The Rundown: Majority of Americans oppose Texas abortion law

Texas Women’s March
People take part in the Women's March ATX rally, Saturday, Oct., 2, 2021 in at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas. The march was a response to controversial legislation recently passed by Texas lawmakers which has banned most abortions in Texas. Stephen Spillman / AP Photo
Texas Women’s March
People take part in the Women's March ATX rally, Saturday, Oct., 2, 2021 in at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas. The march was a response to controversial legislation recently passed by Texas lawmakers which has banned most abortions in Texas. Stephen Spillman / AP Photo

The Rundown: Majority of Americans oppose Texas abortion law

Hey there! It’s Monday, and yes, I would love to have $685 million to enjoy a career of never working again and live out my fantasy of being a supervillain by driving a car that can only be described as the Hunter-mobile. Here’s what you need to know today.

(By the way, if you’d like this emailed to your inbox, you can sign up here.)

1. Texas’ abortion law is not even popular among most Republicans, poll finds

A majority of Americans, including Republicans, oppose key provisions in Texas’ new and controversial abortion law, according to a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released today.

The poll found that nearly six in 10 Americans oppose limiting abortions up to when cardiac activity is detected, at about six to eight weeks in a typical pregnancy.

That includes 59% of Republicans, 61% of Democrats and 53% of independents. Even white evangelical Christians are largely against it — 57% — as are a slim majority of Trump supporters — 52%.

The poll comes as the Supreme Court will hear a case later this year that seeks to overturn the constitutional right to an abortion (more on that down below). [NPR]

2. Johnson & Johnson will soon seek U.S. authorization for boosters

The pharmaceutical company is planning to ask federal officials this week to authorize a booster shot of its COVID-19 vaccine, reports The New York Times, citing unnamed officials familiar with the company’s plans.

The news comes as the Biden administration is urging Americans to get boosters to shore up protection against the highly contagious delta variant. And federal officials have grown increasingly concerned that 15 million people who received the Johnson & Johnson shot may face an increased risk of developing severe COVID-19. [New York Times]

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is now scheduled to visit the Chicago suburbs on Thursday to highlight vaccine mandates. [Chicago Sun-Times]

The latest test of vaccine mandates is taking place today in New York City, where teachers and other school staff members must now be vaccinated or else they’ll be placed on unpaid leave.

And the move appears to have been successful in boosting vaccination rates, as preliminary data shows at least 98% of principals and 93% of teachers had gotten their shots by Friday. [AP]

3. Supreme Court returns to the bench for one of its most consequential terms

The nation’s high court begins a new term today that could decide whether to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion, expand gun rights and keep church and state less separated.

The momentous term will indicate how far to the right the court will swing now that it has a solid conservative majority with the addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett. And it comes as Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. in recent years has sought to become the court’s ideological center, voting with liberals on big issues amid public criticism that the court has become too partisan.

“It seems like every few years, we say we’re going to see radical conservative takeover of the Supreme Court in American law,” says Tom Goldstein, publisher of SCOTUSblog. But this time, he adds, “we really mean it.” [NPR]

4. “Pandora Papers” show how the global elite hide their money

A trove of 11.9 million leaked records shines a new light on how the shadowy world of offshore banking has allowed world leaders, powerful politicians, billionaires and others to hide their money and assets from authorities.

Among those implicated was King Abdullah II, who rules Jordan and allegedly spent more than $100 million on lavish properties in the U.S. and Europe while his country fell deeper into political turmoil.

The leaked documents, dubbed the Pandora Papers, comes from a massive investigation involving more than 600 journalists across the world. NPR breaks down some of the biggest revelations so far. [NPR]

5. Facebook whistleblower comes forward, saying the company “chooses profit over safety”

A former Facebook product manager and data scientist says she became so alarmed by what she saw at the social media company that she decided to share thousands of pages of internal documents to journalists and federal law enforcement.

Frances Haugen, in an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes, accused Facebook of acting in its own self-interest rather than the good of the public.

“I don’t trust that they’re willing to actually invest what needs to be invested to keep Facebook from being dangerous,” Haugen told 60 Minutes. She is expected to appear before Congress tomorrow to testify about Facebook’s effect on young users.

The Wall Street Journal, citing documents leaked by Haugen, last month reported that company officials were aware Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has a negative impact on the mental health of teenagers. And yet, Instagram was preparing to release an app aimed at young users, a plan that was recently scuttled. [NPR]

Meanwhile, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram suffered a worldwide outage today. [AP]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Former President Donald Trump, talked out of announcing a new bid for the White House for the time being, has adopted a “wink-and-nod unofficial candidacy,” reports The Washington Post. [WaPo]
  • CVS, Giant Eagle, Walgreens and Walmart face their first trial over the deadly opioid crisis. [NPR]
  • Illinois’ eviction moratorium is officially over, but hundreds of millions of dollars remain available for people in need. [WBEZ]
  • Seinfeld, one of the most influential comedies, might have a hard time connecting with modern viewers on Netflix. [NPR]

Oh, and one more thing …

Actor William Shatner, 90, is set to become the oldest person to fly to space.

“I’ve heard about space for a long time now. I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle,” Shatner said in a statement.

The actor, best known for his role as Captain Kirk on Star Trek, is heading to space via an upcoming launch of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin scheduled next week on Oct. 12. Shatner will break the previous record set by 82-year-old Wally Funk. [Axios]

The flight is expected to last 11 minutes, and I’m hoping he’ll once again “sing” Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” [YouTube]

Tell me something good …

October, one of the greatest months in the year, is finally here. And I’d like to know: What will you be for Halloween?

My husband was thinking of dressing up as the Scarlet Witch, and I would be Vision from WandaVision. Our dog, Princess Leia, would be Agatha.

Feel free to email me at therundown@wbez.org or tweet me at @whuntah, and your responses might be shared here this week.

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