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Women's Health

The landmark federal health law required most commercial health plans to cover a comprehensive list of birth control methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration free of charge to female patients. But health plans don’t have to cover every option, and newer methods are not included in the federal list of covered services.

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court should overturn its landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide and should let states decide whether to regulate abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb, the office of Mississippi's Republican attorney general argued in papers filed with the high court on Thursday.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A bill that would require doctors to tell women undergoing drug-induced abortions about a disputed method for potentially stopping the abortion process was introduced Thursday in the Ohio House.

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After using drugs on and off for years, Megan Sims wanted to get clean again. But she couldn’t bring herself to stop during the coronavirus pandemic, even when she discovered she was going to have a baby. She had been to rehab before but couldn’t fathom how to do it while pregnant.

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Twenty states are supporting South Carolina's defense of a new abortion law, arguing in an amicus brief that a federal judge was wrong to pause the entire measure instead of just the provision facing a court challenge.

The president, one of the last of a disappearing group of politicians who sought moderate compromises on abortion policy, is frustrating supporters. They wanted faster changes in federal rules. But abortion opponents — including Catholic bishops— are also taking him to task.

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SYDNEY — Australian authorities are further tightening restrictions in Sydney after reporting 44 new community cases, the largest number since a coronavirus outbreak began there last month. The city of more than 5 million is already in lockdown.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's governor wants a new abortion law to take effect, arguing Wednesday that a judge's decision to put the whole measure — and not just the parts being challenged in court — on hold during a lawsuit “oversteps the bounds of federal judicial power.”

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday blocked an Indiana law that would require doctors to tell women undergoing drug-induced abortions about a disputed treatment for potentially stopping the abortion process.

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BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — Prenatal services at the clinic were free, but the motorcycle taxi fare cost more than Monica Maxwell could afford. Just four weeks before delivering her baby, she cobbled together 1,400 kwacha ($1.75) for the 50-kilometer (31-mile) round trip. It was only her third visit -- fewer than her first two pregnancies. The money she made selling tomatoes dried up amid the pandemic. Her husband’s income selling meat also dwindled.

BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — Prenatal services at the health clinic were free, but the motorcycle taxi fare cost more than Monica Maxwell could afford. Just four weeks before delivering her baby, she cobbled together 1,400 kwacha ($1.75) for the 50-kilometer (31-mile) round trip. It was only her third visit -- fewer than her first two pregnancies. The money she made selling tomatoes at the local market dried up due to the pandemic. Her husband’s income selling goat meat also dwindled.

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday vetoed a measure barring women from getting an abortion specifically because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome in a fetus. The proposal advanced by Republicans also sought to prohibit abortions on the basis of race or sex.

Democrats in Congress and the states are devising strategies to expand health coverage — through the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid and a “public option.” But progress remains halting, at best. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Washington may have to agree on how to control prescription drug prices if they wish to finance their coverage initiatives. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Shefali Luthra of The 19th join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews Michelle Andrews, who reported and wrote last month’s KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a very expensive sleep study.

The newly conservative Supreme Court will hear a case that could overturn the nationwide right to abortion and cause political upheaval. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s abrupt announcement that vaccinated people can take off their masks in most places has caused upheaval of its own. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.

It’s 100 days into Joe Biden’s presidency and a surprisingly large number of health policies have been announced. But health is notably absent from the administration’s $1.8 trillion spending plan for American families, making it unclear how much more will get done this year. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention loosens its mask-wearing recommendations for those who have been vaccinated, but the new rules are confusing. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Julie Appleby, who reported the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode.

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