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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

Mississippi 'Right to Contraception Act' to be filed in 2024

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Thursday, January 11, 2024   

Amid ongoing concerns about reproductive access in the Magnolia State, Mississippi's Democratic lawmakers and advocacy groups are slated to introduce the "Right to Contraception Act" in February.

Ninety percent of women between ages 18 and 64 have used some form of birth control at some point in their childbearing years.

State Rep. Zakiya Summers, D-Jackson, said the new Right to Contraception Act is about protecting Mississippians' freedom to determine the kind of future they want for their lives. It would codify their right to be able to access contraception.

"This legislation helps families determine their economic mobility, so that they can make the best financial decisions, for them and for their families," said Summers. "They may be asking questions like, 'Can we afford to raise a child right now? Do we have the jobs necessary to be able to take family leave?'"

Summers pointed out that contraception goes beyond family planning because it has many health benefits, including reducing the risk of certain cancers, STDs, HIV and AIDS.

She added that it also helps with preventing maternal mortality and migraines.

Summers said contraceptives, such as the birth control pill and IUDs, are currently available in the state, but because of the confusion around the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision, there are some gaps in access.

She added there's also some hesitancy among health-care professionals to prescribe birth control.

"We have not received a clear response from our leadership in terms of what will happen with contraceptives in the state of Mississippi," said Summers, "and so, this legislation is really an opportunity to be on the offense, not have to wait and see what's going to happen."

Summers said other states have the intent or have already introduced legislation similar to this.

She added that in order to move the law through the committee process and onto the floor for a vote, it is critical that Mississippians work with the state legislators who serve on the committee to which the bill is being referred.




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