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Thursday: US expansion in New Mexico by an Australian hydrogen company, plus more


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    Australian hydrogen company outlines US expansion in New Mexico, touts research - By Morgan Lee Associated Press

    An Australia-based company plans to build a campus in New Mexico to expand its research into hydrogen fuel as a heat source for industry, touting a proprietary chemical process without greenhouse gas emissions.

    Hydrogen-technology research and developer Star Scientific Limited, which has around 20 employees, signed a letter of intent with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham while she was in Sydney attending a summit Thursday on hydrogen and the energy sector.

    Andrew Horvath, global group chairman at Star Scientific, said the new facilities in Albuquerque would scale up research and development of its hydrogen technology for generating heat.

    "Our system doesn't burn gas, it reacts the gas," said Horvath, describing the proprietary technology in general terms only. "It creates an instantaneous reaction whereby you end up with the heat from the excitation energy from those atoms."

    Horvath said the company is developing a chemical catalyst system for use in combining hydrogen and oxygen to produce heat directly, with water as a byproduct. The system is different from hydrogen fuel cells that provide electricity, he said.

    Star Scientific is currently sponsoring two hydrogen-energy pilot projects in Australia with a food-production company and a plastics-packaging business. They aim to replace heat systems derived from natural gas, reducing emissions of climate-warming pollution in the process.

    The New Mexico governor's office said in a statement that the company is looking to acquire enough land to place up to 10 buildings for laboratory research, testing and eventual manufacturing, and possibly qualify for public incentives that underwrite infrastructure investments and job training.

    Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, has enthusiastically embraced support for hydrogen-energy ventures to create local jobs. But there's been concern and criticism from environmentalists who say hydrogen presents its own pollution and climate risks depending on production methods and precautions against leaks.

    The Biden administration this month selected clean-energy projects from Pennsylvania to California for a $7 billion program to kickstart development and production of hydrogen fuel, a key component of the administration's agenda to slow climate change. Applications that were passed over include a collaborative pitch by New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

    Some consider hydrogen "clean" only if made through electrolysis — splitting water molecules using renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, which also is carbon free, as well as nuclear power. Hydrogen also can be produced from methane using heat, steam and pressure, but that brings challenges of storing the carbon dioxide that is generated.

    Horvath said Star Scientific chose New Mexico for its expansion based on factors including public investments in education, business incentives and relatively inexpensive labor and land costs.

    Longtime lawmaker Stuart Ingle is stepping downAlbuquerque Journal, Santa Fe New Mexican

    Stuart Ingle, the longest serving member of the New Mexico Senate, is stepping down today/stepped down Wednesday after serving nearly 40 years in the legislature.

    The Albuquerque Journal first reported Ingle’s plans to retire. The Republican farmer from Portales was known for working across party lines and an easygoing attitude, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

    Former State Sen. John Arthur Smith, a Democrat, called Ingle a dedicated, straight-shooting lawmaker, and Democratic Sen. Peter Wirth said his retirement is a big loss for the Senate because he holds so much institutional memory. Others spoke of his mentorship to lawmakers in both parties.

    Ingle served as minority leader, whip and caucus chairman over his tenure. Commissioners from his district’s five counties will nominate someone to fill his seat until the November 2024 election. The appointment would then be approved by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

    Ingle told the Journal he hopes the Legislature never become a salaried body and that the 30- and 60-day sessions do not become longer. He advised future lawmakers to not let ego replace intellect.

    Farmington police release video from fatal shooting of armed man on Navajo reservation - Associated Press

    The Farmington Police Department on Thursday released video from a shooting where they assisted the Navajo Nation and the armed suspect ended up dead.

    The Oct. 6 incident was the first time in the agency's history officers were directly involved in a shooting while supporting Navajo police, Police Chief Steven Hebbe said in a statement.

    The ordeal began when tribal authorities received reports just after 4:30 p.m. that someone was walking around with a shotgun on the Navajo Nation reservation, which extends into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona.

    Navajo police officers responded and the suspect, identified as Brandon Blackwater, sequestered himself inside an RV trailer.

    Police attempted to negotiate with him for almost an hour when he opened fire, according to a timeline released by Farmington police.

    One officer was wounded and transported to a hospital.

