Studies Released on EC, Controversy Continues in States
US minority women are less informed about emergency contraception (EC), also known as the "morning-after" pill, according to a new study by ACOG. In a survey of 330 black and Latina women 18 years and older, only eight percent had "some knowledge" of EC, 22 percent had "very little knowledge," and 70 percent had "no adequate knowledge," reported Reuters Health. However, most of those surveyed (94 percent) indicated interest in learning more about EC and family planning courses. Study author Dr. Danny W. Shaban, who attributed the disparity between minority and white women to varying media outreach, suggested that public health clinics and schools assume greater responsibility in disseminating EC information and that physicians also incorporate EC awareness into patient visits.
In a related study, also presented at the ACOG meeting, researchers found that women given a supply of EC versus just a prescription were more likely to use the medication to prevent pregnancy. Study author Dr. Eliza Ng told Reuters Health, EC should be a staple in any reproductive-age woman's medicine cabinet.
Last week Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R) issued a memorandum to state colleges insisting that dispensation of EC at university clinics does not violate Virginia's informed consent abortion law, which requires women to receive select information and wait 24 hours before undergoing an abortion. His statement came after James Madison University (JMU) last month stopped providing EC at the student health center, because of a letter from anti-abortion Delegate Robert Marshall (R-Manassas), claiming the drug causes abortions. In fact, EC prevents pregnancies by interrupting fertilization or preventing implantation, and the pills do not terminate an existing pregnancy. Kilgore's memo said each college's board of visitors should be responsible for deciding EC dispensation in campus clinics.
Meanwhile, a bill approved this week by the Hawaii Legislature requiring hospitals to provide EC to rape victims has prompted threats of legal action from the state's sole Catholic hospital system, St. Francis Healthcare System, reported the Honolulu Advertiser. St. Francis, claiming religion grounds, does not provide birth control or abortion services. Gov. Linda Lingle has not issued a decision on the bill.
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. . . .