Viewpoints: Focusing On Who Can Perform Abortions Is A Smokescreen; Police With PTSD Deserve Treatment

Editorial pages delve into these public health topics.

The Baltimore Sun: Maryland’s Choice To Back Women’s Reproductive Rights — And Medical Science

The essential question raised by the Abortion Care Access Act, the controversial legislation enacted by the Maryland General Assembly last Saturday with House (90-46) and Senate (29-15) votes to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto, was this: Should abortions be performed by “qualified” health care providers who are not physicians? Opponents of the bill would have Marylanders believe that standard pregnancy termination could not safely be conducted by, for example, a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant who has been specially trained in this procedure. This would be news to the medical community. It was none other than the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that found non-physicians can be trained to conduct this procedure. And when did the organization that represents 90% of the nation’s board-certified ob-gyns first make that determination? (4/11)

The Star Tribune: Responding To Rising PTSD Claims

A growing number of police officers in Minnesota have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the past two years and are receiving millions in payments through workers’ compensation settlements and state disability pensions. Though Minneapolis has the largest portion of cases from public safety workers, mostly police, with 43%, St. Paul has 9% and about 48% come from elsewhere in the state, according to the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA). In addition to the high cost for state and local governments, the current system doesn’t offer training or treatment options. (4/11)

Seattle Times: Safeguard Federal Family-Planning Funds

Affordable reproductive health and family planning resources shouldn’t be controversial, but in recent years these vital services have become collateral damage in the culture wars. That’s why US Sen. Patty Murray’s effort to restore federal Title X family planning funding is so important. Until abortion opponents tire of using the grant program as proxy in their fight against safe, legal abortion, it will take champions like Murray to protect funding for low-income women’s access to contraception, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, cancer screenings and other care. (4/11)

The Washington Post: What I Wish I’d Known When I Was 19 And Had Sex Reassignment Surgery

When I was 19, I had surgery for sex reassignment, or what is now called gender affirmation surgery. The callow young man who was obsessed with transitioning to womanhood could not have imagined reaching middle age. But now I’m closer to 50, keeping a watchful eye on my 401(k), and dieting and exercising in the hope that I’ll have a healthy retirement. (Corinna Cohn, 4/11)

The CT Mirror: Connecticut Cannot Afford Costly Carceral Health Disparities

Over the past 14 years I have been either incarcerated, on parole, or under community supervision. In 2019, just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I transitioned back into the community, where I struggled with finding a job, acclimating to “real life,” and addressing my mental and physical health. Although given an overall clean bill of health, I learned that my egg quality was severely deteriorated, and I could never carry a baby to term. Studies show that vitamin D deficiency, a common occurrence among incarcerated people who have irregular access to sunlight, causes fertility issues and depression among women. I always thought that I would have a chance to be a mother. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. I consider myself lucky that this is the only health problem I bear from my time in prison. Some people are left with life-altering complications and others did not even survive. (Marisol Garcia, 4/11)

On covid —

The New York Times: The Unbelievable Stupidity Of Ending Global Covid Aid

America’s attempt to vaccinate the world against Covid is about to come to an end. “We are at a point now where without additional funding we are going to have to start winding down our programming,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, the leader of the United States Agency for International Development’s Covid-19 task force. Such funding does not appear to be forthcoming. Our gruesomely dysfunctional politics are going to lead to more illness and death across the globe, and we’re increasing the odds that a new viral mutation will once again upend American life. If it does, we might call it the filibuster variant. (Michelle Goldberg, 4/11)

Stat: The ‘Bot Holiday’ And Why Clinicians Can’t Tackle Disinformation Alone

The war in Ukraine has had an unexpected side effect noted by many health care workers on Twitter: “a bot holiday” — the sudden decline of social media accounts espousing anti-vaccine views and attacking health care workers and scientists trying to correct their disinformation. While disinformation campaigns are not new, they were once spread through rather primitive vehicles, ranging from door-to-door snake oil pedlers or mass printing of propaganda leaflets. The advent of the internet and social media have transformed the battlefield for disinformation. The army of bots on social media enables false information to be deliberately and widely spread around the world at the speed of light. While there is global consensus from the World Health Organization, the US Surgeon General, and others that disinformation is a problem, how to best solve it remains uncertain. (Shikha Jain, Vineet Arora and Eve Bloomgarden, 4/10)

Chicago Tribune: The Dangerous Thread Connecting Avian Flu, COVID-19 And The War In Ukraine

As former elected officials from Midwestern states, we are heartsick watching farmers across the region destroy millions of chickens infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza because, frankly, they have no other choice. The last time this disease struck the United States in 2015, our country detected infections in 21 states, spent $879 million to respond to the epidemic and depopulated more than 50 million birds on 232 farms. (Tom Daschle And Susan Brooks, 4/11)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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