A vote in the Oklahoma state Senate on a bill that would allow employers to deny contraception and abortion coverage for women in insurance plans passed the Senate Business and Commerce Committee. Senate Bill 452, introduced by Senator Clark Jolley (R) and Senator Pam Peterson (R), passed on a vote of nine to zero last Thursday.
The language of the bill states, "Notwithstanding any other provision of state or federal law, no employer shall be required to provide or pay for any benefit or service related to abortion or contraception through the provision of health insurance to his or her employees."
Jolley has said that the bill is the result of lobbying by Dr. Dominic Pedulla, a constituent who calls himself a natural family planning medical consultant and women's health researcher. His concern over contraceptive coverage stems from his belief that women are worse off with contraception because it suppresses and disables who they are, Pedulla told the Tulsa World. "Part of their identity is the potential to be a mother. They are being asked to suppress and radically contradict part of their own identity, and if that wasn't bad enough, they are being asked to poison their bodies."
Despite Pedulla's concern that contraception is poisonous, oral birth control was first FDA approved in 1960 and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advocate that birth control be available without a prescription.
Media Resources: Think Progress (2/22/13); Tulsa World (2/22/13); Oklahoma State Legislature
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .