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By David Crary The Associated Press

Poll: Church membership in US plummets over past 20 years

NEW YORK — The percentage of U.S. adults who belong to a church or other religious institution has plunged by 20 percentage points over the past two decades, hitting a low of 50% last year, according to a new Gallup poll. Among major demographic groups, the biggest drops were recorded among Democrats and Hispanics.

Voters open to candidates without deep religious faith

NEW YORK — Religion’s role in politics and public policy is in the spotlight heading toward the midterm elections, yet relatively few Americans consider it crucial that a candidate be devoutly religious or share their religious beliefs, according to a poll released Tuesday by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

With girls joining the ranks, Boy Scouts plan a name change

NEW YORK — For 108 years, the Boy Scouts of America’s flagship program has been known simply as the Boy Scouts. With girls soon entering the ranks, the group says that iconic name will change.

The organization on Wednesday announced a new name for its Boy Scouts program: Scouts BSA. The change will take effect next February.

More US kids in foster care; parental drug abuse a factor

NEW YORK — The number of children in the U.S. foster care system has increased for the fourth year in a row, with substance abuse by parents a major factor, according to new federal data released on Thursday.

The annual report from the Department of Health and Human Services counted 437,500 children in foster care as of Sept. 30, 2016, up from about 427,400 a year earlier.

Trump victory could imperil Roe v. Wade abortion ruling

NEW YORK — Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide, could be in jeopardy under Donald Trump’s presidency. If a reconfigured high court did overturn it, the likely outcome would be a patchwork map: some states protecting abortion access, others enacting tough bans, and many struggling over what new limits they might impose.