IL Gov. Signs Laws Clarifying Rape, Requiring Contraceptives Coverage
Late last month Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) signed a law clarifying rape as any situation where someone continues to have intercourse after the partner asks to stop. Introduced by state Sen. Dan Rutherford (R-Pontiac), the law-prompted by a three-year California court case charging a 17-year-old boy with rape for continuing sex after the 17-year-old girl asked to stop-passed the state legislature last spring and is believed to be the first such law in the country, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault Executive Director Polly Poskin applauded the new law, telling the Sun-Times, "This will be very helpful in acquaintance rape cases... Just because it's he-said, she-said, just because they knew each other, just because she may have consented initially, if at any point she objects and he forcefully continues, it's now a crime in the state of Illinois."
Also last month, Gov. Blagojevich signed HB 211 into law, making Illinois the 21st state to require insurance coverage of prescription contraceptives. Though the new law-effective January 1-excludes abortions, sterilizations, and does not apply to employers philosophically opposed to birth control (e.g. Catholic Church), supporters including Rep. Ricca Slone (D-Peoria Heights) praised the move, insisting "... if we want to encourage women to take control of their reproductive lives and make responsible decisions about whether they're going to have children or not, this is something they need to have access to," reported the Peoria Journal Star.
With the price of birth control pills estimated at $30 a month plus doctor's fees, studies show that women of reproductive age spend about two-thirds more than men on out-of-pocket healthcare costs, according to an ABC News report. Meanwhile, more than half of Viagra prescriptions received health insurance coverage just weeks after the anti-impotence drug hit US markets, ABC News reports.
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. . . .