Sarah McCammon

Sarah McCammon worked for Iowa Public Radio as Morning Edition Host from January 2010 until December 2013.

Fetal tissue is uniquely valuable to medical researchers - useful for developing treatments and better understanding diseases like HIV, Parkinson's, and COVID-19.

But many anti-abortion rights groups oppose it on moral or religious grounds.

Now, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra says he's reversing several restrictions on fetal tissue research put in place during the Trump administration.

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Updated April 14, 2021 at 4:26 PM ET

The Biden administration is moving to reverse a Trump-era family planning policy that critics describe as a domestic "gag rule" for reproductive healthcare providers.

Jared Cornutt has heard some farfetched concerns about the coronavirus vaccine in some of his Southern Baptist Facebook groups.

"I have a very hard time getting from vaccine to the Mark of the Beast," Cornutt said, referring to one baseless rumor that linked vaccination requirements to an idea in Revelation, the apocalyptic book at the end of the New Testament.

Balaram Khamari is a doctoral student in microbiology who has always felt the connection between science and art.

"They are interlinked," he says. "Even doing a science experiment requires art."

Now, Khamari is bringing the worlds of art and science together – in a petri dish. He's been spending a lot of time in his lab in Puttaparthi, India, culturing colorful bacteria and artfully arranging it on a jelly like substance called agar. He is part of a growing body of scientists across the world who make agar art, and even compete for prizes.

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Republicans picked up seats in statehouses across the country in November. And now, they are using those gains to push new abortion restrictions, some of which resemble laws previously blocked by the courts. NPR's Sarah McCammon reports.

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One day before the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in January, thousands of miles away in northern California, anger began to boil over at a meeting of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors.

"This is a scamdemic, it's a plandemic, and it's a damndemic. We're sick of it!" one woman shouted.

Disinformation is not just affecting politics at the national level. It's eroding public trust in institutions.

A coalition of evangelical Christian leaders is condemning the role of "radicalized Christian nationalism" in feeding the political extremism that led to the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

On Jan. 6, Hilary Izatt was watching TV when she began to worry.

"My husband and I are both political scientists; we're kind of nerdy; we watch C-SPAN a lot," Izatt says. "And when we were watching C-SPAN is when the rioters started breaking into the Capitol."

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Law enforcement officials across the country are on high alert this morning.

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President Joe Biden has dreams of late summer. I mean, don't we all? But that is specifically when he's hoping nearly every American will be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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Vaccine manufacturer Moderna says it's creating a booster shot for its COVID-19 vaccine.

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For the second time in just over a year, Democrats will carry impeachment papers from the House to the Senate today to officially mark the start of the second impeachment trial against Donald Trump.

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Joe Biden is only the second Catholic president of the United States. He's also a supporter of abortion rights — a position at odds with official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

For some Catholic activists, like Marjorie Dannenfelser, Biden's high-profile example of a Catholic who supports abortion rights is troubling.

"It's a negative example of a deep and important moral issue that is being debated in this country," she said.

President Biden is preparing to reverse a Trump administration policy that prohibits U.S. funding for nongovernmental groups that provide or refer patients for abortions — the first of several moves reproductive rights advocates are hoping to see from the Biden administration.

In prepared remarks released by the White House on Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci tells the World Health Organization's executive board that Biden will soon revoke the Mexico City Policy "as part of his broader commitment to protect women's health and advance gender equality at home and around the world."

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As it gets colder, and harder to gather outdoors, some of Kenzie Billings' conversations with her loved ones are feeling a bit more fraught.

"It's felt frustrating at times. You know, you can feel energy from people in terms of wanting to be together," the 29-year-old from Portland, Ore., says.

Lately, Jon Horton has been dreaming about freezers.

"I was opening the freezer and I was taking something out of the freezer and putting it in something else," Horton said. "And it was just like — whew!"

And not just an ordinary freezer. Horton is pharmacy operations director at Sentara — a health care network based in Norfolk, Va.

Like many abortion rights opponents, Tom McClusky is feeling good about battles won under President Trump during his four years in office.

"He has probably done more pro-life things than many Republicans who have had two terms," McClusky said.

As coronavirus cases spike, a national group that represents thousands of evangelical Christian doctors and other healthcare providers is asking churches to stop holding services in person.

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Last year around this time, Tammy, her husband, and their young son were getting ready for a big expansion of their family: she was expecting twins – one boy and one girl.

The family celebrated around Christmastime with a gender reveal party, complete with matching onesies reading, "Little Brother" and "Little Sister."

"It was great, and I think my husband I would both say that that was probably the highest point of what had already been a difficult pregnancy," she said.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation could open the door to a world that many anti-abortion-rights activists have been envisioning for decades.

"I hope and pray that we will be in a world post-Roe v. Wade," said Carrie Murray Nellis, 41, an adoption attorney based in Georgia.

A Democratic U.S. senator who has spoken openly about motherhood and giving birth at age 50 is asking her Republican colleagues to reconsider their support for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett in light of the judge's ties to an organization that has publicly opposed some types of fertility treatments.

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