[UPDATED at 2:55 p.m. ET]
Happy Friday! I come bearing a medical ethical quandary for you to mull as you head into your weekend. Stumped mid-surgery, a renowned doctor turned to old anatomical drawings that had been created by Nazis (and are, to this day, considered unsurpassed in comprehensiveness and precision). She was left with the question: Were they OK to use?
Now on to what you may have missed this week.
If you thought the topic of abortion was going anywhere anytime soon, you’d be very wrong! (Although, let’s be honest, were any of us expecting an end to the debate?) In terms of health care, it dominated this week’s news cycle.
Let’s start with 2020 hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris’ plan to protect abortion rights. Borrowing logic from the Voting Rights Act, the plan from Harris (D-Calif.) would require states with a history of unconstitutionally restricting abortion rights to obtain federal approval from the Department of Justice before such laws could take effect. Where it gets tricky is determining which states would fall under the requirements: the formula used in the VRA was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013.
The New York Times: Kamala Harris Wants to Require States to Clear Abortion Laws With Justice Dept.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court performed a delicate dance on a tightrope when it ruled on an Indiana abortion ban. The justices upheld parts of the law, which dictate that fetal remains need to be buried or cremated, but they went ahead and sidestepped ruling on the constitutionality of the right to an abortion. The move signals that they might not be super eager to move aggressively on the issue, despite the way states keep trying to send them cases.
The New York Times: Supreme Court Sidesteps Abortion Question in Ruling on Indiana Law
Speaking of … Louisiana’s Democratic governor broke with his party this week to sign “heartbeat” legislation. Though it wasn’t a surprise (Gov. John Bel Edwards has been vocal about his support of the bill), it’s notable in a political landscape where many are left wondering if there’s any room left in the Democratic Party for anti-abortion politicians.
Although many people do have their eyes on the cases that are designed to challenge Roe v. Wade, an argument can be made that abortion opponents have already won the ground game. Even if Roe is upheld, opponents have taken enough bites of the apple over the past several years that the landscape looks a lot different than it once did. Considering mandatory waiting periods, clinic deserts, the missed wages and work that comes with traveling to get the procedure done, and the hostility that doctors and clinic staff face from protesters, for a lot of women — low-income women, especially —getting an abortion is already a monumental task.
Politico: Even If Roe Is Upheld, Abortion Opponents Are Winning
Hours before Missouri’s last remaining abortion clinic would have had to shutter, a judge issued a temporary order Friday ensuring that the St. Louis Planned Parenthood facility could continue to provide abortions, for now. Another hearing is set for Tuesday.
The Associated Press: Judge’s Order Means Missouri Clinic Can Keep Doing Abortions
As President Donald Trump prepares an executive order geared toward increasing transparency across the health industry, some parties are making such a ruckus over a particular element that it might get dropped in the final version. At issue is a requirement that insurers and hospitals disclose for the first time the discounted rates they negotiate for services. “There is good transparency and bad transparency,” Kristine Grow, spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, told The Washington Post. “This is bad transparency, because it is highly likely to cause prices to go up for everyone.”
The Washington Post: White House Runs Into Health-Care Industry Hostility as It Plans Executive Order
And elsewhere on the unhappy insurers front: Connecticut lawmakers have pressed pause on their push for a public option. The reason? Blowback from insurers. While I’m sure it’s more complicated than I’m making it, I was left wondering if the lawmakers had thought insurers were going to like it.