Ever since insurance companies began offering coverage for the anti-impotency drug Viagra, womenís groups have worked harder than ever to win insurance coverage for contraceptive devices and are winning considerable support from many state and federal lawmakers.
The sponsor of contraceptive coverage legislation in California, Sen. Jackie Speier, commented that "the little blue pill (Viagra) gave the birth control pill thatís been around for 40 years great credibility as an issue, because itís so clearly juxtaposed. Viagra made any argument against mandated contraception coverage laughable. No one can really argue it with a straight face anymore."
Contraceptive coverage legislation would require insurance companies to cover birth control pills, intrauterine devices, diaphragms, Norplant, and Depo-Provera if they also cover other prescription drugs such as Viagra. Many legislators say that the acceptance of this bill in many state legislatures signifies the growing power of women in politics. Women are united, regardless of party lines, to ensure that this measure passes.
Opposition has come from the Roman Catholic Church, who opposes any form of contraception, as well as anti-abortion proponents and business and insurance companies.
The Democratic leader of the House of Representatives in Idaho, Wendy Jaquet, said, "Thereís a lot of influence the insurance companies have in our Legislature, and thereís a real concern about raising premiums. And itís hard to get across the argument that this is really prevention, and if you have a baby the insurance companies pay more."
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .