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Women’s Health

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Abortion Case, Explained

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After months of deliberation, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear a case on a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi this fall. In this case, the court – made up of a 6-3 anti-abortion majority, including three people appointed by Donald Trump – has the potential to facilitate, if not set the Roe v precedent, legal access to abortions across the country. Wade to fully undo.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health is focused on a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks – before some people even know they are pregnant and before many of the most serious fetal diagnoses can be made, though the law claims to provide exemptions in those cases . Even people who know they are pregnant and have decided to have an abortion may have difficulty doing it before week 15 as many face limitations and obstacles that further delay access to the procedure, including the Costs for travel, accommodation and child care.

As the first major case in the Supreme Court since Judge Amy Coney Barrett joined the bank last fall, Dobbs raises many questions about the future of legal abortion care in the US and how to support access to abortion regardless of the outcome. Here’s what we know so far.

What does Dobbs v. Jackson at stake?

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health emerges from a Mississippi 2018 bill that bans abortion after 15 weeks and focuses on “whether any pre-viable abortion bans are unconstitutional”. Pregnancy restrictions before abortion are viable include any laws that prohibit abortion before the fetus is viable outside the uterus, which is usually between 24 and 28 weeks. Because of the Roe v. Wade’s 1973 standards make abortion bans before viability unconstitutional. The 15-week Mississippi ban in question has faced legal challenges since 2018, and even a conservative federal appeals court overturned it in 2019 in compliance with the pre-viability standard.

Despite the appeals court’s 2019 ruling, the Supreme Court and its anti-abortion majority stand a chance not only to uphold the 15-week abortion ban, but also to reverse the viability standard and even widen Roe. This would leave the right to abortion to states – a dangerous scenario as most states do not include the right to abortion in their state constitutions and some even have trigger laws that would automatically ban abortions if or when Roe is reversed.

With Dobbs, the court could also set the precedent of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 decision that upheld Roe stating that abortion restrictions do not undermine an undue burden on a person’s ability to have an abortion performed. But while the Planned Parenthood case upheld legal abortion, it also helped make more abortion laws and Supreme Court cases like this possible due to the ambiguity of the “undue burden” standard.

The judges could back up Roe in words to present the image of respect for precedents while still decimating access to abortion – a growing trend, especially in the last 10 years when more than a third of the roughly 1,200 state abortion restrictions were enacted. About 90 percent of U.S. counties do not have an abortion provider. Even if the Supreme Court lifts Mississippi’s 15-week ban, as Medical Services ruled against Russo in June last year, which focused on laws to shut down clinics in Louisiana, the court can say it is ready to go ahead Hear cases on other abortion restrictions.

At best, the court could impose this 15-week abortion ban and all other abortion bans, and reiterate the Planned Parenthood vs. Casey standard that restrictions on abortion must not create undue burdens on access. But considering that six of the nine judges have long denied abortion rights, this is unlikely.

How could Dobbs affect access to abortion in the US?

Depending on how the court decides, more abortion bans and restrictions could be passed – and there are already many. In May, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill that not only bans abortion after six weeks, but also gives any U.S. citizen the power to sue someone who performs an abortion, or who helped or who had an abortion helped. In April, states signed Law 28 Restrictions on Abortion in One Week – the most for a week in recent history, making 2021 one of the most dangerous years for abortion rights.

Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has also had a major impact on access to abortion, giving states a lot of leeway at one point to ban abortions by classifying them as “non-essential health care.” Additionally, the pandemic has created many travel, cost, and safety barriers as COVID cases and deaths have skyrocketed, as have unemployment and the loss of health insurance. As a result, more and more people began using abortion drugs that are safe to take at home, but many states and the Trump administration worked quickly to restrict this form of abortion care. The Dobbs case could, by and large, further reinforce restrictions on drug abortion and abortion care, by changing what Roe v. Wade’s protective measures should be lifted – it was only in January that the court dealt a heavy blow to access to drug abortions.

The health, economic and safety effects of limited access to abortion can be incredibly damaging. Research has shown that inability to have an abortion can drive someone into poverty, worsen their physical and mental health, or increase the likelihood of remaining in an abusive relationship. We also know that states with stronger abortion restrictions tend to have higher maternal mortality rates and that women of color are more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth complications.

How can we support safe access to abortion regardless of how the court decides?

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health is an incredibly high risk case, but it’s important to remember that the right to abortion has always been under threat, and abortion providers and advocates have always helped people get the care they were looking for, regardless.

If the worst-case scenarios for access to abortion become a reality, it doesn’t mean the battle is over. Elections – especially at the state and local levels – have always been of great importance to reproductive rights, and will be even more so if Roe is overthrown or if states are given a free hand to enact other abortion bans like Mississippi’s. That means that each of us must double up and research our state lawmakers and make sure we vote and organize for local officials who oppose abortion bans and work to expand access to abortion. Thankfully, groups like #VOTEPROCHOICE and local NARAL and Planned Parenthood chapters make this a lot easier with their comprehensive voter guides.

