Settlement Reached in Contraceptive Coverage Lawsuit
A federal district court in Seattle approved a settlement earlier this month in the class-action lawsuit Erickson v Bartell, filed in 2000 on behalf of employees of the Bartell drugstore chain who alleged that the exclusion of prescription contraceptives coverage in their health insurance constituted sex discrimination (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964). Under the settlement—which dismisses Bartell’s appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court, class members who are current Bartell employees are exempt from making co-payments on prescription contraceptives and related services through 2006. Class members formerly employed at Bartell will receive a $100 reimbursement. The company will continue covering contraceptives and related services in its health plan, per a 2001 federal district court ruling.
Women of reproductive age throughout the US continue to pay more out-of-pocket health care costs than men because of reproductive health expenses not covered by insurance plans, according to PPFA. “Contraception is basic health care,” said PPFA President Gloria Feldt. “Studies indicate that most Americans believe prescription contraception should be covered. It’s time for corporations… to do what is right for the health of America’s women.”
In recent years, AT&T, Dow Jones, and Wal-Mart have all faced lawsuits from employees demanding coverage for prescription contraceptives.
Media Resources: PPFA 3/4/03; Feminist Daily News Wire
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. . . .