Florida Sen. Lauren Book wants to block voting on abortion bans unless half the legislature is women
via Lauren Book for State Senate

Earlier this year, the country saw a veritable tidal wave of abortion bans. Nine states, including Georgia, Alabama, Ohio, and Missouri, all passed new laws that only allow abortions early in pregnancy while some don't allow the procedure at all. These laws were largely decided by men. If more women had been involved in the voting, things might have gone differently, which is why one Florida state senator wants to prevent voting on abortion bans until at least half of the legislature is actually physically capable of getting pregnant.

State Sen. Lauren Book filed SB60, a bill that would allow Floridians to vote on a constitutional amendment that prevents the state legislature from voting on abortion bans unless half of the legislative body is female. "No vote about us without us," Book told the Tallahassee Democrat.


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"If we're not being represented in the legislative body, I don't think that older white men should be deciding what and how reproductive health care is looked at and [making] decisions that are life-altering," she told the Huffington Post.

Book also told the Huffington Post that women will continue to get abortions, even if they live in a state with restrictive abortion bans. "We need to make sure that it's healthy, we need to make sure that it's safe. We need to make sure that there's access," she said.

Currently, both the Florida House and Senate is majority male. Men make up 70% of the House, with 84 out of 120 male state representatives. In the Florida State Senate, the percentage is the same. Out of 40 state senators, only 12 are women. Florida has also been looking to pass their own anti-abortion legislation. Two bills were introduced by two different men, however no bills were actually voted on.

RELATED: Pro-choicer gets called a 'murderer,' responds with questions about what it means to be 'pro-life'

Regardless of where one stands on abortion, it's important to make sure female voices are included and heard when discussing women's issues. It's not fair to say, "You can't get one" if you're physically incapable of ever needing one.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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