Amendment Introduced to Facilitate Over-the-Counter EC
An amendment to the agricultural appropriations bill (HR 4766) that would facilitate over-the-counter (OTC) status to emergency contraception was introduced today by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Henry Waxman (D-CA). The amendment states that the FDA cannot withhold a drug from OTC use if it finds that drug to be safe and effective for OTC use. The FDA was advised by its expert panels to approve emergency contraception for OTC status last year as a safe and effective drug, yet it decided to deny this status for Plan B emergency contraception.
In introducing her amendment, Rep. Maloney argued that the FDA’s decision to deny OTC status to emergency contraception was the result of “politics and ideology [influencing] science, endangering the reputation of the FDA and having a direct and irreversible effect on the health and well-being of thousands of women.” Medical research has overwhelmingly demonstrated the safety, efficacy, and need for emergency contraception over-the-counter. Emergency contraception meets all FDA standards for OTC status: it is ‘safe and effective, not associated with any serious or harmful side effects, easily self-administered, and requires no need for medical supervision.’
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. . . .