Northam’s push for
a bill that would ban
the sale or transfer
of assault weapons
was blocked after four
sided with Republicans
to reject the proposal
on Feb. 17. They voted
to delay the bill for a
year and ask the state
crime commission to
study the issue.
More than 2,000 ex–
officials signed a
Feb. 16 open letter
calling on Attorney
General William Barr to
resign after he moved
to reduce the sentence
confidant Roger Stone.
Trump had attacked
recommendation of up
to nine years in prison.
A 137-page document
was leaked detailing
the Communist Party’s
crackdown on Uighurs
and other Muslim
minorities in Xinjiang.
The documents cite
growing a beard and
fasting as reasons for
internment in camps,
claims that its policies
are intended to curb
violent extremism and
provide job training.
Since a 2006 ruling by iTS conSTiTu-
tional Court, majority- Catholic Colombia
has allowed abortion in three cases: rape or
incest, fatal fetal abnormality, and danger to
the physical or mental health of the mother.
Anti abortion campaigner Natalia Bernal
Cano may be about to change that—but per-
haps not in the way she hoped. Last year,
she filed two legal actions demanding an
end to the three exceptions. But on Feb. 19
a judge examining the case proposed that
the court instead use its ruling to legalize all
abortions in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.
A decision is expected by early March.
CONTROVERSIAL CASE Opponents of
abortion say Colombian authorities have
become too permissive since 2006. Many
point to the case of a woman in the city of
Popayán, who had a legal abortion in Janu-
ary at seven months pregnant as a result of
mental-health problems. Bernal argues that
legal abortions are unconstitutional because
they carry health risks “for both the woman
and her unborn child.”
OBSTACLES But abortion-rights groups
say the Popayán case is an illustration of
how hard it is to even get a legal abortion.
Family-planning nonprofit Profamilia said
the woman had been seeking a termination
since her first trimester, but health offi-
cials refused. Paula Avila Guillen, the Latin
America director at the New York–based
Women’s Equality Center, says the current
law discriminates against “poorer women
who rely on the public-health system,” in
which the three-exceptions rule is patchily
implemented, while rich women can access
abortions more easily from private doctors.
TIDE TURNS Only three countries and
one city in Latin America and the Carib-
bean allow all abortions in early pregnancy.
Despite a wave of protests across the region
in recent years, no country has legalized
abortion since Uruguay in 2012. Colom-
bia’s course will be decided by a nine-person
court where two women are swing votes.
That could turn the tide in the abortion de-
bate, one way or the other. —ciara nugenT
A Colombian court weighs legalizing
abortion after a push to ban it outright
SOGGY RIDE A boy cycles through floodwater in Hereford, in the west of England, on Feb. 17, after
Storm Dennis battered the country. Nearby areas in Wales saw their highest water levels in more
than 40 years. Amid torrential rain, widespread flooding and high winds, the weather agency issued
rare “danger to life” warnings, and at least two people have died. Prime Minister Boris Johnson came
under fire for failing to visit flood-hit areas or to call a meeting of the emergencies committee.