Little Rock, Ark.
Judge rejects state's 12-week abortion ban
A federal judge Friday struck down Arkansas' attempt to ban most abortions beginning 12 weeks into a woman's pregnancy, saying viability, not a heartbeat, remains the key factor in determining whether abortions should be allowed. U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright last year had stopped enforcement of the law while she reviewed it, and on Friday she declared that it was unconstitutional. She cited previous court decisions that said abortions shouldn't be restricted until after a fetus reaches viability, which is typically at 22 to 24 weeks. The Arkansas Legislature had adopted the nation's toughest abortion law last March. Two weeks later, North Dakota lawmakers passed a bill restricting abortions at six weeks — or before some women would know they're pregnant. That law is on hold.
Immigrants faced attack by agent
An immigrant woman, her daughter and another girl who said they were kidnapped and assaulted by a border patrol agent were in the process of surrendering to the agent when their ordeal began Wednesday, another Border Patrol agent and a federal law enforcement official said Friday. Agent Esteban Manzanares, who officials say committed suicide Thursday as agents approached his apartment, was accused of driving the three Hondurans away from the river after they surrendered and assaulting them. The FBI said the three were in the United States illegally.
Nashua, N.H.: Scott Brown, the former Republican senator from Massachusetts, on Friday took a step toward a campaign for the Senate from New Hampshire, forming an exploratory committee to decide whether to challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. Brown recently moved into his New Hampshire vacation home.
New York: Soil tests done in the hours following a building explosion in Manhattan showed high concentrations of natural gas, indicating that there had been a leak going on for some time before Wednesday's blast killed eight people, investigators said Friday.
Washington: The judge presiding over the sexual assault trial of a former Navy football player sent the jury pool home Friday after the defendant asked the judge to decide the case instead.
Washington: The public re-examination of Clinton history resumed Friday as the National Archives released a new batch of White House documents from the 1990s.