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Health Care — Democrats request DOJ action on anti-trans threats

🦃 President Biden pardoned two turkeys today as part of the annual Thanksgiving tradition. Chocolate and Chip will get to live at North Carolina State University and hopefully never have to hear any more corny jokes at their expense. 

Today in health news, House Democrats decried the anti-trans threats that have been made against children’s hospitals and called on the Justice Department to respond. 

Welcome to Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. For The Hill, we’re Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Someone forward you this newsletter? 

House Dems urge response to threats of violence

Dozens of House Democrats are calling on the Department of Justice to counter online threats of violence directed against several children’s hospitals across the country. 

In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the Democrats asked the DOJ to outline the steps the agency is taking to counter anti-transgender threats of violence and to provide further guidance to health care providers on how to protect their staff and patients from such threats. 

“Online posts by social media accounts spreading disinformation about transgender and nonbinary individuals have spurred real life consequences for health care providers throughout the country and for their patients,” the Democrats wrote.  

The lawmakers’ letter comes as hospitals have scaled back services and ramped up security in recent months due to threats and harassment.  

  • Earlier this year, a woman was indicted for making a hoax bomb threat against Boston Children’s Hospital and its employees after false claims of child abuse were spread against the hospital by right-wing extremists on social media. 
  • The hospital received its third bomb threat last week. 
  • Medical institutions in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh and others across the country have all reported similar threats, including harassing emails, phone calls and protests that have elevated fears among staff, young transgender patients and their families. 

Read more here. 

Governor pardons some marijuana convictions

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced on Monday she is pardoning prior offenses for simple marijuana possession, removing more than 47,000 convictions from individual records. 

This move will affect up to 45,000 individuals in Oregon and forgive $14 million in fines and fees, according to a statement from Brown. 

  • “No one deserves to be forever saddled with the impacts of a conviction for simple possession of marijuana — a crime that is no longer on the books in Oregon,” the governor said. 
  • “Oregonians should never face housing insecurity, employment barriers, and educational obstacles as a result of doing something that is now completely legal, and has been for years,” she added. 

Eligibility: Brown’s pardon will be applied to electronically available records of Oregon convictions for conviction of one ounce or less of marijuana. Eligible convictions must have occurred before 2016 in which the individual was over the age of 21 and no victims were involved. 

Brown’s action comes about six weeks after President Biden announced he was pardoning all federal offenses for simple marijuana possession. He similarly cited the barriers that a marijuana-related conviction presents in a person’s life when explaining his decision. 

Not all on board: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) office said it would not be “taking criminal justice advice” from Biden, and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) adamantly stated that he was “not considering” pardons for marijuana possession. 

Read more here. 


NFL games attended by fans during the 2020-21 season were linked with increased COVID-19 case rates in the counties where they were held, and in those surrounding the stadiums. 

Results of a new study, published in JAMA Network Open, show the spikes were more prominent when games had more than 20,000 attendees, while those with under 5,000 fans were not associated with higher case rates. 

The findings suggest “large events should be handled with extreme caution during public health event(s) where vaccines, on-site testing, and various countermeasures are not readily available to the public,” authors wrote.  

  • A total of 269 home games were included in the analysis. Researchers measured COVID-19 case rates seven, 14 and 21 days after each game, and compared rates of games with and without in-person attendance.  
  • More than 1 million fans attended the games. Games with more than
    20,000 fans were associated with 2.23 times higher COVID-19 infection rate spikes than those with lower attendance. 

Read more here. 


Cervical cancer rates among millennial women rose by 2.5 percent each year from 2012 to 2019, reversing years of declining incidence in this age group, new data show.  

Following declines from 2001 to 2012, incidence of cervical cancer grew to 11.60 per 100,000 women aged 30 to 34 in 2019, according to study findings published in JAMA.  

  • “For the last two years, we have been trying to understand why the continuous decline in cervical cancer stopped in 2012 and why we have reached a critical turning point,” said co-author Ashish Deshmukh of the Medical University of South Carolina in a release. 
  • “What’s very surprising is that the [millennial] rates increased in non-Hispanic White women, Hispanic women and other ethnic groups but not in non-Hispanic Black women,” Deshmukh added.  

Over 227,000 cervical cancer cases were recorded between 2001 and 2019. 

The majority of cervical cancer cases are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection.  

Between 2001 and 2019, rates of cervical cancer continued to decline in younger and older age groups, and incidence declined overall. Rates remained relatively stable for women between ages 35 and 54. 

Read more here. 

1 in 7 haven’t discussed vaccines with child’s doctor

Some parents have completely avoided talking about their children’s vaccines during the pandemic, new research shows. 

One in 7 parents in the United States say they have not talked about vaccines with their child’s doctor since the pandemic started, according to a new poll. 

  • Researchers at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan conducted a survey of 2,023 people with children ranging from months to 18 years old between August and September this year. 
  • But the report is based on the responses given by 1,483 parents with at least one child between the ages of 6 and 18 years old. 
  • The survey found that 82 percent of parents have had discussions with their doctor about vaccines their children need for school. 

Not enough: And while that number means that most parents are indeed speaking with a health care provider about at least some of their kids’ inoculations, some experts find it concerningly low.   

Rupali Limaye, the deputy director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told The Hill she was surprised that the number was “not a bit higher.”  

“That’s one of the things in a well child’s visit a provider should be discussing with a parent,” Limaye, who did not take part in crafting the poll or the report, said about vaccines.   

Read more here. 


  • Patient mistrust and poor access hamper federal efforts to overhaul family planning (Kaiser Health News) 
  • Biggest drug companies halted Twitter ad buys after Lilly insulin spoof (Endpoints) 
  • The clock is ticking on Congress’s mental-health agenda (National Journal) 


  • Minnesota healthcare systems ‘sounding the alarm’ on RSV (KARE) 
  • Mentally ill prisoners in California are three times likelier to get shuffled around (CalMatters) 
  • Mass. colleges continue to encourage, if not require, newest COVID booster as holidays approach (WBUR) 

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Health Care page for the latest news and coverage. See you tomorrow.

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