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States move to limit telehealth options for women seeking abortion pills

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Pro-abortion and anti-abortion activists hold protest signs outside the US Supreme Court

Abortion-rights activists and anti-abortion activists hold protest signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

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Since the beginning of the year, lawmakers in over 20 states have proposed bills limiting access to abortion pills by mail. The Food and Drug Administration had, in December, nixed a rule requiring that patients pick up their pills in person. There’s also an update on the continued detention of basketball star Brittney Griner in Russia and an insider look at how the Senate’s daylight saving time vote came to pass. After we wrap up the news, our hosts share a couple of technological marvels as Make Me Smiles!

Here’s everything we talked about on the show today:

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Make Me Smart March 17, 2022 transcript

Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Transcripts are generated using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it.

Kai Ryssdal: There we go. There we go.

Kimberly Adams: Hey, everyone. I’m Kimberly Adams, and welcome back to Make Me Smart where we make today make sense. Thanks for joining us.

Kai Ryssdal: I’m Kai Ryssdal, it is Thursday. Today we’re gonna do what we usually do. Some news, a couple of make me smiles and get you on your merry way into your Thursday, late afternoon, evening. You go first, how about that?

Kimberly Adams: Yeah. So first of all, a follow up to a story I mentioned, I guess last week about Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who’s been detained in Russia, they just extended her pretrial detention to May 19, according to some reports from Russian news agencies, and, you know, State Department is still working on trying to get her out. But um, you know, it’s not looking great at the moment.

Kai Ryssdal: I wonder what the calculation is by the Kremlin. You know? I mean hostage taking is the easy one. Right. But.

Kimberly Adams: Yeah, make an example. I don’t know. I think it’s just like, with limited retaliatory options that won’t start a global war. Or worse than a global war. I guess they figure this is one thing they can do to damage the United States, but um, you know, at the cost of this woman, her family and the other folks who are currently detained in Russia, so you know, just keeping an eye on that one. The other story that I have is from Pew’s Stateline project, which I always find such interesting stories in this. So this is a project from Pew that really like, gets stories from, you know, states and it’s a national outlet that focuses on these super deeply researched stories about the individual states. So everybody’s been looking at the Supreme Court anticipating that as soon as June, the Supreme Court may be making moves to overturn Roe vs. Wade or at least limited in in a significant way. And they there has been a big push by a lot of advocacy groups to try to increase access to abortion pills for the women living in the areas where abortion is already restricted. Now, during the pandemic, the FDA eased requirements for how you could get abortion pills. So instead of having to go in and consult with a doctor and pick up the pills in person, you could consult remotely and you could buy them online. And in some cases, you know, there are ways around that to buy them online even without consulting with anyone. And so, due to that ruling, a bunch of states are now trying to place extra restrictions on abortion pills for medical abortions. And let’s see, lawmakers in Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Missouri have proposed bills that would ban telehealth consultations and instead require one or more in person visits to a medical facility. There. I’m reading this from the story, outright bans on dispensing or using the medication had been proposed in Alabama, Arizona, Iowa, South Dakota, Illinois, Washington and Wyoming. And then lawmakers in 13 states have also proposed legislation requiring doctors to tell patients that medical abortions can be reversed by administering another drug, which is it’s a very controversial treatment, to put it mildly not based on science. And so there’s just this story just goes through all of these different action that states are taking to try to get around the expansion of abortion pills. And you know, it’s it’s interesting, you know, as we come up to the Supreme Court case and ongoing fight over abortion, you know, you see a lot of groups trying to figure out the groups that support abortion, trying to figure out what they can do. Expand access to IUDs, or birth control, expand access to, you know, plan B and Plan C medications and states and another groups that are anti-abortion and trying to get around it. And it’s even if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, that’s not going to be the end of this fight for sure. So those are my thoughts.

Kai Ryssdal: Oh, no definitely not for sure. My, my favorite and I say that with with air quotes, obviously. restriction or attempted restriction on abortion rights are the states that are telling trying to pass laws forbidding women from leaving the state to get an abortion. Hmm, those are just to me remarkable. I’m like, just the whole thing. The whole thing.

Kimberly Adams: Yeah, there was a really tragic story about a woman in Texas who, you know, was in the process of losing her baby and at great risk to her health. And the doctors said that they couldn’t complete the procedure because of the law. And they were trying to like airlift her out of the state to save her life. Because she couldn’t get the medical care she needed in Texas. It’s serious stuff.

