AG Paxton Files Court Brief to Safeguard
Women’s Health and Protect the Unborn
AUSTIN, TX – Attorney General Ken Paxton last night filed a motion in U.S. District Court asking for dismissal of Whole Woman’s Health’s lawsuit challenging almost all abortion laws and regulations in Texas.
“Whole Woman’s Health is attempting to circumvent the democratic process and use the courts to change dozens of laws passed by the people’s representatives in the Texas Legislature,” said Attorney General Paxton.
Whole Woman’s Health is challenging more than 60 individual state laws or regulations in 19 different categories, including the parental consent requirement for minors, 24-hour waiting period, ultrasound requirement, and criminal penalties for non-compliance.
Abortion clinics throughout Texas already comply with the current laws and, in some cases, they have been doing so for decades. For instance, abortion facilities have been required to meet state licensing requirements and report certain data to the state since 1985.
The U.S. Supreme Court has already upheld laws like many of those challenged.
Some of the challenged laws include the state’s requirement that abortion providers sterilize their instruments, provide patients access to their medical records, the opportunity to ask questions and the right to be free from discrimination in their treatment.
“The financial interests of abortion doctors or their profit margins should never take precedence over women’s safety and well-being,” said Attorney General Paxton. “It’s shameful that Whole Woman’s Health no longer wants to comply with these common-sense regulations of abortion practice, many of which have previously been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
In the United States, methamphetamine is making a comeback. Following the legalization of medical marijuana in California, Mexican cartels pivoted to the production of pure liquid meth, which is brought across the border and crystallized in conversion labs. There is more meth on the streets than ever before, according to William Ruzzamenti, a 30-year Drug Enforcement Administration veteran and the Executive Director of the Central Valley California HIDTA (High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area). It’s also cheaper than ever—the average cost of an ounce of methamphetamine dropped from nearly $968 in 2013 to around $250 in 2016.
“I think a lot of people associate meth with the 1990s, and this comeback has gone largely unnoticed in the shadow of the heroin and opioid epidemics,” Mary Newman, a journalist at the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, told The Atlantic.
Newman’s short documentary, Motherhood and Meth, focuses on the drug’s frequently overlooked and arguably most vulnerable victims: children. Although no scientific research has been conducted that directly correlates meth addiction to child abuse or neglect, many experts on the subject report a connection that Newman describes as “staggering.” In her film, Newman interviews Dr. Philip Hyden, a child abuse specialist who has worked across the U.S. for more than 30 years. Since 2010, Dr. Hyden has served as the medical director at the Valley Children’s Hospital in Fresno, the poorest urban ZIP code in the state. Fresno experiences a high incidence of child abuse, and Dr. Hyden attributes one cause to the high rate of methamphetamine addiction in the region. He estimates that meth use is involved in over 70% of the 1,000 abuse cases the clinic sees each year.
“We see children that have been beaten or abused in many scenarios where the perpetrator was on meth at the time,” Dr. Hyden says in the film. “We see things that are hard to believe that happen to kids.”
This abuse sometimes begins during pregnancy; an estimated 19,000 meth users in the U.S. are pregnant women. In home environments where meth is manufactured, children almost always test positive for methamphetamine—often at levels as high as addicted users, according to an expert in the film.
To get a firsthand look at the effects of methamphetamine addiction on mothers and their children, Newman’s documentary follows law enforcement officers, professionals at treatment facilities, and mothers affected by meth addiction who admit to having neglected their kids. Newman met many of these women at Fresno’s weekly free needle exchange. She interviewed more than twenty women—some of whom agreed to participate, only to disappear once a shoot date was scheduled—before she found the subjects featured in the film.
“Once I built up some essential trust with women willing to share their struggles of addiction, I would ask if meth ever caused them or someone in their life to become violent,” Newman said. “Everyone responded with an emphatic ‘yes.’” Newman added that she heard “harrowing” stories about domestic violence, child abuse, and a generational cycle of meth addiction. Many of the addicts she spoke to were either the child of a meth addict themselves or had experienced abuse early in life.
“The power methamphetamine has on a person’s life was the most surprising part of [reporting] this story,” Newman said. “I would speak with people struggling with addiction and they would have a certain self-awareness that their decisions were derailing their life, but they would also describe a feeling of complete helplessness.” Newman said that several people—both addicts and experts—described meth as “evil” due to the sheer power over the people that use it.
