Health Care — The GOP’s abortion messaging challenge

·6 min read

Starbucks’ fall drinks have officially returned as of today. Is it too soon? Does this mean summer is officially over? And most importantly, what will you be ordering?

The Republican Party is reimagining its messaging on abortion as the overturning of Roe by the Supreme Court has energized Democratic voters in the upcoming midterm elections.

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Republicans scramble to tweak abortion messaging

Republican candidates are shifting their message on abortion after several recent elections have shown the issue energizing Democrats.

Some candidates for House, Senate and governor have either reworked sections on their websites or released ads that have sought to downplay, reverse or clarify some of their anti-abortion stances.

“I think the concept that for decades, you know, a Supreme Court fight energized the conservative base because they wanted to overturn Roe, right?” said GOP strategist Barrett Marson, who previously worked on Arizona Republican Senate nominee Blake Masters’s campaign.

“I think you’re gonna see a flip on that, that the liberal base will get more energized about this issue because they got it taken away from them,” he added.

  • Voters in the red state of Kansas earlier this month resoundingly rejected a ballot measure that would have given the legislature more authority to restrict the procedure.

  • Last week, Democrat Pat Ryan won a New York special election seen as a bellwether after focusing his campaign on abortion rights.

Taken together, the developments have seemingly pushed Republicans to reassess how they approach an issue that has already shown it can help swing elections and for some to step back from support for outright abortion bans.

Read more here.

Admin to boost monkeypox jabs at LGBTQ events

The Biden administration on Tuesday announced plans of expanding the response to the monkeypox outbreak by providing vaccinations and education at large LGBTQ-centered events around the country following a recent pilot program carried out in Charlotte, N.C.

Demetre Daskalakis, deputy director for the White House’s national monkeypox response, stated during a briefing that the administration was aiming to make its response more “intentional and targeted.”

  • “Given the progress we’ve made toward making the tools available to end this outbreak, our vaccine strategy is to meet people where they seek services, care or community — especially in communities of color. We know that Prides and other large LGBTQI+ focused events can do just that,” Daskalakis said.

  • Daskalakis said the pilot program that recently took place at Charlotte Pride was a “great success.” Similar programs will be carried out at upcoming events like Atlanta Black Pride Weekend and at Southern Decadence, a nearly week-long annual LGBTQ festival in New Orleans.

More targeted action: The White House also announced it was launching a new “equity intervention pilot program” that will aim to directly reach queer communities of color in smaller scale communities that may face obstacles to obtaining vaccines. This program will “earmark” an additional 10,000 vials of vaccines to be allocated to smaller equity intervention programs.

“We know jurisdictions have already centered equity in their work, but we want to provide additional support to foster even greater innovation in vaccine outreach and education of the communities most at risk,” said Daskalakis.

Read more here.

PREGNANT WOMEN EXPOSED TO CHEMICALS IN HOUSEHOLD ITEMS

Pregnant people are being exposed through various household products to toxic compounds that can increase the risk of cancer and harm child development, a new study has found.

  • Scientists identified two such compounds — the industrial chemical melamine and its byproduct cyanuric acid — in the urine of almost all the pregnant subjects they tested, with the highest levels occurring in women of color and in those with greater exposure to tobacco.

  • Four types of chemicals used in dyes, called aromatic amines, were also present in the urine of nearly all pregnant participants, according to the study, published in Chemosphere on Tuesday.

“These chemicals are of serious concern due to their links to cancer and developmental toxicity, yet they are not routinely monitored in the United States,” co-senior author Tracey Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said in a statement.

Read more here.

JILL BIDEN TESTS NEGATIVE FOR COVID AFTER REBOUND CASE

First lady Jill Biden has tested negative for COVID-19 after a rebound case last week.

The White House confirmed on Monday the first lady’s negative test, adding that she plans to return to Washington on Tuesday after being in isolation, her communications director Elizabeth Alexander said in a statement.

Biden had tested negative last week on Tuesday but ended up testing positive again the next day. President Biden tested positive for about a week after initially testing negative in his rebound case.

  • Like the president, Jill Biden experienced mild symptoms and was given the antiviral drug Paxlovid as treatment for her case.

  • She first tested positive Aug. 16 while on vacation with President Biden and their family in South Carolina. The first lady had mild symptoms and remained there until receiving a negative test and then joined the president in Delaware, where he had continued his vacation.

Read more here.

WHAT WE’RE READING

  • In a new lawsuit, pharma-backed patient groups fight federal rule around copay coupons (Stat)

  • COVID cases among students during the 1st week at Chicago schools are triple compared to last year (ABC News)

  • FDA chief says long-awaited opioid review still in the works (AP)

US death in person with monkeypox confirmed in Texas

Texas has confirmed what appears to be the first death of a person diagnosed with monkeypox in the United States.

  • The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) said in a release on Tuesday that the patient was an adult living in Harris County who was severely immunocompromised. Officials are investigating what role the virus played in the person’s death. 

  • Texas Health Commissioner John Hellerstedt said in the release that monkeypox is a particularly serious disease for those with weakened immune systems. The department said the virus is painful for most people but not life-threatening.

“We continue to urge people to seek treatment if they have been exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms consistent with the disease,” Hellerstedt said.

Global context: The World Health Organization (WHO) has so far confirmed 15 deaths in the current monkeypox outbreak, mostly in the WHO’s African Region. Other deaths have been reported in the Americas, the WHO’s European Region.

Deaths due to monkeypox are extremely rare, with most cases lasting about two to four weeks with no lasting effects apart from scars left over from the characteristic lesions.

During a briefing Tuesday, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they have been in contact with both Texas and Harris County regarding the death.

Read more here.

STATE BY STATE

  • COVID in California: Bill to combat medical misinformation advances in legislature (San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Jackson water failure impacts ability of state’s largest hospital to fight fires (Mississippi Today)

  • Citing ‘significant danger to public health,’ Utah regulators shutter pain clinic (KSL-TV)

OP-EDS IN THE HILL

To preserve US contraception rights, lawmakers must step up now

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Health Care page for the latest news and coverage. See you tomorrow.

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