No Massachusetts marriages for out-of-state gaysMarch 31, 2006 17:28 Gay couples from American states that ban same-sex marriages cannot legally be wed in Massachusetts, where such unions are legal, the state's highest court ruled on Thursday.

The ruling was made in response to a lawsuit filed by gay couples from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, which prohibit same-sex marriage. It appeared to end the prospect that the liberal New England state could become a U.S. destination for gay couples to marry.

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts made its ruling after Republican Gov. Mitt Romney had ordered local authorities to refuse applications from gays to be wed in Massachusetts because they resided outside the state.

  Congressman Ratchets Up Campaign Against Abortion DrugMarch 30, 2006 16:27 With two new deaths linked to the abortion drug RU-486, the leading congressional opponent to the drug stepped up his call to yank it off the market, saying manufacturers have made pregnancy "a near fatal disease."

At his news conference Wednesday, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., held aloft a picture of 18-year-old Holly Patterson, who died after taking the drug. He urged an immediate vote on his bill, HR 1079, "Holly's Law," which would force the Food and Drug Administration to remove the drug from the market for further investigation.

  Government Should Stay Out Of ReligionMarch 30, 2006 16:26 The United States was established by people who considered religion central to their lives.

Although the early population was made up mostly of Christians, there were already so many varieties of the religion that the settlers had to struggle over how to accommodate all of them in the emerging body politic.

Freedom of religion finally won out and was built into the Constitution and its amendments.

Today, America is 40-plus years into a significant and continuing shift in the country's religious landscape that began with the adoption of immigration reform in 1965. On the whole, America is handling those changes reasonably well.

But we also see evidence that the increasing mix of religions is not sitting well with some people. In their angst, they are trying to turn their backs on principles deeply embedded in our national founding documents.

  SD Abortion Law May Not Apply On ReservationsMarch 28, 2006 16:52 If South Dakota's abortion ban stands, a tribal president says she wants to set up a clinic on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Oglala Sioux Tribe President Cecelia Fire Thunder says because the reservation is sovereign land, state law would not apply.

South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long agrees with that assessment. He says the relationship between Indian tribes and the states means abortion clinics could operate inside the state even after the law would take effect.

Long says it would be a crime if the person doing the abortion and the woman were both non-Indians.

  Mississippi Abortion Bill Dies This SessionMarch 28, 2006 16:51 A bill to ban most abortions in Mississippi died tonight after House and Senate negotiators failed to reach a compromise before a deadline.

The lawmakers were trying to reach common ground on a House-passed bill that would ban abortions in the state except when a woman's life is at risk or she is the victim of rape or incest.

The Senate voted for the negotiations to try to put language in the bill that would protect the state's current informed consent law if the new legislation was ever challenged in court.

  S.D. Governor Signs Abortion Ban Into LawMarch 06, 2006 20:12 Gov. Mike Rounds signed legislation Monday banning nearly all abortions in South Dakota, setting up a court fight aimed at challenging the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

The bill would make it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion unless the procedure was necessary to save the woman's life. It would make no exception for cases of rape or incest.

Planned Parenthood, which operates the state's only abortion clinic, in Sioux Falls, has pledged to challenge the measure in court.

  US States Join Abortion Revolt To Bring Back BanMarch 05, 2006 07:41 Mississippi is about to ban abortion as pro-life politicians across middle America vie to overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark 1970s decision that gave women the right to choose.

Inspired by President George W Bush s appointment of two conservative justices, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, to the Supreme Court, several states have seized the opportunity to overturn their local laws.

The Mississippi bill proposes to ban abortion unless the mother s life is in danger or unless she is a victim of rape or incest. It has passed through the state s House of Representatives and will now go to a Senate vote. Haley Barbour, the Republican governor, has promised to sign the bill into law.

  Abortion As A Crime: A Nightmare RebornMarch 05, 2006 00:00 South Dakota just took a huge step backward. The state's new criminal abortion bill is patterned on laws first passed in the 1860s and 1870s -- laws that produced a public-health disaster.
Let's be clear: Making abortion illegal, except when a woman's life is threatened, does not protect women or their lives.

And now, with a Supreme Court remade by a president who is dedicated to overturning Roe vs. Wade, it is a good time to look at the centurylong history of illegal abortion in the United States.

  Randy 'Duke' Cunningham Gets 8.5 Years in PrisonMarch 03, 2006 23:28 Former Rep. Randy Duke Cunningham was taken into custody Friday after being sentenced to eight years and four months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution for accepting bribes from defense contractors.

Prosecutors had sought a 10-year sentence for Cunningham, the maximum available under his plea agreement. His lawyers asked for six years.

  Prosecutors Want Max For Republican Ex-CongressmanMarch 03, 2006 23:24 Prosecutors hoped to secure the longest prison term ever for a congressman Friday at the sentencing of former Rep. Randy ``Duke'' Cunningham, who pleaded guilty to taking bribes on a scale unparalleled in the history of Congress.

Cunningham, a Republican who resigned last year in disgrace, accepted $2.4 million from defense contractors and others in exchange for steering government contracts their way. Federal prosecutors asked for the maximum - 10 years behind bars.

  High Court Wades Into Texas Political ShootoutMarch 02, 2006 17:22 The Supreme Court on Tuesday appeared reluctant to throw out the Texas congressional map that resulted in a Republican majority in the state's congressional delegation.

But concerns were expressed by the justices over several districts that Democrats say disenfranchised Hispanic voters.

The justices spent a rare two-hour afternoon session trying to sort out the controversy over the Texas voter redistricting plan promoted by Republicans, including former majority leader Rep. Tom DeLay. The measure led to the 2004 ouster of five Democratic incumbents from Congress, and sparked a bitter partisan battle.

  Bush Differs from SD on Abortion AllowancesMarch 01, 2006 17:14 President George W. Bush said on Tuesday said his view on abortion differs from that of a South Dakota measure that would ban the practice in all cases except when the mother's life was at stake.

The South Dakota bill -- the most restrictive measure on abortion in decades -- has been described by the state's governor as a direct assault on the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

Asked about the provisions in the state law, Bush replied, "Well, that, of course, is a state law, but my position has always been three exceptions: rape, incest and the life of the mother."