Center for Public Health Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania
In this article in AMA Journal of Ethics, Scott Burris and Evan Anderson outline the pandemic-era failures around the use of law for public health and offer recommendations and observations to facilitate a change in the culture and leadership of public health.
Published in the American Journal of Public Health, this article written by staff at the Center for Public Health Law Research identifies and categorizes US state legislation introduced between January 1, 2021, and May 20, 2022 that addresses emergency health authority. The COVID-19 pandemic called for quick, decisive action to limit infections, and when the next outbreak hits, new laws limiting health authority may make such action even more difficult.
State laws setting the scope and limits of emergency authority are crucial to an effective public health response. This suite of legal data captures details of legislation that addresses emergency health authority introduced between January 1, 2021, and May 20, 2022, in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia.
This dataset presents state-level statutes and regulations on prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) laws covering reporting requirements, mandates requiring providers to check PDMP databases before prescribing controlled substances, and provisions regulating access.
On an array of health concerns, policymakers have rejected science in favor of lawmaking based on ideology, politics, and religion, to the detriment of public health. This is particularly true of stigmatized health areas such as reproductive health, and especially abortion care.
On June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned nearly 50 years of precedent protecting the right to an abortion prior to viability. Under Roe v. Wade, the legal landscape of abortion was a complex patchwork of state laws and court decisions regulating access to the procedure. The Dobbs decision further compromised abortion access by allowing states to ban all or most abortions.
The Center for Public Health Law Research is home to one of the leading research teams focused on understanding the role and effects of laws related to sexual and reproductive health on population health, well-being, and equity. The Center’s resources reflect the varied and ever-changing landscape of regulations and restrictions on abortion, access to contraception, and other issues related to sexual and reproductive health in the United States and worldwide.
President Biden made big headlines by pardoning federal violations of simple cannabis possession, citing that “too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana." But will the decision really move the needle? Scott Burris, Professor of Law at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, examines the ripple effects of Biden’s announcement, and dives into the implications of how controlled substances, specifically marijuana, are scheduled by the federal government and states.
Intimate partner violence is a preventable public health problem affecting more than 12 million people in the United States annually. The immense burden of victimization is most often borne by women. Nearly one in two female homicide victims are killed by current or former partners (more than 50% of which involve firearms). Firearm-related morbidity and mortality are concentrated where firearm ownership is most prevalent and firearm laws are least restrictive, indicating the potential for law to serve as an intervention.