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Parkland shooter trial, Florida’s abortion paradox, medicine in outer space

Courtesy of Shilpi Ganguly
Shilpi Ganguly, a student at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, at Mount Kilimanjaro. She is pursuing the study of medicine in outer space.

How COVID has led to chaos in the courtroom during the confessed-Parkland shooter's trial. Plus, Florida’s paradox in regards to abortion. Why some red districts still want access. And a medical student searching for the medicines that will help us when we live in outer space.

On this Wednesday, June 8, edition of Sundial:

Updates in the confessed Parkland shooter's trial

Defense lawyers representing the confessed shooter asked to withdraw from the case this week.

That's because a COVID infection on the defendant's legal team has led to chaos in the trial for the confessed Parkland school shooter, Nikolas Cruz after someone on the legal team tested positive for the virus.

WLRN is committed to providing South Florida with trusted news and information. As the pandemic continues, our mission is as vital as ever. Your support makes it possible. Please donate today. Thank you.

At the moment, both sides are still trying to finalize the jury for the second phase of the capital case.

WLRN's Broward County Reporter, Gerard Albert III, joined Sundial to help us understand what happened and how it impacts the case going forward.

You can hear that full conversation, below:

Updates in the confessed Parkland shooter's trial
Assistant State Attorney Carolyn McCann, left, speaks with Assistant State Attorney Nicole Chiappone during a hearing in preparation for the penalty phase of the trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz at the Broward County Courthouse.

Florida’s abortion paradox

When it comes to abortion, Florida is a paradox.

While the state has passed some of the most restrictive laws in the country, it also has one of the highest rates of abortion. Part of that is because of people holding incongruent political beliefs — but another dynamic at play is restrictions in other places.

“We are seeing people coming from other countries, especially in Caribbean nations, where abortion is banned … but more so it's folks coming in from the neighboring states, from Alabama," Arek Sarkissian, a health reporter for POLITICO Florida, said on Sundial.

Sarkissian, along with Kathy Gilsinan, an author and contributing editor at POLITICO Magazine, recently published a deep dive into the attitudes people have about politics and abortion.

Gilsinan specifically spoke with people in Hialeah.

“Miami-Dade County has the highest number of abortion clinics in the state. That's 14. And then Hialeah, which is a Republican enclave in Miami-Dade County, has five abortion clinics by itself. And so this was just a really interesting disconnect that we sought to explore," Gilsinan said on Sundial.

"I think it's very easy for political commentators and politicians and reporters and activists to think about this in terms of the abstracts and the fights," she continued. "But really, this is such an individual, often excruciating decision. And, you know, one woman I talked to about it outside of an abortion clinic in Hialeah said, 'Listen, it doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or Republican if you can't afford a kid.'"

South Florida paints a clear picture of what’s happening around the state — the disconnect between how people feel about abortion and what they choose to do about it.

Florida’s abortion paradox
A pro-abortion rights activist (center) demonstrates in the middle of anti-abortion activists as they demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court during the March For Life in Washington, D.C., in January 2017. At least half of all states in the U.S. have imposed restrictions on abortion in the decades following Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision recognizing a woman's right to abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Medicine in outer space

In outer space, human bodies react very differently than on earth. Aches, illnesses, injuries and the way they are treated will be very different.

“Basically, everything and anything that can go wrong goes wrong in space for the human body,” said Shilpi Ganguly, a student at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine who is pursuing space medicine.

She recently became one of the country’s first medical students to complete a space medicine rotation with SpaceX, where she contributed on a launch of an all-civilian crew into space.

Much of the medication we take here on the ground may not work the same, or at all, in zero gravity and other hostile environments.

Ganguly hasn’t been to space, but she does have experience practicing medicine in extreme environments.

“I'm a big high alpine mountaineer. I love climbing mountains. I'm trying to work my way through the seven summits,” she said. “Space is probably the most extreme and austere of environments ... all the lessons that we learn here on Earth in the wilderness apply very much for space reticence.”

She joined Sundial to discuss her passion for space medicine, how it started with a planet being named after her, and a free online lecture series on wilderness medicine education.

Medicine in outer space
A view of Earth as seen from EPIC, the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera.

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Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the lead producer behind WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.
Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, currently leads the WLRN Newsroom as Interim Managing Editor. Prior to transitioning to leadership from production, Caitie reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News for four years.