Take 2: Abortion laws, Drone delivery

The Take 2 series features brief weekly updates on the state or nations relevant news for the community.

Hannah Gonzalez

The Take 2 series features brief weekly updates on the state or nation’s relevant news for the community.

Biden asks the supreme court to block Texas abortion laws: In a petition filed on Monday, The Biden admistration urged the Supreme Court to temporaily block the Texas abortion laws while a legal challenge moves forward. The law was stated as “plainly unconstitutional” by the U.S. Department of Justice. Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) went into effect on Sept. 1 and is the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S as it bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy that are not medically necessary. The Supreme Court declined to block the abortion laws in September because they didn’t have a “sufficient stake” in the case. Now, the court has agreed to quickly consider taking up the challenge. Texas has responded by urging the Supreme Court to leave the law in place and told the justice’s there is no reason to rush into the case. 

Significance: Lawmakers in a number of states have said they intend to pass legislation that copies the Texas ban because its lawsuit provision was crafted to make it harder to strike down in court. Usually, a lawsuit that blocks a law because it is unconstitutional would name state officials as the defendant, but the SB 8 stops officials from enforcing it and gives the power to private citizens. Individuals have the ability to enforce the bill through private lawsuits against anyone who “aid and abets” in an abortion. If the law is upheld, it could clear the way for states to get around other federal court precedents. If the court agrees to consider the case on an expedited basis, it could hear arguments, accept briefs and deliver a much faster ruling than if the case had to go through the normal court channels. 

Walgreens begins testing drone delivery in Texas: Walgreens will begin flying packages by drone to residents in a pair of Texas cities in a partnership with Google’s drone making-affiliate, Wing. The companies will test the drones in Frisco and Little Elm, two fast-growing communities where traffic is an issue. The first phase will operate out of a single Walgreens store and will be able to serve thousands of people within a 4 mile radius of the store. It will be Wing’s first commercial expansion in the U.S. after years of testing the concept in Virginia and parts of Australia and Finland. The drones are able to navigate autonomously and are powered by two forward propellers on their wings and 12 smaller vertical propellers. 

Significance: “Every delivery made by drone is taking a delivery vehicle off our roads,” Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney said. Drones created by Wing significantly reduce carbon emissions compared to a car and are built with purposeful redundancies like backup batteries, multiple hover motors and multiple navigation systems for an efficient and fast delivery. 100 store items will be available for air delivery when the service rolls out in Texas in the coming months including over-the-counter medication, snacks and cosmetics. Federal officials started creating new rules in mid-April to allow operators to fly small drones over people and at night, potentially boosting the commercial use of the machines. However, Texas service will be limited to daytime hours for now.