What We're Reading: Judge Blocks Mississippi Abortion Law; Oklahoma Opioid Suit; Maine Vaccine Exemption Removal

May 28, 2019

A federal judge has blocked a Mississippi law that would ban abortions 6 weeks into pregnancy; Teva Pharmaceuticals settled with state of Oklahoma for $85 million 2 days before opioid trials were set to begin; the governor of Maine has signed a bill that will remove nonmedical exemptions for vaccinations.

Federal Judge Blocks Mississippi “Heartbeat” Abortion Law

On Friday, US District Judge Carlton Reeves blocked a Mississippi law that would have banned abortions as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat can usually be detected, CNN reported. In a preliminary injunction, Reeves said the law threatened women’s rights, as most do not seek an abortion until after 6 weeks of pregnancy. Similar “heartbeat” bills to limit abortion have been introduced in 15 states this year.

Johnson & Johnson On Trial in Oklahoma Opioid Suit, Teva Pharmaceuticals Settles for $85 Million

Litigation against Johnson & Johnson, a major opioid manufacturer, will begin in Oklahoma today, Kaiser Health News reported. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter alleged that the company overstated the benefits of opioids and understated their risks in marketing campaigns, encouraging physicians to prescribe them for ailments not approved by regulators. Teva Pharmaceuticals, which was also set to face trial, announced an $85 million settlement with the state on Sunday, leaving Johnson & Johnson as the sole defendant.

Maine Governor Signs Bill to Remove Vaccine Exemptions

Maine Governor Janet Mills signed a bill into law on Friday that will end most nonmedical exemptions for mandatory childhood vaccines, according to The Hill. The law will allow only physicians and pediatric primary care givers to determine whether a child should receive a medical exemption. Maine will become the fourth state to remove religious exemptions for vaccine requirements.