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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

'Scary Times,' as FL Republicans Propose 6-Week Abortion Ban

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Wednesday, March 8, 2023   

On the opening day of Florida's legislative session, Republican lawmakers filed bills in the House and Senate to ban abortions after six weeks. In a move which would tighten the 15-week ban they approved last year, Republicans are pushing an even tougher ban, despite knowing most people aren't aware they're pregnant before six weeks.

Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, the Senate Minority Leader, said the bills were introduced as she and others were making their way to the chamber to hear the State of the State address by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

"That is tantamount to an all-out abortion ban," Book stressed. "This is scary. These are scary times, and none of the bills that have been introduced by the Republicans will improve the lives of Floridians."

The legislation offers exemptions for victims of rape and incest, if they can provide official proof of the crime. Pro-choice advocates predict the measures will be a major barrier to critical services for Floridians, and others in the Southeast who seek care in Florida because their states have banned abortion. The bills carry the support of legislative leadership as well as the governor.

Groups like Florida Alliance for Planned Parenthood have already launched campaigns calling on alliance members and the public to contact Sen. Kathleen Pasidomo, R-Naples, the Senate president, who has already announced her support for the bill.

Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa, the House Minority Leader, voiced concerns.

"They plan to strip privacy protections enshrined in the Florida Constitution," Driskell pointed out. "They will restrict access to medical abortion medicine, yet you can get Viagra mailed to you. What world are we living in? It's a world that's unfair to women."

The bills are spearheaded by Republican women, Sen. Erin Grall, R-Lake Placid, and Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka, R-Fort Myers. The proposals also include an exception for the life of a pregnant person if two physicians certify in writing that carrying the pregnancy to term would be fatal.


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