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Thursday, Aug 28th

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Ebola cannot be cured but west Africa's epidemic may have been preventable

ebolaThe role of the international community in current crises in the Central African Republic and northern Nigeria may be mired in confusion, but it can do something about the Ebola epidemic in west Africa.

The outbreak of the virus, which started in Guinea and has spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone, is the deadliest in recorded history, with Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring the situation out of control.

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Berkeley mulls proposal to provide free medical marijuana

medical potf a new proposal passes a final City Council vote next week in Berkeley, California, poor and low-income medical marijuana users in the city will no longer have to worry about how to afford their next high.

The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to change its laws to require marijuana dispensaries to give 2 percent of the amount of cannabis they sell each year to low-income medical users for free.

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Hobby Lobby verdict overlooks the science on pregnancy, experts say

Plan BA Supreme Court ruling in favor of allowing companies to opt out of providing female employees some forms of birth control — such as the morning-after pill and certain IUDs — has allowed religious employers to “redefine” pregnancy in a way that flies in the face of the established science of conception, reproductive health experts say.

The company that brought the suit, Hobby Lobby, argued that using these types of contraceptives is tantamount to having an abortion, and, citing religious beliefs against terminations, wanted to opt out of the provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires companies to cover preventive services like contraceptives.

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After Hobby Lobby, These 82 Corporations Could Drop Birth Control Coverage

After Hobby LobbyMonday’s Supreme Court decision in favor of the company and Conestoga Wood of Pennsylvania for refusing to pay for contraception in health insurance affects far more than the 15,000 employees between them. The Supreme Court’s decision allows closely held companies (corporations with more than 50 percent of stock owned by five or fewer individuals) to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate. There are at least 80 other companies fighting to be the next Hobby Lobby.

Gretchen Borchelt, senior counsel and director of state reproductive health policy for the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), has been following similar cases for the past three years. She calls the Hobby Lobby decision disturbing—not for the least of reasons, how many other corporations it will affect.

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The Rise of the DIY Abortion in Texas

misoprostolThe Alamo flea market sits right off South Texas’s lengthy Highway 83; a sprawling, dusty, labyrinth of a place. Under canopies in the converted parking lot, vendors in dark sunglasses stand behind tables heaped with piles of clothing, barking in Spanish and hawking their wares. The air is hot and muggy, thick with the scent of grilled corn and chili.

Customers browse simple items—miracle-diet teas, Barbie dolls or turquoise jeans stretched over curvy mannequins—but there are also shoppers scanning the market for goods that aren't displayed in the stalls. Tables lined with bottles of medicine like Tylenol and NyQuil have double-meanings to those in the know: The over-the-counter drugs on top provide cover for the prescription drugs smuggled over the border from nearby cities in Mexico. Those, the dealer keeps out of sight.

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Medical marijuana farmers' market to open in L.A.

medical marijuanaThis Fourth of July, Los Angeles will celebrate America's independence with the nation's first medical marijuana farmers' market.

Held July 4-6, the California Heritage Market aims to build relationships between patients and growers by directly connecting the two sides the pot sale.

"It's going to be so much easier for patients to get their medicine at a more affordable rate, and something that they can trust," California Heritage Market executive administrator Paizley Bradbury explained to TIME Magazine.

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Hormone-disrupting activity of fracking chemicals worse than initially found

stop frackingMany chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, can disrupt not only the human body's reproductive hormones but also the glucocorticoid and thyroid hormone receptors, which are necessary to maintain good health, a new study finds. The results were presented Monday at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society: ICE/ENDO 2014 in Chicago.

"Among the chemicals that the fracking industry has reported using most often, all 24 that we have tested block the activity of one or more important hormone receptors," said the study's presenting author, Christopher Kassotis, a PhD student at the University of Missouri, Columbia. "The high levels of hormone disruption by endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that we measured, have been associated with many poor health outcomes, such as infertility, cancer and birth defects."

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