    Four Farmington police SWAT officers with armored vehicles arrived just before 9 p.m.

    Camera footage from the helmet of one of the officers, Sgt. Matt Burns, shows when a fire breaks out in the RV after the SWAT team deploys flash bangs and tear gas.

    Blackwater emerged from the trailer as firefighters were extinguishing the flames, according to Hebbe. Burns said he spotted the suspect was pointing a gun toward officers so he fired a round.

    The footage shows Navajo firefighters working when suddenly one officer shoots multiple times and other gunfire can be heard. An officer than yells to "cease fire."

    Blackwater, who had the gun tied to him, was pronounced dead at the scene.

    FBI investigators are determining who fired the shots that killed Blackwater and the cause of the fire.

    Burns was placed on administrative leave pending investigation.

    Federal agencies give nod to bill banning mining around Pecos - By Danielle Prokop, Source New Mexico

    Two federal agencies committed their support Wednesday of a bill brought by the New Mexico Congressional delegation to ban mining development in nearly 163,000 acres of federal land in the Upper Pecos watershed.

    Most of the land – 161,162 acres proposed for withdrawal – is owned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service in the Santa Fe National Forest surrounding the town of Pecos. Another 1,600 acres have mineral rights managed by the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management. It would also designate another 11,599 acres as part of the Thompson Peak Wilderness Area.

    Deputy secretaries from both agencies gave their written support forU.S. Senate Bill 3033 at Wednesday’s Public Lands, Forests and Mining subcommittee hearing.

    In her opening remarks, Principal Deputy Director Nada Wolff Culver said the withdrawal and protection of Pecos wilderness would align with “the administration’s conservation and environmental justice goals.”

    Wolff Culver’s position marks a change from the previous administration, when Bureau of Land Management officialstestified against the bill.

    Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) noted the area’s farmers, ranchers, hunters and nearby Pueblos are “united by their reliance” on the Pecos river and the forested watershed.

    “The last thing this area needs is new mines that would pose a threat to the Pecos River itself,” Heinrich said. Local governments including Jemez Pueblo, Tesuque Pueblo, San Miguel and Santa Fe counties and the Village of Pecos, have written letters or passed resolutions supporting the effort.

    This is the third time Heinrich has introduced the bill. He’s joined this session by co-sponsor Sen. Ben Ray Luján. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández put forward an identical bill in the House.

    OLD WOUNDS, NEW THREATS

    The region has a history. The Terrero Mine and its mill operated between 1927 and 1939 on the Pecos River, pulling mostly zinc and lead, but also copper, silver and gold from the mountains.

    The mine’s most devastating spill came 50 years after its closure. Floods from heavy snowmelt in 1991 sent tailings with sulfuric acid and metals downriver. The spill buried Willow creek in sludge and killed tens of thousands of fish in the Pecos River and Lisboa Springs hatchery. The event pushed federal officials to declare it a Superfund site.

    Cleanup has taken decades and cost tens of millions of dollars. The state wasstill paying $80,000 per year in 2019-2022 according to a New Mexico Environment Department presentation.

    In 2019, mining company Comexico LLC, which is owned by Australian company New World Cobalt, announced a proposal for “exploratory drilling” in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This would include the old Terrero mine operation and nearby deposits. New World Cobalt told its investors in April 2019 that mineral potential in New Mexico was “an outstanding opportunity” to develop on adjacent potentially gold-rich deposits.

    New World Cobalt officials called the Terrero acquisition a “potential game-changer” that represented “unrivaled new growth and development opportunity.”

    Even if withdrawn, the land would still be subject to existing rights. In its written comment, the U.S. Forest Service noted that “mean[s] mining and other associated activities can continue within the withdrawn area as long as valid rights were established at or before the withdrawal and remain valid.”

    The Stop Terrero Mine Coalition – which includes diverse groups from agriculture, local and tribal governments, conservation and hunting groups – said this year they are concerned Comexicohas more than 230 mining claims in the greater Pecos headwaters.

    The Terrero project hasnot received any permits, yet. The process has largely stopped, waiting on federal agencies to issue their reports on the proposals.

    The U.S. Forest Service has not issued an environmental assessment, said Sidney Hill, a spokesperson for the New Mexico Energy Minerals Natural Resources Department.

