Daily Dispatches
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Midday Roundup: Texas law defends comatose mother’s baby

Newsworthy

Prenatal care. A Texas husband is making national headlines for wanting to cut off his pregnant wife’s life support. WFAA-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth reported that Marlise Munoz had a pulmonary embolism in November and never regained consciousness. She was 14-weeks pregnant at the time. Munoz’s husband, Erick, said she clearly expressed to him her wishes not to receive artificial life support, but Texas law requires all life-sustaining treatments to be applied to pregnant women. Test results show Marlise’s baby has a normal heartbeat.

Utah fights ruling. A federal judge on Monday rejected a request to put same-sex weddings on hold as the state appeals a decision that sent same-sex couples flocking to county clerk offices for marriage licenses. Judge Robert J. Shelby overturned Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage Friday, ruling the voter-approved measure is a violation of gay couples’ constitutional rights. The state then asked him to put a stop to the weddings, but he rejected the request. Lawyers for the state said they would now ask a higher court to put same-sex marriage on hold. About 125 gay couples obtained marriage licenses Friday in Salt Lake City, and Clerk Sherrie Swensen said her office issued a similar number Monday morning. An estimated 100 licenses were issued in other counties, while some county clerks shut their doors as they awaited Shelby’s decision.

Enrollment deadline. Last-minute health insurance shoppers called help lines and attended enrollment events Monday, as the government extended by one day the deadline in most states to get Obamacare coverage starting Jan. 1. Anticipating heavy traffic on the government’s healthcare website, the Obama administration initiated a grace period through Tuesday to sign up. But federal officials urged buyers not to procrastinate. “You should not wait until tomorrow. If you are aiming to get coverage Jan. 1, you should try to sign up today,” said Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the federal agency overseeing the overhaul. The HealthCare.gov website that had a disastrous, glitch-prone debut nearly three months ago ran smoothly in the morning despite the load, the government said on Twitter. With the deadline looming, more than 1 million people visited the refurbished federal enrollment website over the weekend, and a federal call center received more than 200,000 calls. The original deadline was pushed back a week because of the technical problems that plagued the federal marketplace for weeks after its October opening, but hundreds of upgrades to storage capacity and software have cut error rates and wait times. Over the weekend, President Obama interrupted his vacation to sign up for a bronze-tiered plan through the Washington, D.C., health insurance marketplace, the White House announced on Monday. The attempted enrollment was only “symbolic” (and for PR purposes) since the president’s healthcare continues to be covered by the military.

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Violent uprising. Defense officials say the United States is moving additional Marines and aircraft from Spain to the Horn of Africa to provide embassy security and help with evacuations from South Sudan. Internal violence has escalated there after tensions burst between supporters of President Salva Kiir and those loyal to former-Vice President Riek Machar, who is accused of inciting an attempted coup. U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said the commander in Africa is getting the forces ready for any request that may come from the U.S. State Department. Troops deployed last week helped evacuate Americans and other foreign nationals and provided security at the U.S. Embassy in Juba. Another couple hundred Americans remain in the country.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lynde Langdon
Lynde Langdon

Lynde lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. She holds degrees from the University of Missouri in journalism, Russian, and business administration. She is in a long-term, committed relationship with the Lutheran church. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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