U.S. Repro Watch provides periodic updates on news of interest on U.S. reproductive rights. Here are three recent items you won’t want to miss:
1. Two hospitals that refused to provide emergency abortion care violated federal law, an investigation found.
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) investigated hospitals in Missouri and Kansas after a complaint was filed on behalf of Mylissa Farmer, who was denied abortion care despite facing dangerous pregnancy complications.
- The federal agency found May 1 that the two hospitals violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), a federal law which requires hospitals to provide emergency medical care.
- The enforcement action is the first of its kind since Roe was overturned. CMS has not announced any fines or other penalties against the two hospitals in its investigation, but it sent them notices warning that they were in violation of the law and asking them to correct the problems that led to Farmer being turned away.
2. A Utah judge blocked a new law that bans the operation of abortion clinics in the state.
- The law was blocked May 2, just a day before it was set to take effect. It would have restricted the provision of abortion care to hospitals starting May 3 and banned the operation of abortion clinics entirely starting January 2024.
- In his order, state court judge Andrew Stone wrote that the Legislature’s objective in enacting the ban was “nebulous” and that the law “appears to single out abortion clinics without any justification.”
- The court’s decision means that Utah’s abortion clinics can continue to provide abortions for now while the case proceeds.
3. Abortion-related measures were signed into law this week in various states.
- In Montana, Gov. Greg Gianforte signed five anti-abortion bills into law with one attempting to redefine the right to privacy in order to take away state constitutional protections for abortion.
- North Carolina lawmakers unveiled and passed a ban on abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The legislation now goes to the Governor.
- In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed two bills expanding access to reproductive healthcare. One of the new laws allows pharmacists to dispense birth control over the counter.
- Maryland Gov. Wes Moore also approved several bills protecting abortion, including an interstate shield bill, which makes Maryland the 14th state to enact such a law.
May 12: Hearing on Montana Medicaid rule.
- A state court will hear arguments over a rule that would have effectively eliminated abortion access for patients insured through Medicaid in Montana. The rule was blocked May 1 in response to a lawsuit filed by the Center and its partners.
- The lawsuit, on behalf of Montana abortion providers, argues that the health department rule violates the rights to privacy and equal protection under the state constitution.
- The hearing will begin at 11 a.m. MT/1 p.m. ET on May 12.
May 17: Hearing in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA.
- The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments over Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s order revoking approval of mifepristone, which has beebn stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
- The hearing will take place on May 17 at 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET. Read all about the case, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA, here.
Did you know?
Medication abortion will become available for the first time in Japan after the health ministry approved a two-step regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol on Friday. According to Gynuity Health Projects, at least 94 countries have approved mifepristone over the last 35 years. Despite this global trend—and the drug’s proven safety and efficacy—access to mifepristone is now at risk in the U.S.