MISSOURI
Waiting period for abortions extended

Missouri women seeking abortions will face one of the nation’s longest waiting periods, after state lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto to enact a 72-hour delay that includes no exception for cases of rape or incest.

The new requirement will take effect 30 days after Wednesday’s vote by the Republican-led legislature, overriding the veto of Gov. Jay Nixon (D). He had denounced the measure as “extreme and disrespectful” toward women.

About half the states, including Missouri, already have abortion waiting periods of 24 hours. Missouri’s current restriction also lacks an exception for cases of rape or incest. The new law will be the second-most-stringent behind South Dakota, where a 72-hour waiting period can sometimes extend even longer because weekends and holidays are not counted. Utah is the only other state with a 72-hour delay, but it grants exceptions for rape, incest and other circumstances.

— Associated Press

OHIO
False-statement law struck down

A federal judge on Friday struck down Ohio’s law barring people from knowingly or recklessly making false statements about candidates in a case that the U.S. Supreme Court said needed to be heard.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Black ruled that Ohio’s law is unconstitutional and prohibited the Ohio Elections Commission and its members from enforcing the law.

The judge said in his ruling that the answer to false statements in politics is “not to force silence, but to encourage truthful speech in response, and to let the voters, not the government, decide what the political truth is.”

The Supreme Court in June found unanimously that an anti-abortion group should be able to challenge the law, in a case that grew out of a 2010 congressional race. The Susan B. Anthony List has contended that the Ohio statute violates free-speech rights and chills a wide variety of political speech.

The case began after then-Rep. Steve Driehaus filed a complaint when the group planned to post billboards claiming that the Democratic congressman’s support for President Obama’s health-care overhaul amounted to support for abortion, even though he opposed abortion. The billboard owner declined to post the ads, fearing legal action. Driehaus then dropped his case after he lost his bid for reelection to a second term.

— Associated Press

ARKANSAS
Judge removed after publicizing adoption

An Arkansas state judge who acknowledged posting on the Internet confidential information regarding an adoption by actress Charlize Theron was removed from office on Thursday by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Circuit Judge Michael Maggio of Conway, Ark., admitted using a pseudonym to disclose information on the adoption, which apparently occurred in January 2012 and was handled by another judge in the same city.

The Academy Award-winning actress in May 2012 held several interviews in which she said she was the proud mother a healthy boy named Jackson, whom she adopted. Adoption proceedings are sealed under Arkansas law.

Maggio was suspended from all duties in March but allowed to retain his title and continue receiving his $140,000 annual salary pending further review by the Arkansas Judicial Discipline Commission. But the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the commission’s recommendation that Maggio be allowed to remain on suspension and be paid until his elected term ends in January. It also barred him from holding any other judgeship in Arkansas.

— Reuters

Feds probing bid to firebomb congressman’s office: Federal investigators are looking into an incident in which two bottles of alcohol with lit paper-towel fuses were thrown at the office of Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) in Kansas City, Mo., early Thursday, breaking a window but failing to ignite before falling harmlessly outside the building, police said.

Catholic group pulls out of N.Y. St. Patrick’s Day parade: A conservative Roman Catholic group severed its 20-year ties with the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Thursday, a week after event organizers took the unprecedented step of allowing a gay group to march under its own banner in the procession. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights said it pulled out of the March 2015 event because the parade committee denied an anti-abortion group from marching with banners while bending its rules to allow OUT@NBCUniversal, an LGBT resource group at the company that broadcasts the parade, to do so, league President Bill Donohue said.

Court upholds N.J. ban on gay therapy: A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld New Jersey’s ban on counseling intended to change the sexual orientation of gay and lesbian children. By a 3-0 vote, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit said the ban, which Gov. Chris Christie (R) signed into law in August 2013, did not violate the free speech or religious rights of counselors offering “gay conversion therapy” to convert homosexual minors into heterosexuals. The panel also said the plaintiffs, who included licensed therapists and a Christian counseling group, lacked standing to pursue claims on behalf of their minor clients.

Teacher shoots herself in leg at school: A Utah elementary school teacher who was carrying a concealed firearm at school accidentally shot herself in the leg when the weapon discharged in a faculty bathroom shortly before classes started Thursday morning, officials said. The teacher at Westbrook Elementary School, in the Salt Lake City suburb of Taylorsville, was severely injured when the bullet entered and exited her leg, and she was taken to a hospital, a spokesman for the Granite School District said. No students or other school staff were injured.

— From news services