Alabama Set to Outlaw Abortion
The Alabama Senate approved a near-total abortion ban measure on Tuesday, establishing a challenge to Roe v. Wade, the case protecting women’s right to end a pregnancy. This new legislation bans abortions at any state in the pregnancy. Not only will women who end a pregnancy be subject to legal action, but doctors who perform the procedure could be charged with felonies and face up to 99 years in prison. Although this ban does not apply to cases when the mother’s life is at risk, it does apply to cases of rape and incest. This measure was approved by the House last month, and the governor approved it earlier this week.
On Friday, Missouri lawmakers passed a bill to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is roughly six weeks. This bill, known as the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act, now awaits the Republican Governor’s signature.
Trump to Pardon Servicemen
According to two U.S. officials, President Trump has suggested that he is considering to pardon several military servicemen accused or convicted of war crimes, including murder and desecration of a corpse. The Trump administration has reportedly asked to have the pardoning paperwork expedited so that Trump can sign it on Memorial Day.
One of the requests is for former Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who is to stand trial within the next few weeks on charges of shooting and killing unarmed civilians, as well as killing an enemy teenage captive with a knife.
Though assembling and processing pardon requests normally take months, the Justice Department stressed that all files must be completed by Memorial Day.
Surprising Election Results in Australia
On Saturday, Australia’s conservative prime minister Scott Morrison secured a surprising victory in federal elections. Morrison’s win was propelled by a populist movement like the ones that upended elections and politics in the U.S. and Britain.
The election results stunned analysts as polls suggested a loss for Morrison’s coalition for months. During his victory party, Morrison declared his confounding win a miracle, adding, “Tonight is about every single Australian who depends on their government to put them first. And that is exactly what we are going to do.”
Taiwan Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage
On Friday, lawmakers in Taiwan voted to legalize same-sex marriage, making it the first nation in Asia to do so. As legislators voted on the measure, tens of thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Taipei to celebrate the vote.
The vote came two years after Taiwan’s constitutional court struck down the Civil Codes definition of marriage as strictly between one man and one woman. The court gave the government a two year deadline to redefine marriage or same-sex couples would immediately be granted the right to have their marriages registered by local authorities.
Taiwan is a long time supporter and leader of gay rights in Asia where such rights are lagging behind the rest of the world or outright outlawed.
Austrian PM Seeks Snap Election
Austria’s chancellor Sebastian Kurz called for snap elections on Saturday after the nation’s far-right vice chancellor resigned over a secretly filmed video that raises concerns over Russian meddling.
The video shows Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache promising government contracts to a woman claiming to be the niece of a Russian oligarch. This is the biggest misstep in a series that brought down the governing coalition. It raises the question of whether the vice chancellor’s Freedom Party has been working to undermine liberal democracy and quiet the media.
In a press conference in Vienna, Kurz told reporters, “After yesterday’s video, enough is enough.” Kurtz said that he has already asked the president to hold a new election as soon as possible.