HC Wake-Up Call: Oscar Pistorius's Sentence Doubled, Texas Tosses Out A D&E Abortion Ban & A 'Potentially Hazardous' Asteroid

Good morning Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds—we’re all only human, after all.

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.

Oscar Pistorius' Sentence Just Got Doubled For Murder Of His Girlfriend

In South Africa, the Supreme Court of Appeals just ruled to increase former Olympic and Paralympic spring Oscar Pistorius's prison sentence from six years to 13 years and five months following being charged for the death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in 2013, CNN reports

Supreme Court Justice Willie Seriti told CNN that "The sentence of six years' imprisonment is shockingly lenient to a point where it has the effect of trivializing this serious offense."

Pistorius said that he killed Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder on Valentine's Day in 2013. He was charged and originally given the shorter sentence, however Steenkamp's family and supporters consistently called for "justice for Reeva," calling for the court to reconsider the more lenient sentence. Following the announcement, a spokesperson for Steenkamp's family said they hope "this is the end of the road and that everyone can move forward."

Pistorius can still appeal the latest sentence, but there's no word yet whether he plans to do so.

Texas Judge Throws Out Attempt To Ban Common Abortion Procedure

Although Texas State lawmakers passed a bill in spring that would ban a common method of abortion used during the second trimester, a federal judge in the lone-star state overturned the Texas Senate Bill 8 on Wednesday, The New York Times reports.

"That a woman may make the decision to have an abortion before a fetus may survive outside her womb is solely and exclusively the woman's decision," U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel wrote. "The power to make this decision is her right."

The bill looked to ban dilation and extraction (also known as a D&E abortion — in which a doctor dilates the cervix and removes the fetus) unless doctors first stopped a fetus' heartbeat using another method. Due to the complicated, hard to pin down definition of a heartbeat (because heart tissue can even beat in a petri dish), many abortion advocates and providers considered it an unnecessary barrier. 

According to Yeakel's decision, opponents of the bill made a strong case that denying women access to the procedure would require them to potentially seek riskier alternatives and that was a hard line to cross. 

"The court concludes that requiring a woman to undergo an unwanted, risky, invasive, and experimental procedure in exchange for exercising her right to choose an abortion, substantially burdens that right," Yeakel wrote.

A 'Potentially Hazardous' Asteroid Is Heading Near Earth in December

Apparently, an asteroid (with a diameter of about 3 miles) is set to come pretty damn close to earth in time for Christmas. As the Mirror reports, the asteroid, 32000 Phaethon (named after the Greek demi-god whose whole relatable schtick was almost setting earth on fire) is expected to come within 6.5 miles of earth on December 16. While it's pretty close for an asteroid but still like 27 times farther away from us than the moon.

Classified as "potentially hazardous" by the Minor Planet Center, scientists are hoping to use this brush with the large, funky-shaped asteroid to get a decent 3D model of it. 

But, yeah, no — we won't be going the way of the dinosaurs before Christmas. Just in case you were worried. 

What to look out for... 

After you've safely made it home from your Black Friday outings and came through with your Cyber Monday steals, don't forget that Giving Tuesday is also a thing

If 2017 has taught us anything, it's that giving back to a non-profit or charity that does great work makes a great gift (or spite gift) for any relative and any occasion. 

About The Author

Katherine Speller (or Katie) is the News Editor for Her Campus. She first fell in love with journalism while attending SUNY New Paltz ('14). Since then, she has worked on the staffs at MTV News and Bustle writing about politics, intersectional social issues and more before serving as staff researcher at Lady Parts Justice League. As a freelancer, her work has been published in Women's Health, the Daily Dot, Public Radio International (PRI) and WNYC and is a regular panelist on the "We're All Gonna Die" politics podcast. She's passionate about telling compelling, empathy-inspiring stories and uplifting diverse voices.

Katherine is a Libra with a Taurus moon and a Scorpio ascendant. She has a deep appreciation for strong diner coffee, watching the same three horror movie documentaries and (sometimes) Capricorns. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her cat (Xena), her yorkie (Gluteus Maximus) and her bulldog (Gluteus Minimus) who occupy the majority of her waking thoughts. You can follow her on Twitter (@kathriller) and Instagram (@kathriller) or read more of her essays/road trip logs on Medium.