Thursday, September 8, 2022
We are pleased to announce Dr. Natasha DeJarnett as the keynote speaker for the 2022 Public Health Law Summit: Climate Change and Health Equity. Dr. DeJarnett is an assistant professor in the Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute at the University of Louisville Division of Environmental Medicine researching the health impacts of extreme heat exposure and environmental health disparities. Attend the Summit to gain critical insights from Dr. DeJarnett and others who are working to develop climate solutions that are centered in a health equity framework, and to build a shared understanding of how public health law can and should make our communities healthier and help mitigate climate change. View the schedule and register.
Using Local Ordinances, Resolutions, and Non-Prosecution Measures to Protect Reproductive Health
The overturning of Roe v. Wade placed the authority to regulate abortions in the hands of state legislatures and many have moved to restrict abortion or ban it altogether. Within states that have restrictive abortion laws, some local governments have devised legal and policy strategies to mitigate the harms that abortion bans have on residents, such as adopting non-enforcement and non-prosecution strategies. This post explores some of the ordinances, resolutions, and non-prosecution measures local governments have implemented to protect reproductive rights undermined by state laws.
Racial Disparities in Women’s Health
The Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization disproportionately affects the lives of Black and minority women. Black women are three to four times more likely to die in pregnancy and five times more likely to die from pregnancy-related cardiomyopathy and blood pressure disorders than White women. As a result of this decision, 26 states have already, or will soon, ban abortion with little or no exceptions. Twenty-two of the states whose laws impose strict abortion restrictions collectively are home to 45 percent of Black women under the age of 55.
The Limits of HIPAA in Keeping Reproductive Health Records Private
In the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, there is growing concern of far-reaching state restrictions that may include blocking pregnant individuals from traveling to another state to terminate a pregnancy; prohibiting pregnant individuals from obtaining abortion pills out-of-state; and even criminalizing the provision of information to those seeking out-of-state abortions. With these broad ramifications in mind, the threat of law enforcement gaining access to health records is a growing concern. This fact sheet provides guidance on how HIPAA applies to abortion records. We caution that HIPAA includes several provisions permitting disclosure of an individual’s abortion records to law enforcement when specific conditions are met.
Exemptions to School Entry Vaccines and Corresponding Vaccine Coverage
All 50 states and the District of Columbia require vaccines for school entry. Vaccine requirements have decreased disease incidence and mortality across the country, and the fewer exemptions a jurisdiction offers, the higher the childhood vaccination rate tends to be. However, due to a recent decline in vaccination rates, the risk of a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak has increased. This resource examines the type of exemptions offered for school entry vaccines in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and the impact of exemptions on vaccination rates; the equity implications of exemptions; COVID-19’s impact on school entry vaccination rates; and legal and practical challenges to eliminating nonmedical exemptions.
Curbing Reversals of Non-Textual Constitutional Rights
Co-authored by Network attorneys James G. Hodge, Jr., Jennifer Piatt, and Erica White, this article, published in the Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender & Class, examines the potential risk to multiple other non-textual rights (e.g., to contraceptives, sexual intimacy, marriage equality) as a result of the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which removed constitutional guarantees to abortion access.
Hospital Standards of Care for People with Substance Use Disorder
Substance Use Disorder related hospitalizations, readmissions, and health care costs are increasing and are associated with high mortality from drug-related and other causes. Co-authored by Corey Davis, director of the Network’s Harm Reduction Legal Project, this article published in the New England Journal of Medicine examines the ways in which hospitalization represents a key opportunity for engaging and supporting patients with Substance Use Disorder.
Finding a Way Forward: How to Create a Strong Legal Framework for Data Integration
This resource from Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP) was developed to support the work of exchanging, linking, and using data across government agencies. The resource notes that Cross-sector data sharing and integration has become more routine and commonplace, and for good reason. When governments and their partners bring together data safely and responsibly, policymakers and practitioners are better equipped to understand the complex needs of individuals and families, allocate resources where they’re needed most to improve services, and measure the impacts of policies and programs holistically.
Senior Public Health Attorney, Act for Public Health
The Network is seeking a Public Health Senior Attorney to lead and coordinate work in our Act for Public Health (A4PH) initiative, which helps public health departments preserve their authority and powers to protect the health of communities. This position will track and analyze legislation, provide legal technical assistance, conduct training, develop tools and educational materials, and facilitate opportunities for networking and peer assistance. This position will also be the main point of contact and coordinate with A4PH partner organizations. View the full description and apply here.
Senior Attorney, Reproductive Health
The Network is seeking a Public Health Senior Attorney to lead and coordinate our expanding work in reproductive health, coordinating work across the Network’s five Region Offices. This position will track and assess laws, provide legal technical assistance, conduct training, develop tools and educational materials, and facilitate opportunities for networking and peer assistance. The successful candidate will have excellent legal research, writing, and public speaking skills, excellent organizational skills, a demonstrated commitment to health equity and social justice, and the ability to create and maintain partnerships and collaborative relationships with a wide variety of individuals and communities. View the full description and apply here.
Law and Policy Analyst – Center for Public Health Law Research
The Center for Public Health Law Research (CPHLR or Center) is seeking applications for a Law and Policy Analyst. The Law and Policy Analyst reports to the Center’s Research and Operations Director, while working closely with a dynamic team of lawyers and public policy professionals dedicated to using law to improve public health nationally and globally. The Law and Policy Analyst will be primarily responsible for contributing to scientific legal mapping projects by researching and analyzing statutory and regulatory laws and policies across emerging public health topics.
Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Policy Analyst
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is seeking applications for a Program and Policy Analyst for its Tobacco Prevention and Control Program (TPCP) within the Bureau of Community Health Promotion. The TPCP Policy Analyst is responsible for the independent assessment, review, analysis, and development of recommendations for statewide and local commercial tobacco control policies in the areas of: prevention of initiation of tobacco use among youth and young adults; youth access to tobacco products; elimination of exposure to secondhand smoke and aerosol; tobacco use cessation; health insurance coverage for tobacco treatment services; and identifying and eliminating disparities of tobacco use among population groups.
Your interest in the work of the Network is important. Together, we can advance law as a tool to improve public health. Please forward the Network Report and encourage others to join the Network!
The Network for Public Health Law provides information and technical assistance on issues related to public health. The legal information and assistance provided in this document does not constitute legal advice or legal representation. For legal advice, readers should consult a lawyer in their state.