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.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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. . . .