Monday, March 27, 2023

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Mobilizing Georgia voters in a non-election year is crucial for voting rights groups, Philadelphians over 50 will play a major role in the mayoral primary, and the EPA is finalizing a new air quality rule.

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Michigan becomes the first state in decades to repeal a "right to work" law, death penalty opponents say President Biden is not keeping campaign promises to halt federal executions, and more states move to weaken child labor protection laws.

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Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Doctors Speak Out Against FL Fast-Tracking 15-Week Abortion Ban

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Monday, January 31, 2022   

Republicans in the Florida Legislature are fast-tracking a 15-week abortion ban over the objections of activists and medical professionals.

Last Thursday, students activists chanted "Let us speak," after the committee chairperson, Rep. Bryan Avila - R-Miami Springs - cut off public comment to give committee members time to debate.

The bill was approved on a party-line vote. It states a "physician may not perform a termination of pregnancy if the physician determines the gestational age of the fetus is more than 15 weeks."

Dr. Guy Benrubi, a Jacksonville-based obstetrician and gynecologist, said the rule is problematic for a number of reasons.

"We have some women that only have three cycles a year," said Benrubi. "How is this woman doing to know that she hasn't had a cycle this month because she's pregnant? And, you know, 15 weeks is three-and-a-half months. She may not have a period during the three-and-a-half month period."

The ban includes an exception if the pregnant person's health is at risk, but there are no exceptions for rape or incest.

The legislature has a GOP majority and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has already signaled his support for the ban. The bill has one final committee stop this week before a House vote.

Dr. Benrubi predicted if the bill becomes law, it would have the most impact on the state's most vulnerable populations - including some who would have to drive up to 570 miles to the nearest clinic.

"Worst impact for women of color, for women who do not have a lot of resources, for rural women," said Benrubi, "because its difficult to get to providers. There are not that many providers in the state, and there are a lot of counties that have absolutely no providers."

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Florida issued this statement: "Like all medical matters, decisions regarding reproductive medical care should be made between a patient and their health care provider - not lawmakers."

The bill's next hearing is Wednesday in the Health and Human Services Committee.

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.




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