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Wednesday
Jun122019

Illinois latest state to increase abortion rights in 2019

SOURCE: GUTTMACHER INSTITUTE | (ABC Photo Illustration)(SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) -- The abortion debate in America has been dominated by news that conservative lawmakers in 11 states, including Alabama, Georgia and Missouri, have approved sweeping new abortion bans, which are being legally challenged from going into effect.

But other states have moved in the opposite direction -- and Illinois is the latest to do so.

On Wednesday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, signed the Reproductive Health Act, which establishes reproductive health, including abortion, as a fundamental right in the state.

"The Reproductive Health Act ensures that women’s rights in Illinois do not hinge on the fate of Roe v. Wade or the whims of an increasingly conservative Supreme Court," he said in a statement posted to Twitter. "In this state, women will always have the right to reproductive health care."

The Reproductive Health Act had stalled since its introduction in February, and in mid-May, its sponsor, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Democrat, held a protest to call for movement on the act. She told ABC News at the time that it was "particularly frustrating" to see inaction while other states were passing restrictive laws.

The state Senate went on to sign the bill in late May.

Cassidy told ABC News she supports the bill not just to preserve abortion access for the people her state, but because "this does go beyond the people of Illinois."

In 2017, more than 5,500 women came to Illinois to get abortions from out of state, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Vermont's Republican governor signed a law declaring abortion a "fundamental right."

The bill, which Governor Phil Scott signed, also protects the right to contraception, sterilization and family planning. The state's House gave final approval to the bill on May 14, and there was some uncertainty about how the governor would act.

"This legislation affirms what is already allowable in Vermont – protecting reproductive rights and ensuring those decisions remain between a woman and her health care provider," Scott said in a statement. "I know this issue can be polarizing, so I appreciate the respectful tone and civility from all sides throughout this discussion."

Vermont is also considering Proposal 5, which would amend the state's constitution to declare abortion a right. That proposal, sponsored by state Sen. Virginia Lyons, passed in the state House and Senate, but must be approved again by a majority in both houses in the next legislative session before it can go before voters in a referendum. Its proponents hope to see it on the ballot in 2022.

"Thank God for Vermont," Lyons told ABC News in mid-May. "We're a bastion of sanity and understanding of reproductive rights and process."

On May 31, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, signed a measure that removed some barriers to access to abortion in the state, including a requirement that a doctor tell patients about possible "emotional implications" of abortions and ascertain a patient's age and marital status before a procedure. It also decriminalizes supplying pills that induce abortion without the advice of a doctor.

Sisolak, who also signed a bill allocating $6 million for statewide family planning grants, said in a tweet at the time that Nevada "will NOT go backwards when it comes to reproductive rights and health."

Other states, though, have stumbled in their attempts to enact laws protecting abortion rights.

A Rhode Island Senate bill was voted down in committee in mid-May. State Sen. Stephen Archambault, a Democrat, said the bill went too far and wasn't strict enough as it related to abortion in later stages of a pregnancy.

"I wasn't comfortable with that," he told ABC News, acknowledging that he is "pro-choice," but had "serious concerns in the event that there is a post-viability, late-term abortion."

Archambault did draft an amendment that would codify Roe v. Wade in the state, but with stricter language around abortion in the later stages of a pregnancy. That amendment and a House bill "are still very much alive," he said.

Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch withdrew a measure that would make abortion rights part of the state's constitution in February, saying he recognized it would not pass in both chambers of the State House and that he plans to reintroduce it in 2020, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Meanwhile, efforts to widen abortion access in Virginia led to a showdown between Gov. Ralph Northam and President Donald Trump. Since then, Trump has used increasingly violent and misleading language around "late-term abortions."

Conversations around "late-term abortion" were prompted in part by a long-awaited victory for abortion rights advocates in New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act in January. That act codifies abortion as a right in the state and legalized abortion in New York after 24 weeks of pregnancy if the patient's health or life is at risk or if the fetus is not viable.

