Medical abortion just got easier but it may not last

A Maryland judge ruled last week that an abortion provider can deliver the abortion medication, mifepristone, to patients seeking abortion care through telehealth. But the court injunction is “temporary in nature,” Wendy Basgall, Southwest Women’s Law Center staff attorney, said. The American Civil Liberties Union sought a preliminary injunction, which the judge granted. But it only lasts while the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration of a federal public health emergency is in effect. Mifepristone is one of two medications that an abortion patient takes for a medical abortion.

Liquor stores, payday lenders closed as Guv extends, expands coronavirus public health emergency order

The state officially extended its public health emergency for COVID-19 until April 30, which included previous restrictions and added new restrictions, including limiting the occupancy at grocery stores and retail spaces deemed essential. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order renewing the public health emergency order on Monday. The state Department of Health also announced the new provisions of the public health emergency. She warned that if the new directions aren’t followed, she could enact further restrictions. The new provisions go into place beginning at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

State announces new public health orders to protect PPE supply

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced two new public health orders from the state Department of Health Wednesday to protect the supply of personal protective equipment for health care workers in the state. The orders are necessary to try to slow the spread COVID-19, a type of coronavirus, according to the state. There has been a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers across the nation and many have taken to Twitter to plead for more. On Monday nurses held up signs in front of an Oakland hospital to protest the need for more personal protective equipment. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; }
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Abortion fund providers say global pandemic causing difficulties

New Mexico abortion fund providers are already seeing impacts as the public health emergency and financial crisis worsens during the COVID-19 global pandemic, according to advocates. A group of abortion fund providers in New Mexico issued a statement Friday to remind elected leaders and others that reproductive healthcare, including abortion, is not elective medicine. In line with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recent statement that any reproductive procedure which, if delayed, will “negatively affect patient health and safety should not be delayed,” Indigenous Women Rising, Mariposa Fund and New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice issued their own statement to tell elected leaders to continue to respect reproductive healthcare for women. All three groups offer funding and other aid for people seeking an abortion. National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum also signed the letter.

Childcare workers with COVID-19 can get state-funded insurance

The state announced that uninsured childcare workers who test positive for COVID-19 will be able to enroll in a state insurance plan during the public health emergency. Uninsured early childcare workers and their families will be able to enroll in New Mexico Medical Insurance Pool (NMMIP), the state’s high-risk pool, during the public health emergency if they or their family members test positive to COVID-19, a type of coronavirus. The state will pay the premiums, according to the statement. Under emergency rules issued by the Superintendent of Insurance, deductibles and copayments are also waived for treatment of COVID-19, influenza and pneumonia through NMMIP. This new rule will apply to all childcare workers and their immediate family members who test positive regardless of income or immigration status, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in the statement.

ABQ declares public health emergency amid COVID-19 pandemic

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller declared a public health emergency Wednesday for the city amid growing numbers of COVID-19, a disease from the coronavirus. 

“We are continuing to take action to slow the spread of the coronavirus and help the most vulnerable folks in our community,” Keller said in a statement. “Like many mayors across the nation, declaring this public health emergency declaration gives us the tools to allocate resources to immediate needs and tap into additional funds for recovery and response.”

While the city’s ordinance already allowed mayors to declare a state of emergency, it was only Monday that the city council approved a public health emergency provision. 

Under that new provision, the mayor of Albuquerque can use the emergency declaration to get financial assistance from the state or federal governments, mandate purchasing limits on certain products, close streets and ban certain gatherings. But a press release from Keller’s office said he would only be using the declaration for emergency funds and not for other public restrictions. 

Keller’s office emphasized that there will be no mandated curfews, street closures or bans on selling firearms or alcohol. 

But the mayor’s office did encourage voluntary “social distancing” or limiting in-person interactions, including working from home if possible. 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office, along with the state’s Department of Health and Keller’s office, continue to encourage those who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 — fever, aches and trouble breathing — to call the Department of Health at 855-600-3453. 

Updates on what city services are available can be found here. 

Some question why childcare centers are still open during public health emergency

The state’s message that childcare centers in New Mexico should remain open while everyone else is encouraged to stay home is the wrong message, say some early childcare educators. The state has asked early childcare centers to stay open while public schools are closed and to accept more children by loosening regulations. But at the same time, the state is encouraging businesses to rely on remote workers and is encouraging the public to limit itself to gatherings of no more than 100 people. President Donald Trump said Monday that the public should not gather in groups of more than 10. Related: State offers assistance to families and child care providers during emergency

According to a state report, 85.5 percent of early childcare workers are women and 55.1 percent identify as Latina or Hispanic.