Overnight Healthcare

Overnight Health Care: Supreme Court takes case that could diminish Roe v. Wade | White House to send US-authorized vaccines overseas for first time

Greg Nash

Welcome to Monday’s Overnight Health Care. Public safety tip: always watch the road. The ‘gram is just not worth it

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Today: The conservative-majority Supreme Court is going to take up an abortion case. The White House said it will donate doses of U.S. authorized vaccines overseas for the first time, and masks aren’t required on federal property if you are vaccinated.

We’ll start with the Supreme Court: 

Supreme Court takes case that could diminish Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to take up a dispute over a Mississippi law that bans virtually all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, potentially setting the 6-3 conservative majority court on a collision course with the landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. 

The big change on the court: The Supreme Court has undergone a dramatic conservative shift since last year when Mississippi first asked the justices to take up its appeal.

Last term, a bare 5-4 majority voted to block a Louisiana abortion limit, with Chief Justice John Roberts casting the deciding vote alongside Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the court’s three other more liberal justices.

But the late Ginsburg, a liberal stalwart, has since been replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, cementing a 6-3 conservative court and throwing the future of longstanding abortion protections into question.

Backstory: Conservative governors have been passing increasingly restrictive abortion laws, with the hope of finding the right ones to land in front of a conservative-majority Supreme Court and chip away at the protections in Roe, if not overturn it completely. 

Read more here.


White House responds: Biden committed to codifying Roe v. Wade regardless of Supreme Court case

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden is committed to codifying the outcome of Roe v. Wade regardless of how the Supreme Court rules after the justices agreed to hear arguments in the Mississippi case.

Psaki declined to weigh in on the high court taking up the case, but denounced how “the right to health care, the right to choose, have been under withering and extreme attack, including through draconian state laws” over the last four years.

“And the president and the VP are devoted to ensuring that every American has access to health care, including reproductive health care, regardless of their income, ZIP code, race, health insurance status or immigration status,” she added. “As such, the president is committed to codifying Roe regardless of the … outcome of this case.”

It’s unlikely Congress will pass a law cementing the precedent set by Roe v. Wade into law, as it would require at least 10 GOP senators to vote with all 50 Democrats and Independents. Only Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) have made clear their support for the law.

Read more here


White House to send US-authorized vaccines overseas for first time 

The U.S. will share an additional 20 million doses of domestically authorized coronavirus vaccines with the rest of the world by the end of June, President Biden announced Monday.

The vaccine exports will consist of doses from either Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech or Johnson & Johnson, which are the only three vaccines authorized for use in the U.S.

The move is in addition to a previous commitment to send 60 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses overseas as soon as they are cleared by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Details: There aren’t many. The administration didn’t say how the doses would be allocated, or who would make that decision. 

Under pressure: The move comes amid mounting pressure on Biden to increase vaccine aid abroad.

The administration had initially been reluctant to send any doses overseas, saying the extra doses could be a backstop for possible manufacturing issues, used to vaccinate children, or serve as booster doses if necessary to fight against variants of the virus. 

But the vaccine supply picture has improved dramatically in the U.S., while there are at the same time worsening crises in other countries. India has even faced shortages of oxygen as it deals with an alarming spike in cases.

Read more here


Mask update: Mandate lifted for vaccinated people in national parks, federal buildings

The federal government is lifting mask requirements for vaccinated people in its buildings and in national parks following last week’s updated guidance from the CDC.

A notice from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) sent to all federal government agencies lifts the mask requirement for anyone two weeks post-vaccine.

It’s a change not only for the nation’s more than 2 million federal workers but any contractor or visitor to a federal facility, including post offices and at the country’s more than 400 national parks.

What OMB said: “If you are fully vaccinated (at least 2 weeks past your final dose), you are no longer required to wear a mask,” the memo said.

“If you are not fully vaccinated (at least 2 weeks past your final dose), please continue to wear a mask consistent with the requirements set forth in your agency workplace safety plan,” the agency continued.

For national parks: All visitors, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear masks on public transportation within parks.

“Consistent with CDC recommendations, people who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces,” the National Park Service’s website.

Read more here


Schools face new pressures to reopen for in-person learning

Schools across the country are facing new pressure to open for in-person learning this fall given the authorization of a vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 and new federal guidance that vaccinated people do not need to wear face masks indoors or outdoors.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in an interview reiterated that he expects all schools to fully reopen in the fall and said the vaccine and mask guidance updates this week will likely adjust how schools plan for the next school year.  

“I’m hopeful that with another month under our belt and continued lowered transmission rates, whatever fears some may have about fall are going to dissipate, and we’re going to be able to return to school every day, all day for all children,” the secretary said. 

Background: The Education Department has not issued new guidance to schools at this point, but on Saturday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the continued use of masks and social distancing in schools.

More officials have joined in the appeals to reopen for the upcoming school year in recent days, including Biden’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci, who said Thursday that school should be open “full blast” by the fall. 

Republican lawmakers have pointed to the Pfizer-BioNTech emergency authorization for 12 to 15-year-olds as a reason for schools to reopen fully in person after criticizing the administration for delaying sure a return.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.): “For months, the science has shown children could return to the classroom without posing a risk to themselves or others. This latest update should give parents even more comfort about their students returning, but this also affirms what was already known – schools can and should immediately reopen for full-time, in-person instruction.”

Read more here

Related: CDC clarifies mask guidance for schools


What we’re reading

Germany to offer free COVID-19 shots for all adults from June 7 (Reuters)

One of America’s largest hospital chains has been suing thousands of patients during the pandemic (CNN)

The million-dollar jab and other giveaways reveal a desperate push to vaccinate America (Washington Post)

They’re vaccinated and keeping their masks on, maybe forever (New York Times  


State by state

California Nurses Association urges state health department not to ease mask-wearing requirements (KTVU

‘This is creating havoc’: Juneau regional hospital’s mental health surge continues (Alaska Public Media)

D.C. has struggled to get students their routine vaccinations during the pandemic. Will the coronavirus shots be better? (Washington Post

Op-eds in The Hill

Despite HIV successes, we must still fight its strong stigma

The curious case of the COVID-19 origin

How to target opioid funding to states that need it most 

Tags Amy Coney Barrett Anthony Fauci Jen Psaki Joe Biden Lisa Murkowski Miguel Cardona Ruth Bader Ginsburg Susan Collins Virginia Foxx

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