Governor Gray Davis of California signed into law yesterday measures to protect women’s reproductive health by increasing clinic safety and accessibility to emergency contraception. California, which has the highest rate of anti-abortion clinic violence of any state in the nation, will now require more training for law enforcement on clinic violence and how to guard against it. The new law, a state version of the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), makes attacks and threats of violence against clinics and clinic workers a state crime. In further opposition to anti-abortion activists, Davis also authorized pharmacists to provide emergency contraception. These pharmacists, however, will be subject to training courses and must be overseen by physicians.
Davis also signed legislation giving gays and lesbians more domestic partner rights. Partners, who register with the California Secretary of State, will now have more property and medical rights as well as the right to adopt a partner’s child and the right to sue for wrongful death. Although the bill faced major opposition, Davis defended his position, stating, “This bill is about responsibility, respect, and most of all, about family – and its about time.” There are already more than 16,000 registered partners in California who will benefit from this new law.
Media Resources: LA Times, 10/15/01; Washington Post, 10/15/01
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. . . .