Alabama abortion ban, remembering Tim Conway & the NBA draft lottery: The Morning Rundown

The Alabama bill was specifically designed to challenge more than 40 years of federal abortion protection under Roe v. Wade.
Image: Pro-choice supporters protest in front of the Alabama State House as Alabama state Senate votes on the strictest anti-abortion bill in the United States at the Alabama Legislature in Montgomery
Pro-choice supporters protested in front of the Alabama State House on Tuesday. Christopher Aluka Berry / Reuters

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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

From a potential threat to decades of abortion rights to the NBA draft lottery, there is plenty happening today.

Here is what we're watching.

Alabama lawmakers pass country's strictest abortion law

The Alabama state Senate on Tuesday approved a bill essentially banning abortion in the state.

The measure, which makes no exceptions for victims of rape or incest, permits abortion only when necessary to save a mother's life.

The bill was specifically designed to challenge more than 40 years of federal abortion protection under Roe v. Wade. The bill's sponsor said its purpose was to get the Supreme Court to "revisit" their decision in the landmark 1973 case.

It now goes to the desk of Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, who has not indicated whether she will sign the legislation. If she does, it would be the strictest abortion law in the country.

The bill may criminalize the procedure for doctors, but abortion clinics have already all but disappeared in Alabama — there are only three left in the state.

OPINION: Supreme Court Justice Breyer is right to warn about the high court overturning long-established precedent. But Laurence H. Tribe, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard, writes that Roe v. Wade isn't doomed — yet.

Analysis: From Bolton to Bibi to Riyadh, Trump is being pushed toward a confrontation with Iran

President Donald Trump campaigned on promises to extract the United States from wars in the Middle East.

But his national security adviser, Republican hawks in Congress and trusted allies in Israel and Saudi Arabia are pushing for a confrontation with Iran.

With fewer moderating voices in the administration now, will he listen?

Analysts raised fears that the alleged sabotage of two oil tankers in the Persian Gulf on Sunday could become a catalyst — accidental or otherwise — for conflict.

The Trump administration is "playing with fire, and all it takes is for one thing to go wrong because the Middle East is a tinderbox," one expert warned.

The Trump administration's revolving door has created an 'unprecedented' vacancy mess

The Trump administration has finally picked up the pace when it comes to selecting nominees for high-level positions — but there are so many jobs that need to be filled they might "bottleneck" in the Senate, experts told NBC News.

The White House hasn't made nominations for 132 key posts, including the top jobs at the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. And there are 138 nominees awaiting confirmation by the Senate.

"What we have seen is unprecedented, with consistent vacancies across the government," said the head of a non-partisan non-profit that tracks presidential appointments.

The Pelicans win the chance to draft Zion

The basketball gods have spoken — and Zion shall (almost assuredly) be delivered to New Orleans.

The Pelicans won the NBA's draft lottery in Chicago on Tuesday, getting assigned the No. 1 pick on June 20.

Zion Williamson, the freshman dunk machine from Duke University, is widely expected to be chosen first overall.

Williamson, 18, has thus far lived up to all the hype of his young career, thrilling college hoops fans in his first year at Duke. Sean Rayford / AP file

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  • Legendary comic Tim Conway, who made generations of Americans laugh on TV's "The Carol Burnett Show," died Tuesday. He was 85.

THINK about it

Trump's potential war in Iran is all national security adviser John Bolton's doing. And it might be his undoing, writes Trita Parsi, author of "Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy."

Science + Tech = MACH

An explorer has set a record for the deepest dive by reaching the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

At 35,853 feet deep in the Pacific Ocean, Victor Vescovo found colorful rocky structures, weird critters and the ever-pervasive mark of humankind — plastic litter.


Here's how one woman took on a minimalist lifestyle and paid off $50,000 in student loans in just over two years.

One fun thing

"JFK is the sexiest airport in the world!"

Really? Back in 1962 when Eero Saarinen's iconic TWA terminal at New York’s JFK Airport opened, it was.

It's been shuttered for nearly 20 years, but now it's back as never before.

Developer Tyler Morse has obsessed over every detail to create a retro hotel that will take you to another time (minus the ashtrays, cigarette smoke and lead paint).

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Thanks, Petra