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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

"Army" of Moms Tackle Antibiotic Overuse in Animal Food Industry

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Friday, May 13, 2011   

MINNEAPOLIS - Each year, tens of thousands of Americans die and hundreds of thousands more fall seriously ill from antibiotic-resistant infections - and babies, children and seniors are at highest risk. That's why the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming has launched "Moms for Antibiotic Awareness," a grassroots movement of mothers aimed at protecting the effectiveness of antibiotics.

Everly Macario, co-founder of the MRSA Research Center at the University of Chicago, says antibiotic resistance is not an abstract issue, but a life-and-death one.

"Seven years ago on a Friday, I was holding my gorgeous and healthy 1 1/2-year-old son, Simon Sparrow, in my arms. Less than 24 hours later, I was wailing over Simon's dead body from a hospital bed. Simon was ravaged by a bug that no antibiotic could fight."

Moms involved in the campaign are calling on Congress to stop the overuse of antibiotics. Numerous government agencies and health organizations, including the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and the American Medical Association all have acknowledged definitive links between antibiotic overuse in food production and antibiotic-resistant infections in humans.

Simon's autopsy revealed that he was infected with the MRSA bacteria - Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus - of which not even Macario, who had a Ph.D in public health, had heard of at the time. She has since dedicated her life's work to understanding MRSA and stopping its transmission, which she says is only the tip of the iceberg.

"We are in realistic danger of turning the clock back 100 years - a time when infections could not be treated because antibiotics have not yet been discovered. Think about that when you think about the last time your child got sick, or about the next time your child will get sick."

Tracy Singleton, a Minnesota mom and owner of the Birchwood Café in Minneapolis, says that while it's easy to feel powerless about the rise of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs," mothers already have a lot of power to affect change through their collective buying power, starting with only purchasing meat from sustainable producers.

"You can buy your food direct. You can ask questions. You can get involved with the school lunch program. Any time you go out to eat at a restaurant, ask them where their meat is from. Start asking these kinds of questions, and that will have an impact."

Beyond their power as consumers, Singleton believes moms also have the ability to effect policy change.

"The comfort of an army of moms is that you're not in this alone. The threat is too big for any mom to take this on herself, but if we all come together, then we have the power of all of our voices. Together we can make a difference."

Pew commissioned a survey of American moms - including Republicans, Democrats and Independents - which shows that nearly two-thirds favor more government regulation on industrial farms. The results of that survey are online at saveantibiotics.org.


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