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Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Northern Ireland is set to legalize abortion and same-sex marriage at midnight on Tuesday, marking a massive shift for the last country in the U.K. where both are outlawed, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: Northern Ireland has been home to some of the world's most restrictive abortion laws since the Victorian era, prohibiting the procedure in almost all instances, except when the mother's life was in danger. Women could be legally punished for receiving an abortion, or even seeking one.

  • The rest of the United Kingdom has allowed abortions up until the 24th week of pregnancy since 1967.
  • For generations, many women in Northern Ireland have been forced to illegally purchase pills or travel elsewhere in the U.K. to obtain abortions, per the Post.

Between the lines: Northern Ireland has a long history of sectarian tensions between unionists, who want to remain in the U.K., and nationalists, who want to rejoin the Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland's legislative assembly has not convened in almost three years amid these bitter divisions.

  • As a result, the U.K. Parliament in London has passed a bill to ensure public services continue to function. Lawmakers tacked on amendments to legalize same-sex marriage and abortion, much to the anger of conservative Northern Irish politicians.

Go deeper: New poll finds "dramatic shift" on abortion attitudes

Go deeper

DOJ cites discrimination in lawsuit against Texas over voting districts

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas, alleging Republican state lawmakers discriminated against Black and Latino voters and has "again diluted the voting strength of minority Texans" when they approved new redistricting maps.

Why it matters: A DOJ assessment of the new districts found that they violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference.

3 hours ago - World

Biden to warn Putin U.S. will add troops in Eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine

Putin meets Biden in Geneva. Photo: Peter Klaunzer - Pool/Keystone via Getty

President Biden will warn Russian President Vladimir Putin when they speak on Tuesday that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. is prepared to increase its troop presence, capabilities and military exercises on NATO's "eastern flank," a senior administration official told reporters.

Why it matters: The administration believes it's increasingly likely that Putin will order an invasion.

4 hours ago - World

U.S. announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An Olympic-themed sculpture in Beijing on Dec. 1. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images

The U.S. announced Monday that it will not send officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Why it matters: The diplomatic boycott — which won't prevent American athletes from competing — marks a major escalation between the U.S. and China amid already heightened tensions over the CCP's treatment of Muslim minorities, military threats to Taiwan and economic tariffs.