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Sweeping Supreme Court rulings on guns and abortion this past week have sent an unmistakable message. And that message is that conservative justices hold the power and aren't afraid to use it to make transformative changes in the law. It was never clearer than when the court took away a woman’s right to abortion that had stood for nearly 50 years. The conservative majority said no more half measures when they overturned Roe v. Wade and allowed states to outlaw abortion. And the day before, they ruled for the first time that Americans the right to carry handguns in public for self-defense. The decisions are the latest and perhaps clearest manifestation of the court's control by an aggressive conservative majority.

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Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey says religious schools seeking to take advantage of a state tuition program must abide by state law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. He says that could deter some of them from participation despite a Supreme Court decision this week. The high court ruled that Maine can’t exclude religious schools from a program that offers tuition aid for private education in towns that don’t have public schools. One of the attorneys who successfully sued says the state can balance the interests of all parties if elected officials “are genuinely committed to that task.”

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President Joe Biden has signed the most sweeping gun violence bill in decades. The bipartisan compromise seemed unimaginable until a recent series of mass shootings, including the massacre of 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school. The House gave final approval Friday, following Senate passage Thursday, and Biden acted just before leaving Washington for two world leader summits in Europe. The legislation will toughen background checks for the youngest gun buyers, keep firearms from more domestic violence offenders and help states put in place laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people adjudged to be dangerous. Most of its $13 billion cost will help bolster mental health programs and aid schools

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Police fired tear gas to disperse anti-abortion demonstrators from outside the Arizona Capitol Friday night, forcing lawmakers to huddle briefly in a basement inside the building as they rushed to complete their 2022 session. Thousands of protesters had gathered earlier on the Capitol grounds in Phoenix, divided into groups both supporting and condemning the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Tear gas forced senators to move their deliberations from the Senate chamber. Republican lawmakers approved a massive expansion of the private school voucher system and a major water proposal drew bipartisan support.

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Democratic officials across the nation hope to harness their party's collective outrage and sadness to improve their political outlook this fall after the Supreme Court's stunning decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Abortion was an afterthought for much of the year for many voters. It was overshadowed by record gas prices, surging inflation and President Joe Biden’s low popularity. But on Friday, a Supreme Court majority of conservative justices ensured that abortion would be a central issue in U.S. politics for the foreseeable future. Polling shows that relatively few Americans wanted to see Roe overturned.

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Police fired tear gas from the windows of the Arizona Capitol building to disperse hundreds of people demonstrating outside Friday night, as lawmakers briefly huddled in a basement. The lawmakers were working to complete their 2022 session as thousands of protesters gathered on the Capitol grounds in Phoenix. They were divided into groups condemning and supporting the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. KPHO-TV reported the officers opened fire when several anti-abortion protesters started banging on glass doors of the building. It wasn’t immediately known if there were injuries or arrests.

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The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion. Friday's ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. In anticipation of the decision, several states led by Democrats have taken steps to protect abortion access. The decision also sets up the potential for legal fights between the states over whether providers and those who help women obtain abortions can be sued or prosecuted.

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The House has sent President Joe Biden the most wide-ranging gun violence bill Congress has passed in decades. The bill that passed the House on Friday is a measured compromise that at once illustrates progress on the long-intractable issue and the deep-seated partisan divide that persists. The Democratic-led chamber approved the election-year legislation with every Democrat and 14 Republicans voting yes. That caps a spurt of action prompted by voters’ revulsion over last month’s mass shootings in New York and Texas. The Senate approved it earlier by a bipartisan 65-33 margin, with 15 Republicans joining all Democrats. The White House says Biden will sign the bill Saturday morning.

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said she is bringing state lawmakers back on Thursday to consider gun safety legislation in response to the Supreme Court striking down key portions of the state’s licensing law. The court on Thursday overturned the state law that required that people applying for a concealed carry permit demonstrate a specific need to have a gun in public. Hochul called the decision “reckless and reprehensible” as she announced she will convene a special session. New York officials are considering restrictions on concealed carry in “sensitive locations,” such as government buildings and bars. They’re also looking at implementing specific training for permit applicants.

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While South Carolina is not one of the 13 states with “trigger laws” banning abortion after the Supreme Court's decision to overturn federal protections, lawmakers in the Republican-controlled state are ready to further restrict the procedure. Shortly after the high court's ruling came down Friday, Gov. Henry McMaster said he would immediately work with the state legislature to find "the best solution for protecting the lives of unborn South Carolinians.” A federal appeals court in February blocked the law signed by McMaster last year that banned most abortions after six weeks. The state attorney general's office asked the appeals court to lift its injunction Friday.

