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Up First briefing: Abortion advocates see election wins; congenital syphilis rises

Issue 1 supporters celebrate at a watch party, Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment that guarantees the right to abortion and other forms of reproductive health care. The outcome of Tuesday's intense, off-year election was the latest blow for abortion opponents.
Sue Ogrocki
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AP
Issue 1 supporters celebrate at a watch party, Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment that guarantees the right to abortion and other forms of reproductive health care. The outcome of Tuesday's intense, off-year election was the latest blow for abortion opponents.

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Today's top stories

Abortion rights advocates scored big wins last night as several states held off-year elections. Ohio voters backed a constitutional amendment guaranteeing abortion rights. While abortion wasn't directly on the ballot in Virginia, it was central to campaigns. Democrats there took full control of the state legislature.

  • On Up First, NPR's Sarah McCammon says these results show that voters can use the ballot box to push back on abortion restrictions, even in red states. Similar ballot initiatives are expected next year in battleground states like Arizona and Florida.


Five Republican presidential candidates take the stage tonight in Miami for the third GOP debate — once again without former President Donald Trump. Here's how to watch.

  • This is the first GOP debate since Hamas attacked Israel. While Democrats are split over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, there isn't as much infighting among Republicans, NPR's Ashley Lopez says. She adds that they could "draw contrast" with Democrats through this debate.


Twenty-two Democratic House members joined Republicans yesterday in a vote to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich, accusing her of "promoting false narratives" regarding Hamas's Oct. 7 attack on Israel. Four Republicans voted against censuring Tlaib, who is the the only Palestinian American in Congress. She says her words were distorted and she was simply exercising her freedom of speech.

  • NPR's Leila Fadel caught up with Americans Wafaa Abuzayda and Abood Okal, who were visiting relatives in Gaza when the war broke out. They crossed into Egypt last week after being trapped in Gaza for nearly a month. Abuzayda says it's "hard to express" whether she's happy because she left family behind.


Check out npr.org/mideastupdates for more coverage, differing views and analysis of this conflict.

The number of babies born in the U.S. with syphilis is 10 times higher than it was a decade ago, according to a new CDC report. Experts say it's a symptom of the nation's epidemic in sexually transmitted infections and a failure in maternal care.

Picture show

<em>Anahi embarazada</em>
/ Daniel Ramos
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Daniel Ramos
Anahi embarazada

When Mexican American photographer Daniel Ramos moved with his wife to Monterrey, Mexico, they expected to stay for six months. Instead, they lived there for nearly six years. During their stay, he spent a lot of time at cantinas — the local bars. His latest exhibit, "Eres Muy Hermosa," includes portraits of cantina regulars and gives a glimpse of Mexico's working class.

Living better

People who practice cognitively enhanced tai chi significantly improved their scores on memory tests.
PYMCA/Avalon / Avalon via Getty Images
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Avalon via Getty Images
People who practice cognitively enhanced tai chi significantly improved their scores on memory tests.

Living Better is a special series about what it takes to stay healthy in America.

Do you forget where you put your keys or walk into a room without remembering what you came there to do? Exercise is one way to keep your brain sharp and combat forgetfulness. A new study shows that tai chi, a form of slow-moving martial arts, can help slow cognitive decline and protect against dementia.

Listen and learn more about how tai chi challenges your brain and body, or read the article here.

3 things to know before you go

An epaulette shark pup that hatched from an apparent parthenogenesis is now on display at Brookfield Zoo, in a Chicago suburb.
/ Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo
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Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo
An epaulette shark pup that hatched from an apparent parthenogenesis is now on display at Brookfield Zoo, in a Chicago suburb.

  • An epaulette shark at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo hatched a pup this summer without the help of a shark daddy. The zoo says it's a rare example of parthenogenesis, a type of asexual reproduction.
  • New York's celebrity owl, Flaco, has been spotted far outside of Central Park for the first time since he escaped from his zoo enclosure in February.
  • A pod of orcas in the Strait of Gibraltar repeatedly rammed into a yacht, sinking it. Rescuers saved crew members and returned them safely to port.

This newsletter was edited by Olivia Hampton.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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