Today on The Gist, an update from Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick on the abortion bans in Kansas and Oklahoma. She’s the host of the Slate podcast Amicus. Plus, Masha Bell joins us to discuss the effects of irregular English spellings on educational achievement in English-speaking countries. She’s the author of Spelling It Out: The Problems and Costs of English Spelling. For the Spiel, Mike celebrates his favorite tense: the historical present. Today’s sponsors: Citrix GoToMeeting. When meetings matter, millions choose GoToMeeting. Get a free 30-day trial by visiting and clicking the “try it free” button. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at

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