Kai Ryssdal: Very serious stuff. I will transition now to some definitely not very serious stuff, except for my second one. The first one is just kind of, uh, “oh, my God. Are you kidding me,” one. So there’s an article in Buzzfeed today about the vote by the Senate to make Daylight Saving Time permanent. And we know how I feel about all that jazz. But apparently, so the deal is and the way the Senate is constructed, is that if you can get all 100 senators to not object the technical expression is unanimous consent. Right? And Kimberly, correct me if I’m mischaracterizing this, the phrase is unanimous consent. But fundamentally, if no senators object, then you can go straight to the floor and ask for unanimous consent. And if nobody objects, then whatever you want passes, right. And so that’s what Marco Rubio and the gang did with this bill. And it turns out that because of some, I guess we’re gonna say staff, senator miscommunication. Some senators who are really opposed to permanent daylight saving time, did not even know that this was happening. Right. Rubio and the gang notified everybody, right? They told everybody as they’re supposed to, they told all the staffs but staffs never transmitted this through I guess, to their senators, and Tom Cotton out of Arkansas, in particular, was completely P.O.’ed And here’s my favorite part of this whole thing. They asked Chris Coons of Delaware what he thought of this, and the quote goes like this, “asked to recreate his reaction to the news Senator Chris Coons issued a series of shocked stammers that is impossible to phonetically translate.” I. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. So basically, a procedural mechanism in the Senate could wind up changing time itself. And I can’t tell you how much I love that. Now we have to say it’s got to get through the House and it’s got to be signed and blah, blah, blah, but holy cow, holy cow, holy cow. Yeah. So that’s my my not serious news story. My more serious news story is a video that Arnold Schwarzenegger formerly the governor of California shot on Tuesday, which got released today in which he speaks to the Russian people about the invasion of Russia. It is subtitled in English, but also in an Cyrillic alphabet. I don’t know if it’s Russian or Ukrainian, probably Russian, actually, since it’s meant for the Russian people. It’s nine minutes long. It’s well worth your time. And whatever you think of Schwarzenegger as a person and or politician. You have to give him two things. Number one is the video he released about January 6, explaining his thoughts on that. And what a what a desecration of democracy that was and also this video. It’s completely fascinating. It’s, it’s spot on fact checked the New York Times reports by Alexander Vindman of impeachment testimony, fame. And also, Schwarzenegger is apparently huge in Russia. And according to The New York Times, Mr. Schwarzenegger’sTwitter account at the time of his video post was among just 22 followed by the Russian president’s account, which oh snap social media. Right? How good is that? Anyway, we’ll put it on the show page. It’s it’s kind of amazing. Schwarzenegger tells a good story about his his love and admiration for the Russian people. And then what just inhuman tragedy, this whole invasion is it’s it’s really interesting. It’s really interesting. So those are my news items.

Kimberly Adams: Yeah.

Kai Ryssdal: Thoughts?

Kimberly Adams: I got nothing. I’ll watch it. I haven’t seen it.

Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, you should. Nine minutes. It’s really good. All right, Drew. Let’s go.

Kimberly Adams: Since I lost the battle on this when you go first.

Kai Ryssdal: Okay. All right. So Kimberly and I are both are both spaces. nerds. And we have talked before on this podcast about the James Webb Space Telescope, this awesome, awesome thing that went out to the Lagrange Point a million miles away, maybe a million kilometers, I don’t know, and is set up to take images of far, faraway galaxies, it has returned it’s first usable picture, it’s first actual photo of a star. It’s amazeballs. And we’re gonna put it on the on the show page. It’s completely crazy. It’s absolutely crystal clear. The thing about it, which is wild is what’s in the background, which I didn’t really realize until I saw the picture. And I was like, this is really cool. But then you read the article. And in the background of this picture, which is like, undetectable to the human eye, of course, in the background of this picture are galaxies. They’re galaxies, they’re not like stars, they’re galaxies. It’s crazy.

Kimberly Adams: Yeah, when I looked at it, I thought it was like, “Oh, look, how many stars are in that picture? “Like, oh, my gosh, no, those are galaxies in the background.

