US House Votes to Allow Doctors to Refuse to Perform Abortions
Earlier this month, the US House of Representatives voted to approve the Federal Refusal Clause, which will allow any doctor, hospital, or health care provider to refuse to perform an abortion, and refuse to refer a patient seeking an abortion to another doctor, even in the case of rape or medical emergency. The clause was offered as part of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill for 2005. Because the clause was sent to the Senate as a piece of the larger appropriations bill, it is guaranteed to advance to a House-Senate conference committee, the Associated Press reports.
Anti-abortion extremists are citing "moral grounds" as reason enough for doctors, hospitals, and even pharmacists to refuse to provide reproductive health services. BBC News reports that 12 states have taken steps to legislate this moral authority by introducing so-called "conscience clauses" in their state legislatures, allowing pharmacists to refuse to dispense certain prescription drugs, including birth control, without risk of losing their jobs. According to the Associated Press, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Arkansas already have such refusal laws in place.
There have been several incidents reported across the country in recent months where pharmacists refused to fill prescriptions for birth control pills. BBC News reports that some doctors are refusing to prescribe the birth control pill, calling it a "chemical abortion." Catholics for a Free Choice, an opponent of such legislation, contends that those most affected by these limitations in reproductive health access are poor women in the most extreme circumstances.
2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .