Despite a 1996 state law that prohibits charging rape victims for forensic exams or kits used to collect evidence after a rape, three counties in Georgia have been charging women as much as $1,200 to cover costs that the law states should be paid for by law enforcement. Exams performed on rape victims are criminal investigation tools police use to catch and prosecute rapists; police departments do not charge the victims in any other type of criminal investigation. Rape victim advocates at the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault (GNESA) worry that the high cost of the tests and police departments’ lack of additional funding to cover the costs mean the burden has shifted to the victim. GNESA advocates also worry that police officers are not ordering rape exams for victims in order to avoid incurring the cost of the examinations. Paying for the examinations with insurance introduces additional patient privacy concerns, as insurance companies may discriminate against the victim if she/he has been exposed to HIV. Victims may also be forced to reveal the assault to the primary insurance holder, which could be a family member or an employer.
Media Resources: Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault; Atlanta Journal-Constitution – March 5, 2001
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. . . .