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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Survey: Missourians anxious over future birth control access

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Friday, March 29, 2024   

Missouri residents are worried about future access to birth control.

The latest survey from The Right Time, an initiative based in Missouri, focused on efforts to improve access to contraception across the state. These concerns are shared across political affiliations. Despite strong support for young adults ages 18 to 35 having access to all forms of birth control, one in every three Missourians feels policymakers are not supportive of that aim.

Michelle Trupiano, executive director of the Missouri Family Health Council, said that's one reason behind the effort to amend the state's Constitution.

"Missourians concerned with the ability to get birth control in the future will have an opportunity to enshrine reproductive freedom, including birth control, into the state Constitution if enough signatures are gathered to put this issue on the ballot," she said.

In the survey, 78% of the 1,000 respondents said they think emergency rooms in Missouri should make contraception available to survivors of domestic and sexual violence or human trafficking. This includes 82% who identify as Republicans, 87% of Democrats and 72% of Independents.

House Joint Resolution 72 has been introduced by Republicans to change the way amendments can be made to Missouri's Constitution. It would require not only a majority of votes statewide, but also a majority in each of the state's eight congressional districts - making it much tougher for any amendment to pass.

Rep. Bridget Walsh Moore, D-South St. Louis County, said she hopes voters understand the importance of the initiative petition process.

"Why this is coming to a head so much this year is because they know abortion will pass," she said, "and they're just upset that they can't override the will of the people. This is a way for the people to circumvent the government."

Trupiano emphasized that attempts at changing the petition process would make things difficult for a majority of Missourians - and not only in terms of access to contraception.

"The voters have spoken loud and clear about the priorities that they want focused on in the state, including Medicaid expansion, including extending minimum wage," she said, "and the Legislature is trying to take away the voters' ability."

The current petition to add abortion rights to the Missouri Constitution needs 171,000 signatures from at least six congressional districts by May 5.


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