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Today’s Headlines: Post-Roe, many autoimmune patients lose access to a crucial drug

Sarah Blahovec poses for a portrait at her home
Sarah Blahovec of Alexandria, Va., has Crohn’s disease and is waiting to see whether her methotrexate prescription will be refilled in the coming weeks.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
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By Elvia Limón

Hello, it’s Monday, July 11, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

Patients lose access to a crucial drug

Methotrexate is a cheap, common drug prescribed to millions of Americans. Many have rheumatic illnesses. Others take it to treat inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis or cancer.

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Yet few are aware that it is used off-label to end ectopic pregnancies, or that it could be restricted by doctors or pharmacists even in states that do not ban abortion, such as Virginia. The reasons are numerous, and muddy.

Since the Supreme Court struck down the right to abortion, many patients have been delayed or denied this “gold-standard” treatment for conditions that have nothing to do with pregnancy.

Despite a landslide win, a recount is launched

Last month, Natalie Adona won her race to become the clerk-recorder and registrar of voters in rural Nevada County with 68% of the vote. But despite Adona’s landslide victory, the race will be the subject of a potentially lengthy hand recount.

It is expected to take 38 days, cost more than $82,700, and require the hiring of temporary workers to count nearly 38,000 ballots. And it is being funded by Randy Economy, a leader of the unsuccessful Republican-backed effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom last year.

More politics

  • In a documentary about his 2020 campaign and its violent aftermath, former President Trump defends the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection by his supporters.
  • The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot is returning to prime time with a hearing to examine when Trump failed to act as a mob of supporters stormed the Capitol.
  • Why hasn’t Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland prosecuted Trump? The answer is both complicated and simple, columnist Doyle McManus writes. Indicting a former president for trying to subvert a presidential election is harder than it looks.
  • The nation has been commandeered by the right, but Los Angeles is redefining what it means to be a progressive, writes Times columnist Steve Lopez.

Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting and the latest action in Sacramento.

How close is L.A. to an indoor COVID mask mandate?

Continued increases in coronavirus cases fueled by the ultra-contagious BA.5 subvariant as well as a rise in hospitalizations have pushed Los Angeles County even closer to reinstating a universal indoor mask mandate. The measure could go into effect as soon as late July.

To reach the high community level, L.A. County would need to observe at least 10 new weekly coronavirus-positive hospitalizations for every 100,000 residents. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate listed for L.A. County was 9.7.

However, from the county’s perspective, the actual figure is lower — 8.4. That is because federal data combine L.A. and Orange counties.

Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.

Rent is rising faster than you think

Across the country, renters looking for new homes are facing double-digit rent increases. But you wouldn’t know it from the official federal tally of inflation data.

In the past eight months, the rate of change in annual rental costs for new tenants has more than doubled, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reviewed by The Times. The data also suggest that the cost of housing may continue to climb, despite some indicators to the contrary.

And with housing representing both the biggest contributor to core inflation and a lagging indicator, the recent escalation of rents points to overall inflation continuing to rise even as it shows signs of retreating in other sectors.

California cities ban new gas stations

Without realizing they were starting a movement in green energy policy, Petaluma leaders did just that when they questioned the approval process for a new gas station — eventually halting its development and others in the future.

Since Petaluma’s decision, four other cities in the Bay Area have followed suit, and now leaders in California’s most car-centric metropolis are hoping to bring the climate-conscious policy to Southern California.

It opens a new front in California’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and is generating opposition from the fuel industry, which argues consumers would suffer.

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OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

Once a symbol of binational unity, Friendship Park could close to cross-border reunions forever. Friendship Park has been closed since the pandemic began. Now, with an announcement from the Biden administration that border wall construction will resume in the area, many are concerned that the closure will become permanent.

She promised babies at bargain prices using surrogates in Mexico. Now the FBI is investigating. Lilly Frost treated many clients like friends. Once in her orbit, they reviewed catalogs of surrogates, wired payments and delivered sperm samples. But hundreds of thousands of dollars later, many of them had no baby.

California taxed millionaires to fix its mental health crisis. Why it’s fallen so short. A Los Angeles Times review points to several major, overlapping reasons, including chronic and systemic underfunding of other social and mental health programs, unpredictable swings in revenue, bureaucratic infighting and a severe shortage of mental health clinicians.

CALIFORNIA

It was California’s forgotten mass shooting. But for victims, the ‘hell’ never ends. A gunman shot up his rural California community. Five people were killed and 14 others wounded before he took his own life. Five years later, the scars remain.

La Luz del Mundo dissidents pressure authorities to seek more charges against an ‘apostle.’ Dissidents said they felt Naason Joaquin Garcia got off easy and wondered why the five Jane Does involved in the case weren’t consulted about the case’s last-minute government plea bargain.

The Yosemite fire grows as firefighters battle to save the iconic sequoias. The Washburn fire had grown to at least 2,044 acres and was burning on the southern end of the park near the historic Mariposa Grove, home to about 500 giant sequoias, officials said.