And of course, at the federal level, it’s important to listen to advocates of reproductive rights and justice, not the anti-abortion politicians who have spent their careers ending legal abortions just to gaslighten us and their selections for judges to claim and judges will uphold Roe’s precedent.

Elections are important, but there is no substitute for direct community support. Local abortion funds provide direct financial support for the cost of abortion and the associated costs of transportation, housing, childcare, and more, and have always been vital as federal and many federal laws prohibit public funding of abortion care. Abortion funds exist and have connected people with the care they need since abortion was legal. Finding, donating to, and volunteering with your local abortion fund or a fund in a region with significant supply barriers can help facilitate safe access to abortions, regardless of how the Supreme Court rules.

As with any high profile, abortion-related Supreme Court case or draconian abortion laws, we must remain vigilant and be aware of the threat Dobbs poses to Jackson Women’s Health. But it’s also important to stay motivated and forceful to continue the struggle beyond any individual decision or choice, and to do the work in our communities to ensure that each of us receives the care we need, regardless of the political attacks we face.

Women’s Health

Israeli CEO seeks quantum of solace for women’s diseases – Sponsored Content

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Severe stomach pain. Nausea. Fatigue. Infertility. These are just some of the symptoms that millions of women with endometriosis suffer – an incurable disease caused when tissue that lines the uterus grows elsewhere in the abdomen.

Shahar Keinan, the Israeli CEO of Polaris Quantum Biotech, is working with another female CEO in the field to use superfast quantum computers to find a cure for endometriosis that doctors estimate affects around 10% of women worldwide.

“This will help bring drugs to market quickly, especially in areas that have long been neglected,” says Keinan of her company’s new partnership with Californian Auransa Inc., which is using artificial intelligence to find new treatments . “This really solves an unmet need.”

The two companies will also work together to find treatments and cures for ovarian and breast cancer and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

“I believe that we will be able to combine our individual expertise in biology and chemistry to develop high quality solutions for these very difficult to control or neglected diseases that affect women’s health,” says Pek Lum, Auransa’s CEO.

Solutions to these diseases are just a fraction of what Polarisqb, a North Carolina-based quantum computing startup, is researching in the fast-growing field of computational chemistry, where scientists use computer models instead of laboratory equipment to identify new compounds that stop or prevent can disease.

The technology, which is dramatically accelerating drug development, holds great promise in areas that are still under-researched – such as women’s health – and rare diseases, where drug companies often have poor return on investment.

Polarisqb is currently conducting an investment round. Private investors can find out more about OurCrowd and participate.

Traditional laboratory-based drug development methods are now becoming more expensive. Each new drug costs about $ 1 billion on average, a price that includes the many failed trials and studies, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. The costs are passed on to the patients.

The quantum computing used by Polarisqb calculates up to 10,000 times faster than conventional computers, helps to make more drugs available faster and at lower prices, and to reduce the average time to market for a drug from 10 to seven years, says Keinan.

To test the concept, Polarisqb’s scientists built on previous Novartis laboratory research on dengue fever, which it took about four years to identify molecules that could stop the disease that causes nausea, rash and limb pain, and in patients can be fatal about 25% of the cases. Although there is a vaccine for certain age groups, it can only be given to people who have had the virus in the past. The virus infects up to 400 million people worldwide every year.

“We were able to use our platform and identify the same molecules from a library of billions in less than a minute. We also use the system to identify new molecules in order to overcome the problems with the old ones, ”said Keinan. The company will now commercialize these molecules to pharmaceutical companies.

The same work can be done with conventional computers, but “it’s a long and complicated operation,” says Keinan, and it would not save much compared to laboratory research. “We were looking for something faster and more efficient to be able to scale.”

Quantum computers allow the system to do super-fast calculations to figure out which molecules are best to use and quickly eliminate those that don’t work.

The platform works by scanning computer models of billions of different molecules. It identifies the molecules that could treat a particular disease by attacking and stopping the activity of a particular protein that changes the course of the disease. In cancer, certain molecules could stop the cancer cells’ DNA from replicating. In viruses, certain molecules could stop the replication of the RNA.

“Finding these molecules will stop the disease,” says Keinan, adding that these molecules then become prescriptions or blueprints for drugs.

“We’re just trying to find the perfect molecule or key that fits exactly into the protein’s keyhole,” she says.

Polarisqb used a digital annealer, a quantum-inspired technology developed by Fujitsu that is able to perform parallel optimization calculations in real time with a speed, precision and size that is unmatched by classical computing. The collaboration with Fujitsu expands the number of molecules sought from 10 million to trillions of molecules and thus increases the probability of finding new, useful drug candidates.

“The new solution from Polarisqb and Fujitsu shortens the time frame for drug discovery and lead optimization from up to 48 months to just eight months,” says Alex Brown, Drug Discovery Consultant at Fujitsu.

Traditionally, scientists have done this in laboratories and conducted experiments to exclude molecules or find effective ones. But this process of trial and error is lengthy and costly, and one of the reasons why the average drug takes about a decade to develop.

