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Sunday, July 14, 2024

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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

IL lawmakers boost funding for Planned Parenthood

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Thursday, June 6, 2024   

The Illinois General Assembly has just passed a $53 billion state budget which includes a boost in funding for Planned Parenthood.

Reproductive rights may be in limbo across the country, but it is not the primary focus of the funding increase.

Katie Stanczykiewicz, director of government relations for Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, an independent advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said reproductive health issues disproportionately affect people of color, and state lawmakers are paying attention.

"I think the additional funding that happened this year that's brand new, dealing with the Black maternal health crisis, is something that Planned Parenthood of Illinois cares deeply about," Stanczykiewicz pointed out. "It's very exciting to see not only the same amount of funding we've received for years before, but additional funding to address the maternal mortality rate that is plaguing our country."

According to a 2023 Illinois report, what's known as "extreme maternal morbidity" is most common among Black women, at a rate of 150 per 10,000 births, more than twice the rate among white women.

Abortion and reproductive rights remain high-profile issues in this election year, with legal actions nationwide to challenge or uphold a person's right to end a pregnancy. But Stanczykiewicz noted Planned Parenthood is committed to keeping all health centers open for patients in Illinois, and pointed out the clinics provide a range of services.

"Continuing to receive funds to not only help with our navigational services that we provide, to people who are coming to Illinois or coming within Illinois to receive abortion care, but also our gender-affirming care and our family planning services," Stanczykiewicz outlined.

She added clinic staffers still face harassment and threats, and some fear for their safety. A 2021 study reported an 80% increase in bomb threats and a 163% rise in devices or suspicious packages left at clinics providing abortion services.


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