Judge Strikes Down Required Coverage Of Preventive Care – Cancer Screenings, Pregnancy, Medications And More
Forbes, March 30
A federal judge in Texas struck down a provision of the Affordable Care Act that required coverage for a range of preventive services – including for cancer screenings, medications and more – ruling the task force members tasked with enforcing those preventive services were unlawfully appointed. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled preventive care recommendations made by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force do not have to be complied with, and blocked the federal government from enforcing the task force’s recommendations. The task force issues recommendations for preventive care services that insurers are then forced to cover, as dictated by the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, meaning the ruling means insurance companies will no longer be bound to cover the preventive services affected. Among the preventive services affected by O’Connor’s order are screenings for such cancers as breast cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer and lung cancer, diabetes screenings, various screenings and interventions for pregnant people, statin use to prevent cardiovascular disease, vision screening for children and more.
Dueling Court Cases in Washington State and Texas Could Determine Legality of Abortion Pill
CNBC, March 29
Two federal judges are poised to issue rulings soon in dueling cases that could dramatically affect access to the abortion pill mifepristone. In Washington state, U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice is weighing whether to scrap federal regulations on mifepristone that complicate access even where abortion is legal. He is also considering whether to issue an order that would block the Food and Drug Administration from taking any action to pull the pill from the market or reduce its availability. In Texas, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk is considering whether to order the FDA to pull the mifepristone from the U.S. market. Medical associations that oppose abortion sued the FDA in November to overturn its approval of the medication, which dates back more than 20 years… The U.S. is now set up for the possibility that two federal district courts could issue rulings on the abortion pill that conflict with each other, potentially adding further confusion to an already complex web of state-by-state regulations on mifepristone. The cases also raise the prospect that the Supreme Court might ultimately become involved in the escalating litigation over the most common method to terminate a pregnancy in the U.S.
Idaho Law Could Criminalize Helping Minors Get Abortions
AP, March 29
Idaho lawmakers are considering making it illegal for an adult to help a minor procure an abortion without parental consent. The measure would create a new crime of “abortion trafficking,” barring adults from obtaining abortion pills for a minor and “recruiting, harboring, or transporting the pregnant minor.” To sidestep violating a constitutional right to travel between states, the state law would make illegal only the portion of a trip to an out-of-state abortion provider that takes place in Idaho. People convicted of breaking the law would face two to five years in prison. The law would be the first of its kind in the U.S., where Republican-controlled states have been ramping up abortion bans and restrictions since the U.S. Supreme Court ended a nationwide right to access last year. Idaho is one of 13 states that already effectively ban abortion in all stages of pregnancy. It’s also one of a handful that already have laws that could penalize those who help people of any age obtain abortions.
Tennessee Considers $100 Million in Funding for Anti-Abortion Clinics
Rewire News Group, March 29
State funding for “crisis pregnancy centers,” or anti-abortion centers, isn’t new. But Tennessee is aiming to break a record: Lawmakers there are considering a budget proposal from Republican Gov. Bill Lee that would give $100 million to these fake clinics in one year. According to the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, crisis pregnancy centers have a 5-to-1 funding advantage over legitimate abortion clinics, thanks in part to state funding. Some states even divert funding from federal programs meant to help low-income families to CPCs. Texas previously gave $100 million to CPCs over two years. In Tennessee, funneling $100 million in a single year to CPCs would make the state the national leader in funding anti-abortion fake clinics. This also comes at a time when Tennessee is cutting back on sexual health services. Earlier this year, state officials chose to stop accepting federal funds for HIV prevention and treatment. First, Tennessee informed Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi – its major partner in HIV services – it would longer receive these funds. Rather than battling it out when Planned Parenthood pushed back, the state simply withdrew from the federal HIV funding program entirely. Why does all this matter? In addition to misleading people about abortion, CPCs are increasingly advertising STI testing services. However, research shows these services rarely follow public health guidelines.
House Democratic Women Make a Case against Cuts to Programs for Women and Families
The 19th, March 30
The House Democratic Women’s Caucus is stepping into the brewing battle over the federal budget and GOP plans to propose steep funding cuts, asking leaders of the House Appropriations Committee to prioritize funding for federal programs focused on women and families. “I’m gearing up for really big fights in the area of women’s health, because that’s where we expect really harmful, draconian cuts,” Rep. Lois Frankel of Florida, chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, said in an interview Wednesday, citing potential cuts to family planning services including Title X and funds to organizations like Planned Parenthood. In a Thursday morning letter shared first with The 19th, the caucus asks House Appropriations Chair, Rep. Kay Granger, a Republican, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the panel’s ranking Democrat, to “especially consider the impact this process has on women and girls across the United States of America.” “We do not believe these should be partisan issues; rather, these are investments that will make our economy and our communities thrive,” said the Democrats’ letter. It was signed by Frankel, policy task force co-chairs Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Kathy Manning, vice chairs Reps. Teresa Leger Fernández and Nikema Williams, and chief whip Rep. Lucy McBath. The caucus specifically asked Granger and DeLauro to preserve and expand funding for programs bolstering women’s economic security and health care access, combating violence against women, supporting women service members, and investing in the security and economic prospects of women and girls abroad.
ICYMI: In Case You Missed It
What do we make of a nation that has made giving birth so dangerous – yet forces more and more people to do it?— National Partnership (@NPWF) March 28, 2023
Good piece from @MoiraDonegan on how the maternal mortality crisis in the US intersects with the fight for safe, equitable abortion access. https://t.co/vycsIxH3y1
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Note: The information contained in this publication reflects media coverage of women’s health issues and does not necessarily reflect the views of the National Partnership for Women & Families.