What We're Reading: Illinois Abortion Rights; ACA Reduced Racial Disparities in Cancer Care; Johnson & Johnson Talc Lawsuit

June 3, 2019
AJMC Staff

The Illinois Senate passed an abortion rights bill; a new study presented last weekend at ASCO 2019 found the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reduced racial disparites in cancer care; Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay an additional $300 million in NY talcum powder case.

Illinois Senate Passed Abortion Rights Bill

The Illinois Senate passed a bill, called the Reproductive Health Act, by a vote of 34-20 late Friday that would strengthen women’s abortion rights, The Hill reported. The bill would establish a woman’s “fundamental right” to obtain an abortion and declare that a “fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights.” The legislation would also repeal the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975, ending spousal consent provisions, waiting periods, criminal penalties for physicians that perform abortions, and other restrictions on facilities where abortions are performed.

The Affordable Care Act Reduced Racial Disparities in Cancer Care

A study presented this weekend at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting found that Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act nearly eliminated a key disparity in access to cancer care between white and African American patients in states with Medicaid expansion, STAT News reported. White patients in states without Medicaid expansion received chemotherapy within a month of their cancer diagnosis 48.3% of the time, whereas African American patients received it only 43.5% of the time. In states with Medicaid expansion, the 4.8-point difference was reduced to a 0.8-point difference. Medicaid expansion also increased the percentage of white patients who received chemotherapy in a month by 2 points while increasing it 6 points for African Americans.

Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay an Additional $300 Million in Talc Cancer Case

On Friday, a New York jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $300 million in punitive damages to a woman who claimed her mesothelioma was caused by the company’s talc-based baby powder, alleged to contain traces of asbestos, according to The Hill. The decision elevated the total amount awarded in the case to $325 million after the same jury awarded the plaintiff $25 million earlier in May. The company, which faces thousands of other lawsuits over the product, stated it will appeal the verdict.