Florida: Rubio In for Now, Corey Out

Nel's New Day

Florida’s primary yesterday had bad news and good news. GOP Sen. Marco Rubio is still on the path to re-election after defeating his Trump-supported opponent. He won’t promise to stay the entire six years if elected, obviously using the Senate as a stepping stone for another presidential run in 2020. Whatever Rubio promises, however, is always subject to change, for example, his assertion—10,000 times by his own count—that he wouldn’t run for re-election. Within months, he made these claims: people who don’t want to vote, shouldn’t run for the Senate; all government workers who don’t do their jobs should be fired; he needs to vote only on important issues; and “there is really no other job in the country where if you don’t do your job, you don’t get fired.” The last one was said on the Senate floor, and he’s right—while he takes home $174,000 every year. He said that…

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We Need Abortion Laws Based on Science

31upadhyay-master768

Kelly Blair

San Francisco — Sixteen years ago next month, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first “abortion pill,” and today medication abortion accounts for about a quarter of all nonhospital abortions in the United States. Not only is it safe and effective, but for women who live in the 89 percent of American counties that lack even a single abortion provider, it is often the only feasible option.

Not surprisingly, state legislatures bent on eliminating abortion access have targeted medication abortion, passing several new laws with the stated intention of safeguarding women’s health and safety. But in a research paper I co-wrote on Tuesday in the online journal PLOS Medicine, my colleagues and I found that such laws are not just covers for restricting abortion access — they can actually harm women’s health.

These laws include limitations on the types of health care providers who can give women the pills, prohibitions on prescribing the pill remotely (through telemedicine) and bans on home self-administration. And we can expect even more such laws aimed at medication abortion, now that the Supreme Court has effectively blocked states from using women’s health as a basis for restricting access to abortion clinics.

In Ohio, which was the focus of our research, a 2011 law required abortion providers to use an F.D.A.-approved two-drug regimen (mifepristone and misoprostol); under the law, women must make two visits to a doctor’s office to take both the drugs. On its face, laws like Ohio’s seem sensible enough — why shouldn’t doctors follow federal guidelines? Because those guidelines can be severely out of date.

F.D.A. guidelines take a snapshot in time. Clinical research is continuing. Best practices are constantly improving. The F.D.A. can’t keep up, and when a drug maker wants the agency to update its guidelines, it must submit a complex and costly application. Fortunately, there’s a legal shortcut: Physicians can and often do prescribe medications off-label — i.e., for uses or in regimens different from what the F.D.A. recommends. A 2006 study estimates that 21 percent of all prescriptions are for off-label use.

Not only is the law misguided; it also led to worse outcomes for women’s health. We examined medical charts from almost 3,000 patients at four Ohio clinics getting medication abortions before and after the law. After the law, the percentage of patients requiring additional medical treatment rose from 5 percent to 14 percent — including, in some cases, an in-clinic procedure to complete the abortion, which is what many women were trying to avoid by opting for a medication abortion in the first place.

The four clinics we studied saw an 80 percent decline in medication abortions between 2010 and 2014, compared with a 17 percent decline in all abortions over the same time period. Medication abortions declined from 22 percent of all abortions in these clinics in 2010, before the law, to 5 percent after the law in 2014.

There is some good news at the federal level: The F.D.A. label for medication abortion was updated in March 2016 to match the latest guidelines, so providers in Ohio — as well as in North Dakota and Texas, which have similar laws — may now legally treat women with the current evidence-based regimens.

But as long as laws like Ohio’s remain in place, this is a short-term victory — the 2016 F.D.A. regimen will most likely become outdated in the future. In fact, clinical trials are currently underway to test the safety of pharmacy access of medication abortion pills and extending use from 10 weeks to 11 weeks of pregnancy. If these trials prove successful, women in Ohio, North Dakota and Texas will not be legally allowed to get the most up-to-date care.

