Christine Vestal

Christine Vestal

Christine Vestal covers mental health and drug addiction for Stateline.

Woman grieving over school shooting

Gun deaths drive historic spike in U.S. child mortality rates

By: and - April 25, 2023

This story was first published by Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts. After decades of steady improvement, the death rate of America’s children and teens shot up between 2019 and 2021 — and COVID-19 wasn’t the reason. Gun-related deaths represented the largest share of the increase — by far. According to an analysis of the […]

Child vaccination rates, already down because of COVID, fall again

By: - January 17, 2023

Child vaccination rates dipped into dangerous territory during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, when schools were shuttered, and most doctors were only seeing emergency patients. But instead of recovering after schools reopened in 2021, those historically low rates worsened, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts fear that the skepticism of science and distrust of government that flared up during the pandemic are contributing to the decrease.

abortion rights demonstrators

Abortion rights advocates look to build on recent electoral successes using 2024 ballot measures

By: - November 23, 2022

Encouraged by six victories — and zero defeats — in this month’s midterm elections, abortion rights advocates are considering another round of ballot measures in 2024 that would enshrine reproductive freedom in state constitutions. This time, they’re mostly aiming at states with tight abortion restrictions already on the books, hoping to outflank anti-abortion state lawmakers and courts that are out of step with most residents.

North Carolina and Florida become southern abortion havens

By: - July 27, 2022

[This story was first published by Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts.] In the month since the U.S. Supreme Court ended the federal right to abortion, red states in the Deep South have been one-by-one criminalizing nearly all abortions. As of this week, most abortions are banned in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and South […]

If SCOTUS reverses Roe, state courts could overturn abortion bans in red states

By: - May 31, 2022

Some say NC is a state in which reproductive freedom is implied in its constitution If the federal right to abortion is erased by the U.S. Supreme Court in a few weeks as expected, the legal spotlight will shift immediately to state courts, where experts say judges in some conservative states could surprise everyone and uphold the right to abortion.