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Judge says he can’t block state sonogram requirement

AUSTIN — A federal judge will not attempt to block a Texas law requiring women to have a sonogram before having an abortion.

District Judge Sam Sparks previously ruled parts of the law unconstitutional, but a federal appeals court overturned his decision last month. Judge Sparks said Monday that he has to follow the higher court’s order and it wants the law in place.

The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights says it will continue to pursue appeals to block the law requiring doctors to show women images of their sonograms, to play fetal heartbeats aloud and describe the features of a fetus at least 24 hours before an abortion.

The law has exceptions in cases of rape, incest, fetal deformity and for women who travel great distances to a doctor.


Cabbie pleads guilty in terrorism case

CHICAGO — A Pakistani-born Chicago taxi driver pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda as part of a plea deal hammered out recently with prosecutors.

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit and with his ankles shackled, Raja Lahrasib Khan told a judge Monday that he was pleading guilty to one of two counts of attempting to provide material support.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped the other count against Khan.

Khan, 58, was accused in 2010 of taking steps to send cash to Pakistan-based terrorist leader Ilyas Kashmiri.

A conviction on just one count of providing material support carries a maximum 15-year sentence. The plea deal recommends a sentence of five to eight years.

No sentencing date has been set.


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