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tv   Nightline  ABC  September 8, 2021 12:37am-1:07am PDT

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later date. tomorrow night, drew barrymore, sebastian maniscalco, and rufus wainwright will be with us. i'm glad we got back together, baby. this feels right. "nightline" is next. thanks for watching, goodnight. ♪ this is "nightline." >> tonight, texas abortion battle. the new restrictive law sending shock waves throughout the country, leaving women desperate. >> to hear her beg for someone to help her was hard. >> enforcement left to private citizens, creating a $10,000 reward. >> it's like vigilanteism and bounty hunting. >> why supporters say the measure is absolutely necessary. >> it's a significant piece of legis,yur> plus, remembering th michael k. williams, known for
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his iconic roles like omar from "the wire." and the brilliance and authenticity of his craft.
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♪ thanks so much for joining us. i'm linsey davis. it's been less than a week since
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the country's most restrictive abortion law went into effect in texas, and it's already having a devastating impact on women across the state. abc's congressional correspondent rachel scott went to the lone star state for our report. >> what's this? oh, yeah! i love my daughter more than anything in this world. >> reporter: malia hazid loves being a woman. >> being a mother is the best thing that's happened to me. >> reporter: she wasn't always ready for the trials of motherhood. >> i'm a very impatient person, but with maya, i'm not. i keep thinking, i chose to have this child, she is here because of me, she is my life. >> reporter: chasing a toddler and managing tantrums is a challenge no matter how old you are. malia realizes she's far more qualified at 27 than she would have been as a college student. >> i had my first abortion at 20. i wasn't trying to get pregnant. i was using contraceptives.
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i definitely knew i wasn't ready to be a parent. i wasn't emotionally ready, i wasn't financially ready at all. i was a college student sharing a one bedroom with my best friend and a cat. >> reporter: maria says that experience, full of twists and turns, solidified for her that women need to be in charge of their own health care. now she feels that right is under attack from a new law. >> abortion was already very hard to access in texas. now it's become so much harder. >> reporter: texas is now home to one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the nation. a law sending shock waves across the country. >> roe v. wade has not been formally overruled in any way. but as a practical matter in the state of texas, as of today, it is not possible for most women to obtain an abortion beyond the sixth week of pregnancy. >> reporter: at issue, texas senate bill 8 which bans virtually any abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy, before most women even know they're pregnant. >> it is a six-week ban, which
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is essentially two weeks after a missed period. so if this is an unintended pregnancy, you would find out really within a short amount of time. >> the law doesn't have any criminal penalties attached to it. what's unique about this law is that it's enforced by private parties, not by government officials. so any individual can bring a lawsuit to enforce the ban. if they're successful, they can receive damages of a minimum of $10,000 plus legal fees. >> reporter: that means private citizens can sue anyone who aids o abets an unlawful abortion, from the doctors who perform them, to drivers who take women to the clinic. >> it's vigilanteism and bounty hunting, that's what's happening. it's private citizens with personal agendas and personal biases. it's such a disaster. >> this is the boldest prolife policy that the texas legislature has ever passed. we don't believe abortion is a good, we don't think it's good for texas women, we don't think -- definitely don't think
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it's good for their children. >> it's designed to ban abortion, it's designed to make things harder for people, and that's exactly what they're experiencing. >> dr. kumar works at this planned parenthood in texas. i spoke with him last week as he was seeing the impacts of the new law. what has the last 24 hours been like for you as a provider, a doctor? >> tuesday before the law went into effect we were here late with the other staff, trying to see as many people as we could. >> reporter: he normally performs 20 to 30 abortions a day. since the new law went into effect, he has only seen six patients and had to turn half of them away because they no longer qualified. >> we see the people, we know their names, we have their stries, they're right in front of us. so to look at them and sort of have to enforce the law, it feels very unethical, it feels like it's not right, it's not just. >> reporter: kumar said the threat of potential lawsuits left him with little choice.
