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Editorial pages weigh in on these public health topics.

Newsweek: Without A Federal Law Guarantee, Reproductive Rights Are In Peril

Senate Republicans recently blocked passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that would have protected the right to abortion free from medically unnecessary restrictions. The vote was held exactly six months after the US Supreme Court allowed Texas’ SB8 law, which bans abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, to go into effect. At a stroke, SB8 stopped the people of Texas from exercising their right to basic reproductive health care, and effectively overturned Roe v. Wade for 1 in 10 women of reproductive age in the United States. Now, in the absence of a federal law protecting those rights, people in many other states may soon share the same predicament. (Jennie Wetter, 3/3)

Los Angeles Times: Newsom’s Plan To Help People With Mental Illness Is Overdue

Like too many people with mental illness, Chad Ricketts is on the verge of going to prison instead of receiving care. That’s the California way when it comes to treating serious brain illnesses, as pathetic as it is. Hopefully, change is coming. More on that in a minute. (Anita Chabria, 3/3)

Stat: The FDA’s 83-Year-Old Animal Testing Rule Needs An Update

From every sector, the cry is being raised: “We can’t go back to the way things were before the pandemic.” CEOs and politicians, educators and entrepreneurs, health professionals and scientists, all urge the importance of taking stock, adjusting, and learning. One sector in which this must happen now is drug development, where an 83-year-old rule requiring that drugs be tested in animals impedes the development of life-saving medicines. The 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that every drug be tested on animals — even though more than 90% of drugs found to be safe and effective in animals fail during human clinical trials, and even though safer and more effective methods of drug testing have been developed since then. (Gary Michelson and Aysha Akhtar, 3/4)

The CT Mirror: Stop The Yale Acquisition Of Hospitals

Where is the Connecticut Department of Public Health? Where is the state Office of Health Strategy? Now is the time for the state to put some serious brakes on the ongoing shrinking of medical providers in the state. Is the state going to allow a continuation of Yale New Haven Health’s acquisitions? This time, Yale wants to buy two more health systems and three more Connecticut hospitals. The Yale medical behemoth is planning to add Waterbury Hospital, Manchester Memorial Hospital and Rockville Hospital to its ever-growing system. The change, in addition to shrinking consumer choice, also would switch these three hospitals from non-profits to profit-making institutions. (Alvin Greenberg MD, 3/3)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Access To Health Care Is Domestic Tranquility

When was the last time you read the Preamble of the Constitution? It starts “We The People …,” remember? When you read it did you absorb the ideals it espoused or were they just words? It seems that our state’s Republican legislators are determined to rewrite it as it relates to any issue they (or the citizens in their respective districts) don’t personally agree with, particularly Medicaid expansion. Instead, Missouri has morphed the preamble into: We the people of the divided state of Missouri do not have representatives who are the least bit interested in upholding the wishes of the majority of the state’s constituents. Justice, domestic tranquility, and providing for the common defense be damned. They are not concerned with the general welfare and have no plans to attempt to secure the blessings of liberty to anyone but themselves. (Janet Y. Jackson, 3/2)

The Baltimore Sun: Legislating A ‘Healthful Environment’ For Marylanders

Combating climate change, improving environmental conditions and ensuring that everyone has access to green spaces would go a long way to improving public health. We know, for example, the negative impacts that heat and air pollution have on birth outcomes. Research has revealed that higher levels of air pollution and heat during pregnancy are associated with preterm birth, low birth weight and stillbirth, and that these adverse outcomes are higher among Black and brown moms. (Rebecca Rehr, 3/3)

Also —

The Star Tribune: We Must Stand Up For Trans Kids

Transgender patients and families currently suffer some of the most significant inequities in health care. Access to quality health care and access to health care where they are not made to feel less than who they are, or excluded, is often not available. It is unavailable because many years of continued discrimination have been allowed to occur, and the rights and health needs of LGBTQ people have continued to be ignored. This must-stop. (Marc Gorelick, 3/3)

The New York Times: Who Should Be Allowed To Transition?

Two and a half years ago, I sat in a medical waiting room nervously rehearsing my reason for seeing the nurse practitioner. The words I needed to say to her — that I was transgender and wanted her to help medically transitioning — I had once promised myself not to say to anyone. I thought I’d keep this part of my identity my deepest secret, one I’d known since childhood but would never reveal. (Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, 3/4)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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