Fifth Circuit Court knocks down Texas abortion ban | The Latest | Gambit Weekly

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Tuesday evening a Texas law banning the most common and safest type of second trimester abortion, marking an unlikely victory for reproductive rights advocates from one of the most conservative appeals courts. 

The statute effectively outlawed the dilation and evacuation procedure, known as D&E, in which doctors open the cervix and remove fetal tissue from the uterus. The law would only allow the procedure, the one usually used for abortions after 14 weeks of pregnancy, if the “fetal demise” occurs in the uteruswhich would require an invasive additional step for doctors and women that is not part of a typical D&E. 

In its Whole Woman’s Health v. Ken Paxton decision, the Fifth Circuit ruled that the law unduly burdens a woman’s constitutionally-protected right to obtain a previability abortion” because it “requires a woman to undergo an additional and medically unnecessary procedure to cause fetal demise before she may obtain a dilation and evacuation abortion.”  

Louisiana passed a similar law in 2016, with exceptions only for a serious health risk to the mother, but it is not currently in effect. Several other states have had their own bans challenged in courtincluding Alabama, Kansas and Oklahoma. It is unclear if the ruling will apply to Louisiana and Mississippi, which are also in the Fifth Circuit’s jurisdiction and have similar bans on the books. 

The Texas law started out as a bill banning a late-term abortion procedure that was already outlawed at the federal level in 2003 and forbidding the sale or donation of embryonic and fetal tissue. But after several amendments, the final form of the law had many other parts, including requiring the burial or cremation of embryonic and fetal tissue. The D&E ban, however, was the biggest change. 

The law also included criminal penalties for doctors who did not adhere to it. 

Eight licensed abortion clinics and three abortion providers challenged the Texas law, and the Fifth Circuit, which covers Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, ruled in their favor and against the state of Texas. 

The ruling in favor of abortion rights comes as Louisiana residents begin to vote on whether they want to add an amendment to the state constitution declaring it does not include the right to abortion. It also comes in the midst of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearings. If confirmed to the Supreme Court, Barrett would give the court and even stronger anti-abortion majority, which could impact decades of future abortion legislation. 

Barrett is from Louisiana.

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Dentist’s COVID-19 Coverage Suit Sent Back to State Court


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Law360 (October 8, 2020, 6:44 PM EDT) —
A Texas federal judge remanded a dentist’s COVID-19 coverage suit against Allstate Insurance Co. back to state court, ruling that the insurer failed to show that a claims adjuster was wrongly joined, defeating the suit’s diversity of jurisdiction required in federal court.

U.S. District Judge Richard B. Farrer said Wednesday that Orsatti DDS PC, a dental office of Bexar County, Texas, sufficiently showed that it properly included an insurance claims adjuster in the suit, which lacks complete diversity of citizenship to stay in the district court.

Orsatti suspended business and could operate only for dental emergencies due to government closure orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic in March. The office claimed that it lost income and filed a coverage claim to Allstate. The Illinois-based carrier then assigned commercial property adjuster Blessing Sefofo Wonyaku — a Texas citizen — to investigate the claim.

Allstate subsequently denied coverage, asserting a virus exclusion and a lack of physical damage to Orsatti’s property. In June, the dental office sued the insurer in Bexar County state court before the insurer removed the case to federal court a month later.

Orsatti alleged that the insurer and its adjuster failed to conduct a proper investigation of its claim because they never asked for any documents or information relating to its claim. The office contended that both Allstate and Wonyaku “conspired to delay and deny or underpay its claim”

Allstate had argued that Wonyaku was improperly joined because Orsatti failed to show Wonyaku engaged in any conduct separate from the coverage denial. On Wednesday, Judge Farrer said Allstate’s arguments “lack merit.”

Orsatti “has properly stated a claim against [Wonyaku] for h[er] conduct as an individual adjuster,” and has plausibly alleged that she engaged in “an outcome-oriented investigation” and “unfair settlement,” the judge said.

