Up First briefing: Florida abortion ban, NYPD clears Columbia protest People in Florida no longer have access to abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. Police have cleared Hamilton Hall and the pro-Palestinian encampment at Columbia University.

Florida abortion ban takes effect; NYPD breaks up Columbia protests

Florida abortion ban takes effect; NYPD breaks up Columbia protests

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1248421315/1248425520" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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

New York police officers cleared the pro-Palestinian encampment at Columbia University late last night. Officers also used an armored vehicle to push a bridge through the window of a building students had barricaded themselves in. Police also made arrests at The City College of New York, less than a mile away from Columbia.

Using a tactical vehicle, New York City police enter an upper floor of Hamilton Hall on the Columbia University campus in New York, Tuesday, April 30, 2024, after the building was taken over by protesters earlier in the day. Craig Ruttle/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Craig Ruttle/AP

Using a tactical vehicle, New York City police enter an upper floor of Hamilton Hall on the Columbia University campus in New York, Tuesday, April 30, 2024, after the building was taken over by protesters earlier in the day.

Craig Ruttle/AP
  • NPR's Brian Mann tells Up First that Columbia students were shocked, dismayed, and stunned by the overwhelming force used by police. Columbia spokesman Ben Chang said in a press conference that protesters were frightening other students. Mann adds that despite this, there's been a lot of community support for these encampments. Lena Whitney, a City College graduate who witnessed the police action last night, told NPR, "These students are putting their lives at risk; they're putting their jobs, their diplomas at risk because they're fighting for  something bigger — the right to life for Palestinians."
  • At similar demonstrations across the country, faculty members have been increasingly defending their students' right to protest. Several professors speak with NPR about how they're protecting academic freedom.
  • Student demands vary across campuses, but they broadly want their universities to end investments with — or divest from — companies that do business with Israel. But does it really work? Here's what divestment means, and why universities are saying no.

Stay updated on campus protests over the Gaza war here.

Starting today, people in Florida can no longer access abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, except in rare circumstances. The restriction replaces a 15-week ban that has been in effect since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. Voters will have a chance to change this restriction in November when a proposal to enshrine abortion rights in the state's constitution will appear on the ballot. Until then, the ban has far-reaching effects on pregnant people and abortion providers.

  • Many health centers have extended their hours and increased staff to see more patients, Stephanie Colombini with NPR network station WUSF in Tampa reports. But it's tough because the state requires people to come in twice for care, and many don't know they're pregnant by six weeks. Some will have to continue their pregnancies or travel far out of state for an abortion because many other Southern states also have bans. 

The Biden administration is moving to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug. It's currently classified as a Schedule I drug, the strictest category. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin, ecstasy and LSD. The proposal would reclassify marijuana as a lower-risk Schedule III drug — a category that includes ketamine, Tylenol with codeine, and anabolic steroids.

  • Marijuana would still be illegal under federal law, NPR's Deepa Shivaram says. But the reclassification would give marijuana businesses a tax boost and open doors for more types of medical research into the drug.

The science of siblings

A Nazca booby in the Galápagos Islands incubates eggs with its webbed feet. Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Nazca booby in the Galápagos Islands incubates eggs with its webbed feet.

Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

The next time you argue with your sibling, be thankful that your relationship isn't a life-or-death one. For many birds, the sibling relationship is deadly serious. Some birds kill their siblings soon after hatching. Others spend their whole lives with their brothers or sisters and even risk their lives to help each other.

Read more stories about the science of siblings here, including how warm sibling bonds help boost happiness as you age.

Picture show

The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse is one of two "middle-of-the-river" lighthouses left standing on the Hudson River. David Oliver/National Trust for Historic Preservation hide caption

toggle caption
David Oliver/National Trust for Historic Preservation

The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse is one of two "middle-of-the-river" lighthouses left standing on the Hudson River.

David Oliver/National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has released its annual list of America's most endangered historic sites. Included on the list this year are Eatonville, the all-Black Florida town memorialized by Zora Neale Hurston, Alaska's Sitka Tlingit Clan houses, and the home of country singer Cindy Walker.

See photos of all 11 of the most endangered historic places in the U.S. and read about how the National Trust hopes the attention will help efforts to reinvigorate these sites.

3 things to know before you go

Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants made its TV debut 25 years ago on May 1, 1999 before the official series launch in July 1999. Nickelodeon hide caption

toggle caption
Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants made its TV debut 25 years ago on May 1, 1999 before the official series launch in July 1999.

Nickelodeon
  1. SpongeBob Squarepants made his TV debut in a pineapple under the sea 25 years ago today. But before then, he was known as Bob the Sponge in an educational comic. Take a look at SpongeBob's history.
  2. Eight daily newspapers, including The New York Daily News and The Chicago Tribune, have sued OpenAI and Microsoft, accusing the tech companies of using copyrighted articles to train their AI chatbots.
  3. Do you have trouble sleeping? You're not alone. Here's what a new Gallup poll reveals about what's keeping Americans up at night.

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