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Walgreens Caught in Political Battle over Abortion Pills; IA, TX Targeting Online Abortion Information & More

March 10, 2023 (3 min read)

Walgreens Caught in Red-State, Blue-State Battle over Abortion Pills

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said last week that his state was cutting ties with Walgreens, including a $54 million contract to provide medications to inmates of the state’s correctional system which was scheduled for renewal on May 1.

The governor’s pronouncement came in response to the retail pharmacy chain’s decision not to dispense the abortion medication mifepristone in 20 states where Republican state attorneys general threatened the company with legal action for doing so.

“California won’t be doing business with Walgreens—or any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk,” Newsom tweeted. “We’re done.” (POLITICO, LOS ANGELES TIMES, FIERCE HEALTHCARE, MISSOURI GOVERNOR’S OFFICE)

IA, TX Target Abortion Online Content

Anti-abortion measures introduced last month in Iowa (HB 510) and Texas (HB 2690) include provisions that would block access to online information about abortion services and medications. The Republican-sponsored measures are similar to a bill (SB 1373) considered in South Carolina last year. (PLURIBUS NEWS, STATE NET)

WA House Approves Health Data Privacy Bill

Washington’s House passed a bill (HB 1155) that would strengthen protections for consumer health data. The measure is part of a package of legislation aimed at protecting access to abortions and other reproductive healthcare in the state and part of a larger effort in at least six states—mostly controlled by Democrats—to shield sensitive health data that isn’t protected by federal health privacy laws. Washington’s bill is the first such measure to be approved by a state legislative chamber. The state’s Senate must move the bill through committee by March 29 and pass it by April 12. (PLURIBUS NEWS, STATE NET)

WA Senate Approves Healthcare Workforce Legislation

The Washington Senate approved a series of measures aimed at addressing the state’s healthcare workforce shortage. The bills include SB 5454, which would make nurses eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for post-traumatic stress disorders; SB 5499, which would allow nurses to practice in other states without obtaining a new license; and SB 5236, which would establish minimum staffing requirements for hospitals, require meal and rest breaks for staff that provide patient care, and prohibit mandatory overtime. (PLURIBUS NEWS)

Rising Diabetes, Obesity Rates in Young Adults Could Signal Looming Health Crisis

The rate of diabetes in people 20 to 44 years old rose from 3 percent to 4.1 percent between 2009 and 2020, and the rate of obesity among that age group rose from 32.7 percent to 40.9 percent over that period, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The authors of the study warned the increasing prevalence of those diseases—risk factors for heart disease—in young adults could portend a public health crisis. (NPR, WASHINGTON POST)

HI Senate Advances Bill Protecting Doctors Who Perform Abortions

The Hawaii Senate passed a bill (SB 1) that would prevent the state from cooperating with out-of-state lawsuits against doctors in the state who perform abortions on women who travel to the islands for the procedure. The measure would actually codify an executive order issued last year by former Gov. David Ige (D). (HONOLULU CIVIL BEAT)

TX Women Denied Abortions Suing State

Five Texas women denied abortions they say were medically necessary have filed a lawsuit against the state, seeking clarification about when the procedure is permitted. The suit marks the first in which patients directly impacted by new abortion laws have challenged them in court. (TEXAS TRIBUNE)

CA, OR, WA Ending Mask Rules for Healthcare Settings

Public health officials in California announced they will end statewide mask requirements at healthcare facilities and no longer require COVID-19 vaccinations for healthcare workers effective April 3. Separately, health officials in Oregon and Washington said they will drop mask requirements in healthcare settings on the same date. (KAISER HEALTH NEWS, LOS ANGELES TIMES, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

—Compiled by KOREY CLARK

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