How Ultrasound Became Political

The Atlantic, 25 January 2017
Author: Moira Weigel
“Opponents of the heartbeat bills have pointed out that they would eliminate abortion rights almost entirely—making the procedure illegal around four weeks after fertilization, before many women realize that they are pregnant. These measures raise even more elementary questions: What is a fetal heartbeat? And why does it matter?”
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Trump reinstates ban on US funds promoting abortion overseas

The Hill, 23 January 2017
Author: Jessie Hellmann
“President Trump on Monday reignited the war over abortion by signing an executive order blocking foreign aid or federal funding for international nongovernmental organizations that provide or “promote” abortions. The so-called Mexico City policy, established by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1984, blocks federal funding for international family planning charities that provide abortions or “promote” the procedure by providing patients with information about it, including by offering referrals to abortion providers.”
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Here’s What the Mexico City Policy Means for Women

Time, 23 January 2017
Author: Alexandra Sifferlin
“The policy forces health providers to decide whether to accept the ruling and no longer provide abortion-related counseling services, or reject it and lose U.S. funding that many rely on. Several health and development groups expressed concern about the possible implications on women’s health abroad. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is currently the largest bilateral donor of funding for family planning services, and studies reveal that when the Global Gag Rule is implemented, the number of clinics and family services in a given country drop, sometimes spurring a rise in abortion rates.”
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Is ‘big food’ political lobbying helping shape health policies at the public’s expense?

SMH, 23 January 2017
Author: Daniel Burdon
“Lobbyists for ‘big food’ are potentially swaying health policies in favour of their corporate bottom line in Australia, new research has claimed. A Deakin University study published Monday has reported finding “direct evidence” of food industry political tactics that had the potential to shape public health-related policies, at the expense of public health.”
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Letting Seriously Ill Patients Try Drugs Whose Safety, Efficacy Hasn’t Been Proven Could Be Deadly

Forbes, 20 January 2017
Author: Rita Rubin
“The new FDA report, released practically on the eve of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, challenges critics who want to make drugs available to patients as soon as possible. It includes several examples of drugs and vaccines that had a favorable effect on biomarkers–measurable indicators of health, such as blood cholesterol levels–but did not improve symptoms or reduce the risk of a disease.”
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Why don’t we know how many people die in our hospitals?

The Conversation, 19 January 2017
Authors: Philip Clarke, Peter Sivey
“About this time last year, Australia’s National Health Performance Authority (NHPA) decided not to release data on death rates across Australia’s hospitals. Information on hospital deaths hasn’t always been so hard to find. Comparisons of death rates across hospitals can be tricky, as you need to adjust for some hospitals treating sicker patients than others. However, other countries have been producing death statistics that make these adjustments for some time. Publishing such performance data not only gives patients more information, it can help improve quality and safety.”
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