After nine years of resistance, the Japanese Health Ministry has finally conceded that there is no reason to withhold approval for contraceptive pills.
After the male impotency drug Viagra was approved for use in only 6 months, Japanese feminists and members of the news media questioned the Health Ministry's decision. Dr. Kunio Kitamura, director of the Japan Family Planning Association in Tokyo, said, "If there's any drug that should be approved, no questions asked, it's the pill."
Health officials have made all sorts of excuses for the resistance, claiming that access to oral contraceptives will destroy Japan's morals. Others have cited fears that the Pill's hormones will cause environmental harm, or suggest that access to oral contraceptives will discourage couples from using condoms, encouraging the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Finally, a Health Ministry committee has announced that it expects to approve the Pill for use in Japan this June, after appropriate use guidelines have been drafted for patients and doctors. Even after the committee okays the drug, the Health Ministry must also grant its approval. This decision will likely be announced within a month of the committee's decision.
10/29/2014 North Dakota Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Restrictions - The North Dakota Supreme Court yesterday upheld a set of misguided restrictions on medication abortion, allowing what is effectively a ban on early, non-surgical abortions in the state to go into effect immediately.
The decision overturned a lower court order finding the law, known as HB 1297, unconstitutional and permanently blocking its enforcement. . . .
10/29/2014 Georgia Court Refuses to Recognize 40K Voter Registrations From Primarily People of Color and Young People - A state court judge on Tuesday refused to order the Georgia Secretary of State to add some 40,000 voters to the voter rolls, potentially disenfranchising thousands of African Americans and other people of color in the state.
Judge Christopher Brasher of the Fulton County Superior Court denied a petition from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCR), the New Georgia Project and the Georgia branch of the NAACP asking the court to force Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) to process an estimated 40,000 "missing" voter registrations.
More than 100,000 voters were registered by the three groups, but about a third of those registered never made the rolls. . . .