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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

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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