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Stories by Christine Vestal

More states shield against rogue abortion prosecutions

With the Supreme Court expected to weaken or overturn the right to abortion in the months ahead, lawmakers and criminal justice officials in a handful of states are trying to prevent rogue legal actions against women determining pregnancy outcomes.... Read more»0

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As abortion pills take off, some states move to curb them

Since January, legislators in Arizona and at least 20 other states have proposed bills that would restrict or ban access to abortion pills approved more than two decades ago by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. ... Read more»0

States craft their COVID exit strategies

Polls indicate pandemic-weary Americans are desperate to get their old lives back, and as Omicron fades and scientists consider when to declare COVID-19 endemic - and, therefore, here to stay - in the United States, some states are beginning to lift pandemic restrictions.... Read more»0

Here's how abortion access would change if Supreme Court erodes Roe

As the nation awaits a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could significantly erode abortion rights, state laws on the issue have taken on a whole new meaning - soon, more than at any time in nearly half a century, obtaining an abortion will depend on where you live. ... Read more»0

COVID harmed kids’ mental health—and schools are feeling it

After more than 18 months of school closures and social isolation, the nation’s more than 50 million public school children are mostly back at their desks - but the grief, anxiety and depression children have experienced during the pandemic is welling over into classrooms.... Read more»0

School nurse deficit deepens as states seek relief

Despite a severe nationwide shortage of registered nurses - and the unrelenting need in hospitals overrun with COVID-19 cases - much of the $500 million the American Rescue Plan Act set aside to bolster school-based health services will likely not be spent on fresh troops.... Read more»0

Pandemic health inequities expose need for greater obesity prevention

The effects of obesity account for a large share of the nation's health care spending, but funding for obesity prevention and control has been inadequate for decades, and the pandemic has thrust longstanding racial and economic health disparities into bold relief.... Read more»0

Citizen enforcement of Texas abortion ban could spread to other laws

The Texas anti-abortion law that incentivizes ordinary people to file lawsuits against health care providers has human rights advocates and legal experts worried that the legal maneuver will spread to other states—and other social issues.... Read more»0

Finally, new federal cash will bolster public health ranks

Funds from this year’s American Rescue Plan Act are designed to more than double the number of disease investigators and contact tracers working at state and local health agencies - and that money is just one part of the $7.6 billion fund for public health workforce development.... Read more»0

Mask wars and quarantines stymie school reopenings

Defying Republican governors and legislators, a growing number of school districts are instituting mask mandates for students and teachers - despite GOP threats to cut state funding or dock school officials’ pay and an intense backlash from anti-mask parents.... Read more»0

New laws in Arizona and other states hamstring public health officials

Starting last year, Arizona and other mostly GOP state legislators in nearly every state proposed hundreds of bills to either preclude the use of proven public health measures or tie the hands health officials and governors in a public health crisis, and at least 20 states succeeded.... Read more»0

Compliance and defiance: Arizona and other states react to new CDC mask guidelines

A handful of mayors and state and local health officials have announced they will require both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents to wear masks in indoor public settings, but most state and local health officials stopped short of mandating indoor mask wearing.... Read more»0

COVID-19 patients swamp rural hospitals

The nation’s pandemic hotspots have shifted to rural communities, overwhelming small hospitals that are running out of beds or lack the intensive care units for more than one or two seriously ill patients.... Read more»0

Fear, isolation, depression: The mental health fallout of a worldwide pandemic

Mental health experts predict an avalanche of mental health needs as the pandemic progresses.... Read more»0

Addiction treatment shfits under coronavirus challenges

Helping patients stay in recovery from an opioid addiction was never easy. The coronavirus crisis made it harder. ... Read more»0

As suicide rates climb, 'Arizona model' leads nation in crisis care

Other states are starting to emulate what has become known as the “Arizona model” for crisis care, in which suicide hotlines, mobile crisis units and crisis facilities are electronically linked, creating a comprehensive system of services to address the first 24 hours of a person’s psychiatric emergency. ... Read more»0

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