What We’re Reading: Democrats Pass COVID-19 Aid Bill; Ohio Reports Deadliest Overdose Month; AMA Asks SCOTUS to Strike Down Abortion Rule

October 2, 2020

Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion pandemic aid bill; Ohio reports the deadliest overdose month in over a decade; the American Medical Association (AMA) asks for an abortion rule to be overturned.

Democrats Pass COVID-19 Aid Bill Opposed by Republicans

On Thursday, House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) relief bill over Republican opposition, The Washington Post reports. The legislation comes nearly 5 months after the House passed the HEROES Act, which did not progress in the Republican-controlled Senate. The current bill is also opposed by the Senate and White House, while Republicans condemned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for pushing a bill that has no chance of becoming law instead of trying to reach a bipartisan deal. However, talks between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continue. The legislation allots money for stimulus checks, small businesses, unemployment insurance, and COVID-19 testing and treatment, and would provide aid to airlines and the Postal Service.

Ohio Reports Spike in Overdose Deaths

In May of 2020, at least 532 Ohioans died of a drug overdose, marking the highest total of any month in the past 14 years, according to The Columbus Dispatch. In comparison, data from the Ohio Department of Health’s mortality database show 381 residents died of an unintentional overdose in April 2020. Data from May are still incomplete though, as county coroners have 6 months to investigate the toll, meaning the number could still rise. The rate may be a potential side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, as overdoses often climb in times of despair and economic uncertainty. Recently, the Ohio House and Senate passed a bill that expands access to naloxone, set to take effect on December 16.

AMA Asks Supreme Court to Strike Down Trump Abortion Rule

The American Medical Association (AMA), the nation’s largest doctors’ group, asked the Supreme Court to strike down a Trump administration rule prohibiting taxpayer-funded clinics from referring women for abortions, the Associated Press reports. The ask comes after 2 US appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the restriction. The clinics in question mainly serve low-income women. In addition to prohibiting clinics from referring women for abortions, the restriction also includes a mandate to financially and physically separate family planning facilities from those that provide abortion.