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PM NewsBrief: Nov. 21, 2023

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Tuesday, November 21, 2023.

Title X lawsuit

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond is suing the Department of Health and Human Services after it suspended funding for family planning services.

Clinics participating in Title X programs offer confidential and low-cost family planning resources for all ages, including contraceptives, counseling and pregnancy testing. Title X programs require information and counseling on all options, which includes abortion if a pregnant patient requests it.

The State Department of Health’s funding was revoked after it refused to give patients that information. Drummond’s lawsuit seeks to restore that funding. It argues that federal law says Title X funding should not be used in programs where abortion is a form of family planning.

The State Department of Health has received Title X funding since 1971, and it is dipping into $4.5 million in state funds to continue family planning services through county health departments. But birth control and pregnancy testing are no longer available without a parent’s permission.

Hazing settlement

Kingfisher Public Schools reaches a settlement with a former football player who filed a hazing lawsuit against the district.

Mason Mecklenburg will receive a $5 million settlement from the Kingfisher Public School district instead of going to trial over alleged hazing he faced as a Kingfisher football player. The 2021 lawsuit alleged Mecklenburg was physically, verbally, and sexually abused by fellow teammates and coaches.

Kingfisher football coach Jeff Myers was charged with child neglect last month and is accused of condoning locker room fights between students referred to as “The Ring.” Cell phone video footage from 2018 showing players fighting each other in the locker room was used in both the civil and criminal cases.

Variations on a rainbow

The Cherokee Nation is hosting an exhibit honoring one of their National Treasures, Bill Rabbit.

The exhibit at the Cherokee Nation Anna Mitchell Cultural and Welcome Center in Vinita celebrates the life of painter Bill Rabbit with the exhibit Bill Rabbit: Variations on a Rainbow. On display will be 40 works of art, some of which have never been seen by the public and are on loan from the late artist's family. The exhibit is currently on view and will be up through May 12, 2024.

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