“These kids are the ultimate victims,” says a police officer in the film. “They didn’t ask for this.”
Number of Opioid-Addicted Women
Giving Birth Quadruples
By Dennis Thompson
The number of pregnant women addicted to opioids as they give birth has more than quadrupled since 1999, a disturbing new report shows.
In 2014, for every 1,000 hospital deliveries, 6.5 were mothers who arrived at the hospital with opioid use disorder, up from 1.5 per 1,000 in 1999, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers found.
This increase is likely linked to America’s ongoing opioid epidemic, said study co-author Jean Ko, an epidemiologist with the CDC’s division of reproductive health.
“With the opioid overdose epidemic, it’s natural to see increases in opioid use disorder among the general population,” Ko said. “Our data tell us that women presenting for labor and delivery are no different.
Opioid use during pregnancy has been tied to maternal death during delivery, stillbirth and preterm birth, the CDC researchers noted.
Even babies born healthy might have to go through opioid withdrawal, a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).
Babies with NAS can experience tremors, convulsions, seizures, difficulty feeding, breathing problems, fever, diarrhea and trouble sleeping, according to the March of Dimes.
The CDC study used data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, focusing on 28 states with at least three years of data available for analysis.
Between 1999 and 2014, all 28 states saw significant increases in opioid-addicted pregnant women entering labor.
Vermont and West Virginia had the most cases of opioid-affected pregnancies in 2014. Vermont had 48.6 cases for every 1,000 deliveries; West Virginia had 32.1 cases per 1,000. On the low-end, Nebraska had 1.2 cases per 1,000 and the District of Columbia had 0.7 per 1,000.
The average annual rate increases were highest in Maine, New Mexico, Vermont and West Virginia. Those states all had growth of more than 2.5 cases per 1,000 each year — six times higher than the national average of 0.4 cases per 1,000.
The states with the lowest increases were California and Hawaii, with fewer than 0.1 new cases per 1,000 each year.
The new information “is very alarming and is a call to arms regarding this national health crisis,” said Dr. Mitchell Kramer, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Huntington Hospital in Huntington, N.Y.
“We are well aware of the association of opioid exposure and abuse with adverse pregnancy outcomes including preterm labor and delivery, stillbirth, neonatal withdrawal syndrome and maternal mortality,” he said.
But Ko said concerns about babies with NAS should not dissuade pregnant women from taking medicines appropriately prescribed to treat chronic medical disorders, or from taking medications like methadone or buprenorphine that aid in addiction treatment.
The CDC recommends a number of strategies for countering this dangerous trend:
Making sure opioids are prescribed appropriately.
Strengthening state-level prescription drug monitoring programs.
Requiring substance abuse screening at the first prenatal visit, as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Ensuring that pregnant women with opioid use disorder have access to addiction therapy, and that new opioid-addicted mothers receive postpartum care that includes mental health and substance abuse treatment.
Kramer pointed out that “the implications of this startling CDC data are that coordinated national, state and provider efforts are necessary to prevent, monitor and treat opioid use disorder among reproductive-aged and pregnant women.”
The report was published in the Aug. 10 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Postal worker rescues teen who managed
to escape hands of sex traffickers
SACRAMENTO, CA – A California teenager had the opportunity to reunite with her unlikely hero — the postal worker who saved her from sex trafficking.
Sixteen-year-old Crystal Allen gave postal worker Ivan Crisostomo a warm hug when she saw him Thursday, but the first time they met, Allen feared for her life.
Allen’s mother Stacy Ohman said her daughter met a “friend” who had lured her to Sacramento, where she found herself trapped in a world of drugs and sex trafficking.
“I was kidnapped, and held captive, and abused and stuff,” Allen said.
One day, she found the opportunity to escape. Allen was inside her captors’ car in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood when she heard them discussing a crime. She then jumped out of a car, grabbed one of their phones and ran for her life.
That’s when Crisostomo found her.
“I heard this crying when I came out of the vehicle, so I approached her and I asked her. She was afraid, she didn’t want to talk,” he said.
Eventually, he convinced the terrified teen to call her mother.
