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Alabama ruling on embryos as humans could hit women of color harder: With Black and Brown women accounting for more than one-fourth of in vitro fertilizations, Alabama’s ruling that defines embryos as human life is likely to affect women of color harder than other demographics, writes The Grio.  Black and Brown women are “more than likely going to be targets of criminalization,” said Nourbese Flint, president of All* Above All, a nonprofit led by women of color that aims to “catalyze abortion justice.” On Wednesday, Alabama’s highest court ruled that embryos are now considered human lives, a tenet of the new fetal personhood movement that seeks to proclaim personhood at the moment of conception. Flint said the Alabama ruling could lead to restrictions on not only in vitro fertilization, but also stem cell research and birth control bans, The Grio writes.

Police say nonbinary teen’s death unrelated to bathroom assault injuries: The death of a 16-year-old Owasso, Okl., teen Feb. 8, a day after being beaten in the school bathroom after pouring water on older students in retaliation for being bullied, was unrelated to injuries received in the beating, Owasso police announced late Wednesday, reports AP News. Preliminary autopsy results “indicated that the decedent did not die as a result of trauma,” investigators announced, and the full autopsy results will be released following toxicology and other texts. Nex Benedict texted a family member about the assault the night before they died and described the encounter and being taken to the hospital shortly after the assault, where they said they had received “a shot in the butt for pain” for the cuts and bruises they received. Benedict returned home that night, but died the next day shortly after emergency responders were called to their home for a medical emergency, AP also reports.  Benedict was also “dead-named” by their family in a GoFundMe account and a funeral announcement, fueling social media rumors that the school, police and the media had misnamed and misgendered the youth. Benedict’s grandmother asked for understanding and patience about the family’s mis-step. The youth’s death has sparked viral social media posts focusing on the anti-transgender rhetoric of Oklahoma’s schools leader, and the state’s pattern of anti-transgender laws. Oklahoma passed a bill requiring youth to use the bathroom of their birth gender in 2022, and last year passed a law banning gender transition care for minors, reports the New York Times.

Student loan debts forgiven for 150,000: Debtors who borrowed less than $12,000 and have paid their student loans for 10 years now have their loans forgiven, under the first phase of President Joe Biden’s SAVE program for student loan forgiveness, reports HuffPost. The plan wipes out student loan debt for 153,000 people. Borrowers who received loans for more than $12,000 are also eligible for forgiveness, but on a longer timeline, Huffpost writes.

Redlined neighborhoods of the past suffer higher air pollution today: Air pollution from vehicles,  and power generators, vehicle exhaust, cooking and wildfires is worse in Denver’s neighborhoods populated mostly by People of Color, according to a new study published this week in Environmental Science and Technology. The researchers traced the disparities to a direct correlation with neighborhoods marked in “red” in the 1930s and 1940s, under redlining polices that ranked neighborhoods in terms of safety determined by racial population, The Hill reports. The study also showed that gas and vehicle emissions were likely greater in formerly redlined neighborhoods because those areas were more often chosen as land to be used for highway construction.

(cover photo features logo for Owasso High School that Nex Benedict attended, a human embryo, and President Joe Biden announcing parts of his student loan forgiveness program in October 2023, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)