House Committee Reinstates Overseas Military Abortion Ban
Last week, the Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel amended the Defense Department Reauthorization Act to improve the reproductive health services available to military personnel and spouses stationed overseas by granting federally-funded abortions to women whose pregnancies are the result or incest or rape, or are life-threatening.
Yesterday, the full Armed Services Committee rejected the Subcommittee's amendments and voted to prohibit publicly-funded abortions for rape who have been raped unless their rape was "forcible" (excluding statutory rape) and had been reported to law enforcement officials. The Committee also reinstated the ban on privately-funded abortions for military service members and their dependents.
Current law prohibits abortions at military hospitals except in cases of rape or incest, or when an abortion is needed save a pregnant woman's life. Federal funds pay only for life-saving abortions only when the procedure is needed to save the woman's life.
The Defense Department Reauthorization Act will next go to the full House. A Senate version of the same legislation does not include the new abortion restrictions passed by the Armed Service Committee.
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. . . .