Medicaid programs in New York and California will cover mifepristone, the
early abortion pill, according to Reuters Health News. These are the first
two states to offer Medicaid coverage for mifepristone beyond cases of rape,
incest, or life endangerment to the woman. The US Department of Health and
Human Services has yet to decide whether state Medicaid programs should fund
the drug, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on September 28. Debate centers around whether mifepristone will be treated as
a drug or as a "service" in a pill form. Once application for the drug's
other potential uses as a treatment for certain progestin-dependent
tumors and conditions are submitted and receive FDA-approval, Medicaid will
have to cover those uses as well, widening access for women with fibroid tumors, ovarian cancers, and other serious diseases.
Currently, the Hyde Amendment limits federal funds for abortion for poor
women to cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment, although states can
expand Medicaid funding for abortion if no federal funds are used. The NY
Department of Health noted that federal Medicaid rules require any new drug
approved by the FDA to be included under Medicaid rolls. Other state health
departments agree, but say that, because mifepristone is sold directly to
physicians (not pharmacists) for abortion, the ruling is unclear. Many
states, like Florida and Arkansas, will cover mifepristone only in cases of
rape, incest, or life endangerment.
Media Resources: Reuters Health News - November 3, 2000 and Feminist Majority Foundation
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. . . .