Judge Farrer pointed out that Orsatti had adequately alleged that Wonyaku never asked “any questions upon learning [the dental practice] had to close business” due to government closure orders but “immediately” sent over a denial letter stating no coverage.

“Had Wonyaku requested additional information, as she was obliged to do, Orsatti’s amended petition suggests that Wonyaku would’ve found the virus exclusion provision inapplicable in this context,” the judge said.

Additionally, Judge Farrer said, although Allstate argued that it was not required to investigate the claim because the policy bars coverage for virus loss and mandates coverage denial, its argument “is more properly an attack on the merits of the claim, rather than an inquiry into the propriety of the joinder of the local party,” the judge said.

Allstate failed to demonstrate that

At least 8 people who attended Supreme Court nomination ceremony have tested positive for COVID-19

At least eight people who have tested positive for coronavirus were in attendance at the Supreme Court nomination ceremony at the White House last weekend. The number of people in President Trump’s circle who tested positive for the virus is growing, following news of the president and first lady’s positive diagnoses early Friday morning. 

On Saturday, September 26, Mr. Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. He held an outdoor ceremony at the Rose Garden, which was attended by about 200 people — many of whom were not wearing masks or following social distancing guidelines. There are also photos of some of the attendees inside the White House on Saturday.

President Trump Announces His Supreme Court Nominee To Replace Justice Ginsburg
President Trump announces Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House on September 26, 2020. Seven people in attendance have since tested positive for COVID-19.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


There is now growing concern that Mr. Trump contracted the virus at the ceremony, which could have possibly been a “super-spreader” event. Photos from the event show that chairs were not socially distanced, with many of the people who have tested positive sitting in close proximity. 

So far, at least eight people who attended that ceremony have tested positive for COVID-19: The president, first lady Melania Trump, former top aide Kellyanne Conway, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins, Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina and a White House reporter, according to the White House Correspondents’ Association.

Barrett tested positive for the virus over the summer and has since recovered, The Washington Post reports. 

Christie, who did not wear a mask to the event, announced his diagnosis on Saturday, tweeting “I will be receiving medical attention today.” Conway, who also did not wear a mask, announced her diagnosis late Friday, calling her symptoms “mild,” including a “light cough.”  

Lee, who was seen at the event hugging and kissing attendees without a mask, tweeted Friday that he had “symptoms consistent with longtime allergies” and would spend 10 days in isolation. Tillis, who did wear a mask, tweeted that he experienced no symptoms and will also isolate for 10 days. 

Lee appears to have been seated directly behind Vice President Mike Pence and Tillis was seated directly behind U.S. Attorney General William Barr. Both Pence and Barr announced that they tested negative for the virus on Friday.

President Trump Announces His Supreme Court Nominee To Replace Justice Ginsburg
Chairs at the September 26 nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House were not spaced six feet apart, and many attendees did not wear masks.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


GOP Senator Ron Johnson, whose positive COVID-19 diagnosis was announced Saturday morning, did not attend Saturday’s event. He is the third Republican senator to test positive for the virus in two days.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called to delay Barrett’s confirmation hearing following

Fears for Obamacare if Amy Coney Barrett confirmed to supreme court

This month, Congress is expected to begin confirmation hearings for Donald Trump’s nominee for the supreme court, Amy Coney Barrett. If confirmed, she could be the decisive vote in a case being heard days after the election, which seeks to strike down the landmark Affordable Care Act – a move that could leave millions of Americans without healthcare in the middle of a pandemic.



Barack Obama wearing a suit and tie: Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images


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Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images



Barack Obama wearing a suit and tie: Obamacare, Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform, has been in place for 10 years and underpins much of the country’s healthcare system.


© Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
Obamacare, Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform, has been in place for 10 years and underpins much of the country’s healthcare system.

Related: Amy Coney Barrett: what will she mean for women’s rights?

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Trump has pledged to kill the ACA since day one of his presidency, but despite comments to the contrary he has no official plan to replace the healthcare reform law, commonly known as Obamacare. Without it, 20 million Americans could lose their health insurance.

Joe Biden opened the presidential debate on Tuesday night by warning about the threat posed by Trump: “He’s in the supreme court right now trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.”

