Washington State Hospitals Must Provide EC to Rape Survivors
Emergency rooms in Washington state hospitals will now be required to provide emergency contraception (EC) to victims of rape. The bill, which was signed into law last week by Washington governor Gary Locke (D), establishes a statewide protocol for treating rape survivors in hospital emergency rooms. At issue, however, are the state’s Catholic hospitals and their willingness to comply with the law. Two Catholic hospitals in Spokane announced that it had been their policy to administer EC in emergency situations to rape survivors, but victim advocates assert that few patients actually receive EC at these Catholic hospitals. Advocates claim that women may not be informed that EC is an option and that those who inquire about EC have sometimes been ignored.
Women’s rights advocates are hoping that the new law will increase access to EC. Already in Washington, women can obtain the pills from pharmacists without a physician’s prescription. Only two other states have similar policies: California and Alaska.
EC can prevent unintended pregnancy if taken within 72-hours of intercourse. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, there are 3 million unintended pregnancies in the US each year. EC has the potential to cut the number of unintended pregnancies in half and prevent as many as 800,000 abortions each year. The Feminist Majority Foundation has launched a nationwide campaign to make EC available over-the-counter throughout the U.S. and to mainstream access to the pills on college campuses. To learn more, visit www.PrescribeChoice.org.
Media Resources: Spokane Spokesman-Review, 4/1/02; Feminist Majority Foundation
11/25/2015 Afghan Women Launch 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence - Afghanistan marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and begun participating in the worldwide 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which is being called in Afghanistan "Peace from Home to the World." During the launch day's event, which was attended by government officials, including First Lady Rula Ghani and women's rights activists, speakers expressed their commitment to ending violence against women.
First Lady, Rula Ghani gave a speech on ending violence against women and supporting women by stating that "war often leads society towards violence and this violence is in violation of human dignity. . . .