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.
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. . . .