What We’re Reading: Telemedicine Abortions Surge; Minor Gender-Affirming Treatment Ban; Children Lose Medicaid


Telemedicine abortions in Iowa have increased in recent months; 2 new laws restrict access to gender-affirming health care and school sports in Missouri; the end of COVID-19 safety nets means many children have lost Medicaid coverage.

Iowa Sees Surge in Telemedicine Abortions Amid Legal Battle

The use of telemedicine for abortions in Iowa—which involves a health center visit for the first of a 2-pill medication regimen and taking the second pill at home—has experienced substantial growth, increasing by more than 10% from April 2022 to March 2023, according to Axios. This shift in abortion access coincides with a federal appeals court ruling that has restricted access to the abortion pill mifepristone. The ultimate consequences of these developments may lead to a Supreme Court debate that threatens the future of telehealth abortions.

Missouri’s Ban on Gender-Affirming Treatments for Minors Takes Effect

On Monday, 2 laws went into effect that restrict access of transgender youth in Missouri from school sports and beginning gender-affirming health care, according to The Associated Press. Respectively, the new laws require student athletes from kindergarten through college to play on sports teams of their sex assigned at birth and ban minors from starting puberty blockers and hormones. Both laws are expected to expire in 2027.

At Least 1M Children Dropped From Medicaid as COVID Safety Nets End

Nearly 5.5 million people have been dropped from Medicaid nationwide since the ending of COVID-era safety nets, according to The Hill. At least 1 million of these individuals are children, who have been removed for “procedural” reasons, although they may still be eligible; nearly 400,000 of these children reside in Texas. Democrats and health care advocates have been urging the Biden administration to take a more aggressive stance against states that don’t try to slow the high rates of procedural unenrollment.

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