Pro-life win. A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a pair of pro-life laws in Texas, ruling the laws have medical value and do not unfairly limit access to abortions. One of the laws requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The other clamps down on the use of non-FDA approved abortifacient drugs. Planned Parenthood, which filed the suit, said the laws used a faulty medical justification when, in fact, they were only meant to curb abortion. The appeals court disagreed in its opinion, saying “the plaintiffs offered no evidence implying that the state enacted the admitting privileges provision in order to limit abortions.”
Let ’em vote. A coalition against California’s law enforcing co-ed bathrooms for some students has sued the state to get a referendum about the law on this year’s ballot. The Privacy for All Students coalition turned in enough signatures to get the referendum on the ballot, but California Secretary of State Debra Bowen disqualified more than 131,000 of them. Bowen’s determination put the group 17,276 short of the 504,760 signatures needed. In the lawsuit, the group accuses Bowen of taking a side in the debate and applying unfair standards to the signatures.
Just married. Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the federal government will recognize about 300 same-sex marriages performed in Michigan over the weekend. The marriage ceremonies followed a ruling by a federal judge that the state’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. A federal appeals court stayed the ruling, but not until several Michigan counties had already issued marriage licenses. Holder said those couples can take advantage of federal benefits such as jointly filing taxes and receiving spousal Social Security payments.
Promising find. Australian officials today moved the search area for the lost Malaysian jetliner 680 miles to the northeast, where planes quickly found multiple objects floating in the ocean. Five out of 10 aircraft hunting for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 found objects of various colors, including those of the missing plane, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said. A Chinese patrol ship in the area will attempt to locate the objects on Saturday. Officials turned away from the old search area, which they had combed for a week, because a new analysis of radar data suggests the plane flew faster and therefore ran out of fuel more quickly than previously estimated.
On the air. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., has decided to give up his seat in Congress for a career in broadcasting. Rogers, a seven-term Republican lawmaker and former FBI agent, said in an interview Friday that he will not seek re-election after his term ends this year. Instead, the 50-year-old Rogers told Detroit radio station WJR-AM that he will launch a radio show on stations affiliated with Atlanta-based Cumulus Media. Rogers has taken on an increasingly sharp profile in Washington as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in a time of widening global security crises.