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KHNs What health?: A world without roe

KHNs What health?: A world without roe
KHNs What health?: A world without roe


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It’s been less than a week since the Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion, and each passing day has produced more questions than answers. Doctors, employers, legislators, district attorneys and women are all confused about what is allowed and when. And things won’t settle down for a while, it seems.

Meanwhile, Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed a gun bill that will likely do more on the mental health front than curb mass shootings. But if it curbs gun suicides, that would be a big step forward for public health.

This week’s panelists are KHN’s Julie Rovner, The New York Times’ Margot Sanger-Katz, The Pink Sheet’s Sarah Karlin-Smith, and KHN’s Victoria Knight.

Among the details of this week’s episode:

  • As the country grapples with the fallout from last week’s Supreme Court ruling, conservative states are moving quickly to outlaw abortion. Ambiguities in many state laws have slowed the march, but some 21 to 26 states look set to largely or completely ban abortion within weeks or months.
  • Even in states that don’t move quickly to enact the details of restrictions, many abortion providers are worried about their liability and have closed up shop.
  • The Biden administration has offered tough talk about the need to maintain access to abortion care, but officials have not provided specifics on what the federal government can do to help residents in states with bans.
  • Some progressive Democrats are calling for the federal government to allow abortions on federal property in those states, but that would likely run afoul of longstanding bans on federal funding for most common abortions in many spending laws.
  • Some key leaders of the anti-abortion movement, including former Vice President Mike Pence, are pushing to continue their campaign, including promoting a measure to make it illegal nationwide. That risks a backlash as nearly two-thirds of Americans say in polls they support abortion rights in some form.
  • Abortion rights advocates are pushing for drugs that can end pregnancy early as a strategy to help women in states that ban abortion. But many of these states are trying to outlaw the use of these pills, and the conflict is likely to end up in court.
  • The FDA on Thursday approved a recommendation from an advisory panel that the Covid vaccine be reconfigured this fall to include protection against the original virus and the new omicron variant strains. This means that the vaccine will be offered without clinical trials in humans.
  • The FDA announcement did not say who the target audience for the new vaccine would be. This will be determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Angela Hart, who reported and wrote KHN-NPR’s recent “Bill of the Month” about identical eye surgeries that came with two very different bills. If you have a large or outrageous medical bill that you would like to send us, you can do so here.

Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week that they think you should also read:

Julie Rovner: The Washington Post”Women are still underrepresented in clinical trials”, by Erin Blakemore

Margot Sanger-Katz: The Washington Post”This Texas teenager wanted an abortion. She now has twins,” by Caroline Kitchener

Sarah Karlin-Smith: The Miami Herald’s “Why should you stop driving in flood waters in Miami-Dade? Maybe it’s full of poop”, by Alex Harris

Victoria Knight: the insider2,000 Leaked Documents and Employees Say Silicon Valley Healthcare Cerebral Startup Harmed Hundreds of Patients and Abandoned Serious Prescription Medications,” by Shelby Livingston and Blake Dodge

Also discussed in this week’s podcast:

the atlanticAmerica is slipping into the pandemic’s long losing streak”, by Ed Yong

Health Services Research”Medical abortion: a perfect solution?” by Nichole Austin

To listen to all our podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to KHN’s What the Health? IN Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Sewing machine, Pocket moldsor wherever you listen to podcasts.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Along with Policy Analysis and Survey, KHN is one of the three main operational programs in KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is a non-profit organization equipped to provide information on health issues to the nation.


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