Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

The Supreme Court confirmed that a leaked draft ruling to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision on abortion rights was authentic, but said it was not final. The disclosure triggered protests outside the court, as well as political upheaval with potentially broad electoral and legal consequences. Here’s a guide to the Mississippi law at the center of the decision.

A final decision is not expected to be issued until June or early July, and it is conceivable that the ruling may be narrower than the draft envisions. Such drafts routinely change as they are traded among the justices, who offer suggestions, make objections and at times even change their votes.

With the fall midterm elections looming, Democrats vowed to make abortion rights a defining issue. “If this decision holds, it’s really quite a radical decision,” President Biden told reporters. John Roberts, the chief justice, called the leak an “egregious breach” of trust and ordered an investigation, while Republicans accused liberals of orchestrating the leak to intimidate the court.

Effects: If the court follows through as anticipated, the constitutional right to abortion would be negated, allowing individual states to decide whether the procedure should be legal in their jurisdictions. The result would be a patchwork of different laws, unless Congress steps in and sets a single national policy again.

Public opinion: Polls have shown that most Americans support at least some form of abortion rights, even if they prefer selected limits.


As Russia failed again to gain momentum on the battlefield, Western leaders rallied in a show of support for Ukraine, promising more weapons and aid for the country. It came as the E.U. moved toward a united embargo of Russian oil, and as British intelligence experts issued damning new assessments of Russian military capabilities. Follow the latest updates.

In a video address, Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, invoked Winston Churchill as he told Ukrainian lawmakers that their heroic defense against Russia’s invasion would rank as “Ukraine’s finest hour.” He promised a roughly $375 million package of additional weapons, including electronic warfare gear, a radar system and GPS-jamming equipment.

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, pressed Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, during a phone call to end his “devastating aggression.” Olaf Scholz, Germany’s chancellor, promised to back NATO membership for Sweden and Finland, Russia’s Nordic neighbors which, though once wary of provoking Putin, have suggested they want to join.

Mariupol: In the ruined Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Russian troops renewed shelling of the battered Azovstal steel plant and the 200 civilians still sheltering there. About 130 evacuees have arrived to relative safety in Zaporizhzhia, about 140 miles west.

News analysis: Western officials are debating the Kremlin’s calculations in not trying harder to halt weapons shipments in Ukraine. Could a bigger mobilization by Moscow be on the horizon?


A series of incidents of misogyny and sexual harassment in the halls of Westminster have laid bare in recent weeks a pervasive problem in Britain’s Parliament, raising broader questions about the need for institutional change in a body sometimes likened to an unruly, and often boozy, boys’ club.

While the episodes and allegations, which include the resignation of a lawmaker who viewed pornography in Parliament and dozens of claims of sexual misconduct, are new, the problems they spotlight are longstanding. Critics contend that there has been a backsliding in recent years, saying the current government has abandoned attempts at reform.

“We have a Conservative government that is engaged in culture wars,” said Sarah Childs, a professor of politics and gender at the University of Edinburgh. Current politics are “challenging some of the gains of gender equality,” she added.

By the numbers: Women make up 35 percent of the House of Commons, an all-time high, despite the fact that before the last general election in 2019, a number of incumbent female lawmakers said they had decided not to run again because of misogynist abuse and threats.

On the left, above, is Jon Mooallem, an American writer. On the right is Manolete — a man almost invariably described as the best bullfighter of the 1940s, renowned both for his prowess and his extreme ugliness.

Reading an obscure biography of the matador, Jon writes for The Times Magazine, “I was astonished to see my own face everywhere, from every angle. There I was: doting on my Spanish mother, eating paella, lancing bulls.” And, he adds, “there I was at the end of the book, hewed from marble — eyes shut, unmistakable in profile — resting on top of my tomb.”

Can the theatrics and engrossing nature of reality television translate to podcasts? That’s what “Being Trans,” a show that follows the lives of four transgender cast members in Los Angeles, is attempting.

Many podcasts use a documentary format or are improvisational and unscripted. But “Being Trans” hopes to immerse audiences in its subjects’ lives by recording in the field and forgoing hosts and external narration.

Producers weave together trans-specific story lines — like one about a character contemplating top surgery — with universal plots about relationships, parenting and careers. “You’re just hearing people existing,” said Stephanie Wittels Wachs, a co-founder of the studio behind the show.

An audio-only show is a thriftier, more flexible option: Without a need for lights or makeup, each episode costs less than a quarter of what a typical hour of reality TV does. “We can do things on a much smaller scale, which lends to the intimacy,” said Kasey Barrett, an executive producer of the podcast.

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