Sabrina Corlette, co-director of the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University, said if Coney Barrett is confirmed, “it dramatically increases the chances that the ACA will be struck down.”

“That said, because there are so many conservative legal scholars that have said this is a ridiculous, meritless lawsuit, one can only hope and pray she’s in that camp,” she said.

Obamacare has been in place for 10 years and underpins much of the country’s healthcare system. Without it, things such as protections for people with pre-existing conditions would disappear.

Before Obamacare, millions of Americans who had cancer, multiple sclerosis or other diseases could be denied healthcare coverage because of their condition. At least 54 million people have a pre-existing condition which would have been deniable before the ACA.

People who contract Covid-19 could also be denied coverage, be charged higher premiums, or have future treatment for coronavirus turned down.

Video: Trump’s executive order on healthcare protects people with pre-existing conditions: Azar (FOX News)

Trump’s executive order on healthcare protects people with pre-existing conditions: Azar

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Laura Packard, a healthcare advocate and cancer survivor, said she was concerned about losing health insurance because of her pre-existing condition.

Packard was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, three years ago and has watched as the Republican party fought against the healthcare law she credits with saving her from drowning in medical debt. She is currently in remission, but she is self-employed and has healthcare through the ACA marketplace.

“If my cancer comes back, it will be hundreds of thousands of dollars to save my life,” Packard said. “That’s money I don’t have.”

The supreme court, however, is not guaranteed to rule against Obamacare even with a conservative majority.

Central to the case is whether the individual mandate, which requires people to have health insurance, is constitutional. If

American Medical Association petitions Supreme Court to review Title X ‘gag order’

Oct. 1 (UPI) — The American Medical Association led a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to review a Trump administration revised rule banning federally funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions.

The petition, filed alongside the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood and the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, calls on the court to weigh conflicting decisions in a pair of appeals courts regarding the so-called “gag rule” earlier this year.

Under the revised rule issued by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2019, the government said it would require “clear financial and physical separation” between Title X-compliant facilities and those that provide abortions or abortion referrals.

“The AMA strongly believes that our nation’s highest court must step in to remove government overreach and interference in the patient-physician relationship. Restricting the information that physicians can provide to their Title X patients blocks honest, informed conversations about health care options — an unconscionable violation that is essentially a gag rule,” AMA President Susan Bailey said in a statement.

In February, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the rule, stating that it allows family clinics to mention abortion, but not to refer or encourage it, and that it was a “reasonable interpretation” of federal law and was not “arbitrary and capricious,” as challengers including Planned Parenthood had argued.

However, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked enforcement of the federal rule in Maryland earlier this month, saying the Trump administration’s rule revision “failed to recognize and address the ethical concerns of literally every major medical organization in the country.”

“The petitioners argue that until the Ninth CIrcuit’s erroneous decision is corrected, the administration’s gag rule is harming patient care and causing physicians and other health care professionals to violate ethical obligations by preventing Title X clinics from providing full information to patients about all of their reproductive care options,” AMA said.

The petition also comes as the Senate prepares to confirm President Donald Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, shifting the court’s makeup to a 6-3 conservative majority following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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Is Subway Healthy? Court Ruling About Chain’s Bread Contains Surprise Findings

If you have been eating Subway thinking it’s a healthier fast-food option, then you may need to change your thinking, as the sandwich chain has come under fire in an Irish court ruling which says the bread their famous footlongs are made on cannot be defined as such thanks to the amounts of sugar in it.

According to The Guardian, the Irish Supreme Court rules that under Ireland’s Value-Added Tax Act of 1972, the amount of sugar in the chain’s bread us also unable to be defined as a Staple food due to the amount of sugar, which is five times the amount that qualifies it as a staple food under the act, which gives staple foods VAT exemption.

The Value-Added Tax states that the sugar allowed in a bread product cannot be more than 2% of the total weight of flour in the dough, but all of the bread options in Subway’s chain contain about 10% sugar content, ABC Affiliate WFTS reports.

