KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Abortion Arguments Have Another Day In Court

Opinions and editorials from around the country parse the arguments involved in the Texas abortion case currently pending at the Supreme Court, and examine related issues.

The New York Times: Texas’ Dangerous Abortion Law At The Supreme Court
States like Texas pass laws strictly regulating abortion clinics for one reason: to make it hard, if not impossible, for women to obtain a safe and legal abortion. But the Supreme Court justices often act as though political reality does not penetrate the court’s thick walls. So it was a relief when, during oral arguments on Wednesday, the four liberal justices took turns tearing apart the claim by Texas lawmakers that their 2013 law — which has already shut down about half the roughly 40 clinics in the state — is about nothing more than protecting women’s health. (3/2)

Bloomberg: Texas Abortion Case Comes Down To 'Undue Burdens'
What’s an undue burden? That question was at the heart of Wednesday’s oral argument at the U.S. Supreme Court in the Texas abortion case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. In particular, the conversation focused on whether the court needs to do a cost-benefit comparison to determine an undue burden -- and if it does, what statistical evidence is needed to do it properly. (Noah Feldman, 3/2)

The Wall Street Journal: Abortion Has A Market Problem
The U.S. Supreme Court heard a case Wednesday that could determine the fate of many health regulations on abortion facilities. Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt originated in Texas, where the legislature passed a law in 2013 that, among other things, required abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers and required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals to handle any complications that might arise. (Chuck Donovan, 3/2)

Bloomberg: American Women Will Write Abortion Law
With the Supreme Court set to hear arguments in a landmark abortion case Wednesday, the familiar machinery is creaking into gear: protesters outside the court, talking heads on cable TV, and oral arguments carefully aimed at the court’s perceived swing voter, Justice Anthony Kennedy. Amid the noise, it’s important not to lose sight of what, or more accurately who, the fuss is all about. (3/2)

Los Angeles Times: Post-Scalia Supreme Court To Rule On The Most Important Abortion Case In Two Decades
Whole Woman's Health vs. Hellerstedt is a challenge by a group of abortion clinics to a 2013 Texas law that requires doctors providing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and directs abortion clinics to meet the safety standards of ambulatory surgical centers. These mandates, though they may at first sound reasonable, will in fact dramatically reduce the ability of Texas women to obtain abortions, and for no sound medical reason. The court should make it clear that this law — like hundreds of others enacted around the country — is an antiabortion measure that has been cynically passed off as a protection for women. (3/2)

The New England Journal Of Medicine: Protecting And Expanding Access To Birth Control
Since it became legal in the United States a half-century ago, birth control has provided enormous benefits to women and their families — indeed, it has been nothing short of revolutionary for women and society. When women have access to birth control, they can better plan and space their pregnancies, which improves health outcomes and enhances their lives and those of their families. Birth control has dramatically improved the ability of all women to participate actively and with dignity in the U.S. economy. And researchers have attributed the historic 40-year low in the teen pregnancy rate to the increase in access, especially to highly effective methods of birth control.1 Now, political attacks against women’s health care are threatening access to critical services that allow women to choose and readily obtain the birth control methods that are best for them. It is essential that we protect and continue to expand access to all forms of birth control. (Cecile Richards, 3/3)

The New York Times: What The Election Means For Reproductive Rights
The day after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, Senator Ted Cruz released a campaign ad warning, “We’re just one Supreme Court justice away from losing” on abortion, among other issues. The ad showed Donald Trump, in a 1999 interview, saying he is “very pro-choice.” Mr. Trump, who says he is now “staunchly pro-life,” hasn’t talked much about abortion at his rallies, preferring to focus on building a wall and banning Muslims from the country. But the vacancy on the court is a reminder that the next president will have great influence over the future of reproductive rights. (3/3)

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