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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Maine lawmakers consider constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights

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Monday, January 22, 2024   

Lawmakers in Maine will hear hours of emotional public testimony today regarding a potential constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights.

Two-thirds of both the House and Senate would need to pass the resolution before it would go to a statewide ballot.

Dania Bowie, development and communications coordinator for the Maine Women's Lobby, said the U.S. Supreme Court's historic decision to overturn Roe v. Wade imperiled everything from birth control to reproductive care.

"It is more important than ever to make our Constitution as clear as possible about how abortion rights are fundamental human rights," Bowie contended.

Opponents of abortion will also be at the statehouse today and have called the proposed amendment "immoral" and "unnecessary." Maine already has some of the least restrictive abortion laws in the country.

Gov. Janet Mills signed legislation last year ensuring pregnant people can access abortion services after fetal viability if deemed necessary by a doctor. The law also changed reporting requirements and strengthened legal protections for medical providers.

Bowie pointed out advocates for a constitutional amendment in Maine have taken cues from several other red and blue states where voters have successfully protected reproductive rights.

"We are looking at the best practices," Bowie explained. "But also understand that, like in those states, we know that voters are generally in favor of reproductive rights."

Bowie added voters are motivated to protect abortion rights. Polls nationwide show women especially say candidates' views on abortion will be a key issue in the 2024 election. In Maine, more than 60% of voters believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

References:  
Survey KFF 05/26/2023

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