Defender of life. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a bill Thursday that will protect unborn babies whose mothers are declared brain dead. The bill, sponsored by a Democratic state legislator, mandates medical care for any pregnant mother who is at least 20 weeks pregnant when she is declared brain dead. The bill helps cement Jindal’s dedication to the pro-life movement—he signed a bill earlier this month requiring abortionists to get hospital admitting privileges and vetoed a bill that would have made surrogacy easier. The protections for babies whose mothers have “died” comes after a case in Texas where a man fought to have his wife removed from life support, even though doing so killed their baby girl. Marlise Munoz was only 14 weeks pregnant when she slipped into a coma, but in a similar case in Canada, a baby born to a mother declared brain dead at 22 weeks gestation was born healthy six weeks later.
Trade pact. Ukraine has signed the free-trade agreement with the European Union that sparked the violence that culminated in a presidential ouster and a fight with Russia over the country’s sovereignty. Although the Kremlin has backed away from what many feared would be an outright invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said the signing would have “grave consequences” for the former Soviet nation. But President Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s newly elected leader, doesn’t seem to be worried by Moscow’s threats. “Over the last months, Ukraine paid the highest possible price to make her European dreams come true,” Poroshenko said in Brussels, calling Friday’s accord the most important day for his country since gaining its freedom from the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991.
Armed and dangerous. Armed U.S. drones are flying over Baghdad to protect American citizens and be ready to attack insurgents, should President Barack Obama give the order. “We have the necessary forces not only to protect our own forces, but to be prepared should the president make a decision to do something more,” a senior Pentagon official said Friday. “We’ve got both manned and unmanned over Iraq, and it shouldn’t surprise anybody that some of our drones have armaments.” Last week, the president sent 300 military advisers to Iraq to help that country’s floundering government fend off a surge of militants intent on creating an Islamic state that spans both Syria and Iraq. Meanwhile, satellite images revealed militants executing about 160 Iraqi military recruits as they took over the city of Tikrit earlier this month. ISIS fighters lined the men up in front of a trench and shot them with automatic weapons.
Drafted. To a standing ovation, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver ceremonially picked former Baylor center Isaiah Austin in the NBA draft Thursday. Expected to be a first-round pick, Austin discovered Saturday he has Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder than enlarges the heart. The diagnosis ended his playing career. Austin praised God in his pain, and Silver invited him to the draft anyway. “We wanted to make sure he fulfilled at least this part of his dream,” Silver said from the stage between the No. 15 and No. 16 picks. He gave Austin the full treatment with photos and a post-draft television interview. “It’s one of the biggest blessings of my life. … God has really put willpower in my heart to push through this,” Austin said.