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.

New Law Could Add Clarity to Reproductive Care in Rural MN

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Wednesday, February 1, 2023   

Reproductive rights advocates are cheering Minnesota's new law centering around abortion access. Supporters predict it could help in other ways for rural patients.

Yesterday, Gov. Tim Walz signed the Protect Reproductive Options Act, making Minnesota the first state this year to firmly enshrine abortion rights since last summer's U.S. Supreme Court decision, which overturned federal protections.

The state already had legal safeguards from a mid-1990s state Supreme Court ruling.

Becky Twamley, board president of the Reproductive Health Alliance, said women in rural regions still have trouble getting reproductive care, even when meeting with local health providers.

"Women may go to a physician, and they won't even prescribe contraception, much less talk about what their other options are," Twamley pointed out.

She acknowledged some instances are still likely to occur, but added the new law might also quell some of the misinformation floating around reproductive care. The law states Minnesota residents have a fundamental right to options. Republican lawmakers, who are in the minority this session, have argued the law is too extreme.

Anti-abortion groups often cite personal religious beliefs in wanting to implement restrictions. But Twamley suggested the issue has become so divisive, it is often reduced to talking points that do not address the complexities of reproductive care.

"There's a lot of hyperbole around it," Twamley asserted. "I think we need to counter that with facts."

The group Power to Decide said nearly 300,000 women who are at or below the poverty level in Minnesota live in so-called "contraceptive deserts."

Backers of Minnesota's new protections say they are also vital since many other Midwestern states either now have abortion bans in place or are poised to enact them.


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