Wednesday morning news: May 29, 2019

Supreme Court upholds Indiana’s abortion burial requirements » The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld an Indiana law requiring abortion providers to treat the bodies of aborted babies in the same way as other human remains.

The court said Indiana can require providers to either bury or cremate the bodies. But the high court punted on another part of the law.

WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Tuesday’s 7-to-2 decision reversed a federal appeals court ruling.

In the majority opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the Indiana provision promotes—his words—“a state’s compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics.” Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

But the court declined to hear the state’s appeal of a lower court decision blocking another part of the law. That provision would have protected unborn babies from abortions based on race, gender, or disability. The justices indicated their decision “expresses no view on the merits.”

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to ruling on school transgender policy » The high court also declined to take up a challenge to a Pennsylvania school district’s bathroom policy. It allows students who identify as transgender to use the bathrooms or locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.

The justices rejected an appeal from students who argued that policy violated their right to privacy.

That means a federal appeals court’s ruling and the school district’s policy will remain in place.

Swarm of tornadoes kill at least one, injure 90 » A swarm of tornadoes carved another path of destruction through the U.S. This time Ohio and Indiana bore the brunt. Twisters killed at least one person and injured 90 others.

One Dayton, Ohio resident said it started with a deafening roar.

AUDIO: I didn’t know what it was at first. I opened up the window and I saw it coming at the house. Then the lights went out. And then the windows started smashing and it broke loose. 

The storms spawned about 50 tornadoes that may have touched down Monday and into Tuesday across eight states stretching eastward from Idaho and Colorado.

Oklahoma A.G. makes case against opioid drugmakers » Oklahoma’s Attorney General Mike Hunter approached the bench in a Norman, Oklahoma courtroom on Tuesday and began laying out a case that could affect more than a thousand other lawsuits.

He told Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman that it’s time to hold drug makers accountable for the nation’s opioid crisis.

HUNTER: Your honor, I believe the evidence will show that justice for Oklahomans means requiring these defendants to clean up the terrible tragic mess that they have left us with, whatever the cost. 

Opioid overdoses killed almost 5,000 people in the state from 2007 to 2017.

And Hunter argued that consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson and other drugmakers recklessly marketed the medications for years. He said they downplayed the dangers of popping the highly addictive pills.

Drugmakers argue that the doctors who prescribe the drugs are responsible and that people illegally obtaining drugs has caused much of the crisis.

This is the nation’s first state trial against drugmakers. And it could shape negotiations to resolve the roughly 1,500 other opioid suits consolidated before a federal judge.

Another American dies on Everest » Another American mountain climber died this week on Mount Everest. Christopher Kulish, a 62-year-old attorney from Colorado, died at a camp below the summit.

About half a dozen climbers, including American Don Cash from Utah, died on Everest last week. That as hundreds of people crowded the narrow route to the summit, taking advantage of a small window of good weather to reach the top.

Mountaineer Moeses Fiamoncini said a crowd like that in conditions already difficult to survive creates a bad combination.

FIAMONCINI: I can’t see someone trying to manage a traffic jam like that. It’s very complicated. You are near 8,800 meters. 

The Nepalese government issued a record 381 climbing permits this season.

But Everest mountain guide Eric Murphy said he doesn’t believe the crowds are the problem.

MURPHY: It’s poor leadership, inexperience, and exhaustion.

Many of the climbers succumbed to altitude sickness during the trek down.

Eleven people have now died on Everest during this year’s climbing season.

Netflix voices opposition to Georgia’s new heartbeat law » Streaming video giant Netflix is speaking out against Georgia’s new heartbeat law. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg has that story.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER:Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill into law this month that will protect unborn babies from abortion as soon as a heartbeat is detectable. That drew the ire of Hollywood actors working in the state’s booming TV and film production industry. Some have vowed to boycott Georgia if the law survives legal challenges.

And now Netflix is siding with abortion rights groups. Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said the company will work with the ACLU and others to fight the law in court.

He said—quoting here— “We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law.” He added, “should it ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia.”

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

(Ryan Snyder/Daily Standard via AP) In this Tuesday, May 28, 2019 photo, a garage west of Celina, Ohio, lies collapsed by a tornado that was part of a storm system that passed through Monday night. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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