Share

cover art for Part II: The State of the Abortion Debate 50 Years After ‘Roe’

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?'

Part II: The State of the Abortion Debate 50 Years After ‘Roe’

Ep. 282

In Part II of this special two-part episode, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call, and Sarah Varney of KHN join KHN chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss how the abortion debate has evolved since the Supreme Court overturned the nationwide right to abortion in 2022, and what might be the flashpoints for 2023.


Also, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their most memorable reproductive health stories from the last year:

Julie Rovner: NPR’s “Because of Texas’ Abortion Law, Her Wanted Pregnancy Became a Medical Nightmare,” by Carrie Feibel

Alice Miranda Ollstein: The New York Times Magazine’s “She Wasn’t Ready for Children. A Judge Wouldn’t Let Her Have an Abortion,” by Lizzie Presser

Sandhya Raman: ProPublica’s “’We Need to Defend This Law’: Inside an Anti-Abortion Meeting with Tennessee’s GOP Lawmakers,” by Kavitha Surana

Sarah Varney: Science Friday’s and KHN’s “Why Contraceptive Failure Rates Matter in a Post-Roe America,” by Sarah Varney


Click here for a transcript of the episode.


More episodes

View all episodes

  • 335. Alabama Court Rules Embryos Are Children. What Now?

    42:06
    In a first-of-its-kind ruling, the Alabama Supreme Court has determined that embryos created for in vitro fertilization procedures are legally people. The decision has touched off massive confusion about potential ramifications, and the University of Alabama-Birmingham has paused its IVF program. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to endorse a national 16-week abortion ban, while his former administration officials are planning further reproductive health restrictions for a possible second term.Lauren Weber of The Washington Post, Rachana Pradhan of KFF Health News, and Victoria Knight of Axios join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.Click here for a transcript of the episode.Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too.Julie Rovner: Stat’s “New CMS Rules Will Throttle Access Researchers Need to Medicare, Medicaid Data,” by Rachel M. Werner.Lauren Weber: The Washington Post’s “They Take Kratom to Ease Pain or Anxiety. Sometimes, Death Follows,” by David Ovalle.Rachana Pradhan: Politico’s “Red States Hopeful for a 2nd Trump Term Prepare to Curtail Medicaid,” by Megan Messerly.Victoria Knight: ProPublica’s “The Year After a Denied Abortion,” by Stacy Kranitz and Kavitha Surana.
  • 334. Biden Wins Early Court Test for Medicare Drug Negotiations

    39:03
    A federal district court judge dismissed a lawsuit attempting to invalidate the Biden administration’s Medicare prescription-drug price negotiation program. But the suit turned on a technicality, and several more court challenges are in the pipeline.Meanwhile, health policy pops up in Super Bowl ads, as Congress approaches yet another funding deadline.Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Lauren Weber of The Washington Post, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.Click here for a transcript of the episode.Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week they think you should read, too.Julie Rovner: Stateline’s “Government Can Erase Your Medical Debt for Pennies on the Dollar — And Some Are,” by Anna Claire Vollers.Alice Miranda Ollstein: Politico’s “‘There Was a Lot of Anxiety’: Florida’s Immigration Crackdown Is Causing Patients to Skip Care,” by Arek Sarkissian.Rachel Cohrs: Stat’s “FTC Doubles Down in Welsh Carson Anesthesia Case to Limit Private Equity’s Physician Buyouts,” by Bob Herman. And Modern Healthcare’s “Private Equity Medicare Advantage Investment Slumps: Report,” by Nona Tepper.Lauren Weber: The Wall Street Journal’s “Climate Change Has Hit Home Insurance. Is Health Insurance Next?” by Yusuf Khan.
  • 333. To End School Shootings, Activists Consider a New Culprit: Parents

