Senators Introduce EC Amendment to So-Called “Partial-Birth” Abortion Ban
As debate continued on the floor of the US Senate today over unconstitutional legislation that would ban so-called "partial birth” abortions, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced an amendment that would provide $10 million over the next five years to improve awareness about emergency contraception (EC), make EC available to rape victims in every emergency room across the country and require insurance companies to cover contraceptives.
“If we are going to jeopardize women’s health by banning certain health procedures, we must protect women’s health by covering contraceptives,” Murray argued on the floor this morning. “Women who have been raped should be informed of all their options,” Reid added. “EC has been studied extensively and is regarded as a safe and effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancies.”
EC is a concentrated dose of birth control hormones that is up to 95 percent effective at preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse, contraception failure, or rape. EC could prevent 1.7 million unintended pregnancies and reduce the number of abortions by 800,000 in the United States alone, according to a 1998 study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Despite this drug's incredible potential to advance women's reproductive health care, 9 out of 10 women of reproductive age do not know about emergency contraception and only 1 out of 5 physicians regularly discuss it with their patients, according to Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Women’s Capital Corporation – which distributes Plan-B, a brand of EC – is planning to submit an application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make EC available over the counter. The Feminist Majority Foundation is submitting petitions in support of this important initiative to expand and protect women's reproductive rights.
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. . . .