Claims that abortion laws will protect women’s health and safety are just that — claims. We need scientific research that evaluates these laws’ actual effects on women and their health. If state legislatures want to create policies around abortion, they should be based on evidence. When policy is not based on science, American women pay the price.

Trump’s Campaign Manager Decries Lack of ‘Substance’

Nel's New Day

“We want substance!” That’s the cry from Donald lovers and Hillary haters. During an interview with Rachel Maddow, Trump campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, voiced the complaint that “no substance [is] being discussed” in the 2016 race.

Yesterday Hillary Clinton provided substance—and the media ignored her. She presented a mental health package to help improve the condition of the 20 percent of people in the United States who suffer from mental illness and initiate a White House conference about the subject during her first year as president. Her plan integrates mental health services into health-care system and includes a national suicide prevention initiative, higher payments for Medicaid providers, emphasis on treatment over jail for low-level criminal offenders with mental health issues, and new housing and job opportunities. She also promised increased investment in brain and behavioral science research as well as enforcing existing laws that mandate mental health coverage be…

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She has Returned

Tribe of Dreams

The very first time I heard Bernie Sanders speak, I knew who he was

knew the energy he was representing

knew that he was being fed from the same wellspring of evolving consciousness by which so many of us have been being fed lately on this planet.

This wellspring offers the energy of community

fellowship

kinship

unity

wellness.

It offers the energy of equality

equanimity

truth

justice.

It offers the energy of love.

In a civilization that values profit about all else

this energy becomes revolutionary

but it is not by nature.

By nature, this energy is evolutionary.

There is only so long that we can continue to stumble blindly upon the Earth

eating her up faster than she can feed us

and creating so much suffering for ourselves, our kin in the community of life, and our future generations.

So it is not only unsurprising,

but also necessary

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Associated Press: An Apology For Hillary ?

Social Justice For All

clinton-foundationHow sad and disheartening that the Associated Press (AP) has devolved to the likes of Fox News, where one can “report” a series of lies and present it as news. What is even more profoundly disturbing is that when confronted with the fact that they the AP had no evidence of wrong doing and should offer a retraction, they took a very petulant “I got my hand caught in the cookie jar”defense. Is the AP trying to model itself off of the behavior of Trump?

For those not familiar with the story, some brief background. Last week the AP pitched a story that screamed “Half of the people Hillary Clinton met with as Secretary of State were Clinton Foundation donors!!” The problem? They only looked at two years of her time as Secretary of State. They threw out every meeting she had with anyone they considered a “government official.” Left with…

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The Road to Happiness, Long Life

Nel's New Day

How to find happiness and the good life is an ongoing search for humanity. Ninety years ago, Bertrand Russell wrote, “The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” After last year’s presidential campaign, it’s a message that need to be considered.

Ten years after Russell delivered this philosophy, Harvard Medical School researchers started to find answers to the question  of the good life through science in the Grant Study—and longest-running study in this realm. The Study of Adult Development began in 1938 as a contrast to medicine’s disease model as it followed 268 healthy sophomores between 1939 and 1944. Medical science knew nothing about DNA and little about genetics at that time. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders would not be written for another two decades. The good life was considered a purview of philosophy and not medicine.

Although the subject began by using entitled…

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Trump: ‘Make American Hate Again’

Nel's New Day

The two presidential candidates dueled this past week about bigotry and hatred. Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton, and Clinton gave a speech composed greatly out of quotes from Donald Trump, his campaign leader, and his surrogates. Instead of lambasting the entire GOP, Clinton isolated him from the establishment party members by graphically describing his strong white-supremacist connections. With Breitbart’s former leader, Steve Bannon, moving over to be Trump’s new campaign CEO, the field of Trump’s offensive comments has vastly expanded—for example, Breitbart’s headline, “Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield.”

Other issues that Clinton brought up are Trump’s praise of Alex Jones who claimed that “the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre were child actors and no one was actually killed there.” She evoked Trump’s long-term birtherism when he refused to accept that President Obama’s long form of his birth certificate was authentic. There was also the attack on…

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