State Sen. Liz Krueger, a sponsor of the New York bill, told ABC News it has been "extremely disturbing" to see the recent anti-abortion laws pass and be signed in other states.

"I am fairly mortified that state after state, it is older men who are trying to dictate what kind of health care doctors can perform in their state and what kind of health care rights women of fertility age can access," she said. "Who are these men who think they have the right to determine what every women are choosing for themselves in coordination with their doctors? How dare these men tell doctors we will throw you in jail for providing basic health care services?"

She added that in addition to a lack of apparent understanding of reproductive health some anti-abortion lawmakers have shown, they are also acting against the wishes of the people. While an equal percentage of Americans self-identified as "pro-choice" and "pro-life" in a 2018 Gallup poll, a total of 79% of Americans said they believe abortion should be legal under any or certain circumstances.

"I hope it does backfire on [the anti-abortion lawmakers]," Krueger said, "and I hope more and more states realize following New York's path is in the best interest of their residents."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jun122019

Former soccer star Hope Solo reveals miscarriage: 'The doctor said I was hours from dying'

AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Former soccer star Hope Solo is opening up about recently about nearly losing her life after suffering a miscarriage.

The self-proclaimed "polarizing" figure, 37, has had a slew of incidents off the field, but in an interview with Elle magazine, she focuses on her life now with her husband Jerramy Stevens.

In the article, she says that early last year, she and her husband had been trying for kids, had gotten pregnant, then miscarried.

But it wasn't until she was still in pain a week after the miscarriage that she found out she had been carrying twins and one of the babies had been ectopic.

According to the Mayo Clinic, an ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg "grows outside the main cavity of the uterus" and that "an ectopic pregnancy can't proceed normally."

"The fertilized egg can't survive, and the growing tissue may cause life-threatening bleeding, if left untreated," the clinic adds.

Solo said she, in fact, was in danger and could have lost her life.

“The doctor said I was hours from dying,” she told Elle. “They ended up having to remove my fallopian tube.”

All the while, Solo had been running for United States Soccer Federation president and had to give a speech days after her miscarriage.

A big part of her platform and something she still fights for today is equal pay for both men and women in soccer.

 “That speech took a lot. Even before all that, it would have taken courage,” she says of speaking in public days after the serious health scare.

The article adds that she's since begun taking IVF treatments in hopes of someday soon starting a family.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jun122019

More than half of fathers receive criticism on parenting style: Study

jacoblund/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Father's Day is right around the corner -- when paternal figures are honored and celebrated.

But a new survey published by the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital found that more than half of fathers believe they are judged harshly as parents. Overall, 52 percent reported receiving negative feedback about their parenting style, while 90 percent felt that they were actually doing a good job.

The Mott Poll surveyed 713 men of children up through age 13, asking them to answer questions about how criticism impacts their parenting choices.

Sarah Clark, a health and behavior specialist, and faculty member at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, was a lead researcher on the survey.

"We've previously had a similar survey about mom-shaming, so we wanted to provide a balance with men," said Clark.

Of the fathers who reported being criticized about their parenting, 67 percent received criticism about discipline, 43 percent about diet and nutrition, 32 percent about paying too little attention to their children and 32 percent for being too rough.

Clark said discipline is a common topic of disagreement between mothers and fathers, and concerns regarding discipline are most likely secondary to different parenting styles. She added, however, that having different parenting styles within a family doesn't always mean that the father is wrong.

"Different parenting styles can be a strength that fathers bring to parenting," Clark told ABC News. "A father's parenting style can be enriching to their children -- help kids to behave positively and broaden their perspective of the world."

Regardless of parenting style, Clark's advice to fathers is to establish common ground with their co-parent early on to strengthen their bond and work as a team.

The University of Michigan survey indicates that 1 in 5 men are less motivated to remain involved with parenting duties when they receive harsh criticism. The survey also found that 40 percent of the criticism fathers receive is from their co-parent, with 25 percent from a grandparent.

When criticism comes from someone who really knows you it may be more difficult to accept, according to Clark. And that's why the fathers may not want to participate after being scorned.