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Democratic leaders across the nation are vowing to help women who travel to seek abortions. They also pledged Friday to shield patients and medical professionals from being pursued by authorities in states where the procedure becomes outlawed after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade. On the West Coast, the Democratic governors of California, Washington and Oregon issued a joint “multi-state commitment,” saying they will work together to defend patients and care providers. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, also a Democrat, emphasized the importance of the November election. In that state, the GOP controls the Legislature but lacks veto-proof majorities to outlaw abortion.

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Kentucky’s so-called trigger laws means abortion has largely been outlawed in the state upon the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade on Friday. The state’s only two abortion clinics, both in Louisville, halted abortions Friday. The Kentucky law passed in 2019 declares that abortion would become illegal “effective immediately” if Roe v. Wade is overturned. The measure contains a narrow exception allowing a physician to perform a procedure necessary to prevent the death or permanent injury of a pregnant woman. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said the ruling triggers a ban that also includes victims of rape or incest. Republican state Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a candidate for governor, hailed the ruling as “a new era.”

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The overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday triggers a 2020 Idaho law banning all abortions except in cases of reported rape or incest, or to protect the mother’s life. That law takes effect 30 days after the court’s decision. In cases of rape or incest, the law requires pregnant women to file a police report and provide a copy of the report to the provider prior to an abortion. Pregnant women in Idaho seeking abortions will have to travel out of state, with the nearest abortion providers in Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Colorado.

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Congress has passed a bill that aims to keep up the expanded, pandemic-era distribution of free meals for all students this summer. Final passage Friday of the Keep Kids Fed Act in the U.S. House came less than a week before rule changes for child nutrition programs were set to expire June 30. The bill now goes to President Joe Biden for his signature. The legislation is intended to extend the rules that were adopted soon after COVID-19 disrupted schools nationwide. The rules allow summer meal distribution sites to operate in any community with need, rather than just where there’s a high concentration of low-income children.

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The Supreme Court's decision to end the constitutional right to abortion likely will lead to legal battles as already divided states grapple with the new landscape of abortion access. Even before Friday's opinion, lawmakers, activists and legal scholars were arguing over whether Republican-led states can enforce abortion bans beyond their borders. That speculation could soon become reality as abortion opponents become more emboldened to try novel approaches to prevent women from crossing state lines to get an abortion.

The Associated Press is making available the full text of the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the nationwide right to abortion. Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the final opinion issued Friday that Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey were wrong and had to be overturned. The text begins with “Abortion presents a profound moral issue on which Americans hold sharply conflicting views. Some believe fervently that a human person comes into being at conception and that abortion ends an innocent life."

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The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place for nearly 50 years. The court’s conservative majority, in a decision released Friday, voted to overturn Roe v. Wade from 1973 and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to abortion. The outcome is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. Justice Samuel Alito's majority opinion said Roe “was egregiously wrong from the start.” The court's three liberals, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, ended their opinion by saying, "With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.”

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For two years, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords allowed a film crew to shadow her and husband Sen. Mark Kelly. The result is a film titled “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down." An intimate look at Giffords’ recovery after the 2011 shooting that changed her life. But it's also an insider view of how the couple navigated gun control campaigns and a Senate campaign during a pandemic. The movie could not be any timelier on the heels of the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting. Gun reform debates have been raging in government, schools and the U.S. Supreme Court. The documentary is from the same team behind Academy Award-nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary “RBG." The Giffords film arrives in theaters July 15.

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Bulgaria’s parliament has voted to lift a veto that has long blocked European Union membership negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. The move raises fresh hopes that the bloc can now press on with its expansion plans in the Western Balkans amid Russia’s war in Ukraine. France, which currently holds the EU’s presidency, made a proposal this week to resolve an ethnic and cultural dispute between Bulgaria and North Macedonia that was the source of the veto. Under the French proposal, North Macedonia would have to recognize in its constitution that Bulgarians are one of the country’s constitutive ethnicities. North Macedonia said Friday that several topics need clarification before it will agree to the deal.

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LGBTQ youth of faith across the United States are sharing their stories during Pride Month. They hope to encourage others to embrace their religious and gender identities. It comes at a time when states like Florida and Texas are passing legislation that critics say marginalizes LGBTQ people, while several major denominations continue to condemn same-sex unions as sinful. Some young people say they have found support by joining online multifaith groups where they virtually share stories, sing and pray.