Kai Ryssdal: Yes! Yes! And they’re, you know, some of them are a little like streaks or something right on first glance, and you’re like, Okay, well, time exposure, the stars are moving, whatever, and that’s fine. But then you zoom in a little bit. And you can see actually, they’re a little bulbous in the middle, like galaxies are. It’s crazy. Crazy. Crazy. Crazy. So cool.

Kimberly Adams: Yeah, I need to – is there one that you can like, click on it? And like go in as as far in as you can zoom?

Kai Ryssdal: Oh, I don’t know. I’m just zooming on my on my browser.

Kimberly Adams: Yeah, I want to find one that’s like, super high resolution when we zoom in and in and in.

Kai Ryssdal: It’s so cool. It’s so cool. Yeah. Very cool. So anyway, that thing is up and running. The technological feat is crazy. And the scientific rewards are awesome.

Kimberly Adams: Awesome. Yeah. You’re seeing into the past.

Kai Ryssdal: It’s cool. It’s cool.

Kimberly Adams: Yeah. Okay. Well, I have a science-related, which is a story from National Geographic about mitochondrial transplants, let me make sure I’m saying this properly. So it’s yeah, mitochondrial transplant, which, rather than trying to transplant an organ, when someone is injured, particularly when their heart is damaged, they’re transplanting parts of the mitochondria. And this is like a part of the cell where when it’s messed up, it messes up a lot of other things, you’re gonna have to read this article, because this is way more science than I can understand. But the larger point is that the fact that this worked on a little kid who was having a major heart crisis, and could have potentially died, the fact that this worked is really giving doctors a lot of hope for people who suffer from heart attacks and cardiac arrests and strokes, and brain injuries. And this is a bit of technology that could potentially save so many lives, without having to do full organ transplants. And this is just amazing. And, yeah, I just think it made me smile. Because, you know, for as much awful stuff as we’ve gotten from technological advancement. Sometimes it’s really good, like the James Webb Space Telescope, and COVID vaccines and transplants that save the lives of kids and do it without, you know, as much trauma to the body as  used to happen. And that’s, I think that’s pretty awesome. So it’s a good story. National Geographic. Yeah. Made me smile.

Kai Ryssdal: Totally, totally. Really dig it. Super quick, on the way out, we will remind you that we’re, we’re in fundraising, because, you know, it’s it’s public broadcasting. And we need fundraising because that’s what we do. Here are the numbers as it were, we’re shooting for $100,000 on this little session of fundraising we’re doing we’ve got at, we’re at 48,000. We’d love to get to 50 by tomorrow, so we can be half full, going into the weekend. Get it half full? Friday, this podcast? Anyway,, is the URL. If you want to help us out, it’s, we need your help. That’s it. We just need your help.

Kimberly Adams: We do and if the fact that we need your help, and we’re asking very nicely is not enough motivation, there is always the swag, which are amazing shirts and all sorts of other goodies, which are again at if you can, we’d really appreciate it. And yeah, that’s it for us for today. We will be back tomorrow for the oh so fun Economics on Tap. We will be live streaming on YouTube as well. I will not be here though you will have someone else.

Kai Ryssdal: That is true.

Kimberly Adams: And yes, yes, that is true. So that’s going to be at 3:30pm Pacific Time 6:30pm Eastern time on YouTube. And yes, Sam Fields is filling in tomorrow. Which is also fun, right?

Kai Ryssdal: Thank God you remember because I was frantically –

Kimberly Adams: I didn’t remember Bridget typed it in the doc we’re in right now.

Kai Ryssdal: Good, good, like, oh my God, who am I gonna be with? Whatever. Anyway, so me and Sam tomorrow Economics on Tap standard deal in the meanwhile, send us your comments, your questions, how you feel about what we’re doing emails or voice memos. We’ll take it either way leave us a message at 508-UB-SMART. That was pretty fun. Maybe it’s Marielle I don’t even know who could it be.

Kimberly Adams: No, it’s Sam. Make Me Smart is produced by Marissa Cabrera with help from Marque Greene and today’s episode was engineered I think, is it Jayk or is it Drew over there.

Kai Ryssdal: Is it Jayk or is it Drew, I don’t know.

Kimberly Adams: It’s Jayk!  I’m sorry. By Jayk Cherry.

Kai Ryssdal: Wow.

Kimberly Adams: Sorry Jayk.

Kai Ryssdal: Bridget Bodnar is our senior producer. Director of On Demand is Donna Tam. The engineers are whoever we say they’re already given time. No. Sorry, guys. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.

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