Healthcare – GOP senator blocks travel protection for abortions

Today, a GOP health senator blocked a bill aimed at protecting interstate travel for abortions as legislative battles on the issue intensify.

Welcome to overnight health care, where we follow the latest developments in policies and news affecting your health. For The Hill we are Peter Sullivan, Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Subscribe here.

Senator blocks protections for interstate abortion travel

GOP Sen. James Lanford (Okla.) on Thursday blocked a Democratic motion to unanimously pass a bill protecting interstate travel for abortion.

  • Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) along with a number of Democratic senators had sought approval to pass legislation that would prevent states from penalizing women who travel to other states where abortion is legal to have the procedure to obtain.
  • The measure would also protect healthcare providers who perform abortions on out-of-state patients.

“Does this child in the womb have the right to travel in its future?” Lankford disagreed. “Can they live?”

“There’s also a kid in this conversation,” he added.

big picture: Because of the comprehensive codification legislation of Roe v. Lacking the votes to pass the upper chamber, Democrats have been looking for other legislative answers after the Supreme Court overturned the nearly 50-year-old decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion.

Unanimous consent motions can prompt GOP senators to take record-blocking action.

A number of Democratic senators had spoken out in favor of the measure ahead of Thursday’s motion.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) said that “Congress has an obligation to protect them from prosecution when people from other states have to come to Colorado to access the care they need.”

Read more here.

FDA delays crackdown on synthetic vaping

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday sidestepped a major crackdown on companies that make popular synthetic nicotine products.

  • Late Wednesday, the agency said it had issued warning letters to AZ Swagg Sauce LLC and Electric Smoke Vapor House, which together have listed about 10,000 products with the FDA.
  • Neither company filed a premarket filing for its non-tobacco nicotine products.

Synthetic nicotine is made in a lab and was a way for companies to get around FDA regulations because the agency was previously unable to regulate it the way tobacco-derived nicotine is.

Synthetic nicotine products often have a fruity flavor and are popular with young people.

  • Under a new law, companies had until May 14 to file a premarket application to keep their products on the market. Any company that didn’t do so would be considered illegal and would have to remove their products by July 13.

Advocacy groups and senators said the agency needed to do more and criticized the lack of concrete action.

Read more here.


California Senator Scott Wiener (D) said in a statement Thursday the city of San Francisco is heading for a public health crisis due to the uncontrolled spread of the monkeypox virus.

The city’s Health Department tweeted Wednesday that its walk-in clinic will be closed for the rest of the week due to the vaccine shortage. Other city clinics are working through the remaining appointments and joining the DPH center in “urging additional doses.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 1,700 San Francisco residents had been vaccinated against the virus, according to the San Francisco DPH.

The warning: Wiener said vaccination rates will continue to be slow, leading to spread in the city and surrounding communities. He said “the failure to control this outbreak” will harm residents, particularly the city’s LGBTQ+ community.

“We need an enormous amount of extra vaccine doses and we need them immediately. The failure of the federal government threatens to deeply damage our society,” Wiener added. “Once we emerge from this emergency, we will have to account for those mistakes — mistakes that endanger people’s lives and health.”

Read more here.


Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) says he will review the licensure of the doctor who provided abortion services for a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim who made national headlines after she traveled out of state to attend the procedure receive.

Caitlin Bernard, an Indiana obstetrician-gynecologist, publicly revealed earlier this month in an interview published by The Indianapolis Star that she would help the young girl who was barred from having an abortion due to Ohio’s six-week ban.

The case has been the focus of intense scrutiny as it came just weeks after the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade and repealed federal abortion rights.

Rokita appeared on Fox News on Wednesday and labeled Bernard an “abortion activist who acts as a doctor.” He accused her of a history of underreporting abortions and that an investigation into the doctor and her license was ongoing.

“We’re gathering the evidence as we speak and we’ll fight it to the end, including checking her license if she doesn’t come forward. And in Indiana, it’s a felony…to intentionally not report anything,” Rokita said.

Read more here.

Texas is suing the government over hospital abortion policies

Texas is suing the Biden administration over its recent guidance reminding hospitals and doctors that federal law requires them to perform abortions when there is a medical emergency and the patient’s health or life is at risk.

The accusations: According to the lawsuit filed in the Northern District of Texas, the Biden administration is “trying to convert every emergency room in the country into a walk-in abortion clinic” and “is flouting the Supreme Court decision before the ink is dry.”

The state is asking the court to issue a permanent injunction barring the administration from enforcing the policies.

“I will ensure that President Biden is compelled to comply with the Supreme Court’s important decision on abortion, and I will not allow him to undermine and distort existing laws to conform to his administration’s illegal agenda,” the attorney general said Texas, Ken Paxton (R). a statement.

  • The lawsuit was filed just days after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued guidance confirming that the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) protects providers when they are legally required, life or Provide health-saving abortion services in emergency situations.
  • Under the EMTALA Act, if a medical emergency is identified, the hospital must provide available stabilizing care or appropriate transfer to another hospital that has the capacity to provide stabilizing care. HHS said abortion care qualifies as stabilizing care.

Read more here.


  • Low demand for Covid vaccines for young children alarms doctors (Politico)
  • How the pandemic screwed up our antibiotics (Vox)
  • Demand for monkeypox vaccine increases with case numbers, but supply remains low (CNN)


  • Rural hospital bailout program faces skepticism from administrators (The Texas Tribune)
  • State abortion bans prevent women from receiving essential drugs (Reuters)
  • Dems want $1 billion of Montana’s budget surplus to be spent on housing, child care and mental health (Montana Free Press)


That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Visit The Hill’s Health Care page for the latest news and reports. See you tomorrow.


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