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Good morning. It's Thursday, Dec. 14, and we're covering another reproductive rights case headed to the Supreme Court, the science of severe morning sickness, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.


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Need To Know

Abortion Pill Challenge

The US Supreme Court yesterday agreed to weigh in on a lower court ruling that weakened the Food and Drug Administration's 2016 and 2021 decisions to make the abortion medication mifepristone widely available. 


Mifepristone, which has been around for more than two decades, is one of two drugs used for medically induced abortions. The pill is authorized for use up to 10 weeks into gestation and has been used by more than 5 million people since 2000 when the FDA approved the medication. See an overview of mifepristone here


The high court will review an August ruling from a federal appeals court that upheld a lower court's restrictions to mifepristone, which include removing access to the medication by mail and shortening the timeframe for when the pill can be consumed from 10 weeks to seven weeks. The federal appeals court found the FDA didn't follow procedures when loosening regulations.


The Supreme Court is expected to take up the case in the spring, with a decision likely in late June.  


Biden Impeachment Inquiry

Lawmakers in the US House voted yesterday along party lines to approve an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden over allegations of financial misconduct. The move formalizes a probe launched by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-20) in September, which had languished in recent months. 


House Republicans have accused Biden and his family members, including his son, Hunter, of profiting off his position as vice president during the Obama administration. Devon Archer, a former business partner of Hunter Biden, testified Joe Biden was sometimes placed on speakerphone during meetings with foreign business associates (though he also said he was not aware of any wrongdoing). Separately, an unverified FBI tip revealed in July alleged a scheme by Ukrainian energy company Burisma to bribe the Bidens. 


GOP lawmakers say formalizing the inquiry allows wider authority in issuing subpoenas and investigating financial information. 


In related news, House Republicans said yesterday they would move to hold the younger Biden in contempt of Congress for ignoring a subpoena for closed-door testimony yesterday.  


Morning Sickness Breakthrough

Cambridge researchers discovered a single hormone produced by the fetus is the major cause of "morning sickness," the persistent, first-trimester nausea and vomiting that affects more than two-thirds of pregnant women. The breakthrough is expected to help prevent the condition as well as hyperemesis gravidarum—the severe form of the condition—which often leads to weight loss, dehydration, and miscarriage. 


The GDF-15 protein, produced by various cells throughout the body, signals cellular stress and sends a message to the brain to reduce food intake. Researchers have known that GDF-15 prompts pregnancy nausea, but it wasn't clear whether the mother or the fetus was the source. The study tracked the increased GDF-15 to the placenta and fetus for the first time. 


The research also showed a woman's previous exposure to the hormone determined her response during pregnancy. Participants with a type of blood disorder that elevated their GDF-15 levels had few symptoms, while women with prepregnancy deficiencies in the hormone typically had severe reactions. The findings are expected to lead to further clinical trials. 

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1. "Journal of Retirement Study Winter" (2020). The projections or other information regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of your future results. Please follow the link to see the methodologies employed in the Journal of Retirement study.

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In The Know

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

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> "Home Alone" and "Apollo 13" are among 25 movies added to Library of Congress National Film Registry (More) | See complete list of 875 “culturally, historically, or aesthetically” significant films on the registry (More)

> NFL to play a 2024 regular season game in Brazil, expand its 2025 international slate of games up to nine (More) | New England Patriots to part ways with head coach Bill Belichick at the end of this season after 23 years with the team (More) | Los Angeles' SoFi Stadium to host Super Bowl LXI in 2027 (More)

> Actor Anthony Anderson tapped to host 75th Emmy Awards (Jan. 15) (More) | "Barbie" brings in a record 18 Critics Choice Awards nominations (More)

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Science & Technology

> Roughly 200 nations pledge to "transition away" from fossil fuels to reach net-zero emissions by 2050; nonbinding agreement came at the end of the COP28 climate conference (More)

> Engineered immune cells relieve symptoms in 15 patients suffering from different types of autoimmune diseases, including lupus and certain types of sclerosis and myositis (More) | How CAR-T therapy works (More)

> NASA's Perseverance rover pieces together history of Mars' Jezero crater based on sedimentary analysis, finds the area was once a lake stretching up to 22 miles across (More)


Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +1.4%, Dow +1.4%, Nasdaq +1.4%); Dow closes above 37,000 for the first time ever as the Federal Reserve leaves interest rates unchanged, signals rate cuts in 2024 (More)

> Tesla recalls more than 2 million vehicles sold in the US between 2012 and 2023 due to safety concerns over Autopilot software; recall comes after two-year probe by US auto-safety regulators into series of crashes (More

> E-commerce business Etsy announces it will lay off 225 people, or 11% of its workforce, to reduce costs amid weakening demand for handcrafted goods (More


Politics & World Affairs

> Biden administration reportedly holding back sales of rifles to Israel over concerns about attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank (More) | At least nine Israeli soldiers killed in Hamas attack in Gaza City, officials say (More) | See latest war updates (More)

> US Supreme Court agrees to hear an appeal over scope of federal obstruction law used to prosecute over 300 people in the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the US Capitol (More) | Judge pauses former President Donald Trump's federal election interference case amid immunity appeal (More)

> Senate passes annual National Defense Authorization Act by a 87-13 vote, which authorizes $886B in spending and a 5.2% pay raise for service members; the bill now heads to the House (More) | Why is the NDAA important? (More



> Looking for an Edge

USA Today | Mike Freeman. This 10-part series exploring some of the biggest cheating scandals in sports history begins with a perplexing question—Why do some of the greats cheat, when they don't need to? (Read)


> A Doomed Career

Guardian | Kim Ju-sŏng. An aspiring fiction writer who escaped from North Korea reflects on the regime's tightly controlled use of culture and the arts to promote propaganda. (Read)

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Historybook: President George Washington dies (1799); Author Shirley Jackson born (1916); Actress Patty Duke born (1946); Eugene Cernan is last person to walk on the moon (1972); 20 children and six staff murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School (2012).

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