    “Once the report is released, [the Minerals and Mining Division] can proceed with its technical review of the project and schedule its public hearing,” Hill wrote in an email.

    In June, the New Mexico delegation sent aletter to both agencies to temporarily limit activities – such as hard-rock mining – in the Upper Pecos watershed.

    In a response letter, Forest Chief Randy Moore said the agency was “evaluating the potential risk of mineral development in the Upper Pecos Watershed and whether our current laws and regulations are adequate for its protection.”

     U.S. Forest Service working on response to Rep. Leger Fernández’s push for wildfire precautions - By Megan Gleason, Source New Mexico

    A member of New Mexico’s federal delegation representing disaster victims in northern New Mexico is waiting for the U.S. Forest Service to respond to her request for additional safety measures to prevent wildfires.

    U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández wrote a letter to U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore on Oct. 18, urging his agency to use infrared drones to better monitor all prescribed burns in New Mexico, which she said he committed to before a federal House committee.

    Forest Service staff walked back on the drone commitment about two weeks ago because the agency doesn’t have enough drones, Leger Fernández said, which prompted her to send the letter.

    “You have an obligation to rebuild the trust of New Mexican communities devastated by your agency’s past negligence,” Leger Fernández wrote.

    The U.S. Forest Service is working on a response to the letter requesting a commitment to use infrared drones, agency spokesperson Wade Muehlhof said via email on Wednesday. He said the Forest Service is “currently using these technologies as capacity and budgets permit.”

    “The Forest Service is committed to using all available tools to ensure the safest implementation of prescribed fires,” he said.

    A spokesperson from Leger Fernández’s office said it generally takes a few weeks to get responses to letters to agencies.

    Not using infrared cameras and drones is something Leger Fernández has in the past said is an issue.

    A pile burn started up the Calf Canyon Fire in 2022, which crews had stopped monitoring because they wrongly thought it was fully extinguished. The same year, the Cerro Pelado Fire kicked up after embers sat dormant in a pile of ash that crews searched by hand.

    A prescribed burn review the U.S. Forest Service conducted in September 2022, prompted by the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon Fire, recommended increasing the use of technology like infrared to monitor prescribed burns — something not fully used by the Forest Service, the report says.

    “New Mexicans deserve to feel safe in their homes knowing that the Forest Service will use every available technology to make sure the fire is out,” Leger Fernández said in her letter.

    She asked Moore if the Forest Service has and will continue to use infrared drones at all prescribed burns in New Mexico. She also asked how many more infrared drones and additional funding the agency needs to make sure this happens.

    The full letter can be found at SourceNM.com.

    National Air Races get bids for new home in California, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming - Associated Press

    Leaders of the National Championship Air Races held in Reno since 1964 plan visits later this year to six Western cities that have submitted bids to host the annual competition beginning in 2025 in California, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado or Wyoming.

    Organizers of the event announced early this year that the races held last month would be the last in Reno because of a variety of factors, including rising insurance costs and encroachment of housing around Reno-Stead Airport where the races have been held for more than a half-century.

    Three of the cities that have submitted proposals to become the competition's new home are in states neighboring Nevada — Wendover, Utah, on the Nevada line along Interstate 80; Thermal, California, southeast of Palm Springs; and Buckeye, Arizona, on the western edge of Phoenix.

    The others are Roswell, New Mexico; Pueblo, Colorado; and Casper, Wyoming.

    Fred Telling, CEO and chairman of the board for the Reno Air Racing Association, said elected officials and tourism executives from all six cities attended the races that were cut short on Sept. 17 when two planes collided in mid-air, killing both pilots.

    Telling told the officials to return home to determine whether their communities wanted to reconsider given the tragedy.

    "No one backed out," he told the Reno Gazette Journal last week.

    Telling said organizers didn't want to leave Reno but were left no choice when the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority voted to terminate their contract.

    "Seeing the interest to host the National Championship Air Races at each of these unique venues gives me great hope for the future of air racing," he said in a statement.

    A selection committee has been established to consider the requirements to host the event, including availability of open land for the racecourses, suitable runways, ramp and hangar space, administrative and security facilities, as well as proximity to hotels, commercial airports and restaurants, the association said.

