Congresswoman Maloney Prevented from Testifying on EC for Rape Survivors
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) was prevented from testifying on Thursday about the need to include information on emergency contraception in the Department of Justice's (DOJ) guidelines for the treatment of sexual assault victims before an advisory committee working to strengthen the federal Violence Against Women Act. Rep. Maloney was told that if she did not leave, security would escort her out, according to her office. A spokesman for DOJ told Newsday that Maloney was asked to leave because she had not registered to speak in time. “Today’s unfortunate incident raises questions about the basic willingness of the Justice Department to hear public comment on its decisions regarding women’s health,” Maloney said in a statement released by her office on Thursday.
The Justice Department's guidelines, published for the first time last September, currently do not mention offering EC to rape victims - an omission that has spurred criticism from many women’s, civil liberties, and health groups across the country. Last month, 97 US lawmakers, led by Maloney, sent a letter to Diane Stuart, Director of DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women, in which they "strongly urged" the revision of its new guidelines for the treatment of sexual assault survivors to include information about emergency contraception (EC). Maloney said, "It is clear that the administration's ideological opposition to choice now even extends to rape victims. Women who are sexually violated at the very least deserve the right to prevent unwanted pregnancies."
EC is exceedingly safe and effective if taken within 5 days but it is most effective (95 percent) if taken within 24 hours after any unprotected sexual intercourse, when a condom breaks, or after a sexual assault. EC has the potential to cut in half the 3 million unintended pregnancies in the United States each year and prevent as many as 800,000 abortions a year. In some states, such as New York, hospitals are bound by law to offer emergency contraception to rape victims.
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. . . .