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
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. . . .