    "We only want to go through this process once and because of that, we're going to make sure our next location is the best fit for the future of the air races," said Terry Matter, board member and chairman of the selection committee.

    A final decision is expected to be announced early next year as the organization prepares for a final air show in Reno in 2024 before moving to the new location in 2025.

    Over just the past 10 years, the event attracted more than 1 million visitors to the Reno area and generated more than $750 million for the economy, the association said.

    Event organizers had been considering moving to a new home since insurance costs starting rising after the 2011 event when a plane had a mechanical failure and crashed into the apron in front of the grandstand, killing the pilot and 10 spectators and seriously injuring another 70.

    It was one of the deadliest air show disasters in U.S. history.

    Federal officials say plan for water cuts from 3 Western states is enough to protect Colorado River - By Kathleen Ronayne and Amy Taxin Associated Press

    Federal officials said Wednesday that conditions have improved on the Colorado River to the point that a plan by California, Arizona and Nevada to voluntarily reduce water use should help keep the river basin on stable footing for the next few years.

    The U.S. Department of the Interior said in a statement that the risk of reaching critically low water elevations at Lake Powell and Lake Mead, the river's two key reservoirs, has gone down substantially.

    "We have staved off the immediate possibility of the System's reservoirs from falling to critically low elevations that would threaten water deliveries and power production," Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau said in a statement.

    The river serves seven U.S. states, Native American tribes and two states in Mexico, supports a multibillion-dollar farm industry in the West and generates hydropower used across the region. Years of overuse by farms and cities and the effects of drought worsened by climate change has meant much less water flows through the river today than in previous decades.

    But the announcement displays how much things have changed since summer 2022, when U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton said drastic cuts would be needed to stave off a crisis in the river. The states failed to reach a consensus on cuts, and the federal government did not end up forcing any.

    Earlier this year, the Biden administration released two options that would have forced cuts on Arizona, California and Nevada either proportionally or based on the existing water priority system, which most benefits California. The threat of those two options finally forced the three states to reach their own voluntary plan for how to reduce their use of the river's water.

    In May, they proposed to help shore up water levels by conserving at least an additional 3 million acre feet of water through the end of 2026 in exchange for $1.2 billion in federal money.

    Though the federal government needs to finish its regulatory process, Wednesday's announcement indicates it is poised to officially accept that plan, said JB Hamby, chairman of the Colorado River Board of California and a board member at the Imperial Irrigation District, the largest user of the river's water.

    Federal money and a good winter that shored up water supplies across California and the West have helped changed the trajectory of negotiations, he said.

    "This is a victory for collaboration as an approach rather than conflict, which is where we started," Hamby said.

    California will be responsible for more than half of the total cuts. Those could be achieved through things like implementing water efficiency measures and idling certain crops for months at a time, Hamby said previously.

    Already, the three states have lowered their water use, said Tom Buschatzke, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the state's representative on Colorado River issues. He said Arizona was on track this year to use about one-third less water than the amount it is allocated.

    "Arizona's conservation efforts alone have been substantial," he said in a statement.

    Now, the states can turn their attention to a new long-term agreement for how to share the river's water beyond 2026.

    Hamby said he looks forward to "using that momentum to start to build what the next 20 years looks like on the Colorado River."

    Not everyone was optimistic about the plan. Kyle Roerink of the Great Basin Water Network, a conservation group that has been critical of federal management of the river, said the latest proposal fails to take a hard look at the long-term challenges facing the system.

    "The brink will be back, and I fear that hoopla surrounding this document will distract from the challenges that lie ahead," he said in a statement.

    __

    Taxin reported from Santa Ana, California. Associated Press writers Suman Naishadham in Washington and Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed.

    State lacks money and workers to fully connect everyone to good internet - By Megan Gleason,Source New Mexico

    New Mexico needs billions of dollars more to connect everyone to fiber-optic internet, a state broadband official told lawmakers this week.

    Even with additional money, a manual workforce shortage could present challenges in getting things done.

    Drew Lovelace, acting director of the state’s Office of Broadband Access and Expansion, spoke to the legislative Land Grant committee on Monday to update them on efforts to get New Mexicans connected to broadband.

    A major priority is accessing $675 million in federal funding the state secured over the summer. The broadband office has to submit its first proposal in late December laying out internet setup and expansion plans. Meanwhile, people can tell the state their thoughts.

