SD: Committee Rejects Requiring Emergency Contraception for Rape Victims
The South Dakota House Health Committee on Monday rejected 11-1 a proposal to require hospitals to offer rape survivors emergency contraception. "Little else can compound the already immense trauma of rape than facing the possibility of bearing the rapist's child," testified Shirley Adelstein, the granddaughter of the prime sponsor of the bill, according to the Associated Press. Opponents of the bill claimed that it would require religious hospitals to provide medical treatment that goes against their "moral" beliefs.
Meanwhile, the New York State Assembly on Monday passed a bill allowing emergency contraception (EC) to be distributed without a prescription. The Democratic-controlled Assembly was able to pass this measure last year as well, only to see it blocked by the Republican-controlled State Senate.
The Food and Drug Administration is currently considering whether to allow Plan B, a brand of emergency contraception, to be sold over the counter nationwide. If the FDA allows the labeling change, permitting over-the-counter sale, the New York bill will be moot. The FDA decision is expected February 20. While two expert advisory panels convened in December 2003 and unequivocally recommended over-the-counter sale without restrictions in a 23-4 vote, the FDA is receiving intense and mounting pressure from anti-reproductive rights legislators on Capitol Hill to prevent restriction-free over-the-counter sale of EC.
"In concert with the medical and public health organizations, we must take action and voice our position again and again and again to the FDA before anti-reproductive rights activists take this breakthrough drug away from responsible women seeking to avoid unintended pregnancy," said Dr. Beth Jordan, Medical Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .