As the infections of two Dallas nurses fuel concerns about Ebola in the United States, the death toll in West Africa is approaching five thousand. The World Health Organization has warned there could be up to 10,000 new Ebola cases per week in the coming months, up from the current 1,000. We are joined by Michelle Dynes, a nurse and epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who has returned from Sierra Leone. Dynes spent the past several weeks responding to the Ebola epidemic in the country’s Kenema district. "It’s a strange situation to see that much pain and suffering and not be able to provide a hug, or comfort," Dynes says.
We look at the political and economic circumstances of the spread of Ebola with science writer Leigh Phillips, who calls for a socialization of pharmaceutical research and production. Phillips says that using revenues from profitable drugs to subsidize research for unprofitable drugs would reduce the costs of vaccines and their development. He also argues the decimation of the healthcare infrastructure is linked to the same free market policies and austerity measures pushed by Western countries and the International Monetary Fund that impoverished the West African countries where the Ebola outbreak has occurred. "We need to begin to ask whether capitalism itself is not pathogenic," says Phillips, whose recent article for Jacobin magazine is "The Political Economy of Ebola."
Texas abortion clinics shuttered by a recent court ruling have been allowed to reopen after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked part of an anti-choice law that would have required abortion clinics to meet the standards of hospital-style surgery centers. Earlier this month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the rule to take immediate effect, essentially gutting access to abortion overnight. Thirteen clinics were forced to close, leaving just eight in all of Texas. The latest Supreme Court ruling will allow the clinics to continue providing care while the appeals court considers the law. At least eight have reportedly already opened their doors again. Texas previously had more than 40 clinics, but many remain closed under another of the law’s provisions which requires abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. In its decision Tuesday, the Supreme Court also blocked that requirement as it applies to two clinics in the isolated communities of El Paso and McAllen. We are joined by Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Woman’s Health in McAllen, the only abortion clinic open south of San Antonio. It will begin seeing patients again on Friday.
We look at a book out this week that offers a new vision for the pro-choice movement. In "Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights," Nation columnist Katha Pollitt dissects the logic behind the hundreds of abortion restrictions enacted over the past few years and shows that, at their core, they are not about safety, but about controlling women. In order to reverse the tide of eroding access, Pollitt concludes, the pro-choice movement must end the "awfulization" of abortion. She writes, "I want us to start thinking of abortion as a positive social good and saying this out loud."
Sign up for Our Newsletter
Get updates about the policies and topics that matter the most to you. Progressive news directly to your email.