Start Here: SCOTUS considers abortion, tornadoes, Trump vs. Biden, Opioids on trial

It’s Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Let’s start here.

1. Roe’s future

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld an Indiana law requiring fetal remains be buried or cremated but declined to review a lower court ruling that blocked a ban on abortions motivated by race, sex, or disability of the fetus.

Although the court’s decision keeps abortion off the docket for the next term, it signals a path forward for how the justices will handle cases that challenge the scope of Roe v. Wade, according to New York University School of Law professor Melissa Murray.

“They haven’t overruled Roe, they haven’t taken a case that will overrule Roe, but … they’ve continued to chip away at the abortion right, making it more expensive, posing more restrictions,” she tells “Start Here.”

2. Tornado tech

An outbreak of tornadoes is approaching its 13th consecutive day, leaving paths of destruction across several states.

Communities in Ohio are cleaning up after tornadoes tore through the area on Monday night, flattening homes and businesses. On Tuesday night, a massive tornado swirled through Kansas City, Kansas, and New York City and parts of northern New Jersey were issued tornado warnings.

Despite the ongoing outbreak and devastation for millions of Americans, the number of deaths related to the severe weather has been relatively low as advancements in technology give those affected enough time to take shelter, according to ABC News Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee: “Everybody has a smartphone and a way to record it. We see every tornado — in fact, we see every tornado from every angle.”

PHOTO: Storm damaged homes remain after a tornado passed through the area the previous evening, May 28, 2019, in Brookville, Ohio.John Minchillo/AP

Storm damaged homes remain after a tornado passed through the area the previous evening, May 28, 2019, in Brookville, Ohio.

3. Trump and Biden

A war of words continues between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump over an insult directed at the Democratic presidential candidate by North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

Biden’s campaign on Tuesday blasted Trump for supporting Kim’s attack on him as a “low IQ” individual, calling the criticism “beneath the dignity of the office,” and Trump later doubled down on the attacks on Twitter.

The back and forth continues a pattern of Trump elevating Biden in the 2020 conversation, even though his aides view the former vice president as a tough challenger, ABC News Political Director Rick Klein says on the podcast.

“We’re about a month away from the first debate,” Klein tells us, “no one has established anything yet, and it does seem like President Trump is doing his best to put Joe Biden as the presumptive front-runner.”

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign kickoff rally, May 18, 2019 in Philadelphia.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign kickoff rally, May 18, 2019 in Philadelphia.

4. Opioids on trial

Johnson & Johnson is accused of fueling the nation’s opioid crisis in a trial that could set a precedent for opioid lawsuits against drug manufacturers.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter alleges that Johnson & Johnson used deceptive marketing to downplay the risks of opioids and overstate their benefits.

The drugmaker’s subsidiary, Jenssen Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement, “The allegations made against our company are baseless and unsubstantiated. In fact, since 2008, our opioid medications have accounted for less than one percent of the U.S. market for this class of medications (including generics).”

Many states with their own litigation against drugmakers are eyeing the trial, according to ABC News’ Aaron Katersky: “Everyone wants to know what evidence there is, what evidence will be allowed, and so in many ways what happens in Oklahoma could determine what happens across the country with these opioid cases.”

“Start Here,” ABC News’ flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day’s top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.


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Taylor Swift is known for speaking her mind and calling out what she feels is offensive, which is exactly what she did during a recent interview with German news outlet Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

When the interviewer brought up that the singer is turning 30 soon and asked if she would like “to be a mother someday, to have children,” Swift had a firm response.

“I don’t really think men are asked that question when they turn 30, so I’m not going to answer that now,” she told the outlet, according to a translation. “Turning 30 feels like … I hear people say that when you’re in your 30s, you don’t have as much stress and anxiety in your life as in your 20s, and I can comment on that observation by saying that when we are in our 20s, we’re looking to gain experience, try things out, fail, make mistakes.”