Clark emphasizes that when a father received regular criticism from his spouse, he was nine times more likely to want to be less involved: "People close to you often understand you the best, and when they relay negative feedback, if often pushes fathers away. Their confidence in parenting is lost and they often are less involved because they may feel like they are not a good enough parent."

While the Michigan survey found that 90 percent of fathers are confident as parents, many felt that adults in positions of power didn't respect their parental role -- 11 percent have felt that a teacher assumed they were not knowledgeable about their child's needs or behavior, and 12 percent have felt that a doctor or nurse assumed they were not knowledgeable about their child's health. Nearly one-quarter of fathers have felt excluded from communication about their child's activities.

Dominique Teasley of Alexandria, Louisiana, is a father of four biological children and two step children ranging in ages from 5 to 17. He told ABC News that when he receives criticism about his parenting, it is most often about disciplining his children, and like many fathers in the Michigan poll, he said he receives the most parental feedback from the people closest to him.

"Many people think that I'm less strict towards my daughters compared to my sons," he said. "I have a soft spot in my heart for my baby girl, but, I offer my sons plenty of emotional support and compassion."

Teasley said he is actively involved in his children's education, and feels their teachers recognize this -- and that's part of his motivation to stay involved.

The Michigan survey did not take into account the structure of a family, and answers from fathers may vary depending if they are a single parent, or part of a blended or traditional family.

One of the more positive results from the poll is that more than half of fathers indicated that they are receptive to parenting feedback, and as a result they often seek out additional resources to improve their parenting.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jun122019

Woman who carried twins for twin sister who couldn't get pregnant gives birth

Whitney Bliesner(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- A woman who served as the surrogate for her sister has just welcomed two healthy babies.

Whitney Bliesner is now a new mom to twins thanks to her own twin, Jill Noe, who carried the children for Bliesner due to a rare health condition that prevented her from doing so herself.

Rhett, a boy, arrived at 8:06 a.m. on June 7 weighing in at 7 pounds, 11 ounces. His sister, Rhenley, was born at 8:08 a.m. weighing in at 4 pounds, 13 ounces.

"The whole day was just surreal," Bliesner, who lives in Portland, Oregon, told ABC News' Good Morning America on Tuesday. "I got to do skin-to-skin with them. It was an amazing feeling. It was like a dream."

Noe gave birth at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center just outside of Portland.

The twins arrived just two months after Bliesner and Noe's story captured global attention in the news.

"We had no idea it would blow up," Bleisner said. "It's amazing to share our story and how amazing Jill is — how she decided to stop her life for me just so I can have a family."

"I've always been amazed by her, especially through this whole process," Bleisner added. "She bounced back so quickly."

When she was a teen, Bliesner was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), a condition that causes tumors to form in the brain, spinal cord and nerves, according to Mayo Clinic. She had a tumor removed in 1999, which caused her left eye to close. After undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, she completely lost hearing in her right ear and later lost 40 percent of hearing in her left ear, Bliesner said.

In 2016, Bliesner married her husband Peter. The couple wanted to start a family, but Bliesner's condition made it risky for her to carry children, she told GMA in April.

"I have a 50/50 chance of passing my disorder onto my child," Bliesner explained, adding that pregnancy hormones might increase tumor growth.

"I didn't want to risk getting any worse for my kids, I want to be able to take care of them," she said.

Bliesner went through her options and ultimately decided on surrogacy. She had a friend offer to carry her child, but that plan ended up falling through.

That's when her twin decided to step in and give her sister a selfless gift.

"She was losing hope and I said, 'I'll do it,'" Noe told GMA.

Donor eggs were used as Noe underwent in vitro fertilization. Noe became pregnant with twins during the second attempt.

"It's my best friend, someone I've come into this world with so it was really a no-brainer that I'd offer to be her surrogate," Noe said of Bleisner.

The Bliesners are now home with the kids and enjoying parenthood.

