Health Care – Access to abortion pills is dwindling across the states

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Today in health, White House policies aimed at expanding access to the abortion pill are stymied by statewide abortion laws.

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Access to the abortion pill has become elusive in some states

The Biden administration’s effort to ease access to the medical abortion pill is facing a wall of opposition in dozens of states, threatening to put the drugs out of reach for many patients.

Many states with strict abortion bans also limit the availability of mifepristone, either through restrictions on who can prescribe and distribute the drug or outright bans.

  • According to the Guttmacher Institute, 18 states require a physician providing a medical abortion to be physically present when the medication is administered.
  • Texas prohibits the use of medical abortion starting at seven weeks gestation, while Indiana prohibits its use as early as the tenth week.

In most cases, federal law takes precedence over state laws. Under this logic, states should not be able to restrict mifepristone because it is a federally approved drug.

But it is not clear whether federal law takes precedence in states that prohibit abortion, and so far, the government has not attempted to put this theory to the test.

Experts and legal advocates said the patchwork of laws across states will continue until the court steps in, creating uncertainty for patients and providers.

It could be the federal government suing the state’s restrictions on mifepristone, but that could open the FDA to an unwanted challenge beyond the limits of its authority.

States have the power to regulate the practice of medicine, but there is a question of intent, said Rachel Repoche, dean of Temple University Law School.

“So, in countries that are banning or trying to regulate mifepristone…are they making a judgment about safety and efficacy or are they banning it on ethical grounds?” she asked.

Read more here.

Activists refocus ahead of Rowe’s 50th anniversary

Anti-abortion supporters appear during the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Friday, January 20, 2023. This is the first rally since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Activists and lawmakers on both sides of the abortion issue will mark the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling on Sunday by seeking to reinvigorate supporters and refocus their goals after the landmark decision the Supreme Court overturned last summer.

  • Both sides are using the anniversary to remind supporters of what’s still at stake, and to highlight how the battle over abortion rights has shifted from the courts to Congress and the states.
  • A divided Congress means that federal action on abortion is unlikely within the next two years. But officials at all levels of government acknowledge that it is a vital issue for millions of voters and will survive the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

“With a divided Congress for the next two years, and a 2024 presidential race that will surely bring some surprises and some uncertainty to the nation, here’s what we know: The major battles for reproductive access will be fought at the state level in the next two years,” said Rob Ponta (D), California’s attorney general. And beyond.”

The anti-abortion movement is also forging a new state-based strategy, as its leaders come to terms with Roe’s downfall.

“After all those years, that moment finally came to pass. While we were prepared, nothing really prepared you for reality in this area,” said Marjorie Dansfeller, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro Life America, one of the country’s leading anti-abortion groups.

“This is the first week of the beginning of a new life for our movement.”

Roe’s end also made a huge difference to the annual March for Life run on the National Mall.

Anti-abortion groups have held the event every year since 1974—the year after the Roe decision was passed.

While the rally’s original goal was achieved, on Friday supporters turned out for the final rally to show their support for Roe’s coup and chart new goals.

The FTC wants Shkreli to be despised

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Friday asked a federal judge to arrest notorious “pharmacist bro” Martin Shkreli in contempt for failing to pay a $65 million fine and for violating a lifetime ban from working in the pharmaceutical industry.

In an application filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York, the FTC and regulators from several states said Shkreli “violated” the court’s order by ignoring document requests and sitting for interviews.

In July, Shkreli announced the formation of a new company, Druglike. The company’s press release described it as a “Web3 drug discovery software platform co-founded by Martin Shkreli” that aims to revolutionize early-stage drug discovery.

The FTC said it could not assess whether the company violated Shkreli’s lifetime ban, because he did not send documents or sit for interviews with regulators.

“Martin Shkreli’s failure to comply with the court order demonstrates a clear disregard for the law,” Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s Office of Competition, said in a statement. “The FTC will not hesitate to deploy the full extent of its powers to enable a thorough investigation of any potential misconduct.”

Read more here.

A cancer diagnosis increases suicide risk by 26 percent: research

New research shows that individuals diagnosed with cancer between 2000 and 2016 have a 26 percent higher risk of suicide than the general population.

The authors wrote that both insurance status and race contributed to the higher risk. Those with a poor prognosis at the time of diagnosis were at greater risk of suicide within two years of knowing they had the disease. Patients with cancers at risk of poor long-term quality of life were at higher risk after these first two years.

However, the highest risk was observed during the first six months after a patient received a cancer diagnosis, when the risk was seven times greater than in the general population.

The researchers said the findings underscore the need for timely symptom management and targeted psychosocial interventions to prevent suicide in individuals with cancer.

“These require joint efforts by federal and state governments, as well as health care providers, to ensure comprehensive health insurance coverage of psychiatric oncological, psychosocial, and palliative care, to develop appropriate clinical guidelines for screening for suicide risk, and to include suicide prevention in the spectrum,” said senior author Xuesong Han in the article. Press release Han is Scientific Director of Health Services Research at the American Cancer Society.

Read more here.

What we know about how virus vaccines affect the circulatory system

Since the beginning of the pandemic, women have reported experiencing changes in their menstrual cycle after contracting COVID-19 or being vaccinated against it.

Some said their cycles have increased. Their bleeding was more profuse. Research has backed up those anecdotal reports, demonstrating that the COVID-19 vaccine has a temporary but noticeable effect on women’s periods and associated symptoms.

Research indicates that changes in the length of the menstrual cycle may occur due to the immune system’s effect on sex hormones. Inflammatory responses to the COVID-19 vaccine may also affect the ovaries and uterus.

Here is what we know:

  • A study of nearly 4,000 women in the United States found that menstrual cycle lengths were extended by about 0.7 days after the first dose and 0.9 days after the second dose. Although the cycles were generally longer, the researchers found no change in the number of days the women’s menstrual cycles lasted.
  • Another recent study suggests that women may be more likely to experience a range of symptoms associated with their cycles after vaccination.

Read more here.

what we read

  • With Rowe dead, a very different walk for life returns to Washington (The Washington Post)
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected Lilly’s bid to get emergency approval for Alzheimer’s drug Stat.
  • New technology gives hope to one million people with epilepsy (NPR)

State by state

  • Attracting out-of-state professionals is just the first step in solving Montana’s health worker shortage. (Kaiser Health News)
  • NYU Langone withdraws from a trial of a type 1 diabetes vaccine in adolescents (The New York Times)
  • New Georgia House Speaker: No Expansion of Medicaid for All the Poor Right Now (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Health Care page for the latest news and coverage. See you next week.

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