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.
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. . . .