Mississippi moves closer to banning abortions after 15 weeks

Updated 28 February 2018
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Mississippi moves closer to banning abortions after 15 weeks

MISSISSIPPI: Mississippi moved a step closer on Tuesday to passing the United States’ most restrictive abortion law when a state Senate committee approved a bill banning most procedures after 15 weeks of gestation.
The measure, House Bill 1510, now heads to the full Senate after passage by the Public Health and Welfare Committee, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves said in a statement. Current state law bans abortion at 20 weeks after conception.
A vote is expected in the Republican-controlled Senate by March 7, a spokeswoman for Reeves said by phone. The bill passed the state House of Representatives earlier this month.
“I appreciate the work of the committee and look forward to seeing our state continue to lead the way in protecting the lives of unborn children,” said Reeves, a Republican who presides over the Senate.
Republican Governor Phil Bryant told the Mississippi Today website after passage in the Republican-controlled House this month that if the Senate approved the measure he would sign it.
A representative for Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, could not be reached for comment.
Seventeen states ban abortion at about 20 weeks after fertilization or its equivalent of 22 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which opposes abortion limits.
The Mississippi bill includes an exception in the case of severe fetal abnormality or a medical emergency, which it defines as a threat to the woman’s life or a serious risk of impairing a major bodily function.
Felicia Brown-Williams, the Mississippi state director for Planned Parenthood Southeast, has told Mississippi Today the proposed ban was unconstitutional and bad policy.
The US Supreme Court legalized abortion in its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. It has banned prohibiting abortion before the fetus is able to live outside the womb, usually seen at about 20 weeks of gestation.
The Guttmacher Institute said last month that about 926,200 US abortions were performed in 2014, down 12 percent from 2011.
Americans tend to split roughly down the middle on abortion access, with 49 percent saying they supported it and 46 percent saying they opposed it in a 2017 Gallup poll. (Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington Editing by Leslie Adler)


Nearly four in 10 US HIV infections from people unaware of infection

This electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows a human T cell, in blue, under attack by HIV, in yellow, the virus that causes AIDS. (AP)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Nearly four in 10 US HIV infections from people unaware of infection

  • The Trump administration has said it will invest $291 million in the next financial year to fight HIV/AIDS, which has plateaued since 2013 to around 39,000 annual transmissions

WASHINGTON: Almost 40 percent of new HIV cases in the US occur because people do not know they are infected, while a similar proportion know but are not in treatment, according to a study released Monday.
The report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based on 2016 data and aims to bolster a strategy outlined by President Donald Trump to end the epidemic within 10 years.
The strategy has two main strands: far more widespread screening, and enabling the infected better access to treatment from the moment they test positive.
The study found that 38 percent of infections came from HIV-positive people who were unaware of their status, and 43 percent from people who knew they were infected but took no anti-retroviral drugs.
The remaining infections came from people who were receiving HIV treatment but were not yet “virally suppressed.”
The CDC blamed financial, social and other reasons for people not using medication, which these days typically comes in the form of a daily pill with minimal side effects.
The study said that the infection rate from the half million people in the United States who take medication and are virally suppressed — meaning they cannot pass on the disease to others — was zero.

The most at-risk group remains homosexual men, with almost three-quarters of new infections coming from men having sex with men, the report said.
Five percent of infections came from intravenous drug abuse among homosexual men, while 10 percent came from injecting drugs among the rest of the population.
Twelve percent of infections were among heterosexuals. Overall, the highest rate of transmission was among 13 to 24-year-olds.
The Trump administration has said it will invest $291 million in the next financial year to fight HIV/AIDS, which has plateaued since 2013 to around 39,000 annual transmissions.
The goal is to reduce that number by 75 percent within five years and by 90 percent in 10 years.
Questioned about the relatively small amount of money earmarked for the multi-billion dollar task of treating HIV carriers, CDC head Robert Redfield said he was “confident that the resources that are required to accomplish this mission are in the long term plan.”
The CDC, based in Atlanta, Georgia, wants doctors to make HIV screening a routine procedure.
“Everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime,” said Eugene McCray, the head of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention.
“Those at higher risk should get tested at least annually,” he said.
“The key to controlling is helping those with HIV to control the virus,” said the CDC’s Jonathan Mermin, who focuses on preventing the spread of the HIV as well as other sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis and hepatitis.
“Time spent working closely with patients who are having trouble paying for, picking up or taking their daily medications is time well spent“