Blood donor at donation with bouncy ball holding in hand.

Lift the Blood Ban, But Don’t Penalize PrEP Users 

By Doron Dorfman

On May 11, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it is lifting its highly contested blood deferral policy for men who have sex with men (MSM, i.e., gay and bisexual men), colloquially known as the blood ban.

While this decision should be applauded as a step toward equality, the policy remains flawed and needlessly stigmatizing, as it excludes potential donors who use pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), an antiviral regimen that prevents HIV infection from sex.

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Doctor wearing glasses listening to female patient.

Physician Free Speech and the Doctor-Patient Relationship Post-Dobbs

By Lynette Martins and Scott Schweikart

Laws regulating physicians’ professional speech – i.e., what they can and cannot discuss in the exam room with patients — have made a resurgence in the post-Dobbs era. These so-called “gag laws” have primarily targeted physicians’ speech around firearms, reproductive rights (predominantly abortion), and, less frequently, conversion therapy.

In the abortion context, these restrictive laws impact not only patient access to critical medical services, but also the fundamental underpinnings of the physician-patient relationship.

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Health insurance application form with money, calculator, and stethoscope.

Going Public – The Future of ART Access Post-Dobbs

By Katherine Kraschel

The loss in Dobbs and the bleak outlook for abortion rights within the federal courts may afford advocates a unique opportunity to fully adopt a reproductive justice framework and apply it to access to fertility care, as other contributors to this symposium have argued.

This article outlines specific strategies for blue states eager to stake a claim in the reproductive justice movement to consider.

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Magazines on wooden table on bright background.

Monthly Round-Up of What to Read on Pharma Law and Policy 

By Ameet Sarpatwari, Aviva Wang, andAaron S. Kesselheim

Each month, members of the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL) review the peer-reviewed medical literature to identify interesting empirical studies, policy analyses, and editorials on health law and policy issues.

Below are the citations for papers identified from the month of April. The selections feature topics ranging from an analysis of government and industry investments for recently approved drugs, to a discussion of court decisions on mifepristone, and an examination of the added therapeutic benefit associated with the top-selling brand-name drugs in Medicare.

A full posting of abstracts/summaries of these articles may be found on our website.

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Surgeon at work in the operating room.

AMA Supports Physicians’ Access to Fertility Preservation

By Scott J. Schweikart*

Many medical professionals in the United States today face a personal dilemma over whether to delay (and potentially forego) starting a family in order to fulfill lengthy medical training. In response to these concerns, the American Medical Association (AMA) recently passed a new policy that supports trainee access to assisted reproductive technologies (ART).

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Child holding paper family in LGBT rainbow colors.

Gamete Regulation and Family Protection in a Post-Dobbs World

By Courtney G. Joslin

Increasing numbers of people are forming families through assisted reproduction. Recently, there has been a push to impose new regulations on various aspects of this process. Some of these new laws open up participants to a range of possible penalties — civil, criminal, and/or professional discipline — for past “misconduct.” Other laws seek proactively to regulate the fertility care process. For example, some laws regulate the collection and dissemination of medical and identifying information about gamete providers — that is, sperm and egg donors. Other proposals seek to require gamete providers to agree to the release of their medical records.

It is surely important to assess and evaluate fertility care practices and to consider whether additional regulation is appropriate in this space. Particularly in the post-Dobbs era — an era marked by increasing attacks on reproductive health care (including access to IVF) and on LGBTQ people — it is also important to proceed cautiously and to consider how these proposals may adversely impact reproductive autonomy and family recognition.

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Child smiles at pregnant mother.

Uterus Transplants and the Right to Experience Pregnancy

By I. Glenn Cohen

It is estimated that roughly one in five hundred U.S. women suffer from Uterine Factor Infertility — they were born without a uterus, they lost their uterus, or their uterus no longer functions. Until very recently, this essentially meant that pregnancy was not an option for these women. Because of uterus transplants, this is beginning to change. Such transplants raise a host of legal and ethical questions, which I will preview in this piece.

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Fertilized human egg cells dividing.

The Irony of Pro-life Efforts to Grant Embryos Legal Personhood

By Gerard Letterie and Dov Fox

The overruling of Roe v. Wade has emboldened pro-life lawmakers to confer legal personhood status on early-stage embryos outside of pregnancy as well, including in the context of assisted reproduction. Recognizing embryos as legal persons, it is said, promotes a “culture of life.” And yet treating embryos as persons would actually undermine a promotion of human life, in this critical sense: helping people to have the children they want and are otherwise unable to have.

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