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the lawsuits are concerning. but rather than centers myself, i want to center my patients, make sure we do what we can for them. >> what do you fear this law? >> i'm fearful about the people who won't get the care they need. i'm fearful folks are going to try things themselves because they don't have access. >> reporter: providers are especially concerned because the law makes no exception for victims of rape or incest. is that acceptable to you? >> it feels even more cruel. the fact that they haven't also added exceptions that many other bans do. >> why not make an exception for rape or incest? >> there's a moral disagreement. the condition about when the child came into existence doesn't change the moral worth of that child. >> reporter: today when governor greg abbott was pressed on why the law makes no exception for rape or incest, his answer? >> texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of texas by aggressively going out
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and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets. so goal number one in the state of texas is to eliminate rape. >> reporter: but abbott has not called on lawmakers to take up any new rape prevention legislation. >> it has turned into a crisis center. people do not know where to go. >> reporter: doris dixon oversees patient access at the planned parenthood in houston. she says the call center is now dealing with desperation on a daily, almost hourly, basis. one woman's call imprinted in her mind. >> we have one that just learned she was pregnant on the day that the law went into effect. and they discovered she was 5.2 weeks. but she also discovered that she had coronavirus, that same day. to hear her beg for someone to help her. was hard. now she has to quarantine for 14 days. which then would put her out of
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the state limit of when she can seek services. >> reporter: dixon estimates that 70% of the people seeking abortion care last week were turned away. >> i take it personally. i have failed in my role to help someone. >> reporter: with nowhere to go, texas women are now forced to call clinics out of state. malia aziz knows the cost of doing just that. when she found out she was pregnant that first time seven years ago, she had just emigrated here from pakistan. >> i was in a relatively new country, i didn't know the laws and the legal system. >> reporter: she ended up at a crisis pregnancy center where she says anti-abortion rights activists lied to her about the laws in texas. in a panic, she went to a clinic in colorado. >> it's not cheap. and insurance doesn't cover it. i didn't have a lot of money laying around. >> reporter: luckily, a family member paid. she says the whole process cost around $2,000. eventually she became an advocate, working at the texas equal access fund, helping women
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across the state pay for their abortions. >> the harmful impact of s.b. 8 cannot be overstated. patients are being forced to continue pregnancies against their will or endure countless barriers, including traveling hundreds of miles. think about who is most impa impacted. it's going to be largely black and brown populations. it's going to be low-income folks. >> reporter: a group of abortion providers asked the u.s. supreme court to step in and temporarily stop the new law from going into effect. last thursday, the court refused to take action for now. >> the supreme court did not rule in any way on the constitutionality of the law. i think it is very likely that this texas law will be back in front of the supreme court sooner rather than later. >> reporter: this law also targets people who support women that get an unlawful abortion. why punish these people? >> this is making sure that the law is actually complied with. we still have a very high legal standard letter an uber driver
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who doesn't know what's going on is definitely not going to be the target of this law -- >> but they are. they are the target of the law. an uber driver, under this law, can be sued, at least $10,000 at minimum -- >> no the law says if you are -- if you have been proven to aid and abet an illegal abortion, then you will be held accountable. >> for many people who might otherwise want to assist a friend, a sister, a neighbor, in securing an abortion, they may be deterred from doing that because of the fear of legal liability. >> reporter: malia says this law won't help mothers like her, it will hurt them. earlier this year, she faced another tough decision. >> maya was about -- a little over a year and i found myself pregnant again. again, i wasn't expecting it. >> reporter: she was 5 weeks along. her husband is active military and lives three hours away on base during the week. malia says with work and a baby, she doesn't have the resources
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for another child yet. >> we made a pros and cons list. we both agreed it wasn't the time, it wasn't going to work. we both wanted to dedicate all of our time, energy, to the daughter that we have, that we love very much, and it was that easy. we made the decision to have an abortion, and then i did. >> reporter: malia says women often stay quiet out of shame. she made the choice to go public because she says people need to know they aren't alone. >> i have no shame. i have no regrets. my two abortions don't bother me, just like most of the people that i work with, their abortions don't bother them either because their lives are families, our families, our futures, our presents, they're all better for it. >> our thanks to rachel for that. up next, remembering michael k. williams, the actor known for his iconic roles on shows like "the wire." the dove beauty bar makes my skin feel fresh. i've encouraged serena my best friend to switch.
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ hey google, turn up the heat. ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ actor michael k. williams was a master of some of the iconic television roles of his generation. his life and work are now being remembered for their groundbreaking authenticity. here's "nightline's" ashan singh. >> how many times have you been arrested as an adult, mr. little? >> shoot, i don't know if i can count. >> reporter: he was a tore deforce on screen. >> put my gun on those citizens? >> you ar model, you are a parasite who leaches off -- >> just like you, man. >> -- the culture of drugs -- excuse me? what? >> i got the shotgun.
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you got the briefcase. it's all a game though, right? >> reporter: known for playing what many would go on to call the greatest character on television ever. omar little from "the wire." >> a man got to have a code. >> reporter: michael k. williams, the beloved actor and performer from east black bush, brooklyn, found dead in his new york apartment monday afternoon. >> a family member discovered williams dead. >> drug paraphernalia found in the home -- >> reporter: while the cause of death is still unknown, nypd is investigating it as a possible drug overdose. >> it's one of those things where you never expect someone who seems to be at the prime of their career to succumb to something like this. >> reporter: williams electrifying audiences with rousing and chilling performances. as chalky white in the period gangster series "boardwalk empire." >> these here my daddy tools. >> what are you going to do with them? >> well -- i ain't building no
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book case. >> reporter: inmate freddie knight in "the knight of." and most recently, montrose freeman, the complicated closeted father in "love caft country." >> i'm still your goddamn daddy! >> reporter: he's been nominated to win this year as best supporting actor in a drama series. >> michael k. williams is an actor who has brought so much tenderness and humanity to these kinds of roles that over the years have been really unfortunately stereotyped on tv. and he did that throughout his career. >> reporter: stars like all over taking to social media to share their shock and grief for the icon gone too soon at just 54. before his decades-long career as an actor, williams was actually a dancer, telling queen la tee a fa about his start. >> i saw a janet jackson video and lost my mind.
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that's what i'm going to do, become a backup dancer for janet jackson! you know? ♪ >> reporter: he'd go on to perform with some of pop's biggest stars and choreographed the music video for crystal waters '1994 hit single "100% pure love." it was the scar on his face that changed the tragedy try of career. >> you're not scary as i thought you were going to be. >> reporter: the actor telling dan harris in 2008 how he got it. >> 25 years old, bar room brawl, drinking and drugging out of my mind. >> it became this distinctive defining characteristic of him. it sort of helped him create this balance between edge and tenderness and this hardened past, but a hope for a warmer future. >> i will put a bullet in all your behind, what happen right now, you heard? >> reporter: it was his nuanced role as omar little in "the wire," a black, openly gay
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hustler that was unheard of in hollywood that cemented williams' star power. >> you tell me i'd be successful for playing an openly gay thug in television, i couldn't have seen this coming in a million years. >> up until that point, so many people had never seen a black gay man on tv. and when they had seen them, it was in the guise of policeman buoyance and flightiness. but omar little, on top of being this really sort of fascinating anti-hero, his sexuality became a part of his identity that couldn't be ignored. >> reporter: his portrayal of little so iconic it garnered the attention of president barack obama. >> omar's, by the way, my favorite character. >> what did you think when you heard barack obama said you were his favorite character? >> you know -- my first reaction about that was -- was based on my mother. to see the proudness in her face, to see how her eyes lit up, made my day. it really made my day. >> reporter: despite his
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successes, the actor was candid about living a dual life. his days on sets met with nights on the street. williams detailed a struggle with drug addiction to tamron hall. >> a lot of people often think when a person puts down the drug or the alcohol, all the problems go away. that couldn't be further from the truth. drugs and alcohol are not the problems, they're merely symptoms of the problems. >> something that he sort of kept secret for a few years and revealed only in 2012, that when he was shooting "the wire" and playing omar, he was leading a secret double life where he was also suffering a cocaine addiction and actually was living homeless in newark. i think he wants to make sure that people knew what he overcame in order to get to where he was. >> reporter: after his pain and trauma came light from williams. >> how to use our voice -- >> reporter: championing causes, to fight for justice in circumstances reminiscent of his home. >> what up, what up, what up? >> reporter: working alongside
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young people with crew krount, the organization he cofounded to empower voters in over-policed communities. >> i know one thing, i am tired of seeing the police department being called for our mental health crises that we have. >> yes. >> i think he really saw his performances and his activism to be one and the same mission. it will be really hard to look back at his life and his career and his legacy without seeing those two things intertwined. >> reporter: whether it was in person or on screen, the aura that came with him was infectious and indelible. if nothing else, michael k. williams was real. a far cry from the reputation of the industry he dominated. and living proof that art, and our greatest contributions, can be manifested from even our deepest imperfections. >> our thanks to ashan.
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the navy is posthumously recognizing the valor of the lone sailor killed with 11 marines and one soldier at the kabul airport. max ton silviac promoted to hospital corpsman third class and awarded a purple heart and fleet marine corpsman badge. saying of the 22-year-old from berlin heights, ohio, "i have no doubt his dedication to this mission and devotion to the mission at hand warrant this recognition." that's "nightline." you can watch full episodes on hulu. we'll see you right back


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