"It's so different and exciting," Bleisner said, adding that she's going to start baby books for her twins. "I can't wait for them to say 'Mom, [to] hear it for the first time."

"I'm interested to see if they'll have a connection with my sister," she added.

Noe told GMA Tuesday that it was a beautiful moment seeing her sister hold her babies for the first time.

"I truly had no words and was just so happy and relieved everyone was healthy," Noe said. "Pete and Whit are naturals when it comes to parents. Those kids are going to be so loved and it is beyond rewarding that I could help them become parents."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jun122019

PrEP for preventing HIV infection should be offered to anyone at risk: USPSTF

nito100/iStock(NEW YORK) -- After experts have made great strides in treating people with HIV over the past few decades, an influential panel of primary care physicians and public health professionals is making a strong recommendation to help prevent the spread of the disease by encouraging anyone at risk to take the revolutionary drug, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

“We have not previously had a guideline on PrEP, though HIV continues to be a major public health problem in the United States, with nearly 40,000 new cases diagnosed annually,” Dr. Douglas K. Owens, an author of the new guidelines published in JAMA and a professor of medicine at Stanford University, told ABC News. “PrEP is highly effective if taken as indicated.”

The recommendation comes from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and encourages anyone who is at high risk of contracting HIV to take PrEP -- brand name Truvada -- which has been shown to prevent HIV from spreading to HIV-negative people from those who have the infection.

People who face the highest risk of HIV include gay and bisexual men who have sex with men (MSM), for whom 67 percent of all HIV diagnoses in 2016 occurred, and transgender people, who are diagnosed with HIV at three times the national average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

PrEP is a combination pill of two antiretroviral medications -- tenofovir and emtricitabine -- that work to stop HIV from multiplying after a person is exposed to it. The once-daily pill was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012.

The USPSTF recommends that anyone who has sex with a person who has HIV take PrEP. The drug has been shown to reduce transmission of HIV by 90 percent through sexual contact and 70 percent through injection drug use.

Other individuals who the USPSTF recommended take the drug include teen MSM, anyone who has had syphilis or gonorrhea within the past six months, MSM who had chlamydia within the past six months, people who use injection drugs or share needles, and commercial sex workers.

MSM and heterosexually active people who are in mutually monogamous relationships with a partner who has recently tested negative for HIV don’t need PrEP, according to the guidelines.

The new guidelines are consistent with 2017 guidelines from the CDC, which also recommended PrEP for people at risk of infection.

“Overall, the task force is concerned that a lot of people are not being screened for HIV,” said Owens. “People who you can identify as having HIV and who you are able to treat do live longer lives. Everyone should know their HIV status.”

PrEP has to be taken regularly in order for it to work. That’s why the authors of the new guidelines recommend that doctors help patients keep track of their regimen by building trust and open communication, education and establishing a system that sends out reminders for taking the medication.

PrEP does not prevent other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) besides HIV, the authors wrote. In fact, only people who test negative on a recent HIV test are allowed to take it.

Sexually active people should practice safe sex by consistently using condoms, limiting the number of sexual partners, screening for STIs at least once a year and even abstaining from sex altogether, according to the CDC.

Dr. Colleen Ford, a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Chelsea Health Center, is welcoming the new guidelines with optimism.

“The new guidelines will push us to offer PrEP to more patients,” Ford, who was not involved in writing the new guidelines, told ABC News. “We will start to offer it to those requesting tests for sexually transmitted infections and to those who test positive for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jun122019

Over 100 hospital employees line halls to honor late nurse who became organ donor

whyframestudio/iStock(PITTSBURGH) -- A Pennsylvania nurse who devoted her 30-year career to saving patients' lives continued to do so after her death as an organ donor, and she received a touching final send-off from her colleagues.

Mary Desin, 58, died May 31 after a brain aneurysm. Throughout the years, Desin had established a tight-knit circle of colleagues who became like family at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Hamot hospital in Erie.

After her death, more than 100 hospital employees filled the halls to pay tribute to her as Desin's family wheeled the nurse on her hospital bed to the operating room where her liver and kidneys were donated.