    “We’re right on target to be able to deliver that and make sure that $675 million that’s been allocated continues to come into the state,” Lovelace said.

    The state won’t actually see the federal money coming in for projects until 2025, he said.

    And it won’t be enough to connect everyone to good, reliable internet still, he added. Lovelace said there’s still a $2.1 billion gap in getting fiber to homes and businesses across the state.

    “The most long-term, most reliable technology is going to be pretty expensive,” he said.

    The state will spend most of the $675 million grant to hook up homes not connected to internet at all or whose connections are too slow, he said. That still leaves out many households with slow speeds, making things like telehealth or remote work and education difficult or impossible from home.

    Lovelace also said New Mexico lacks workers needed to set up broadband infrastructure. He said there’s a need for positions like laborers and material movers, trucking crews, trenchers, and fiber and wireless technicians.

    And those types of positions are going to be high in demand in the next six years, if not already, he said, because federal infrastructure programs prioritized by the Biden administration also need a manual workforce and will start rolling out around the country then.

    “All of these funds use the same labor, and that’s going to be where our challenges really lie ahead of us,” he said.

    The lack of broadband workers is something local and state officials have talked about before. At a broadband summit in May 2023, universities and local organizations explored potential solutions for how to fill the workforce, like offering more college courses and trainings or providing adequate job funding.

    FEDERAL INTERNET MAPS REMAIN INACCURATE

    he federal maps showing areas with and without broadband in New Mexico are still wrong, excluding areas still needing good internet. This has been an issue since the Federal Communications Commission released the original map in November 2022.

    Lovelace said the state’s broadband office is working to fix these errors. Mistakes on these maps could leave New Mexicans out of the loop to benefit from the $675 million.

    In earlier versions, most missing areas were on tribal land and some Pueblos were nearly missing altogether.

    The federal broadband program the $675 million comes from requires tribal consultations, and Lovelace said the office has talked with 22 of 23 tribes so far. He didn’t specify which tribal nation the agency has yet to consult.

    “We want to make sure that we’re out in the communities and getting broadband to where it’s needed the most,” Lovelace said. “And so that’s been a big, big success for us.”

    LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

    The state could help bridge the $2.1 billion gap Lovelace said is a problem.

    He said the broadband office started with an $800,000 budget a few years ago and is now up to a $1.2 million budget. He urged the lawmakers to continue funding the agency as the 2024 legislative session nears, acknowledging that $2.1 billion all at once is unrealistic to ask for.

    “But we think that we need to do this over time,” he said.

    He said the federal government could come out with additional broadband or infrastructure funds in the future, but if that doesn’t happen, the need for broadband doesn’t just stop.

    The Connect New Mexico program, created and funded by lawmakers in 2021, could help address this gap, he said. The fund has $100 million, and he said continuing to channel money through — even beyond 2026, which is the current end date — will help.

    “The reality is that broadband is not going away,” he said.

    Since starting in 2021, the broadband office has expanded from two employees to 20 employees, he said. Now, he said, the agency wants to grow to 45 employees.

    Lovelace said the state’s broadband program should also be a separate entity from the New Mexico Department of Information Technology, which it currently operates under. He said the additional oversight slows the process to set up broadband.

    “Given how quickly we have to move on some of these programs, waiting six months for a contract to go through is challenging at best,” he said.

    Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez (D-Albuquerque) said she’s not convinced the broadband office needs autonomy and thinks the agency mostly disperses federal funds. So, she asked, what happens when there are no more federal dollars?

    “You have not, at least at this point, convinced me at all of the need,” she said.

    She also asked if the office has reached out to land grants to ensure those people get resources. Lovelace said that hasn’t really happened yet, but the agency plans to soon have those conversations.

    Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D-Albuquerque) said he doesn’t understand the point of investing so much money in broadband for only a fraction of the state’s population who might not be able to afford the better internet anyway. He said it would be cheaper for the state to give families money to hook up to satellite systems.

    However, Lovelace said fixed wireless or fiber is actually much more affordable in broadband-servable locations than a satellite system. He also said there are latency issues when too many people connect to satellites.

