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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Day of action focuses on CT undocumented's healthcare needs; 7 jurors seated in first Trump criminal trial; ND looks to ease 'upskill' obstacles for former college students; Black Maternal Health Week ends, health disparities persist.

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Seven jury members were seated in Trump's hush money case. House Speaker Johnson could lose his job over Ukraine aid. And the SCOTUS heard oral arguments in a case that could undo charges for January 6th rioters.

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Fears grow that low-income folks living in USDA housing could be forced out, North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues, and small towns are eligible for grants to boost civic participation..

FL abortion rights measure to be on Nov. ballot

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Monday, January 29, 2024   

Florida voters will soon have the opportunity to express their views on abortion rights at the ballot box.

After Gov. Ron DeSantis approved a law last year restricting abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, the committee Floridians Protecting Freedom launched a petition drive for what it calls a constitutional "Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion."

Sarah Parker, president of Women's Voices of Southwest Florida, part of a coalition supporting the petition, said they were excited to receive notice Friday from the Florida Department of State confirming they have successfully secured the necessary number of valid signatures.

"Right now we are just elated to actually have a number," Parker noted. "It sounds good too: 'Vote Yes on 4 in 2024.' We've got over 900,000 petitions and we're looking forward to the next steps, which is a standard process of going to the Supreme Court, and we're confident."

The Florida Supreme Court will now weigh in on the acceptability of the wording of the amendment. Attorney General Ashley Moody and other opponents have already delivered objections. In October, Moody expressed concerns the language could be an attempt to "hoodwink" voters, arguing the term "viability" has multiple interpretations.

Confusion on the matter is likely to persist, given the actions of the Republican-controlled Legislature, which not only approved additional abortion restrictions, but also has more pending restrictions yet to take effect. The implementation of a six-week limit hinges on the outcome of an ongoing legal battle about a 15-week abortion limit passed in 2022. The resolution of the 15-week case is also pending at the Florida Supreme Court.

Parker hopes voters will have the final say.

"It would mean to stop government interference with an abortion and health care," Parker explained. "What we're doing is kind of taking it back to the times before Dobbs got overturned, before Roe got overturned."

Part of the amendment language states, "No law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient's health, as determined by the patient's healthcare provider."


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