ICYMI: US Abortion and Local Elections – This Week’s Stories Explained

ICYMI 06/05

Human rights, politics, sex crimes, and other things that aren’t really funny things to say about

I’m not going to lie, it’s a bit difficult to keep finding a satirical way to say “I know the news is a bit depressing this week but please read it.”

So I’ll just be straight to you: the news is quite a sad week, but it’s still important that we know what’s going on – and always will be.

In the end, though, I promise some pretty cool information about a new public transit system.

I’ll also include this joke to get you started: “Why is England described as a wet country? The Queen has ruled over it for decades.”

Also – and contrary to the joke above – it was sunny on Friday!

Abortion can be banned in US states

The US Supreme Court could be on the verge of overturning the nation’s legal right to abortion.

The landmark Roe v Wade case in 1973 set a precedent that every pregnant woman in the United States has the right to choose to have an abortion without government interference.

Abortion advocates and anti-abortion protesters protest in the US Supreme Court after leaking a draft majority opinion.

The US has seen several protests since it was revealed Roe v Wade may be overturned (Image: Reuters)

A crowd gathers outside the Supreme Court in Washington early Tuesday, May 3, 2022.

Pro-Choice activists have called the draft statement “sexist and shameful” (Image: AP)

In a draft opinion leaked by Politico, the judges say, “We believe Roe and Casey need to be suspended.

“The Constitution does not relate to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.

“It’s time to heed the constitution and return the abortion issue to the elected officials of the people.”

It’s important to note that this means abortion is being made illegal in the US.

Instead, it gives state authorities the power to ban the procedure locally or limit it as they see fit.

It’s unclear if this will be the final conservative-majority court decision on the issue, but the leak has nonetheless sparked major debate and backlash from pro-choice movements.

Seated from left: Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, standing from left: Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch and Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett poses during a group photo of the Supreme Court justices in Washington, DC on April 23, 2021.

The Supreme Court is currently held by a majority of Republican-appointed justices (Image: Getty)

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Former presidential candidate Hilary Clinton said, “This decision is a direct attack on the dignity, rights and lives of women, let alone decades of established law.”

“It will kill and subjugate women, even though a large majority of Americans think abortion should be legal. What an utter shame.’

Abortion is likely to become illegal in at least half of all US states if Roe v. Wade is overturned, according to reproductive rights group The Guttmacher Institute.

TL;DR: For some reason, no drafts on improved adoption services, maternity leave, or childcare support have been leaked yet.

Boris Johnson’s GMB interview

The PM has had a rough run with coronavirus, the cost of living crisis, partygate and a Tory MP watching porn in the House of Commons.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Mr Johnson used his Good Morning Britain on Monday to make things a little harder for himself.

Hostess Susanna Reid told the Prime Minister about Elsie, a 77-year-old pensioner who uses her Freedom Bus Pass to ride buses all day to keep warm after soaring gas prices mean she can no longer afford to heat her house.

In a truly bizarre response, Mr Johnson boasted that he was the politician who introduced the Freedom Bus Pass in the first place.

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Several politicians and journalists have since called this inaccurate – London councilors have paid for the pass since the 1980s, Mr Johnson simply made the pass valid for 24 hours a day in 2009.

Apart from that, the prime minister has been criticized by opposition leaders and social media users for being “tone deaf” and “out of touch”.

Ms Reid continued to tell LBC’s Tonight with Andrew Marr: “I’ve spoken to Elsie since the interview with the Prime Minister this morning and she says how disappointed she is with what he said.

“Because she says there are people who are even worse off than her and there was no answer for them other than ‘Oh, I was the person who was responsible for the bus ticket,’ I mean like it’s them should be grateful.’

TL; DR: Check out this area for the Boris Fahrrad to Boris Bus PR shoot.

Sexual assault on ex-Tory MPs stops

West Yorkshire Cathedral City MP Imran Ahmad Khan was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy on April 11.

Khan forced the teenager to drink gin at a Staffordshire house before dragging him upstairs in January 2008, a Southwark Crown Court jury heard.

He then asked him to look at pornography before reaching over the railing of his bunk bed and touching the child’s legs and abdomen.

Imran Ahmad Khan arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London, where he is accused of molesting a 15-year-old boy in 2008.

Former Tory MP Imran Ahmad Khan said he plans to appeal his sex conviction (Image: PA)

The Conservative Party sacked Khan effective immediately, but the politician could still technically serve as an independent.

However, Khan announced he would be stepping down from his seat the same week as his conviction, and now it’s officially done.

Just this past week, he has completed all the paperwork to receive his full taxpayer-funded salary for April.

Khan said the move would allow him to “focus fully on clearing[his]name” while he appeals the conviction.

TL;DR: People generally don’t want sex offenders to represent them in politics.

local elections

Boris Johnson admitted it had been a “rough night” for the Conservatives as the party lost a number of key seats to Labor in Thursday’s vote.

These include Westminster, which has been run by the Tories since the council was founded in 1964, and the Conservative flagship, Wandsworth.

Outgoing Greater London Borough leader Ravi Govindia said “the matter of Boris Johnson” lost him his top spot.

Seemingly alluding to Partygate, he added: “Other events have inevitably clouded the judgment of the people of Wandsworth.”

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The Liberal Democrats and Greens also made it, but results are yet to come, with some not expected until tomorrow morning.

Many will see this election as an indicator of post-Partygate national sentiment.

But it’s also worth noting that local elections have notoriously low turnout and the results will not be fully representative.

TL;DR: It seems a lot of people don’t think a pie makes it legal.

The Elizabeth line is finally opening

A new Crossrail service that promises to “revolutionize” travel in London by connecting commuter cities in the east and west is due to open on May 24.

The £18.8billion project is three and a half late as opening this month introduces limited service.

The Elizabeth line will operate 12 trains per hour between Paddington and Abbey Wood Monday to Saturday from 06:30 to 23:00. The trains will initially not run on Sundays to allow for tests and software updates.

Map of the Elizabeth Line.

Parts of the Elizabeth line will open on May 24, but it won’t be fully operational until next year (Image: TFL)

A full timeline will not be available until 2023 and opening is pending final safety approvals.

Once fully open, the line will provide an estimated £42 billion boost to the whole UK economy, create jobs and increase London’s public transport capacity by 10%.

TL;DR; When we say “open”, we actually mean “open a little”.

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Justin Scacco

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