    35:25
    For the first time, a jury has convicted a parent of a school shooter of charges related to the child’s crime, finding a mother in Michigan guilty of involuntary manslaughter and possibly opening a new legal avenue for gun control advocates. Meanwhile, as the Supreme Court prepares to hear a case challenging the FDA’s approval of the abortion drug mifepristone, a medical publisher has retracted some of the journal studies that lower-court judges relied on in their decisions.Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Rachana Pradhan of KFF Health News join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.Click here for a transcript of the episode.Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too.Julie Rovner: The Alabama Daily News’ “Alabama Lawmakers Briefed on New ‘ALL Health’ Insurance Coverage Expansion Plan,” by Alexander Willis.Alice Miranda Ollstein: Stat’s “FDA Urged to Move Faster to Fix Pulse Oximeters for Darker-Skinned Patients,” by Usha Lee McFarling.Sarah Karlin-Smith: The Atlantic’s “GoFundMe Is a Health-Care Utility Now,” by Elisabeth Rosenthal.Rachana Pradhan: North Carolina Health News’ “Atrium Health: A Unit of ‘Local Government’ Like No Other,” by Michelle Crouch and Charlotte Ledger. 
  • 332. The Struggle Over Who Gets the Last Word

    43:04
    As science skepticism pervades politics, the Supreme Court will soon consider two cases that seek to define the power of “experts.” Meanwhile, abortion opponents are laying out plans for how Donald Trump, if reelected as president, could effectively curtail abortion even in states where it remains legal.Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call, Joanne Kenen of Johns Hopkins University and Politico Magazine, and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.Also this week, Rovner interviews Samantha Liss, who reported and wrote the latest KFF Health News-NPR “Bill of the Month” feature about a husband and wife who got billed for preventive care that should have been fully covered.Click here for a transcript of the episode.Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too:Julie Rovner: ProPublica’s “Amid Recall Crisis, Philips Agrees to Stop Selling Sleep Apnea Machines in the United States,” by Debbie Cenziper, ProPublica, and Michael D. Sallah, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.Joanne Kenen: The New York Times’ “Elmo Asked an Innocuous Question,” by Callie Holtermann.Sarah Karlin-Smith: The Texas Tribune’s “Texas Attorney General Requests Transgender Youths’ Patient Records From Georgia Clinic,” by Madaleine Rubin.Sandhya Raman: The AP’s “Community Health Centers Serve 1 in 11 Americans. They’re a Safety Net Under Stress,” by Devi Shastri.
  • 331. Health Enters the Presidential Race

    38:05
    New Hampshire voters have spoken, and it seems increasingly clear that this November’s election will pit President Joe Biden against former President Donald Trump. Both appear to be making health a key part of their campaigns, with Trump vowing (again) to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and Biden stressing his support for contraception and abortion rights. Meanwhile, both candidates will try to highlight efforts to rein in prescription drug prices. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, and Jessie Hellmann of CQ Roll Call join KFF Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.Also this week, Rovner interviews Sarah Somers of the National Health Law Program about the potential consequences for the health care system if the Supreme Court overturns a key precedent attempting to balance executive vs. judicial power.Click here for a transcript of the episode.Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too: Julie Rovner: Health Affairs’ “‘Housing First’ Increased Psychiatric Care Office Visits and Prescriptions While Reducing Emergency Visits,” by Devlin Hanson and Sarah Gillespie.Alice Miranda Ollstein: Stat’s “The White House Has a Pharmacy — And It Was a Mess, a New Investigation Found,” by Brittany Trang.Anna Edney: The New Yorker’s “What Would It Mean for Scientists to Listen to Patients?” by Rachael Bedard.Jessie Hellmann: North Carolina Health News’ “Congenital Syphilis — An Ancient Scourge — Claimed the Lives of Eight NC Babies Last Year,” by Jennifer Fernandez. 
  • 330. The Supreme Court vs. the Bureaucracy

    39:10
    The Supreme Court this week heard oral arguments in a case that could radically alter the way federal agencies — including the Department of Health and Human Services — administer laws passed by Congress. A decision in the case is expected this spring or summer. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is struggling over whether to ban menthol cigarettes — a move that could improve public health but also alienate Black voters, the biggest menthol users. Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins University and Politico Magazine, Lauren Weber of The Washington Post, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KFF Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Darius Tahir, who reported and wrote the latest KFF Health News-NPR “Bill of the Month” feature about a lengthy fight over a bill for a quick telehealth visit.Click here for a transcript of the episode.Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too:Julie Rovner: Stat’s “Pumping Milk at JPM Was a Nightmare. It’s Part of a Bigger Problem in the Industry,” by Tara Bannow.Joanne Kenen: Undark’s “Why Incentives to Attract Doctors to Rural Areas Haven’t Worked,” by Arjun V.K. Sharma.Lauren Weber: The Guardian’s “Majority of Debtors to US Hospitals Now People With Health Insurance,” by Jessica Glenza.Rachel Cohrs: The Washington Post’s “Republican Governors in 15 States Reject Summer Food Money For Kids,” by Annie Gowen.
  • 329. All About the (Government) Funding

