On Thursday, Senate Democrats will try — and likely fail — to pass a bill that would prevent states from restricting women from traveling out of state to get abortions.
Democratic leaders in both houses are pushing to vote on similar bills to ensure that anyone living in a state where they can’t get an abortion can still travel to a state where they can. No state currently prohibits such travel. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down longstanding federal abortion protections, some employers announced they would cover travel costs for employees receiving abortion care.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) said she’s worried about a “chilling effect” of laws in neighboring states like Texas, which allow people to sue anyone who helps someone get an abortion. She said doctors in her state, where abortion is legal, and women seeking care have told her they fear prosecution. “There’s no doubt that I already see it in my condition,” she said.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) told reporters she would pass the bill introduced Tuesday by four Democrats despite the absence of two of her colleagues this week due to Covid. Murray and Cortez Masto in a press release last night said they would push for unanimous consent for the invoice Thursday, an almost doomed effort by the Republican opposition.
The House is due to vote this week on a similar bill (HR 8297) of the rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas).
Doctors fearing backfire deny life-saving abortions: Hospitals and doctors are struggling to distinguish between providing life-saving procedures to women and wading through a legal gray area that has emerged in the absence of abortion rights. Conflicting state and federal guidelines have left doctors struggling to understand how possible exemptions apply in an emergency. There is also the question of what happens when a patient has to undergo treatment such as chemotherapy, which can be toxic to the fetus.
“There are a lot of gray areas in medicine,” said Rebekah Gee, former secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and founder and CEO of primary care company Nest Health. “The human body is very complicated. These laws are not grey, they are black and white. Learn more about Lauren Coleman-Lochner, Carly Wanna and Elaine Chen.
Arizona Interpretation Law Blocked Against Abortion Providers: An Arizona law that could subject abortion providers to criminal prosecution under various state laws has been blocked pending a trial because it is likely unconstitutionally vague, a federal court has heard. ‘State. Known as the Interpretation Policy, the provision requires that all Arizona laws be “interpreted and construed” to “recognize” the rights of fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses. Mary Anne Pazanowski has more.
What else to know today
- The House Oversight and Reform Committee holds a hearing Wednesday on the implications of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
- The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is holding a markup on Wednesday to consider the appointment of Roselyn Tso as Director of Indian Health Service under the Department of Health and Human Services.
- BGOV Calendar: See the full list of hearings and events this week.
House Vote on Burn Pits Bill: The House is due to vote on the legislation on Wednesday (S.3373) to provide health benefits to veterans exposed to toxins while serving overseas, Loren Duggan reports. The New version of the measurement omits a tax provision from the original invoice (HR 3967) which raised constitutional issues and will be proposed as a House amendment. Brittney Washington has highlights in BGOV bill summary.
US Eyes expands second boosters to all adults: The Biden administration is discussing expanding eligibility for second Covid booster shots to adults under 50 amid the spread of the BA.5 omicron variant that accounts for most cases in the United States. Discussions about expanding the recommendations of the second recall “have been going on for some time,” White House Czar Ashish Jha said during a briefing, stressing that the decision is up to the FDA and CDC. Jordan Fabian, Robert Langreth and Riley Griffin have more.
Employers share health pricing data, but real change is slow: Employer-sponsored health plans and health insurers should be more compliant with rules requiring them to make their price data public than hospitals were in 2021. But employers will now have to step up and start using the information to ensure their employees are getting the best deals when seeking medical care. Read more from Sara Hansard.
Biogen’s SCOTUS case offering backed by science advocates: Biogen has won the backing of a science and legal advocacy group in its bid for Supreme Court review of a Federal Circuit ruling that will allow Mylan Pharmaceuticals and other generic drug makers to sell copies multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied Biogen’s request for another hearing of the case, drawing a three-judge dissent. Read more from Samantha Handler.