Health Care — Georgia court reinstates six-week abortion ban

It was a mixed day for abortion rights advocates. Let’s look at the details. Plus: Why the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a significant drop in global measles vaccinations for children.

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Georgia’s highest court upholds six-week abortion ban

The Georgia State Supreme Court on Wednesday reinstated the state’s ban on abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy.

The court granted the state’s emergency petition, and put on hold a lower court ruling from last week where a judge called the ban “unconstitutional.”

Reproductive rights groups have argued that the state’s abortion ban violates the state constitution.

They won a ruling from Fulton County Superior Court, where Judge Robert McBurney ruled earlier this month that the ban was invalid.

According to the ACLU, patients who had scheduled abortion appointments last week were turned away.

  • Georgia’s Living Infant Fairness and Equality Act (LIFE), passed in 2019, bans abortions in the state after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks into pregnancy.
  • After the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, a complex patchwork of state laws emerged with conservative states, particularly in the South and Midwest, moving quickly to impose new restrictions on abortion and even near-total bans.

Many people do not know that they are pregnant at six weeks, which is the earliest that fetal cardiac electrical activity can be detected. Electrical activity is not the same as a heartbeat, although the legislation is often referred to as the “heartbeat law”.

Read more here.

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Kansas court allows telemedicine for abortion pills

A Kansas state court blocked a 2011 law that prohibited doctors from providing medication abortions via telemedicine.

Shawnee County District Court Judge Teresa Watson granted a temporary injunction preventing enforcement of a state law requiring doctors to administer abortion-inducing drugs while in the room with the patient.

However, the Kansas Supreme Court may ultimately weigh in before telemedicine abortions are allowed to resume.

  • Since the Supreme Court decision that announced Roe v. Wade in June, women are increasingly turning to abortion pills if they need to end a pregnancy. It was found very safe.
  • There are two pills needed for a medication abortion, which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Mifepristone, a drug that blocks the hormones necessary for pregnancy, was approved in 2000. Then it was followed by misoprostol.

The FDA temporarily lifted a requirement that mifepristone be dispensed in person at a clinic or hospital because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Biden administration made the change permanent in December, paving the way for doctors to prescribe the drug digitally and then by mail. the pills to patients.

In 2020, medication abortion accounted for 54 percent of all pregnancy terminations in the United States.

But 18 states have laws that prohibit the use of telemedicine for medication abortion.


In a study published Monday in The Lancet, a massive group of collaborators reported the first global estimates of mortality rates from bacterial pathogens.

The study found that in 2019, 7.7 million deaths worldwide were associated with bacterial infection. This estimate makes up 13.6 percent, or about 1 in 8, of all global deaths that year.

This analysis highlights the importance of understanding how many deaths can be attributed to bacterial infection, and the related problem of antimicrobial resistance, which has been on the rise in recent decades.

Taking a global view puts into perspective how many more deaths could occur if antibiotics currently in use become less effective.

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The team used 343 million individual records and pathogen isolates to estimate deaths and the type of infection responsible.

Read more here.


Rising suicide rates among youth between the ages of 5 and 19 have coincided with a growing shortage of mental health care providers at the county level, according to the results of a new study.

The results were published in JAMA Pediatrics and reflect data from 2015 and 2016.

However, national data shows more than 157 million Americans currently live in an area with a shortage of mental health professionals.

A total of 5,034 young people died by suicide in the study window, the majority of whom were male and white.

Before adjusting for confounding factors, the researchers found that counties with shortages of providers had a 41 percent higher youth suicide rate, at 5.09 deaths per 100,000 youth, compared with 3.62 deaths per 100,000 in the areas without shortage.

Of the 3,133 counties included in the study, more than two-thirds had a shortage of mental health care providers. These counties were more likely to have more uninsured children, lower educational attainment, higher unemployment and poverty, and were more often rural.

Read more here.

Missing measles vaccine puts up to 40 million children at risk

Global vaccination of children against measles has declined significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, making the disease an “imminent threat” worldwide, according to a joint report published Wednesday by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ).

In 2021, a record nearly 40 million children missed a dose of measles vaccine: nearly 25 million children missed their first dose, an 11 percent increase from 2020. Another 14.7 million of children missing the second dose, the report found, the lowest levels. of vaccination since 2008.

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The delays increase the risk of measles outbreaks, and the agencies said now is the time for public health officials to speed up vaccination efforts and strengthen surveillance.

  • Measles is extremely contagious, but it is almost entirely preventable through vaccination. A country needs at least a 95 percent vaccination rate to achieve herd immunity and eliminate the virus.
  • But the world is well below this, as only 81 percent of children have received their first dose of measles-containing vaccine, and only 71 percent of children have received their second dose of vaccine.

“For a disease like measles that is so highly infectious, that leaves us with a really huge number of unvaccinated children and only very high levels of risk for outbreaks and that the disease crosses borders. … Measles in everywhere is a threat everywhere,” said Cynthia Hatcher, one of the report’s authors who oversees CDC’s African measles elimination work.

Read more here.


  • Flow of covid relief funds helps fill gaps in mental health services for rural children (Kaiser Health News)
  • One-third of US labs have stopped using race-based equations to diagnose kidney disease (Stat)
  • Adderall and amoxicillin shortages raise questions about transparency and accountability at Big Pharma (NBC)


  • A work-from-home culture takes root in California (Sacramento Bee)
  • With the end of the term, Baker reappointed the chief medical examiner, the highest paid employee of his administration (Boston Globe)
  • The mother of the Department of Health of the State of Oklahoma on the non-existence of a Pandemic Center, problems in the health laboratory (KRMG)

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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