Is Reaching Your Daily “Moving Goal” Worth It? A gym in Australia was raided by police this week after a trainer’s Apple Watch accidentally called emergency services.
On health today, a White House policy aimed at expanding access to abortion pills is stymied by state-level abortion laws.
Welcome to The Hill’s Healthcare Roundup, we’re following the latest on policies and news that affect your health. We are Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Subscribe here.
Abortion pills not available in some states
Efforts by the Biden administration to widen access to medical abortion pills have run into opposition roadblocks in dozens of states, threatening to cut access to the drugs for many patients.
Many states with strict abortion bans have also limited the availability of mifepristone, either by limiting who can prescribe and dispense the drug or outright banning it.
- According to the Guttmacher Institute, 18 states require clinicians providing medical abortions to be present when they are administered.
- Texas bans the use of medical abortion starting at 7 weeks of pregnancy, while Indiana bans the use of medical abortion starting at 10 weeks of pregnancy.
In most cases, federal law takes precedence over state law. By that logic, states shouldn’t be restricting mifepristone because it’s a federally approved drug.
But it’s unclear whether federal law takes precedence over states that ban abortion, and so far the administration has made no attempt to test that theory.
Until the courts step in, the patchwork of state laws will continue, creating uncertainty for patients and providers, legal experts and advocates say.
The federal government could sue the states over the restrictions on mifepristone, but that could expose the FDA to an unnecessary challenge to the limits of its powers.
Rachel Rebouché, dean of Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, said states have the power to regulate the practice of medicine, but there is a question of intent.
“So, in states that ban mifepristone or try to regulate it … are they passing judgment on safety and efficacy, or are they banning it for ethical reasons?” she asked.
Read more here.
Activists refocus ahead of Roe’s 50th anniversary
Activists and lawmakers on both sides of the abortion issue are marking the 50th anniversary of Sunday’s Roe v. Wade decision as they try to reinvigorate supporters and realign their goals after the Supreme Court struck down the landmark ruling last summer.
- Both parties have used the anniversary to remind supporters what else is at stake and to underscore how the fight over abortion rights has shifted from the courts to Congress and the states.
- A divided Congress means federal action on abortion is unlikely for the next two years. But government officials at all levels acknowledge that it is a dynamic issue for millions of voters that will live on beyond the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
“With a divided Congress over the next two years and a 2024 presidential race sure to bring surprises and some uncertainty to the country, here’s what we know: The crucial battle for reproductive access at the state level next year will be two years and later,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D).
The anti-abortion movement is also developing a new state-based strategy as its leaders embrace Roe’s downfall.
“After so many years, that moment finally came true. As much as we were prepared, you weren’t really prepared for the realities in this space,” said Susan B. Anthony Pro- said Marjorie Dansfeller, president of Life America.
“This is the first week of our new life as a sport.”
The end of the Roe also brought major changes to the annual March for Life rally on the National Mall.
Anti-abortion groups have held the event every year since 1974 — the year after Roe’s decision was released.
While the original goal of the march was achieved, supporters took part in the latest march on Friday to show their support for Roe’s overthrow and a new goal.
FTC wants to defy Shkreli
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Friday asked a federal judge to hold notorious “Pharm Brother” Martin Shkreli in contempt of court for failing to pay a $65 million fine and violating a lifetime ban from working in the pharmaceutical industry.
In a motion filed in federal court for the Southern District of New York, the FTC and several state regulators said Shkreli “disregarded” the court order by ignoring requests to provide documents and attend interviews.
Shkreli announced a new company, Druglike, in July. The company’s press release describes it as a “Web3 drug discovery software platform co-founded by Martin Shkreli” that aims to revolutionize early drug discovery.
The FTC said it could not assess whether the company violated Shkreli’s lifetime ban because he did not send documents or attend an interview with regulators.
“Martin Shkreli’s failure to comply with the court’s order demonstrates a clear disregard for the law,” FTC Competition Director Holly Vedova said in a statement. “The FTC will not hesitate to deploy its full powers to conduct a full investigation of any potential wrongdoing.”
Read more here.
Cancer diagnosis raises suicide risk by 26 percent: study
Compared with the general population, people diagnosed with cancer between 2000 and 2016 had a 26 percent higher risk of suicide, new research shows.
Both insurance status and race contributed to the elevated risk, the authors wrote. Those with a poor prognosis at diagnosis had a higher risk of suicide within two years of learning they had the disease. Cancer patients with long-term impaired quality of life are at greater risk after the first two years.
However, the highest risk occurred within the first six months after a patient was diagnosed with cancer, where the risk was seven times that of the general population.
The findings highlight the need for timely symptom management and targeted psychosocial interventions to prevent suicide in individuals diagnosed with cancer, the researchers said.
“These require a concerted effort by federal and state governments, as well as healthcare providers, to ensure comprehensive health insurance coverage for psycho-oncology, psychosocial, and palliative care, develop appropriate clinical guidelines for suicide risk screening, and integrate suicide prevention into survivor care plan,” senior author Xuesong Han said in a press release. Han is the scientific director for Health Services Research at the American Cancer Society.
Read more here.
What We Know About How COVID Vaccines Affect the Cycle
Since the early days of the pandemic, women have reported menstrual changes after becoming infected with COVID-19 or getting vaccinated.
Some said their cycles got longer. Their blood flowed harder. Research supports these anecdotal reports, showing that COVID-19 vaccination has a temporary but significant impact on women’s periods and their accompanying symptoms.
Changes in menstrual cycle length may be occurring due to the immune system’s possible influence on sex hormones, research suggests. The inflammatory response to the COVID-19 vaccine may also affect the ovaries and uterus.
Here’s what we know:
- A study of nearly 4,000 women in the United States found that menstrual cycles were lengthened by approximately 0.7 days after the first dose and 0.9 days after the second dose. Although cycles were longer overall, the researchers found no change in the number of days women’s periods lasted.
- Another recent study suggested that women may be more likely to experience a range of symptoms that accompany menstruation after vaccination.
Read more here.
what are we reading
- With Roe’s death, a very different March for Life returns to Washington (Washington Post)
- FDA rejects Lilly’s application for accelerated approval of its Alzheimer’s drug (Stat)
- New Technology Brings Hope to Millions of Epilepsy Sufferers (NPR)
- Attracting out-of-state professionals is just the first step in solving Montana’s health worker shortage (Kaiser Health News)
- NYU Langone withdraws from teen type 1 diabetes vaccine trial (New York Times)
- New Georgia House Speaker: Not all poor people are getting Medicaid right now (Atlanta Constitution Journal)
That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s healthcare page for the latest news and coverage. See you next week.