    “Right now, you have to buy a $600 satellite system from Starlink, and then you’re paying $120 a month. And that’s going to be beyond most rural folks’ capability, unless you’re a business or a farm,” he said.

    Rep. Cristina Parajón (D-Albuquerque) asked what the return on the broadband investments in New Mexico looks like. Lovelace said there are no economic studies on it yet because it’s still early on but anecdotally, it’s very good, especially for communities that would lose families because they can’t work or do school remotely.

    Rural and tribal communities have historically been the ones without broadband.

    “It is a game changer,” Lovelace said.

    TRYING TO GET MORE FEDERAL DOLLARS

    Lovelace said the state is on track to meet another deadline in February for a separate program regarding digital equity through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The federal agency is supposed to announce that award in summer 2024.

    2 young children and their teen babysitter died in a fire at a Roswell home, fire officials said - Associated Press

    Two young children and their teenage babysitter have died in a fire at a Roswell home, authorities said Wednesday.

    Roswell Fire Department officials said a 3-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy were rushed to a hospital Tuesday night along with a 16-year-old girl who was babysitting the siblings.

    The three were later pronounced dead. Their names haven't been released yet.

    Authorities said the parents of the two children returned home and found their house filled with smoke. The three victims were found unresponsive inside the home around 10:30 p.m.

    Fire officials say the blaze happened in the front living room of the house, but there was smoke and heat damage throughout the home.

    They said the Roswell Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the cause of the fatal blaze with assistance from city police.

    Abortions in the US rose slightly overall after post-Roe restrictions were put in place, study finds - By Geoff Mulvihill Associated Press

    The total number of abortions provided in the U.S. rose slightly in the 12 months after states began implementing bans on them throughout pregnancy, a new survey finds.

    The report out this week from the Society of Family Planning, which advocates for abortion access, shows the number fell to nearly zero in states with the strictest bans — but rose elsewhere, especially in states close to those with the bans. The monthly averages overall from July 2022 through June 2023 were about 200 higher than in May and June 2022.

    The changes reflect major shifts after the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2022 handed down its Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling, overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that had made abortion legal nationally. Since last year, most Republican-controlled states have enacted restrictions, while most Democrat-controlled states have extended protections for those from out of state seeking abortion.

    "The Dobbs decision turned abortion access in this country upside down," Alison Norris, a co-chair for the study, known as WeCount, and a professor at The Ohio State University's College of Public Health, said in a statement. "The fact that abortions increased overall in the past year shows what happens when abortion access is improved, and some previously unmet need for abortion is met." But she noted that bans make access harder — and sometimes impossible — for some people.

    Meanwhile, an anti-abortion group celebrated that the number of abortions in states with the tightest restrictions declined by nearly 115,000. "WeCount's report confirms pro-life protections in states are having a positive impact," Tessa Longbons, a senior researcher for the Charlotte Lozier Institute, said in a statement.

    Abortion bans and restrictions are consistently met with court challenges, and judges have put some of them on hold. Currently, laws are being enforced in 14 states that bar abortion throughout pregnancy, with limited exceptions, and two more that ban it after cardiac activity can be detected — usually around six weeks of gestational age and before many women realize they're pregnant.

    In all, abortions provided by clinics, hospitals, medical offices and virtual-only clinics rose by nearly 200 a month nationally from July 2022 through June 2023 compared with May and June 2022. The numbers do not reflect abortion obtained outside the medical system — such as by getting pills from a friend. The data also do not account for seasonal variation in abortion, which tends to happen most often in the spring.

    The states with big increases include Illinois, California and New Mexico, where state government is controlled by Democrats. But also among them are Florida and North Carolina, where restrictions have been put into place since the Dobbs ruling. In Florida, abortions are banned after 15 weeks of pregnancy — and it could go to six weeks under a new law that won't be enforced unless a judge's ruling clears the way. And in North Carolina, a ban on abortion after 12 weeks kicked in in July. The states still have more legal access than most in the Southeast.

    The researchers pointed to several factors for the numbers rising, including more funding and organization to help women in states with bans travel to those where abortion is legal, an increase in medication abortion through online-only clinics, more capacity in states where abortion remains legal later in pregnancy and possibly less stigma associated with ending pregnancies.

    Nationally, the number of abortions has also been rising since 2017.

    Sources


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