New York joined California, Washington and New Mexico yesterday, becoming the fourth state to mandate that hospitals offer rape victims emergency contraception (EC). "This is a tremendous victory for the women of New York state," bill sponsor Assemblywoman Susan John (D-Rochester) told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. Facing pressure from the state Catholic Conference earlier this year, the measure contained amended language, granting hospitals permission to withhold EC from women who were already pregnant, New York Daily News reported.
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, 54 percent of NY emergency rooms did not routinely provide EC to sexual assault survivors.
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. . . .