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School buses assemble in the shape of an assault rifle in Houston on July 14, 2022. The protest was organized by Change the Ref, a group that advocates for gun control. Gun deaths are driving a historic spike in child mortality rates.

After decades of steady improvement, the death rate of America’s children and teens shot up between 2019 and 2021 — and gun-related deaths represented the largest share of the increase — by far. Read more»

States are using billions in federal relief money to improve mental health services in schools.

In response to a yearslong decline in the mental health of the nation’s children and teens, officials are using COVID-19 relief dollars and their own money to build support services to recognize the symptoms of mental illness and help students who are struggling. Read more»

In light of a Texas court ruling that could restrict mifepristone, Arizona and other states are working to continue access.

A federal judge in Texas soon could make one of the two pills used in medication abortions harder to come by, even in blue states that support abortion rights - though Arizona and many other states are trying to ensure continued access to the drugs. Read more»

If federal courts a ban on mail-order abortion medications to take effect, legal experts predict the laws will be difficult to enforce without punishing the patient.

Medication abortion has become more common since the Supreme Court overturned the federal right to abortion this summer - but in federal courts and state legislatures, abortion opponents are trying to limit the use of abortion-inducing pills. Read more»

All 50 states and the District of Columbia require children to be vaccinated for childhood diseases before entering kindergarten, and every state allows medical exceptions for religious or philosophical reasons.

The percentage of U.S. children entering kindergarten with their required immunizations fell to 93% in the 2021-22 school year, 2 percentage points below recommended herd immunity levels of 95% and lower than vaccination rates in 2020-21. Read more»

More schools around the country are ordering Narcan kits like this to reverse overdoses of opioids, including deadly fentanyl.

Federal government and some states are redoubling efforts to curb the epidemic of overdoses from opioid painkillers, heroin and fentanyl by making medication-assisted treatment more accessible to the estimated 9.5 million people with an opioid use disorder. Read more»

With more federal money available for addiction treatment and billions to come from a nationwide opioid settlement, addiction treatment advocates say they’re hopeful that the use of buprenorphine in emergency departments will take off.

Last year, 109,000 people died from a drug overdose, more than double the number in 2015, and though medical professionals have long argued that buprenorphine should be available in every emergency room in the country, adoption of the practice has been sluggish. Read more»

Abortion rights measures in more states are expected on the ballot in 2024.

Encouraged by six victories — and zero defeats — in this month’s midterm elections, abortion rights advocates are considering another round of ballot measures in 2024 that would enshrine reproductive freedom in state constitutions. Read more»

Voters approved measures supporting abortion in three states and rejected measures restricting it in two others.

The candidates and ballot measures that triumphed in the midterm elections prove that millions of voters are most energized by abortion access — not worries about inflation or crime - a lesson that both sides of the abortion debate will take into 2024. Read more»

Walmart, the nation’s largest employer, announced in an August memo to employees that it was expanding its abortion coverage. Nationwide, dozens of companies are offering to reimburse travel expenses for employees who cross state lines for an abortion.

Several major corporations are promising to pay travel expenses for employees who must leave their home states to receive a legal abortion, but these promises to invest in employee access to reproductive health care are fraught with risk, including potential retaliation by state officials. Read more»

Some states prohibit clinics that provide abortions from receiving public money for birth control.

Arizona and at least 16 other states have restrictions barring abortion clinics from receiving public contraception funds - though 1 in 3 low-income people who use contraception rely on Planned Parenthood or other publicly funded clinics to pay for the often-costly pills or devices. Read more»

States are making it easier for moms to keep Medicaid in the year after childbirth, a crucial time when depression and other health problems can develop.

A federal-state health care program for pregnant women is gaining momentum in a post-Roe America as 25 states have extended postpartum Medicaid coverage from two months to a full year after childbirth and eight additional states - including Arizona - have applications pending. Read more»

EMTALA requires emergency physicians to provide whatever treatment is necessary to protect the health and life of a patient. In most states that ban abortion, an exception is carved out for abortions performed to save the life of a patient — but not to protect the health of a patient.

Conflicting court decisions over state abortion laws and EMTALA - a federal law requiring hospitals and physicians to protect the health of all patients who enter an emergency room or labor and delivery department - could pave the way for a slew of new battles over medical treatment. Read more»

Activists protest the Supreme Court decision reversing Roe v. Wade on June 3, 2022. Expected on the 2024 ballots are citizen-initiated abortion rights amendments in Arizona and South Dakota.

The victory for abortion rights in a Kansas primary this month was the first direct expression of voter sentiment since the Supreme Court overturned the right to abortion - but experts on both sides remain circumspect about what the vote may mean for the future. Read more»

If federal courts allow state bans on mail-order abortion medications to take effect, legal experts predict the laws will be difficult to enforce without punishing the patient.

Receiving abortion medications through the mail after consulting with a physician is a gray area of the law that may take years of legal battles to resolve as it will be difficult to prove in courts that the FDA approval preempts state abortion bans, Read more»

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