“Either you do it slowly and very expensive,” says Keinan. “Or you find a new technology; and we do. “

You can find more information about investing in Polaris Quantum Biotech HERE.

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Women’s Health

Why a former Ro exec set out to start her own digital health startup

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Rachel Blank left Ro last year to start Allara. The startup focuses on helping women cope with PCOS and other complex diseases. Image credit: Allara

After serving two years as Director of Strategy for Digital Health Unicorn Ro, Rachel Blank set out last year to start a new company based on her own health experiences.

In September, she founded Allara Health with the aim of helping women treat polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition that affects an estimated one in ten women. It’s a common cause of infertility, but it affects much more than that – a large percentage of people with PCOS are also insulin resistant, and the condition is also linked to anxiety and depression.

In most cases, it takes years to diagnose and little is known about what actually causes the disease.

Blank found this out from personal experience. She was diagnosed with PCOS 10 years ago after dealing with unexplained health problems for years.

“That was not only a surprise, but especially for me because I grew up the daughter of a gynecologist,” she said in a Zoom interview. “Even when I was diagnosed, I didn’t feel like I ever made a good path in the healthcare system. I never knew where to go, which doctors to see, what to do. I found doctors very dismissive or said things like, ‘If you’re not trying to get pregnant, I don’t really know what to do for you.’ “

The pandemic spurred her to think more about her health and she started doing her own research. She found large communities of women on the internet trying to put together the same questions she was faced with.

“That was that big aha moment for me,” she said. “I can bring in not only my personal experience, but also my professional experience in the field of digital health and, to be honest, build something better.”

Blank is no stranger to women’s health. While at Ro, she ran one of the company’s direct-to-consumer brands, Rory, which offered prescription and wellness treatments for menopausal women. Before that, she worked as an investor for General Catalyst.

At Allara, her goal is to focus more on improving access to specialized treatments, an area that is often overlooked by other women’s health startups that are more focused on primary care or fertility.

“Where I saw this massive void was the specialty care,” she said. “What to do if you not only need contraception but are also not ready for IVF? There is really nowhere you can go in traditional healthcare or digital healthcare right now. “

The New York startup offers virtual visits to gynecologists and endocrinologists as well as nutritional advice and coaching. You also have the option of ordering diagnostics such as a blood test or medication if necessary. Allara currently charges a $ 125 monthly subscription model for all of its services, although going forward, Blank said the company plans to offer it as an employee benefit and offer more point solutions.

Allara currently operates in six states but hopes to be in all 50 states by the end of the year. The company has started visiting patients in the past few months. Around 35,000 women have either signed up for the service or expressed their interest.

In the longer term, Blank hopes to expand to other, often overlooked diseases such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids.

“This motivates me and motivates my entire team to understand the massive impact we have not only on a woman’s everyday life and her daily feelings, but also on her health outcomes,” she said, “.

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Women’s Health

County needs a trauma-informed facility for female inmates

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On Tuesday, June 15, the Travis County Commissioners Court will vote on whether or not to approve a $ 4.3 million design services contract for the proposed Travis County Trauma Informed Women’s Facility Project. The design of the project is influenced by the tremendous efforts of an advisory committee that issued recommendations based on months of work with interviews with female inmates and research into best practices.

The purpose of this project is not to increase detention capacity; Rather, it is about replacing outdated and inefficient facilities and building a holistic facility that houses female inmates in one building, with access to on-site gender-specific medical services, trauma-informed care and counseling, psychosocial support system, vocational training and other programs.

This project is the first of many outlined in Travis County’s current prison facilities master plan, which suggests that at least seven buildings in the prison complex are in disrepair and have been in use for longer than originally intended. I do not support the replacement of all of these buildings. I support the proposed women’s facility that addresses the needs of women from a trauma-informed perspective. If women were placed in a facility with only women and their medical needs attended to, the facility would be safer for women and the officials who protect them.

In addition, a facility that enables the continuous supply of mental health and vocational training services can begin to address the core issues related to the social determinants of health critical to the inmate’s rehabilitation and ensure successful re-entry into the to ease society after they have served their time.

Many prisoners have a background of poverty. The simple fact is that for people living near the poverty line, the prison is the primary place for mental health and medical care. I am not happy about this, but as a Travis County Commissioner, it is my duty to provide for the primary needs of the people who are in our care. I will not fail to improve the existing services without a specific program to replace these much-needed services.

The best of intentions without the appropriate resources can withhold necessary treatment options from members of the community. Lawyers who oppose the Women’s Facility Project fail to recognize the complexities of the issues or the fact that neither the state nor the local government has invested in the necessary resources to provide mental health services outside of prison. Travis County needs more access to drug beds and services for commonly diagnosed mental health problems.

I support parallel efforts to increase these services and provide more distraction, and I am ready to work with anyone who can help solve these complex problems; However, I cannot support pursuing this work at the expense of providing trauma-informed services to incarcerated women who, for various reasons, remain in our prison and under our care.

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