Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Appeals Court Ruling Forces One-Third of Texas Abortion Clinics
One-third of abortion clinics in Texas will no longer be able to
perform the procedure as of Friday after a federal appeals court
overturned a previous court ruling on the state's new abortion
On Thursday evening, a panel of judges at the 5th Circuit Court
of Appeals in New Orleans said that Texas can enforce its law
requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting
privileges at a nearby hospital while a lawsuit challenging the
restrictions goes ahead, the
The panel's decision comes a few days after District Judge Lee
Yeakel ruled that the requirement was unconstitutional and served
no medical purpose. After Yeakel's ruling on Monday, Texas Attorney
General Greg Abbott made an emergency appeal to the 5th
He argued that requiring doctors who perform abortions to have
admitting privileges at a nearby hospital is a constitutional use
of the Legislature's authority, the
The appeals court ruling is not final. A different panel of
judges will likely hear the case in January. But until then,
abortion clinics will have to obey the new restriction. That means
that 12 of the 32 clinics will no longer be able to perform
abortions, but will be able to provide other services.
Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers had
argued that the regulations do not protect women, and Planned
Parenthood said the 5th Circuit panel's ruling means "abortion will
no longer be available in vast stretches of Texas," the
"This fight is far from over," Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said in a statement. "This restriction clearly violates Texas women's constitutional rights by drastically reducing access to safe and legal abortion statewide."
The appeals court decided to keep a part of Yeakel's order
blocking the state from enforcing an 18-year-old U.S. Food and Drug
Administration protocol for abortion-inducing drugs in cases where
a woman is 50 to 63 days into her pregnancy. Doctors testified that
these women would be harmed if the protocol were enforced, the
In recent months, several conservative states have approved
broad abortion limits. However, federal judges in Wisconsin,
Kansas, Mississippi and Alabama all have found problems with laws
that prevent doctors from performing abortions if they don't have
hospital admitting privileges.
Germany Allows 'Indeterminate Sex' Option on Birth
Germany is the first country in Europe to permit babies with
characteristics of both sexes to be registered as neither female
nor male. Instead, parents will be allowed to leave gender blank on
A third gender designation -- X for intersex people -- will be
added to German passports,
The birth certificate change is meant to remove pressure on
parents to make a quick decision about sex assignment surgery for
intersex newborns so that they can be registered as either male or
As many as 1 in 2,000 people have a mixture of male and female
chromosomes or even genitalia which have characteristics of both
genders. The law in Germany was changed after a review of cases
involving intersex people showed high levels of unhappiness,
Earlier this year, Australia began allowing any person -- not
just newborns -- to be identified as intersex on personal
documents, and also made gender identity a protected category under
Kraft Removes Artificial Dyes From Some Mac & Cheese
Artificial dyes will be removed from three child-specific types
of Kraft's Mac & Cheese products sold in the United States, the
company says. The dyes will be replaced by paprika and other spices
The changes will be made to the SpongeBob Squarepants,
Halloween, and winter shapes varieties of Mac & Cheese, but not
to the original elbow shaped pasta versions,
Kraft says the decision has nothing to do with a campaign by
Change.org to convince the company to remove Yellow No. 5 and
Yellow No. 6 dyes from its Mac & Cheese products sold in the
The highly-publicized Change.com petition was launched in March.
Petition author Vani Hari, founder of the blog FoodBabe.com,
welcomed Kraft's decision and said she hopes the company will
extend the dye changes throughout all products,
Sesame Street Characters Will Promote Fruits, Veggies to
Big Bird and other Sesame Street characters have been recruited
to encourage children to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Under an agreement announced Wednesday, Sesame Workshop will
allow the Produce Marketing Association and the Partnership for a
Healthier America to use Sesame Street characters free of charge to
promote produce to youngsters,
CBS News/Associated Pressreported.
The Partnership for a Healthier America is a nonprofit group
that supports Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign to reduce
childhood obesity in the U.S.
The produce association will develop guidelines for how members
should use the Sesame Street characters, which could start
appearing on produce as early as next spring, the
"Just imagine what will happen when we take our kids to the grocery store, and they see Elmo and Rosita and the other Sesame Street Muppets they love up and down the produce aisle," the first lady was to say at Wednesday's announcement. "Imagine what it will be like to have our kids begging us to buy them fruits and vegetables instead of cookies, candy and chips."
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