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Arizona says century-old abortion ban can be enforced; EPA limits 'forever chemicals'

After the Arizona Supreme Court allowed for near-total abortion ban, a group of abortion-rights protesters gathered outside the Arizona state Capitol in Phoenix on April 9, 2024.
Katherine Davis-Young
After the Arizona Supreme Court allowed for near-total abortion ban, a group of abortion-rights protesters gathered outside the Arizona state Capitol in Phoenix on April 9, 2024.

Good morning. You're reading the Up First newsletter. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox, and listen to the Up First podcast for all the news you need to start your day.

Today's top stories

Arizona's Supreme Court ruled that the state should follow a restrictive abortion ban passed during the Civil War. The near-total ban doesn't include exceptions for rape or incest and makes performing an abortion punishable by two to five years in prison. It includes an exception to save the woman's life. In the ruling, the judges wrote they would stay the decision for 14 business days, possibly longer, allowing abortions to continue during that time.

  • On Up First, NPR's Ximena Bustillo says this is now one of the oldest abortion laws on the books — older than Arizona itself. There's an effort to put a measure on the state's November ballot that would overrule this decision and establish a fundamental right to abortion. The amendment would protect abortion access until viability and protect the patient's health, as determined by the health care provider giving treatment. Supporters of this amendment have already collected more than enough signatures to put it on the ballot. 

The Environmental Protection Agency has put limits on certain PFAS, or so-called "forever chemicals," in drinking water for the first time. PFAS are a large group of human-made chemicals that have been used since the 1940s to waterproof and stainproof products — at a cost to human health. These chemicals have been linked to cancers, liver damage, high cholesterol and more. The new rules mean utilities will now need to look for six of these chemicals in drinking water and remove them if they exceed EPA limits.

  • Limiting six chemicals doesn't sound like much, considering there are more than 12,000 known PFAS, NPR's Pien Huang reports. But experts she spoke to say it's a strong first step. The EPA estimates it will cost $1.5 billion each year for water companies to comply with its new rules. Huang says consumer water bills may go up eventually, but the federal government has dedicated billions of dollars for PFAS removal as a first resort. 

President Biden will welcome Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to the White House today for a state visit. The leaders are expected to discuss how to deepen their cooperation on global security issues, AI research and more. But a crack in the allies' economic relationship could overshadow the event. Last year, U.S. Steel reached a nearly $15 billion takeover deal from Japan's Nippon Steel — a deal Biden has opposed.

  • This is going to make the state visit "very awkward," NPR's Franco Ordoñez says. White House officials insist the leaders won't discuss it in their meetings, but Ordoñez says reporters are likely to raise questions at the press conference. He says it's "highly unusual" for Biden to come out so publicly against this deal. Critics say Biden could discourage foreign investment and "contradict the idea that the U.S. is open for business."

The science of siblings

Malte Mueller / Getty Images/fStop
Getty Images/fStop

The Science of Siblings is a new series from NPR exploring the ways our siblings can influence us, from our money and our mental health all the way down to our very molecules

Happy National Siblings Day! Science tells us that siblings can change our lives, even affecting our identity and sexuality. Here's how:

  • Studies have shown that men who are attracted to the same sex are more likely to have older brothers than other types of siblings. This phenomenon was dubbed the "fraternal birth order effect."
  • This effect shows about a 33% increase in the probability of male same-sex attraction for each older brother you have.
  • Scientists theorized that the mother's immune system response to the proteins created by the Y chromosome in male fetuses could be behind this effect. This is called the "maternal immune hypothesis."
  • But a recent study that sampled 9 million people showed women in same-sex marriages were also more likely to have older brothers, putting the hypothesis up for debate. 

Learn more about the fraternal birth order effect and the dark history of scientific sexuality research on Short Wave. Read more about the science of siblings here, including how a male fetus's hormones can affect his sister's future in the womb.

Deep dive

Many young people who started vaping nicotine as teens several years ago haven't quit the habit, data show.
Daisy-Daisy / Getty Images
Getty Images
Many young people who started vaping nicotine as teens several years ago haven't quit the habit, data show.

New data on vaping use among young adults suggests those who have gotten addicted to vaping in their teens haven't quit. For years, marketing by e-cigarette companies has led teens to try vaping. In Colorado, the share of those aged 18 to 24 who regularly vaped rose by about 61% from 2020 to 2022 — to nearly a quarter of that age group. Nationally, vaping rates for young adults have increased from 7.6% in 2018 to 11% in 2021. Meanwhile, vape rates among high schoolers and minors have dropped significantly.

  • Isolation and the pandemic have driven substance use. Experts say that not understanding the amount of nicotine in these products means that more young people have gotten hooked without realizing it.
  • The "Juul effect" plays a role even after its ban. In 2019, Juul products were everywhere. Lawsuits argued that the company aggressively marketed itself to kids, and Juul paid millions in settlements as a result. The FDA banned flavored vape cartridges in 2020 in an effort to crack down on marketing to minors, but the products are still easy to find.
  • Young adults lead vape sales, even though the product was originally intended to help users quit cigarette smoking. The 18-24 age group leads all age groups in regular use, and use gradually dropped with each age cohort, up to the 65+ demographic, of which just 1% use e-cigarettes.

3 things to know before you go

Country music star Morgan Wallen attending the CMA Awards in Nashville in November 2023.
Jason Kempin / Getty Images
Getty Images
Country music star Morgan Wallen attending the CMA Awards in Nashville in November 2023.

  1. Country star Morgan Wallen was arrested after allegedly throwing a chair from the rooftop of a bar Sunday night.
  2. Shares of Truth Social have slumped, and it's now trading at its lowest level since the company's trading debut on March 26. 
  3. Workers at 911 call centers say their facilities are understaffed, according to a 2023 survey. Here's why those answering emergency calls say their jobs have gotten even harder in the last few months.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi and Obed Manuel. Mansee Khurana contributed.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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