Sarah McCammon

Sarah McCammon worked for Iowa Public Radio as Morning Edition Host from January 2010 until December 2013.

President Biden's budget proposal fulfills a campaign promise to remove a longstanding ban on federal funding for most abortions known as the Hyde Amendment.

Updated May 19, 2021 at 5:15 PM ET

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday signed into law a bill that bans abortion the moment a fetal heartbeat has been detected, a move that makes Texas the largest state in the nation to outlaw abortion so early in a pregnancy.

The Texas law effectively prohibits any abortion after around six weeks of pregnancy — before many women are even aware they are pregnant.

Friends and family of Andrew Brown Jr. say they will remember him as a devoted and loving father who wanted to give his children things he didn't always have.

"Andrew was a sweetheart," said Monique Gaddy, 52. "He dropped out of school, but he was very adamant about his children getting an education."

Gaddy, like many in Elizabeth City, a small community in coastal North Carolina, knew Brown since he was a small child.

Fetal tissue is uniquely valuable to medical researchers - useful for developing treatments and better understanding diseases like HIV, Parkinson's, and COVID-19.

But many anti-abortion rights groups oppose it on moral or religious grounds.

Now, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra says he's reversing several restrictions on fetal tissue research put in place during the Trump administration.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Updated April 14, 2021 at 4:26 PM ET

The Biden administration is moving to reverse a Trump-era family planning policy that critics describe as a domestic "gag rule" for reproductive healthcare providers.

Jared Cornutt has heard some farfetched concerns about the coronavirus vaccine in some of his Southern Baptist Facebook groups.

"I have a very hard time getting from vaccine to the Mark of the Beast," Cornutt said, referring to one baseless rumor that linked vaccination requirements to an idea in Revelation, the apocalyptic book at the end of the New Testament.

Balaram Khamari is a doctoral student in microbiology who has always felt the connection between science and art.

"They are interlinked," he says. "Even doing a science experiment requires art."

Now, Khamari is bringing the worlds of art and science together – in a petri dish. He's been spending a lot of time in his lab in Puttaparthi, India, culturing colorful bacteria and artfully arranging it on a jelly like substance called agar. He is part of a growing body of scientists across the world who make agar art, and even compete for prizes.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

A coalition of evangelical Christian leaders is condemning the role of "radicalized Christian nationalism" in feeding the political extremism that led to the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

At a time when the country seems more and more divided, it can be a lot to ask of a person to "love thy neighbor," even when they don't necessarily love you back. It takes an aggressive kind of love to start engaging, and that's the idea that inspired the title track of Ani DiFranco's newest record, Revolutionary Love. The phrase is also the name of a book by DiFranco's good friend, activist Valarie Kaur, which encourages an understanding of one's adversaries.

Lately, Jon Horton has been dreaming about freezers.

"I was opening the freezer and I was taking something out of the freezer and putting it in something else," Horton said. "And it was just like — whew!"

And not just an ordinary freezer. Horton is pharmacy operations director at Sentara — a health care network based in Norfolk, Va.

As coronavirus cases spike, a national group that represents thousands of evangelical Christian doctors and other healthcare providers is asking churches to stop holding services in person.

Updated at 6:08 p.m. ET

Thousands of people gathered Saturday in Washington, D.C., and in hundreds of cities across the country for the fifth Women's March.

The latest iteration of the protest event — first held the day after President Trump's 2017 inauguration — comes 17 days before Election Day and as Republican senators move to quickly confirm the president's third Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET

Americans woke up to the news on Friday that President Trump and his wife, Melania, had both tested positive for the coronavirus. And like with so many issues, the reactions often fell along political lines.

States led by officials supportive of abortion rights are preparing for a world without Roe v. Wade. If the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide is overturned by an increasingly conservative Supreme Court, regulation of abortion would fall to state lawmakers.

President Trump has made no secret of his intentions regarding the U.S. Supreme Court and abortion rights. During a presidential debate in 2016, Trump vowed to appoint justices who'd vote to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Updated on Aug. 26 at 9:30 a.m. ET

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. confirmed Tuesday that he is resigning from his post following allegations of sexual behavior that flouted the school's honor code.

Appropriating Martin Luther King Jr.'s final words from his iconic "I Have A Dream" speech, Falwell told NPR that he is stepping down from his role at the university in Lynchburg, Va., saying he is "free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, I am free at last!"

"That's the way, I feel," the 58-year-old added.

Updated at 11:03 p.m. ET

Officials at Liberty University, one of the nation's largest and most well-known Christian universities, are doubling down after Jerry Falwell Jr. denied reports he'd agreed to step down as president following allegations of sexual behavior at odds with the school's honor code.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Students at Liberty University are returning to school in Lynchburg, Va., in the coming days in the midst of a pandemic, a contentious presidential election and tumult on their campus.

Virginia is rolling out a new app designed to aid in contact tracing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said COVIDWISE is the first statewide app to use technology developed for the purpose by Google and Apple. It relies on Bluetooth technology that can notify users if they may have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus.

Six states led by a bipartisan group of governors are joining together in an effort to speed up coronavirus testing. As the nation's death count continues to rise above 150,000, the states said they will jointly purchase 3 million rapid antigen tests that can quickly detect the virus.

For more than 40 years, 96.3 WHUR-FM broadcast Patrick Ellis's beloved and popular radio show Gospel Spirit Sunday mornings, filling the homes and cars of Washington, D.C., with the sound of church.

Each Sunday, Ellis chose music that would inspire, uplift and speak to his devoted listeners. And he filled the airwaves with their lives, too, sharing community and church announcements and marking birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions.

Patrick Ellis passed away July 16 from complications of the coronavirus. He was 77 years old.

The sex lives of people in Morocco are shaped by cultural forces — and also the penal code. Sex outside marriage is illegal, and so is abortion in almost all cases. Adultery is punishable by prison time. And as for violating Morocco's cultural laws — those punishments fall mostly on women.

The French-Moroccan writer Leila Slimani explores the places where desire, intimacy and the patriarchy collide in her new book, Sex and Lies: True Stories of Women's Intimate Lives in the Arab World.

Parents, teachers and students across the country are gearing up for the new school year. But what school will look like is still a mystery.

Around the country, communities of color continue to be among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. So in many of these communities, local leaders are stepping in to try to help solve a problem they say is years in the making.

In Richmond, Va., crews of local firefighters and volunteers have been fanning out across the city, going door to door with plastic bags filled with masks, hand sanitizer and information about staying healthy.

Whether it's online-only consultations, closed pharmacies or having to wonder whether going into an office is safe, the coronavirus has upended access to health care. And it has presented particular challenges for women and reproductive health.

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases globally approaches 6.5 million, scientists are racing to develop a vaccine. Currently, there are 10 vaccine candidates in development around the world that are in the beginnings of human trials.

Even before the coronavirus crisis, there were lots of abortion restrictions in South Dakota. But now the procedure has become unavailable, officials say.

"I called to make the appointment and they said the Sioux Falls location was closed [for abortions] because of the coronavirus," said 34-year-old Heather. NPR agreed not to use her last name because she doesn't want people in her largely conservative community to know about her abortion.

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