Legislators in Congress have introduced a bill that would require hospitals that receive federal funds to provide access to emergency contraception for sexual assault victims. The Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies (CARE) Act was introduced in the House (H.R. 2527) on June 19 by Representatives Jim Greenwood (R-PA) and Steve Rothman (D-NJ) and introduced in the Senate (S. 1564) on August 1 by Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ). Rep. Greenwood summed up the importance of this bill in a statement to the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition, "The CARE Act is a compassionate piece of legislation that will assist thousands of women who are victims of assault each year, and its passage will help reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions."
EC is 95% effective in the first 24 hours after unprotected sex, failed contraception, or rape to prevent pregnancy by interfering with ovulation, fertilization, or implantation. Despite the time sensitive nature and documented benefits of EC, Sen. Corzine lamented in his introductory statement that a survey of New York emergency rooms found 54 percent did not routinely provide EC to sexual assault survivors, and a similar survey found the number was 72 percent in Pennsylvania. "I believe it is unacceptable that a rape victim's access to standard care depends on the hospital to which she is taken. All healthcare institutions that counsel or treat women who have been raped should consistently inform, provide or meaningfully refer women for emergency contraception."
The Feminist Majority Foundation, along with a host of other reproductive health and rights groups, including American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association (AMA), are advocating for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of over-the-counter status for EC so women can access this pill quickly and easily all over the United States. The Women's Capital Corporation, makers of Plan B, has submitted a request to the FDA for over-the-counter status and FMF is gathering petition signatures in support of their application. The FDA is expected to make its decision by early 2004.
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. . . .