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NATION-WORLD

Uber lobbied and used ‘stealth’ tech to block scrutiny, a report says. The ride-sharing service lobbied political leaders to relax labor and taxi laws, used a “kill switch’’ to thwart regulators and law enforcement, channeled money through Bermuda and other tax havens, and considered portraying violence against its drivers as a way to gain public sympathy.

Tribal elders recall painful boarding school memories. The event was the first stop on a yearlong nationwide tour to hear about the painful experiences of Native Americans who were sent to government-backed boarding schools.

Chinese bank depositors face police in angry protest. A large crowd of angry Chinese bank depositors faced off with police in a case that has drawn attention because of earlier attempts to use a COVID-19 tracking app to prevent them from mobilizing.

Japan’s ruling party heads to a victory in the wake of the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Early results in the race for the parliament’s upper house showed Abe’s governing party and its junior coalition partner Komeito securing a majority in the chamber and adding more.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

‘Thor’ keeps the box office hot streak going. But should Marvel be worried? The strong performance was at the lower end of lofty expectations domestically, with box office forecasters predicting a $140-million to $160-million opening heading into the weekend.

Shawn Mendes cancels his tour dates to prioritize ‘my mental health, first and foremost.’ Wonder: The World Tour, which had just gotten underway last week, is on hold for the next three weeks — affecting 12 concert dates in all.

Amber Heard faces a new legal battle, this time with her insurer over the Johnny Depp suit. New York Marine and General Insurance Co. filed a lawsuit against the “Aquaman” actor in federal court, seeking to avoid having to pay Heard after her unsuccessful defense of a defamation lawsuit brought by her ex-husband.

BUSINESS

Elon Musk says he’s terminating his $44-billion Twitter buyout. The company plans to sue. The likely unraveling of the acquisition was just the latest twist in a saga between the world’s richest man and one of the most influential social media platforms, and it may portend a titanic legal battle ahead.

U.S. employers add a solid 372,000 jobs in a sign of resilience. The unemployment rate in June remained at 3.6% for a fourth straight month, the Labor Department said, matching a near-50-year low that was reached before the pandemic struck in early 2020.

OPINION

Repeal California’s ban on state-funded travel to some states. Lawmakers argued at the time that the boycott would send a strong message “that we do not tolerate discrimination in our state and beyond our borders.” But it hasn’t done that at all.

Our incredible shrinking right to protest. As the country has become increasingly polarized, politicians have targeted the ability of opponents to push dissenting views, writes Nick Robinson.

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SPORTS

‘Fly is fly’: Inside the WNBA’s thriving fashion scene. For a league that pushed a traditionally feminine and heteronormative image in its early years, the WNBA has grown to embrace androgynous fashion and streetwear alongside gowns, mini dresses and heels.

Clayton Kershaw makes an emphatic case for an All-Star spot as he pitches the Dodgers past the Cubs. Kershaw pitched 7 and two-thirds stellar innings in the Dodgers’ 4-2 win over the Cubs on the eve of MLB’s full roster announcements for the All-Star Game.

Caleb Williams Inc: How one family and a PR firm helped a USC quarterback build a name, image and likeness empire. The Williams family and the Smith & Company developed a plan for NIL unlike any other in the space, one they’re convinced doesn’t just set Caleb up in the long term, but also all other athletes who might decide to follow in his footsteps.

ONLY IN L.A.

John Lopker leaps for a photo by Hae Jeong Kim as they visit the Sixth Street Viaduct
John Lopker leaps for a photo by Hae Jeong Kim as they visit the Sixth Street Viaduct.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles’ new 6th Street Viaduct opened six years after construction began. The bridge is a “love letter to the city,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. The new viaduct, designed by architect Michael Maltzan, replaces a deteriorating Depression-era Art Deco bridge that served as a monument for Angelenos before it was torn down in 2016.

With its 10 pairs of tilted arches, the new bridge — dubbed the “Ribbon of Light” because of the thousands of multicolored LED lights that will illuminate the structure at night — has already taken its place alongside other landmarks such as the Hollywood sign, the Theme Building at LAX and Chris Burden’s “Urban Light” assemblage at LACMA.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Actors Cheech Marin, left, and Tommy Chong in an executive office at Universal Studios.
(Tony Barnard / Los Angeles Times)

Actors Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong are photographed at a Universal Studios office 43 years ago. They first met in 1969 in Vancouver, where Chong owned a strip club. He had formed an improv group, having turned the club’s strippers into actors to liven up the entertainment.

The stoner comic duo went on to record six gold comedy albums and starred in seven films, from “Up in Smoke” (1978) to “Cheech & Chong’s ‘The Corsican Brothers’ ” (1984), most of which Chong co-wrote and directed. But the team split up in 1986 when Cheech went his own way in films and television. They would later reunite for other projects.

Recently, Marin began displaying his private collection of Chicano art at the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture of the Riverside Art Museum. The 61,420-square-foot, two-story art museum and education center resides in what used to be the downtown Riverside Public Library. It is considered the only permanent art space to exclusively showcase Chicano and Mexican American art in the country.

We appreciate that you took the time to read Today’s Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at headlines@latimes.com.


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