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States are readying abortion restrictions in case SCOTUS reconsiders Roe


Dozens of abortion bills are percolating in state legislatures

State lawmakers are furiously preparing for the possibility of a significant rollback of abortion rights, filing dozens of bills during this year’s legislative sessions.

They’re keenly aware that this year is different. This summer, the Supreme Court could revisit Roe v. Wade — the 1973 landmark decision declaring a woman’s constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy up until the point of viability, typically between 22 and 24 weeks.

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Republican-led states are moving to place restrictions on abortion, while Democratic-led states are attempting to protect access to the procedure. The Post is keeping tabs on the dizzying number of bills winding their way through state legislatures this year.

Here’s what we learned from The Post’s new abortion tracker from Caroline Kitchener, Kevin Schaul other Daniela Santamarina.

  • Four states are pursuing 15-week bans mirroring Mississippi’s legislation, which is at the heart of the case pending before the Supreme Court.
  • Thirteen states have proposed their own version of Texas’s ban, which deputizes private citizens to enforce the law through civil suits. Texas barred abortions once fetal cardiac activity is detected, which is around six weeks, and most of the new state proposals have similar limits.
  • Six states are currently considering new “trigger laws” abortion restrictions that would go into effect if Roe’s precedent is overturned — including Oklahoma, which is seeking to revise an existing ban. A new law recently went into effect in Wyoming.
  • Eight states are reviewing bans on medication abortion, which now accounts for more than half of abortions nationwide.
  • Seventeen states have homed in on protecting the right to abortion or strengthening existing statewide protections.

To learn more about state efforts during this pivotal year, The Health 202 turned to Caroline, who covers abortion for The Post.

The Health 202: States are pursuing a ton of abortion bills ahead of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Mississippi’s 15-week ban this summer. What’s really stuck out to you this year?

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Caroline: We see a lot of antiabortion bills every session, but the stakes feel really different this year. When Republican states have passed these wildly restrictive laws in the past, they’ve always been blocked by the courts, ruled unconstitutional as a clear violation of Roe v. Wade, which protects the right to abortion until a fetus is viable outside of the womb.

But this year, all bets are off. Texas found a way to ban abortions after six weeks. The Supreme Court could overturn Roe in June. Antiabortion lawmakers are watching all this — and they’re excited. There’s a real sense that even the most extreme laws could actually take effect.

The Health 202: We noticed Washington state has a new law banning lawsuits against women seeking an abortion and those who aid them. What trends are you seeing from Democratic-led states?

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Caroline: You’re seeing two big buckets of abortion legislation in Democrat-led states this year. Many democratic states are introducing bills to further protect the right to abortion within their own borders, through laws or constitutional amendments.

Then a lot of Democratic lawmakers are also pushing for laws that would make it easier for patients to travel to their states for abortion care. California is really leading the way on this: Lawmakers there are trying to create a centralized database that includes all California abortion providers and funding sources, geared toward out-of-state patients. They’ve also introduced a law like the one you mentioned in Washington, which would explicitly protect California providers from lawsuits.

The Health 202: You had an interesting story about a Missouri lawmaker who wants to stop residents from obtaining an abortion out of state. Do you think that’ll be the newest trend in abortion bills?

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Caroline: I think it definitely could be. Every time I talk to an antiabortion lawmaker, I ask them what comes next: What happens after Roe falls? For most antiabortion legislators I talk to, it won’t be enough to ban abortion in GOP-led states. They want to ban it everywhere.

After I published that Missouri story, I started hearing from various antiabortion advocates and legislators across the country who told me they’ve been discussing something similar. I do think we’ll be seeing more attempts to crack down on abortions across state lines.

White House prescriptions

Welcome to budget week.

President Biden will release his fiscal year 2023 budget today. Per our colleague jeff stone, the document will likely include increases in defense and nondefense spending with a focus on mental health, child care and other social programs, as well as reducing the deficit.

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  • On Thursday, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is slated to go before a House Appropriations subcommittee to defend Biden’s health-related requests.

A reminder here that Biden’s budget is a wish list. It showcases the administration’s policy priorities, but Congress holds the purse strings — and will likely reject broad swaths of Biden’s proposals.

Here’s what we’re watching out for:

  • How much does the budget put toward mental health care? Ahead of the State of the Union address, White House officials laid out their strategy on addressing mental health that included new dollars. But a full accounting of the plan could come with the budget’s release.
  • What agencies get more pandemic-related dollars? There’s a stalemate on Capitol Hill over $15 billion in new coronavirus aid, and we’ll be keeping our eye on what agencies get more money to combat current and future pandemics.
  • How does the budget deal with policies included in Biden’s now-stalled economic package? Last year, the White House’s budget included some of those measures, such as making new Obamacare financial aid permanent and putting $400 billion toward in-home care for seniors and the disabled.

FDA could greenlight a second coronavirus booster for 50 and older this week

the Food and Drug Administration is poised to authorize a second booster shot of the coronavirus vaccine for anyone 50 and older as soon as Tuesday, our colleagues Laurie McGinley other Lena H. Sun report.

  • the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention isn’t expected to explicitly recommend the shot partly because the data isn’t robust, but instead issue a statement saying they’re available for eligible individuals who want them.

Key context: The potential authorizations for a second Pfizer BioNTech other Moderna booster come amid concerns that some older Americans may need an extra layer of protection against BA.2 as the subvariant spreads across the country.

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Representatives from the major health agencies met Wednesday night and agreed to set the age at 50, Laurie and Lena write. Doing so helped address a health equity concern.

  • Some officials at the CDC and elsewhere in the administration said setting the bar at 60 or 65 would prevent access to second boosters by younger members of medically underserved groups, including Latinos and Blacks. These groups have higher rates of underlying medical conditions at younger ages and have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.

Officials limit antibody therapy, saying it’s potentially ineffective against BA.2

Federal health officials on Friday paused the distribution of a monoclonal antibody treatment for the coronavirus in places where the BA.2 omicron subvariant accounts for the majority of infections, saying it’s unlikely to be effective against the latest strain.

Key details: The treatment, sotrovimab, is no longer authorized for use in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

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High-risk patients with mild-to-moderate cases of the coronavirus in affected areas have access to the monoclonal antibody treatment bebtelovimab, as well as other therapies, like antiviral pills. During the original omicron surge, the government halted shipments of two other antibody treatments that were ineffective against omicron.

Supreme Court says Biden administration can factor in vaccination status when deploying Navy SEALs

ICYMI: The Supreme Court on Friday gave the Biden administration the go-ahead to take into account the vaccination status of Navy SEALs when making deployment decisions, The Post’s Robert Barnes reports.

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  • Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil M. Gorsuch and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented from the short, unsigned order.
  • Meanwhile, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote in a concurring opinion there was “no basis” for employing judicial powers “that military commanders believe would impair the military of the United States.”
  • White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said she tested positive for covid-19 after returning from Biden’s Europe trip, but isn’t considered a close contact to the president.
  • A jury on Friday found a former Tennessee nurse guilty of criminally negligent homicide in a medication error that resulted in the death of a patient in a case closely watched by nurses’ organizations nationwide, the Associated Press reports.
  • Ukrainian Deputy Health Minister Oleksii Iaremenko said the amount of humanitarian aid sent to Ukraine has slowed in recent days, and called for more support to meet the country’s health-care needs, per Reuters.
  • Topic Bryant, the new leader of the American Psychological Association, wants to host a conference focused on practical ways to cope with trauma; help mental health professionals use song, dance and other forms of culture in their treatment; and produce a documentary highlighting psychologists of color, The Post’s Rebecca Tan writes.

Are you ready for a busy week?

Thanks for reading! See y’all tomorrow.


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