HEALTH CARE BRIEFING: Abortion Travel Protections to Get Votes

Senate Democrats on Thursday will try — and likely fail — to tee up for a vote a bill that prevents states from restricting women from traveling out of state to receive an abortion.

Democratic leaders in both chambers are pushing for votes on similar bills to ensure that anyone living in a state where they can’t get an abortion can still travel to one where they can. There are no states that currently prohibit such travel. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to repeal long-standing federal abortion protections, some employers have announced they will cover travel costs for employees taking abortion care.

Sen. said. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) Said he was concerned about a “chilling effect” from laws in neighboring states like Texas, which allow people to sue anyone who helped someone with an abortion. She said doctors are in her state, where abortion is legal, and women seeking care have told her they fear they could be sued. “There’s no doubt I see this in my state,” he said.

Sen. said. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) Told reporters he would move to the bill introduced Tuesday by four Democrats despite the absence of two of his colleagues this week because of Covid. Murray and Cortez Masto said in a press release last night that they will push to win unanimous approval for the bill on Thursday, an effort that is all but doomed to fail from the Republican opposition.

The House this week is set to vote on a similar bill (HR 8297) from Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas).

Doctors Fear Blowback Reject Life-Saving Abortions: Hospitals and doctors are struggling to strike the line between providing life-saving procedures for women and descending into a legal gray area that has emerged in the absence of abortion rights. Due to conflicting state and federal guidelines, physicians have difficulty understanding how possible exemptions apply to emergencies. There is also the question of what happens when a patient needs to undergo treatment such as chemotherapy, which can be toxic to a fetus.

“A lot of gray areas are happening in medicine,” said Rebekah Gee, a former secretary of the Louisiana health department and founder and CEO of primary care company Nest Health. “The human body is very complex. These laws are not gray — they are black and white. ” Read more from Lauren Coleman-Lochner, Carly Wanna, and Elaine Chen.

Ariz. Interpretation Act Blocked Against Abortion Providers: An Arizona law that could subject abortion providers to criminal prosecution under various state laws has been blocked for the duration of a lawsuit because it is likely to be unconstitutional, says a federal state court. Known as the interpretation policy, the provision requires all Arizona law to “interpret and interpret” to “recognize” the rights of fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses. Mary Anne Pazanowski has more.

What Else You Need to Know Now

Wednesday Hearings:

  • The House Oversight and Reform Committee holds a hearing Wednesday on the implications of the Supreme Court’s fall on Roe against Wade.
  • The Senate Indian Affairs Committee had a markup on Wednesday to consider the nomination of Roselyn Tso to be director of the Indian Health Service under the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • BGOV Calendar: See the full list of hearings and events this week.

House Vote on Burn Pits Bill: The House is set to vote Wednesday on legislation (S. 3373) to provide health benefits to veterans exposed to poisons while serving abroad, Loren Duggan reports. The new version of the measure removes the tax provision from the original bill (HR 3967) that raised constitutional issues, and will be offered as an amendment to the House. Brittney Washington has highlights in the BGOV Bill Summary.

US Eyes Expands Secondary Boosters to All Adults: The Biden administration is discussing expanding eligibility for a second Covid booster shot to adults under the age of 50 amid the prevalence of the BA.5 omicron variant that responds to most U.S. cases. Discussions about expanding the second booster recommendations have “continued,” White House Covid czar Ashish Jha said in a briefing, stressing that the decision is up to the FDA and CDC to make. Jordan Fabian, Robert Langreth, and Riley Griffin have more.

Employers Share Health Price Data, but Real Change Is Slow: Employer-sponsored health plans and health insurers are expected to follow more rules requiring them to make their price data public than hospitals in 2021. But employers need to now take action and start using the information to make sure their employees get the best deal when they seek medical care. Read more from Sara Hansard.

Biogen SCOTUS Case Bid Supported by Science Advocates: Biogen gained the support of a scientific and legal advocacy group in its bid for Supreme Court review in a Federal Circuit decision that would allow Mylan Pharmaceuticals and other generic drugmakers to sell copycats of multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied Biogen’s request for another hearing of the case, which garnered dissent from three judges. Read more from Samantha Handler.

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To contact the journalists on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at; Alex Ruoff in Washington at

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