    42:17
    With days to go until a large chunk of the federal government runs out of money needed to keep it operating, Congress is still struggling to find a compromise spending plan. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court agreed to hear — this year — a case that pits federal requirements for emergency treatment against state abortion bans.Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Tami Luhby of CNN join KFF Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews American Medical Association President Jesse Ehrenfeld about the choppy waters facing the nation’s physicians in 2024.Click here for a transcript of the episode.Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too:Julie Rovner: CNN’s “Bottled Water Contains Thousands of Nanoplastics So Small They Can Invade the Body’s Cells, Study Says,” by Sandee LaMotte. Also, ScienceAlert’s “It Turns Out Paper Straws Might Pose a Serious Problem Too,” by Carly Cassella. Also, The Washington Post’s “How Plastic Hides in Supposedly Eco-Friendly Laundry Products,” by Michael J. Coren.Tami Luhby: KFF Health News’ “Most People Dropped in Medicaid ‘Unwinding’ Never Tried to Renew Coverage, Utah Finds,” by Phil Galewitz.Alice Miranda Ollstein: Stat’s “Texas Taxpayers Wanted to Help the Poor Get Health Care. Instead They’re Funding a Medical School at a Wealthy University,” by Rachel Cohrs.Sarah Karlin-Smith: The New York Times’ “The F.D.A. Warned an Asthma Drug Could Induce Despair. Many Were Never Told,” by Christina Jewett and Benjamin Mueller.
  • 328. New Year, Same Abortion Debate

    38:32
    Some Supreme Court justices were wrong if they assumed overturning Roe v. Wade would settle the abortion issue before the high court. At least two cases are awaiting consideration, and more are in the legal pipeline. Meanwhile, Congress once again has only days until the next temporary spending bill runs out, with no budget deal in sight. Lauren Weber of The Washington Post, Shefali Luthra of The 19th, and Victoria Knight of Axios join KFF Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Sandro Galea, dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, about how public health can regain public trust. Click here for a transcript of the episode.Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too: Julie Rovner: Politico’s “Why Democrats Can’t Rely on Abortion Ballot Initiatives to Help Them Win,” by Alice Miranda Ollstein, Jessica Piper, and Madison Fernandez. Lauren Weber: The Washington Post’s “Can the Exhausted, Angry People of Ottawa County Learn to Live Together?” by Greg Jaffe. Victoria Knight: Politico’s “Georgia Offered Medicaid With a Work Requirement. Few Have Signed Up.” by Megan Messerly and Robert King. Shefali Luthra: Stat News’ “Medical Marijuana Companies Are Using Pharma’s Sales Tactics With Little of the Same Scrutiny,” by Nicholas Florko.  
  • 327. 2023 Is a Wrap

    42:21
    2023 was another busy year in health care. As the covid-19 pandemic waned, policymakers looked anew at long-standing obstacles to obtaining and paying for care in the nation’s health care system. Meanwhile, abortion has continued to be an issue in much of the nation, as states respond to the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision overturning the constitutional right to the procedure.This week, Rachel Cohrs of Stat, Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call, and Joanne Kenen of Johns Hopkins University and Politico Magazine join KFF Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and wrap up the year in health. Also this week, Rovner interviews KFF Health News’ Jordan Rau about his joint KFF Health News-New York Times series “Dying Broke.” Click here for a transcript of the episode.Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too:  Julie Rovner: Business Insider’s “‘I Feel Conned Into Keeping This Baby,’” by Bethany Dawson, Louise Ridley, and Sarah Posner. Joanne Kenen: The Trace’s “Chicago Shooting Survivors, in Their Own Words,” by Justin Agrelo. Rachel Cohrs: ProPublica’s “Doctors With Histories of Big Malpractice Settlements Work for Insurers, Deciding if They’ll Pay for Care,” by Patrick Rucker, The Capitol Forum; and David Armstrong and Doris Burke, ProPublica. Sandhya Raman: Roll Call’s “Mississippi Community Workers Battle Maternal Mortality Crisis,” by Lauren Clason.