"It was extremely emotional," Mary's son, Matthew James Desin, told ABC News' Good Morning America. "Most everybody was crying. People I didn't even know came up to me during the time and said how much they loved her and she helped them get further in their career."

"I expected maybe 20 people from her times as an OR nurse and her current position to be there," he said. "I didn't expect over 100 people to be impacted by her loss."

A nurse's legacy

Donny McDowell, a senior professional staff nurse and one of Desin's friends, said she was touched by her and her donation.

"What Mary was doing was very brave," he shared with GMA. "[It was incredible] to see the lives that would be changed because of Mary's gift."

"The thing about Mary that I learned the most is that you always give and you keep on giving a little bit more," McDowell.

Every 10 minutes another person is added to the waiting list for an organ donation, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration, and one donor can save approximately eight lives.

Over 36,000 transplants were performed in 2018, in a report provided by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

McDowell shared that in addition to Desin's work as a nurse, she taught new nurses about best practices.

"She was an educator from start to finish in any way that she touched people," he said.

Leaving three lights on for Mary

UPMC Hamot also honored Desin as an organ donor by turning on three lights across the top of the hospital building to signify that someone had received an organ transplant.

"Mary loved to travel, but because of her family's needs and her own bills, she wasn't able to travel a whole lot," McDowell said. "Her family felt bad that she passed away and can't travel, but now they're taking solace in the fact that she's gonna travel all over the world now because of the people she's helped."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Jun112019

Why you really shouldn't sleep near your phone: Artificial light at night linked to weight gain in women in new study

DGLimages/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Sleeping with a cellphone, bright alarm clock on or a television next to your bed puts women at risk for weight gain, a new study found.

Women who slept with a light or even the TV on were 17 percent more likely to have gained 11 pounds over the course of five years, according to the study, the results of which were published Monday in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Light coming in from outside the room was associated with more modest weight gain, researchers found.

The study is the first to find an association between exposure to artificial light at night while sleeping and weight gain in women, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which funded the study.

More than 43,000 women in the U.S. ages 35 to 74 were observed in the study.

One of the factors pointed to by researchers is that light could suppress the sleep hormone melatonin and disrupt our circadian rhythms, according to ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton.

Ashton suggests that women create a prime sleeping environment for themselves by using tools like eye masks and blackout shades or drapes. People should also turn off all electronics in their bedroom and dim their alarm clocks to avoid the glare of any bright lights.

This sleep study comes on the heels of another study that found irregular sleep patterns, including not going to bed and waking up at the same time each day or getting different amounts of sleep each night, can put people at a higher risk for obesity, heart disease, hypertension, high blood sugar and other metabolic disorders.

That means the bedtimes advised for children may be a good thing to implement well into adulthood, too.

"Sleep has a [public relations] problem in this country," Ashton said on Good Morning America last week. "We look at it like a luxury. It is a medical necessity on par with our food and our fitness."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Jun112019

Mom says she was kicked out of public pool for breastfeeding

KTRK-TV(HOUSTON) -- A Texas mother says she was forced to leave a public pool for breastfeeding her baby.

Misty Daugereaux went to the Nessler Park Family Aquatic Center in Texas City, about 40 miles southeast of Houston, with her two young sons and her nephew on Sunday. Her 10-month-old got hungry and became fussy, so she attempted to discreetly breastfeed him, she said.

But a lifeguard approached her and said she couldn't breastfeed at the public pool. Then the pool manager told her it was against their policy and she needed to "cover up or leave."

"She gave me the ultimatum," Daugereaux told Houston ABC station KTRK-TV in an interview Monday. "And I said, 'Well, you show me in your policy where I need to cover up and I'll leave.' And she, you know, was telling me that it was, you know, not right, that I needed to cover up, it's their policy."

"And I said, 'Well, you can go call whoever you need to call, but I'm not leaving for breastfeeding my son,'" she said.

The pool manager called police, Daugereaux said, and an officer responded to the scene and made her leave.