The ruling came from an appeal by franchisee Bookfinders Ltd.

“The argument depends on the acceptance of the prior contention that the Subway heated sandwich contains ‘bread’ as defined, and therefore can be said to be food for the purposes of the Second Schedule rather than confectionary. Since that argument has been rejected, this subsidiary argument must fail,” the ruling stated.

The ruling does not affect how the bread or sandwiches are classified anywhere else, including the United States, but it could be a small setback since the company has made their name on claims of making sandwiches that were healthier alternatives to traditional fast food, and even used former spokesman Jared Fogle in tons of commercials and advertisements, where he claimed to have lost 245 pounds by combining a diet of the sandwiches and exercise. He remained as the spokesperson until 2015 when the company parted ways with him after he was convicted of possession of child pornography and traveling to pay for sex with minors.

According to information that can be downloaded from the company’s website, bread including the Italian White, 9-Grain Wheat, Italian Herb and Cheese and Sourdough all contain 3g of sugar in a 6” serving. When a sandwich increases to Footlong size, those numbers are doubled to 6g of sugar per sandwich. The 9-grain Honey Oat and Roasted Garlic Bread also contain 5g and 4 g respectively in a 6” sandwich.

As for the sandwiches themselves, the company still prides itself on having “Fresh Fit” options, which include the Black Forest Ham, Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki, Turkey Breast and Veggie Delite Sandwiches. Still, when prepared standard and served on 9-grain wheat bread with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green peppers and cucumbers, the Black Forest Ham, for example, still contains 260 calories, 4g fat and 8g sugar.

Subway Sandwich A Subway sandwich is seen in a restaurant.  Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Factbox: Trump, Biden Healthcare Differences in Spotlight Amid Pandemic, Supreme Court Fight | Top News

(Reuters) – Healthcare, always a top concern for U.S. voters, has taken on even greater importance amid a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 205,000 Americans and cost millions more their jobs.

The death of liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, meanwhile, has raised the stakes of the upcoming legal battle over Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, when the high court hears the Trump administration’s effort to repeal the law days after the Nov. 3 election.

Here is a look at some of the vast differences on healthcare policy between Republican President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden:

Trump has ceded much of the response to the pandemic to the states, rather than pursuing a national effort to expand testing, coordinate contact tracing and acquire protective equipment in bulk. He has also sent mixed messages on masks, which public health experts have said are crucial to slowing the spread of the virus.

Since the spring, Trump has pressed governors to reopen their states and has called on public schools to return to in-person instruction, arguing that the “cure cannot be worse than the disease.” He has often downplayed the deadliness of the virus and at times publicly undermined his administration’s own experts.

Trump signed into law several relief bills that have delivered trillions of dollars to individuals and businesses, though congressional Democrats have demanded more spending. The administration also launched “Operation Warp Speed,” an effort to support development of a coronavirus vaccine.

Biden has vowed to “listen to the science,” even saying he would consider another national economic shutdown if experts recommend it. He has called for a national mask standard, though he has acknowledged he may not have the authority to mandate their use.

His coronavirus plan calls for scaling up testing and contact tracing and promises to appoint a “supply commander” to oversee supply lines of critical equipment.

Biden has also proposed reopening insurance marketplaces for people who lost coverage through their jobs, expanding paid sick leave, and increasing pay for frontline workers. He has questioned whether Trump may try to politicize the vaccine process to boost his own re-election chances.

After years of failed attempts by Republican lawmakers to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Trump has turned to other tools to undermine the sweeping healthcare law: executive power and the courts.

The Justice Department is backing a lawsuit brought by several Republican-led states seeking to overturn the entire ACA, a case the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear on Nov. 10 – one week after Election Day.

Justice Ginsburg’s death has deepened concerns among Democrats that the court, which previously upheld the law 5-4 in 2012, might rule against the ACA. Under the law, more than 20 million Americans have gained insurance coverage.

The Trump administration has not proposed a comprehensive replacement, despite Trump’s vow to deliver a better, less-costly healthcare system. On Thursday, he signed two executive orders as part of what he called