In a ruling issued last week, US District Court Judge Barbara Rothstein ordered the US Navy to fund an abortion for a Navy spouse carrying an anencephalic fetus. The woman, now 20 weeks pregnant, learned three weeks ago that the fetus—developing without forebrain, cerebellum, or skull—would face imminent death. The US Navy and TRICARE Management Activity, its health contractor in Seattle, refused to terminate the pregnancy; however, the couple could not afford an abortion elsewhere.
The Northwest Women’s Law Center which represented the couple in Jane Doe v. United States, et al., alleged that the Navy violated the US Constitution’s Equal Protection guarantee, which requires that the law apply equally to people who are "similarly situated." In a related case last May, Britell v. United States, a US district court ruled that the government had to pay for the abortion of an anencephalic fetus carried by an Air National Guard officer’s wife. The judge in that case chastised the government for its regulation denying such abortion coverage and forcing women in similar circumstances "to suffer carrying their anencephalic fetuses until they are born to a certain death. This rationale is no rationale at all. It is irrational, and worse yet, it is cruel."
Media Resources: NOW 8/14/02; Northwest Women’s Law Center release 8/9/02; ACLU 2/9/96; Seattle Times 8/13/02
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. . . .