"I walked out feeling defeated, you know, because I couldn't stand my ground," she told KTRK.

The Texas City Police Department on Monday released footage from that officer's body camera, showing the events that unfolded after he arrived.

In the five-minute video, the pool manager greets the officer and tells him that Daugereaux "was getting outraged" and "cussing" at the lifeguard who told her to cover up.

The officer then walks over to Daugereaux, who is sitting by the pool with her children, and asks her, "What happened?"

"I was feeding my baby," Daugereaux responds.

"Did you cuss that lifeguard?" the officer asks.

"Absolutely not," Daugereaux says.

"I have a right to feed my baby," she adds. "I don't stand for a lot, but I will stand for that."

She continues, "I'm conscious enough to know I don't want every man in the pool looking at my boobs. But when you have a 10-month-old who doesn't take a bottle, I'm going to feed him."

In the body cam footage, the officer then walks back over to the pool manager, who is standing with the lifeguard, to discuss the situation further.

"No, she don't got to leave," the manager says. "But the baby was latching on one breast but she had both of them out."

"She was cussing me out," the lifeguard adds.

"You want her to leave?" the manager asks.

"I'd like her to leave," the lifeguard responds. "We also had more than one complaint."

"You want them to leave or what?" the officer asks.

"Yeah, she can leave," the manager says.

The officer then walks over to Daugereaux and tells her she needs to pack up her things and leave.

"I don't understand how it's right," Daugereaux says. "It isn't fair that I can't feed my baby."

"That wasn't the issue," the officer says. "The issue was that you were cussing out a lifeguard."

"So it's her word against mine that I'm cussing out a lifeguard?" Daugereaux responds.

"I wasn't here so I don't know," the officer says. "I'm just telling you that they're asking that you leave, OK?"

"Yes, sir," Daugereaux says, before gathering her things.

The officer then speaks with the pool manager once more before leaving.

"I appreciate you coming out here," the manager says. "You know, we deal with a lot here."

"I know you got to feed your kids but go sit under a blanket or something," the officer says.

"I thought you're supposed to cover up," the manager says. "I know people breastfeed and stuff but--"

"That's all fine and dandy, but just sit in a chair and cover up," the officer says. "Don't sit there with both your tits out."

"Yeah, she did," the manager says.

"OK, well have a good one," the officer says.

That evening, Daugereaux posted about the incident on Facebook, saying she felt "hurt" and "embarrassed." Her post, which has been shared more than 1,800 times, prompted a group of breastfeeding moms to gather outside the Nessler Park Family Aquatic Center on Monday and hold a "nurse-in" as a show of support.

"I feel powerful, loved and supported," Daugereaux told KTRK. "More than I ever could have imagined."

Texas City officials released a statement Monday saying they are "reviewing the nursing concerns raised at the Nessler Pool and how it was addressed by our staff."

"We apologize to Misty Daugereaux as it is clear she was offended by how she was treated at out City Facility," city officials said. "City policies and procedures will be reviewed and revised as deemed necessary. Any deficiencies regarding our employee's actions will be addressed with further training."

Mothers can legally breastfeed in any public or private location in every U.S. state, federal district and territory. Thirty states -- not including Texas -- as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Jun112019

Turning their mess into a message: Robin Roberts, Sheryl Sandberg on trauma and loss 

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Success and fame do not make you invincible.

Trauma and loss don't care how perfect your life looks from the outside, and reclaiming your life is a challenge for everyone. But a journey of deep introspection and healing can get you there.

That's the message in this week's episode of "Life After Suicide," as Dr. Jennifer Ashton sat down with two of the most successful and powerful women in America, ABC News' Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, both of whom have found the grit to get through unimaginable pain. They shared the knowledge and resilience born out of two forms of loss, while warning that there is no magic bullet.

"Everybody's got something" according to Roberts. "There's no handbook that's given to us to tell us how to get through a suicide, how to get through a bone marrow transplant, how to get through divorce, how to get through unemployment ... You just try and figure out what's best for you."

Sandberg famously urged women to "lean in." After the sudden loss of her husband, Dave Sandberg, while on vacation at the age of 47, Sandberg learned that she had to lean on others for support and to acknowledge that grief is a necessary step in healing.

Visiting Sandberg's office in Menlo Park, California, Dr. Ashton and Sandberg talked about their shared experience of suddenly losing their spouses and the fathers of their children.

As public figures, both initially felt hesitant about sharing their story with the public. Dr. Ashton, who reaches millions each week as the chief medical correspondent for ABC News, was rocked when her ex-husband died by suicide. She says that her kids gave her the courage to use her public platform to discuss her family's story. Connecting with other suicide survivors helped reframe her deep grief as an expression of love, rather than of suffering, and to recognize that it's normal for the devastation not to reach all aspects of life. Joy, she said, can happen at the same time as grief.

Sandberg, who co-authored a book, Option B, about facing adversity and building resilience, agreed that "after these tragedies you have to give yourself moments of joy."

For Roberts, who also sat down with Dr. Ashton on this week's episode, turning her "mess" into her "message" has been her focus in recent years. Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, and then, after her recovery, was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome in 2012. Both were potentially fatal. Fortunate to find a perfect bone marrow transplant match in her older sister, Roberts shared the ways in which she rechanneled her anger into action.

"I didn't want just to survive," Roberts said, "I wanted to thrive."

For Roberts, that meant recognizing the therapeutic qualities of sharing her vulnerabilities, and embracing the support and prayers of others. Roberts and Dr. Ashton both recalled how small acts of kindness from friends, family, and colleagues allowed them to reclaim a sense of normalcy and feel comfortable discussing their loss.

"When people go through a trauma, we all instantly have a connection," Roberts said.

Being part of millions of Americans' morning routine on Good Morning America, Roberts explained that "I want to always feel I'm a reflection for people." By sharing our "valleys as well as our peaks," Roberts hopes she inspires viewers to recognize their own resilience.

Now strong and healthy, Roberts says, "I don't feel there's anything I cannot weather. ... I have this inner strength I didn't know existed. ... It's just freeing to feel that way."

The newest episode of "Life After Suicide" is available for free here.

You are not alone. If you want to talk to someone, trained counselors are available for free, 24 hours a day, at the Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Jun102019

Missouri's only abortion clinic allowed to keep operating

iStock/LPETTET(ST. LOUIS) -- A circuit court judge on Monday granted a preliminary injunction that will allow Missouri's only remaining abortion clinic to continue operations.

The court has ordered the state's health department to make a decision about renewing the clinic's license by June 21, according to Planned Parenthood.

"Today’s decision is a clear victory for our patients — and for people across Missouri — but the threat to safe, legal abortion in the state of Missouri and beyond is far from over. We’ve seen just how closely anti-health politicians came to ending abortion care for an entire state," president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Leana Wen, said in a statement. "We are in a state of emergency for women’s health in America. In Missouri, and across the country, Planned Parenthood will do whatever it takes to combat the extreme, dangerous, and unconstitutional efforts by politicians to ban access to health care including safe, legal abortion. We will never stop fighting for our patients."

Planned Parenthood was initially granted a request for a temporary restraining order on May 31, the day that the clinic's license would have lapsed, forcing it to close at midnight and making Missouri the first state in the U.S. without an abortion provider.

Planned Parenthood said it had applied to have the license renewed, but the Associated Press reported that Planned Parenthood said state officials claimed they are investigating "a large number of possible deficiencies," though no further details were given.

The state had asked to interview all seven of the clinic's physicians, Planned Parenthood said last month, but the state would not provide any guidance on what the doctors would be asked during the interviews. Those interviews could lead to the doctors losing their medical licenses or possible criminal prosecution, Planned Parenthood said.

Missouri is one of several states that have passed abortion bans in recent months. In May, Gov. Parsons signed an abortion ban after 8 weeks of pregnancy, though it has not yet taken effect, and was met with immediate legal challenges.

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