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Trump says abortion should be left to states; Vatican takes stance on gender theory

Former U.S. President Donald Trump is seen at the driving range during day three of the LIV Golf Invitational in April 2024.
Megan Briggs
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Getty Images
Former U.S. President Donald Trump is seen at the driving range during day three of the LIV Golf Invitational in April 2024.

Today's top stories

Former President Donald Trump made a long-awaited announcement regarding his position on abortion policy. In a video released on Monday on Truth Social, Trump said that "you must follow your heart" on the issue of abortion, and that the issue of abortion should be left to the states. Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade In 2022, voters have repeatedly voted in favor of greater abortion rights in state-level ballot measures, even in red states like Kansas and Kentucky.

  • Trump's in a tough spot when it comes to abortion, NPR's Domenico Montanaro explains on Up First. That's because Trump appointed three conservative justices during his presidency, which made it possible for Roe v. Wade to be overturned. Trump also knows that this ruling hurt Republicans in the elections that came after Roe V. Wade was overturned. "Trump is very much aware of the mobilizing effect of the Supreme Court actions, in favor of the Democrats," Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion said. With this recent announcement, Trump is essentially abandoning the issue, Montanaro explains. But that doesn't mean voters will too. NPR's polling shows that college educated white women are shifting towards Biden this election.  


The Vatican released a new document calling abortion, surrogacy and gender theory "grave threats'' facing humanity today. The document argues that if a person is made in God's image, gender theory and gender reassignment surgery call into question why God would create a person with the wrong gender. The document also argues that the understanding of humanity as two sexes — male and female — is biblical and deeply meaningful, especially in terms of procreation.

  • NPR's Jason DeRose explains that the Vatican does not see this as a move away from its existing teachings. Just last year, Pope Francis allowed priests to bless people in same-sex marriages. This new document continues to allow priests to bless same-sex couples. But it makes a clear distinction between the issue of sexual orientation – whether a person is gay, lesbian or bisexual – and the issue of gender identity – whether a person's sex assigned at birth matches what that person understands his or her gender to be. DeRose explains that while the church may have more progressive views about sexual orientation, the language in this document is very similar to how conservatives often talk about being transgender as a choice, which is something major medical and psychological groups dispute. 


Missouri Governor Mike Parson has said that Brian Dorsey will be executed in Missouri tonight despite a coalition advocating against his execution. Dorsey pleaded guilty to killing his cousin and her husband in central Missouri in 2006. Advocates for Dorsey argue that he shouldn't be executed for two reasons: First, Dorsey's attorneys were paid a flat fee of $12,000 by the Missouri Public Defenders office, which his current lawyers say incentivized them to do as little work as possible and push Dorsey to plead guilty without trying to get the death penalty off the table. The second reason is whether Dorsey was in a drug induced psychosis when he committed the murders. If he was, then his attorneys argue that he wouldn't fit the confines of first-degree murder — and is therefore not eligible for the death penalty.

  • Roughly 62% of Missourians support the death penalty in the case of first-degree murder, according to a  SLU/YouGov poll. And both Republican and Democratic governors in Missouri have supported capital punishment. Death penalty opponents, like State Rep. Tony Lovasco, says that the only way to change that attitude is if someone innocent is executed. And though this is definitely not the case for Dorsey, his case does prompt some big questions about the legal system in the state. "I think it's important that we focus on the technical aspects of the case and the criminal justice system and really how this fits into public policy at large," Lovasco told NPR.

Deep dive

Katherine De Peña, left, a field organizer in charge of Make The Road Pennsylvania's voter registration program, and her colleague Mayra Del Toro wait to greet eligible voters in Spanish outside a CTown supermarket in Reading, Pa.
Hansi Lo Wang / NPR
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NPR
Katherine De Peña, left, a field organizer in charge of Make The Road Pennsylvania's voter registration program, and her colleague Mayra Del Toro wait to greet eligible voters in Spanish outside a CTown supermarket in Reading, Pa.

Asian Americans and Latinos are two of the fastest-growing U.S. voter groups, yet registration rates for both trail far behind those of white adults. While community organizers are trying to close the gap, some challenges will need dedicated investment to overcome.

  • Many eligible voters are naturalized U.S. citizens who are too busy navigating daily life in a new country – and working – to learn a complicated new political system. For some, taking a day off work to vote may not be an option. 
  • Those who are interested in politics are often ignored by political campaigns. Those casting ballots for the first time are often seen as "low-propensity" voters by campaigns and are less likely to be targeted. 
  • Systemic barriers affecting people of color continue to persist, even after the passage of landmark legislation like the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But organizers say change takes time, and as one of them put it, "We got this like within five, 10 years." 

Picture show

People watch in awe outside the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland as the totality of the solar eclipse occurs.
Ryan Loew / Ideastream Public Media
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Ideastream Public Media
People watch in awe outside the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland as the totality of the solar eclipse occurs.

Yesterday's total solar eclipse may have lasted only four minutes, but its impact on popular culture, media and the country has certainly lasted longer. Houlton, Maine, the final U.S. city in the eclipse's path, spent the last two years planning the city's festivities. One museum official in Muncie, Indiana, told NPR the city was expecting some 100,000 visitors — nearly doubling the population.

  • From Indiana to Maine, NPR was there to document it all. Check out the pictures that our network captured – from high resolution images of the moment of totality in the sky to the reactions of people on the ground

Before you go

TOPSHOT - A mother humpback whale and calf are seen on the coast of Vitoria, Espirito Santo state, Brazil on August 22, 2023.
CARL DE SOUZA / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
TOPSHOT - A mother humpback whale and calf are seen on the coast of Vitoria, Espirito Santo state, Brazil on August 22, 2023.

  1. Indigenous leaders in New Zealand have signed a treaty granting whales legal personhood in an effort to pressure governments to do more to protect the sea mammals, which are the sacred ancestors of indigenous Polynesians.
  2. A man was arrested for an alleged arson attack on Senator Bernie Sanders' office in Vermont. The attack damaged the building, but the occupants of the building were unharmed. 
  3. The University of Connecticut's men's basketball team won the NCAA championship Monday night. The Huskies defeated Purdue University by 15 points, becoming the first team in 17 years to win back-to-back championships. 

This newsletter was edited by Treye Green and Obed Manuel. Anandita Bhalerao contributed.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mansee Khurana
[Copyright 2024 NPR]