National digest

March 15, 2013
North Dakota
Lawmakers moveto restrict abortions

North Dakota on Friday moved closer to adopting what would be the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.

The North Dakota Senate overwhelmingly approved two antiabortion bills Friday, one banning abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy and another prohibiting women from having the procedure because a fetus has a genetic defect, such as Down syndrome. North Dakota would be the first state in the country to adopt such laws.

Supporters said their goal is to challenge the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion up until a fetus is considered viable, usually at 22 to 24 weeks.

The state’s only abortion clinic is in Fargo, and abortion-rights advocates say the measures are meant to shut it down.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) hasn’t said whether he would veto the measures, and the bills have enough support in each chamber for the legislature to override him.

Opponents have promised legal challenges to both measures if they become law.

— Associated Press

colorado
Gun background checks passed

Colorado lawmakers voted on Friday to mandate universal background checks for all gun buyers in a state that has experienced two of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history — at a movie theater in Aurora in 2012 and at Columbine High School in 1999.

The measure passed the state Senate 19 to 14 and the state House 36 to 27, without the support of a single Republican member in either chamber.

The vote followed months of debate on gun control in Colorado and came after legislators approved four other gun control measures on Wednesday.

The legislation now awaits the signature of Gov. John Hickenlooper for final approval. Hickenlooper, a Democrat, has indicated he supports universal background checks for gun buyers.

On Wednesday, the Colorado legislature approved a package of four other gun control measures, including a controversial ban on ammunition magazines with more than 15 rounds, which Hickenlooper has said he would sign.

Passage of the bills could push Colorado to the forefront of a national gun control debate reignited by several mass shootings last year, including the December massacre of 20 children and six adults at a school in Newtown, Connecticut.

— Reuters

Roaches on a bus: Riders on a New York City-bound bus from New Jersey reported an invasion of cockroaches.

A passenger on a Manhattan-bound bus from Atlantic City told a New York television station that roaches started coming out of the vents 15 minutes into their Friday afternoon journey.

Greyhound said the 48 passengers were moved to a new bus, and the bus they had been riding was being examined to determine where the bugs came from.

— From news services

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