBC.

Watchdog opens probe into VA secretary over handling of sexual assault claim

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie on Fox Business Network’s "The Evening Edit" on Jan. 7. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Michael Missal said Thursday he had opened an investigation into VA Secretary Robert Wilkie after lawmakers demanded an inquiry into his handling of a sexual misconduct report, the Washington Post reports.

Context: Wilkie allegedly "worked to discredit" the credibility of Democratic aide and veteran Andrea Goldstein after she reported last fall "that a man groped and propositioned her in the main lobby of the agency's D.C. Medical Center," a senior VA official told the Post.