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Feds agree to deadline for sea-turtle safety zone
SAN FRANCISCO — Conservation groups and federal fisheries managers have settled a lawsuit seeking to spur the government to finalize its plan for creating a large protection zone for endangered leatherback sea turtles off the Pacific coast of the U.S.
The settlement filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court requires the National Marine Fisheries Service to finalize the details of its critical habitat plans for the turtles by Nov. 15.
The Center for Biological Diversity and other groups sued after the service missed a deadline to designate 70,600 square miles off the coast of the Western United States as a safe zone for the animals.
The large turtles have an immense range, swimming from Indonesia to the U.S. to lay eggs. The newly protected areas are meant to protect their migratory routes and food supply.
Abortion rights activists critical of new regulations
Abortion rights supporters worried Tuesday that regulations Kansas is trying to enact would give the state health department unfettered access to patient medical records and suggested it could endanger the privacy of women who have terminated pregnancies.
Supporters of the new rules called such concerns unfounded because state law contains protections against patient information becoming public.
One anti-abortion leader said the abortion providers and their allies are trying to stir up privacy fears to avoid scrutiny of their operations.
A new Kansas law requiring abortion providers to obtain a special annual license - and the accompanying health department regulations - are part of a wave of new restrictions enacted across the country. Abortion opponents capitalized on the election of Republican governors or large GOP legislative majorities; Kansas has both. The state also previously drew national attention for a fierce debate over medical records and abortion patients’ privacy when an attorney general investigated clinics.
The new regulations took effect Friday, but a federal judge blocked their enforcement until a lawsuit involving two of the state’s three abortion providers is resolved.
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