“She was frantic. I didn’t know what was going on,” Ohman said. “I couldn’t even understand her she was so upset and that’s when I told her she had to reach out to someone for safety and she gave the phone to Ivan and he instantly kicked into gear and told me that he would save my daughter.”
Crisostomo let Allen sit in his postal truck until police arrived on scene.
“He stepped up where a lot of people would have just kept driving down the road. He made a huge positive impact in this young girl’s life,” said Deputy David Cuneo of Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.
Crisostomo said he’s just happy Allen is safe.
“The way I see her, she has a wonderful future ahead. She’s doing so well. I’m happy. I’m really happy,” he said.
I turned the knob and the door cracked open, suddenly the all too familiar smell was all around me, and on me. As I finished opening the door, the smell of my 3rd son drew closer around me, holding to me tightly.
The next afternoon I turned the knob, and as I opened the door and held it, my Mother looked into my eyes and nodded, then my Niece did also, as they proceeded into the big room, moving to the chairs I had marked with my eyes.
The table was filled with gamblers, all holding the winning hand, including the nurse at the far end of the table; she knew her part by heart, and in fact was certain of an academy award, until she looked into the eyes she knew so well….
These people had lied to me since the day before, and evidently thought we were dumb as dirt. Never in my life had I ever imagined the day when the people I respected so much would instead prove to be as low as the most evil criminals.
I listened as each one at the table had their say, then, while slowly standing up, I looked from one, to the next in turn all around the table. I explained the difference in “no activity” with a swollen head, and a “brain stem test”, then I looked into each set of eyes, and said NO ONE WILL BE TURNING MY SON’S VENTILATOR OFF TODAY, NOR EVER.
My Brother called me 3 years ago, and told me to hurry. When I got to the place, he met me at the door, and we went to the young Lady’s room.
Nurses were all standing around staring at the relative, as my Brother asked my opinion. I said heroin???? NO WAY, maybe PCP, but you remember when I was in the hospital and went out of my head 2 different times???? He said that’s why I called you.
When I said, “considering how hard she fell when she was blind-sided, I would have to believe bone marrow was in her system and going to her brain, but apparently she didn’t break nothing”. The nurses looked like I had slapped them.
These people failed to X-Ray this young Lady, missed a broken hip, then left the illicit drugs misdiagnosis on her record to cover their incompetence. The sad part of this is that she had been in the hospital for nearly 3 full days.
My Little Brother was the victim of a poorly trained employee at Insurance Market Place. We got their attention by contacting Our Elected Officials.
However, while filing an appeal, I had to rush My Brother to the ER. Later he was diagnosed with pancreatitis, but sent home without a Doctor doing anything.
To say he was in agony, is like saying a blow torch is warm, because Our Circle on Google had told me so. After over a month, we won his appeal, and he was checked into Parkland Hospital, where he stayed for 4 days then released.
All this time He has been losing weight, and still hurting badly almost all the time.
This week I went with him to his appointments, before Chemo, and for whatever reason, between our questions, it fell out of these people’s mouth that he hasn’t been getting any real treatment due to the drugs in his system.
I believe my Brother got their attention by telling them between Parkland Hospital and Insurance Market Place, they were responsible for him losing nearly 40 lbs and everything else, plus knowing the pain he was in, yet not prescribing him anything.
But now I don’t mind telling everyone that I got my Brother the medicine for pain. I am unable to take anything like this and muscle relaxers, so I didn’t know….
I’m sorry Little Brother, and I have to admit this to all of you, I knew how he was hurting, and I knew his stress and depression first hand, yet I made him even more miserable because I kept thinking I was going to go wake him up one day and he wasn’t going to wake up.
SO, this is for all of you….
First, I checked if anything had turned up on the VA Hospital Drug Thefts, and oddly enough nothing has been posted since roughly the end of May.
BUT, I did come across some very interesting facts:
Doctors and Nurses are more likely than other occupations to form a substance addiction.
Studies suggest that Medical Professionals are more likely to misuse prescription drugs than their patients.
Substance Abuse is grossly unreported in medical community by an estimated 50% and most likely much higher.
*15% of all physicians and nurses will experience substance abuse issues, although this number could quiet possibly be as much as 50% higher
**20% of all physicians and nurses will experience substance abuse issues, although this number could quiet possibly be more than 50% higher