Rape Victims Not Routinely Offered Emergency Contraception
A survey of Pennsylvania hospital emergency departments shows that only one in three hospitals routinely offer emergency contraception (EC) to survivors of rape, and half of these hospitals have no standard procedure for counseling patients about EC. Moreover, at many hospitals, the provision of EC is entirely dependent on the will of individual physicians. Women who utilize Catholic hospitals are even less likely to be offered EC. Of Catholic hospitals, only 6 percent routinely offered EC to sexual assault victims or had procedures in place to counsel women on EC. “It is unsettling that so many victims of sexual assault aren’t even being counseled about emergency contraception, much less offered it,” said study author Dr. Ashlesha Patel of the University of Illinois at Chicago. “The standard really should be routine [counseling and provision].” According to Dr. Patel, rape results in an estimated 25,000 unintended pregnancies each year. A great proportion of these pregnancies could be avoided through the use of EC, which can prevent pregnancy when used within 72 hours of sexual intercourse.
The Feminist Majority Foundation has launched a nationwide campaign for over-the-counter emergency contraception. To learn more or to join our campaign, visit www.PrescribeChoice.org.
Media Resources: Reuters Health, 5/6/02; Feminist Majority Foundation
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .