The Missouri state House approved an amendment to a licensing bill this week that could restrict access to Emergency Contraception (EC), also known as Plan B, in the state. The amendment, adopted in a 115 to 43 vote, would allow pharmacies to choose whether or not to stock EC, according to the Associated Press.
The amendment is similar to "conscience" statutes that have been introduced in other states. Lawsuits against pharmacies refusing to provide EC would be barred under the measure and pharmacies would not need to direct customers to other establishments carrying the medication, according to the Associated Press. Emergency contraception is effective up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex, birth control failure, or rape, but it is most effective (95 percent) if taken within 24 hours. Because of the time-sensitive nature of EC, over-the-counter access is crucial to its effective use.
State Representative Mary Still told The Missourian "To implement a law like this, especially in a rural area, seems to me to put another road block before women....This is one more weapon of mass distraction that we see at a time where we should be paying attention to the real issues of the state."
Edward Korman, a New York District Court Judge, ruled in March that the FDA must reconsider its 2006 ruling that allowed EC to be sold without a prescription to women 18 and older. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this month that they will not appeal the court's order and that EC will be available over-the-counter to women as young as 17.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 4/23/09; Associated Press 4/29/09; The Missourian 4/28/09
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .