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Maine moves to expand abortion access

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In Maine, physicians aren’t the only people allowed to perform abortions anymore; the result of a controversial Kazakhstan election is seen as an extension of the country’s authoritarian regime. 

 

Tonight’s Sentences was written by Catherine Kim.

TOP NEWS
Wins for reproductive rights
Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
  • The governor of Maine signed a bill on Monday that would expand the type of medical practitioners that can perform abortions. [Portland Press Herald / Kevin Miller]
  • Under the new bill, which will go into effect in September, physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurse will be able to perform in-clinic abortions or provide abortion medication. Until now, only physicians were allowed to perform abortions. [The Hill / Justin Wise
  • Maine is the second state after California to allow non-doctors to provide in-clinic abortions. Almost two-dozen states, including Vermont and New Hampshire, have expanded the scope of professionals that can administer abortion medication. [AP]
  • Gov. Janet Mills said the measure will help women in rural areas access critical reproductive health services. Only three cities in Maine –– Augusta, Bangor and Portland –– provide aspiration abortion, which is a procedure that involves suction. [NYT / Jacey Fortin]
  • Critics, however, have criticized the bill as a political move because there is no data that women are having a hard time accessing reproductive healthcare due to proximity. [Fox News / Lukas Mikelionis]
  • They also say that expansion will make the procedure less safe, especially because they don’t think practitioners will have enough practice by September to perform abortions. Many, however, have said that abortion is one of the safest medical procedures and the restriction is outdated. [AP]
  • Maine isn’t the only win for reproduction rights on Monday: Vermont also passed a bill that protects abortions rights by law. [ABC News / Meghan Keneally and Alexandra Svokos
  • These moves are a significant defiance against the recent trend of conservative states, including Alabama, Ohio and Georgia, restricting reproduction rights. [CNN / Eli Watkins]
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An extension of Kazakhstan’s authoritarian regime
  • The hand-picked successor of former Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev has won an election tightly controlled by the government amidst waves of pro-democracy protests. [France 24]
  • Some background: Nazarbayev has been the country’s only leader since 1991 after it emerged following the fall of the Soviet Union. He resigned in March –– although he will stay as head of the governing party –– and appointed his loyal ally Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as interim president. [BBC]
  • Tokayev won the election by 70.76 percent, while opposition candidate Amirzhan Kosanov trailed behind at 16.2%. This is the first time since 2005 that a candidate has openly represented himself as the opposition. [The Guardian / Joanna Lillis
  • Monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, however, criticized the election for its lack of regard toward “fundamental rights.” Tokayev has disregarded these accusations. [Reuters / Tamara Vaal and Mariya Gordeyeva]
  • About 500 people were detained during the election on Sunday, despite having protested peacefully. The government also shut down Facebook and messaging app Telegram to silence voices of dissent. [Reuters]
  • Pro-democracy protestors said they want a fair election and to break free from the grip of former senior Communist party officials. [Eurasianet / Joanna Lillis and Danil Usmanov]
  • For now, Nazarbayev remains to have a tight grip on Kazakhstan, and many expect he will be asserting his influence behind the scenes. [NYT / Andrew Higgins
MISCELLANEOUS
Botswana just decriminalized homosexuality. That’s a big win for LGBTQ rights in Africa.

[BBC]

  • Researchers have proved that the Alcoholics Anonymous doctrine isn’t the most effective treatment method. Why do so many people turn to it regardless? [The Atlantic / Gabrielle Glaser

  • In Texas, children’s right to open a lemonade stand is protected by the law. [CNN / Leanna Faulk and Amanda Watts]

  • French President Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump planted a friendship tree to celebrate their bromance last year, but their relationship has since soured. It seems like the universe has quite the sense of humor since the tree is now dead too. [The Washington Post / James McAuley]

  • Could cactus juice become a potential alternative to single-use plastic? [Futurism / Dan Robitzski

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VERBATIM
Wake up, Kazakh! Think, Kazakh! Be, Kazakh! We are a nation that has forgotten its freedom.

[A 1909 Kazakhstani poem written during Russian colonial rule that has inspired protests]

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