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What We're Reading: Abortion Battle Heats Up; Pregnancy-Related Deaths; NFL Concussion Fund Payout

AJMC Staff
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a "heartbeat" abortion bill into law as legal battles over abortion continue across the nation; a new CDC study found that most pregnancy-related deaths could be prevented; lawyers of former NFL players are fighting a rule that limited retired players to attending physicians within 150 miles of their homes for dementia diagnoses. 

Georgia Governor Signs “Heartbeat” Abortion Bill; Abortion Battles Rage On Across the Nation

Yesterday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill into law that will ban abortions from being performed if a fetus has a detectable heartbeat, which usually occurs within the first 6 weeks of pregnancy, The Hill reported. The legislation will take effect on January 1, 2020. Before the bill was passed, the state of Georgia allowed abortions to be performed within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Exemptions will still be granted if the pregnancy is determined to be “medically futile,” if the pregnancy put the woman’s life at risk, or if a police report was filed related to rape or incest. On Monday, the Louisiana state Senate advanced a similar “heartbeat” abortion bill that passed 31 to 5 and will now head to the state’s House of Representatives, also according to The Hill. Opponents of the bill claimed it was unconstitutional and a move to completely ban abortion. Last week, NPR reported that the Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill criminalizing abortion and preventing physicians from performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy, unless a woman’s life was threatened, under penalty of facing a felony charge of up to 99 years in prison if convicted. 

 

With Pregnancy-Related Deaths On the Rise, CDC Says Most are Preventable

Based off findings from a new CDC study, the agency claims that 3 out of every 5 pregnancy-related deaths could be prevented with better care, The Hill reported. The study found that about 700 women die in the United States every year from pregnancy-related complications and that racial disparities increased the risk of death among African American, American Indian, and Alaskan Native women. The study emphasizes that lack of access to appropriate care, missed or delayed diagnoses, and lack of knowledge about warning signs among patients and providers accounted for the majority of maternal deaths. The United States currently has the highest rate of pregnancy-related deaths among all industrialized nations.

 

Legal Fights Continue After NFL Concussion Fund Paid Out $485 Million

While the NFL concussion fund has paid out almost $500 million within the last 2 years, lawyers of former players claim that there aren’t enough physicians in the approved network to evaluate dementia claims, according to The Washington Post. Yesterday, the players’ lawyers went to court to oppose a rule that restricted retired players to being tested by physicians within 150 miles of their homes. The rule was implemented as a measure to prevent “doctor shopping” and suspected fraud. The fund’s administrator, Orran Brown, said retired players flocked to 4 physicians since removed from the program who had a high volume of traffic and suspect findings. The settlement allowed former players to seek payouts of up to $3 million for moderate dementia and $1.5 million for mild dementia. However, the majority would get receive far less based on how long they played and their age. The settlement was a resolution to many lawsuits that claimed the NFL hid what it knew about the dangers of concussions for years.

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