1/ A third Alabama fertility clinic stopped its vitro fertilization program following the state Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos are children. By classifying “cryopreserved embryos” as children, the ruling opens families, clinics, and doctors up to wrongful death lawsuits. Biden called the ruling “a direct result of the overturning of Roe v. Wade,” adding: “The disregard for women’s ability to make these decisions for themselves and their families is outrageous and unacceptable.” The Biden campaign directly blamed Trump for the state court’s ruling, saying “What is happening in Alabama right now is only possible because Donald Trump’s Supreme Court justices overturned Roe v. Wade.” Tim Scott, who is among Trump’s possible picks for VP, dodged a question about the ruling, saying “ I haven’t studied the issue,” while Nikki Haley, who initially said she agreed that “embryos are babies,” she said she didn’t support the court’s decision. Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, meanwhile, acknowledged that the situation is “hard” for women, and when asked what he would say to women who won’t have access to IVF treatment, he replied: “That’s unfortunate.” (CNN / Politico / NBC News / Axios)
✨ Why should I care? As an individual, this ruling may seem distant, especially if IVF isn’t a personal concern. However, its implications reach far beyond fertility clinics, and reflects a shift in how legal systems intersect with medical ethics and personal choices. If the core of American democratic values lies in the principles of liberty, personal autonomy, and the pursuit of happiness, then this ruling challenges those values by imposing legal definitions that restrict individual choices in matters of reproductive health. Moreover, it sets a precedent that could extend beyond Alabama’s borders, influencing policies in other states and reshaping the national discourse on reproductive rights and healthcare. Today, it’s IVF treatments; tomorrow, it might be another aspect of healthcare or personal liberty.
Unsettled questions: What happens if patients are no longer able or willing to pay embryo storage fees? What if stored embryos are damaged as a result of a freezer malfunction? What happens if an embryo transfer results in a miscarriage?
2/ Biden suggested that the current Republicans in Congress are “worse” than the “real racists” he served with as a senator in the 1970s, including segregationist Strom Thurmond. Biden said Thurmond did “terrible things,” but “at least you could work with some of these guys.” Biden added that the current generation of Republicans have “become a party of chaos and division […] These guys do not believe in basic democratic principles.” The comments come as Speaker Mike Johnson and House Republicans have continued to block an aid package for Ukraine and Israel, which already passed the Senate. Johnson, meanwhile, called Biden’s remarks “outrageous.” Biden also took aim at Trump for comparing his legal problems to the persecution of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died in jail last week. “Where the hell does this come from? If I stood here 10-15 years ago you all would have thought that I should be committed,” Biden continued, adding that Trump’s comment – “It is a form of Navalny [… It is a form of communism, of fascism” – was “astounding.” (Washington Post / Axios / New York Times / NBC News / ABC News / CNN)
3/ A federal appeals court revoked a moratorium on new coal mine leasing on public lands. The leasing moratorium — originally enacted in 2016 by then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell as part of a strategy to address climate change — didn’t halt mining, but instead prohibited federal lease sales. However, a year later then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke rescinded Jewell’s decision and ordered the resumption of federal coal leasing. A court then reinstated the ban in 2022. And finally, a three judge panel in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals tossed the moratorium, saying the case was moot because Biden administration Interior Secretary Deb Haaland had already revoked the Zinke order to speed up energy permitting. The judges noted that a “de facto moratorium” appears to be in now since lease sales have dropped sharply over the past decade after many electric utilities switched to less polluting sources of energy generation. More than 260 million tons of coal – about half of the nation’s total – was mined on federal land in 2022. More than 400 million tons of coal were mined from federal lands in 2014. It’s not clear how Biden will respond to the ruling or how soon new federal leasing could resume. [Editor’s note: If this is confusing, you are not alone! This may be the most in the weeds WTFJHT blurb yet!] (Associated Press / NPR / The Hill)
4/ New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron denied Trump’s request to delay paying $453.5 million in fines stemming from his decade-long scheme to inflate the value of assets to obtain more favorable loan and insurance terms. Trump’s lawyer asked for a month-long delay in enforcement of the civil fraud judgment, saying it would “allow for an orderly post-Judgment process, particularly given the magnitude of Judgment.” Engoron replied that Trump’s attorney had “failed to explain, much less justify, any basis for a stay,” denying Trump’s request to pause enforcement of his ruling. Trump now has 30 days to post bond and appeal the ruling. (CBS News / Washington Post / Axios / NBC News / ABC News)