Health Care — Planned Parenthood launches mobile abortion clinic
In a year of sports scandals, one involving competitive fishing may actually result in jail time. And it gave us the all-time exclamation: “We got weights in fish!”
In health news, Planned Parenthood is launching a mobile clinic in Illinois to bring abortion care to red state borders. An affiliated group is also out with a new ad targeting one vulnerable senator.
Welcome to Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. For The Hill, we’re Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Want to get a copy of this newsletter in your inbox? Subscribe here.
First mobile Planned Parenthood clinic opening
Planned Parenthood will soon open a mobile abortion clinic in southern Illinois as part of an effort to expand access in Missouri and across other parts of the South and Midwest where the procedure is almost entirely banned.
The mobile clinic will help reduce travel distances, wait times and other logistical barriers impacting patients in neighboring states where abortion is banned, said Yamelsie Rodriguez, president of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.
“One hundred days post-Roe we stand in defiance to say: we are not backing down,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “Abortion bans, ‘defunding’ Planned Parenthood, and attacks on reproductive freedoms writ large are deeply unpopular. We’re standing in the gap created by politicians and ensuring all people can access the health care they deserve, no matter where they live.”
- The mobile clinic will be set up inside a 37-foot retrofitted RV. It will contain a lab, a waiting area and two exam rooms.
- The clinic will offer medication abortion up to 11 weeks gestation but the plan is for it the exam rooms be converted into procedural rooms for surgical abortion care by the first quarter of next year.
- The mobile clinic will travel near to the borders of southeastern Missouri, western Kentucky and northeastern Tennessee. Rodriguez said the RV is expected to arrive this month and should be operational by the end of the year.
Planned Parenthood group targets Ron Johnson
Planned Parenthood’s political spending arm announced on Monday that it’s rolling out a six-figure ad buy targeting Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) on abortion with five weeks left until the midterms.
- “A law from 1849 has made abortion inaccessible in Wisconsin. Don’t like it? Ron Johnson says ‘You can move.’ But we’re not going anywhere. We’re fighting back because our future depends on it,” a narrator says in the group’s first 30-second ad, called “Fight Back.”
- “The right to abortion shouldn’t be up for debate, and it definitely shouldn’t be up to Ron Johnson. We deserve a senator who understands us. One who believes in Wisconsin and will fight to restore our rights, not take them away. Vote for Mandela Barnes by Nov. 8.”
The ad refers to comments that Johnson made back in 2019 in which he discussed his disagreement with the 1973 landmark Supreme Court ruling that established abortion as a constitutional right.
“We should have let that process play out democratically, state by state,” the senator said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “The fact of the matter is, you allow it that way, if you don’t like the result in your state that you currently reside in, you can move.”
Shaky ground: Johnson is considered one of the most vulnerable Republican senators up for reelection this cycle, and Democrats and activists have honed in on abortion in the push to oust him.
CDC: ‘MODERATE CONFIDENCE’ MONKEYPOX CASES WILL FALL, PLATEAU
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it has “moderate” confidence that the rate of monkeypox cases in the U.S. will continue to decline or hit a plateau in the next two weeks.
In its latest technical report on the monkeypox outbreak, the CDC listed three possible directions in which cases could go. Apart from a decline or plateau, the agency said cases could also begin rising “slowly” or “rapidly” with exponential growth.
- “We assess daily cases in the United States will most likely continue to decline or plateau over the next two to four weeks. We have moderate confidence in this assessment but note the possibility, as described above, that incidence could increase again,” said the CDC.
While the agency expressed some confidence in cases not going up, the CDC said it was “unlikely” that the spread of monkeypox would be entirely eliminated in the U.S.
Monkeypox cases in the U.S. have continued to drop in the past few weeks after peaking in August, with the seven-day moving average now standing at 144 per day. The CDC noted that cases are not declining across all jurisdictions.
REPUBLICANS TELL HOSPITAL TO STOP GENDER-AFFIRMING SURGERIES
More than 60 Tennessee House Republicans have signed onto a letter demanding that Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) halt all gender-affirming surgical procedures for transgender youth younger than 18.
In a letter sent last week to the hospital’s president and board of directors, lawmakers wrote that they have been “alarmed” by recent reports from the Daily Wire, a conservative news site, that detail the “surgical mutilations” of children at VUMC’s Pediatric Transgender Clinic.
“Tennesseans across the state have demanded a swift response and a call to action. We agree that these revelations require the legislature to act immediately,” lawmakers wrote, adding that the clinic’s practices qualify as “nothing less than abuse.”
More than a dozen states — including Tennessee — have introduced measures this year to ban or heavily restrict access to gender-affirming medical care for minors.
Several other children’s hospitals and medical facilities that provide transgender health care to patients younger than 18 have recently been targeted in a string of right-wing attacks on social media that allege doctors are abusing children.
Medical groups urge DOJ to investigate threats
Leading health care organizations in a letter sent Monday to Attorney General Merrick Garland called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate recent threats of violence against physicians, hospitals and families that provide gender-affirming care to transgender youth.
- “We write to urge you to investigate the organizations, individuals, and entities coordinating, provoking, and carrying out bomb threats and threats of personal violence against children’s hospitals and physicians across the U.S.,” the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) wrote in the letter.
- Medical associations on Monday also called on Twitter, TikTok and Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, to increase efforts to prevent disinformation on their platforms and take “bolder action” when false information is shared about physicians and hospitals.
Widespread support: The organizations collectively represent more than 270,000 physicians and more than 220 children’s hospitals nationwide.
Medical facilities that provide gender-affirming health care to transgender minors have recently been the targets of online attacks, and the letter says “a few high profile users” are intentionally spreading false and misleading information.
Hospitals across the country have also reported receiving harassing emails, phone calls and protests that have elevated fears among staff, young transgender patients and their families.
Some worry that increased threats will deter transgender youth and their families from seeking gender-affirming care, which accredited medical associations have said is medically necessary and often lifesaving.
WHAT WE’RE READING
- Mental health crisis teams aren’t just for cities anymore (Kaiser Health New)
- Republicans abandon Obamacare repeal (NBC)
- Health care for transgender adults remains legal, but states are quietly trying to limit access (The 19th News)
- Harassment prompts children’s hospitals to strip websites, threatening access to gender-affirming care (Stat)
STATE BY STATE
- ‘4-alarm blaze’: New York’s public health crises converge (Politico)
- As Vermont launches retail cannabis sales, customers line up in downtown Burlington (VT Digger)
- Safety net hospitals in Georgia are at risk. Atlanta Medical Center is just the latest example (Georgia Public Broadcasting)
That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Health Care page for the latest news and coverage. See you tomorrow.