Catherine Sweeney

Catherine Sweeney
Catherine covers health for StateImpact Oklahoma. She grew up in Muskogee and went to Oklahoma State University. She has covered politics and policy in Colorado's high plains, Oklahoma City and Washington, D.C. You can reach her at catherine@stateimpactoklahoma.org, @cathjsweeney on Twitter or 405-673-5226 on Signal.

Latest by Catherine Sweeney


Oklahoma has a syphilis problem. The pandemic made it worse.

Oklahoma had the 4th highest rate of syphilis infections in 2020. Public health experts say that cases likely went up even higher when the pandemic put strain on the medical system.
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Oklahoma allows abortions in life-threatening situations, but how much danger is enough?

In Oklahoma and Texas, the laws don't clarify what counts as life-threatening. That leaves room for interpretation, and has already delayed critical care.
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Two more COVID strains have made their way to Oklahoma. Here’s what to know.

They're six times more contagious, but appear to be less damaging. That being said, long-term impacts are still a major risk, even if we aren't sure what they are yet.
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For years before the Saint Francis shooting, health workers have experienced on-the-job violence at alarming rates.

And they say the pandemic has made it worse. One nationwide survey of nurses found 44 percent of theme experienced physical abuse on the job in early 2020.
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Critics say Oklahoma’s abortion and Critical Race Theory crackdowns rely on fear

Vague laws leave residents wondering what’s legal and what isn’t. Opponents argue that is by design.
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Oklahoma families with premature babies are struggling amid the formula shortage.

The special formula — made with extra calories to help the babies catch up on growing — was hard to find even before the recent strain.
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Gov. Kevin Stitt supports abortion restrictions on rape victims. Critics say he doesn’t understand the trauma those victims will face.

Senate Bill 1503 and other restriction bills have no exemptions for Oklahomans who have been raped. Stitt says that is intentional, and that those victims should carry pregnancies to term, then connect with adoption services.
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Oklahoma already ranked among the highest in the country for sexually transmitted infections. The pandemic likely made it worse.

Oklahoma ranked in the top five for sexually transmitted syphilis, newborns born with syphilis and gonorrhea.
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Oklahoma abortion laws would send providers to prison for up to a decade and worsen access for the region

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed Texas' abortion restriction law to stand. That has driven up demand in Oklahoma, and has caused doubts the court would strike down new laws.
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