Report Shows Dire State of Family Planning Funding
A report released last week by the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) brought to light the dire state of family planning funding in the United States, made worse in recent years by anti-choice legislation and restrictive budget proposals. According to the report, publicly funded family planning services have declined in 27 states and the District of Columbia over the past decade, forcing clinics to turn away four in 10 women in need of subsidized contraception.
As a result of the efforts of anti-choice legislators to weaken Title X of the Public Health Service Act, which provides a range of reproductive health services for women and men who are at or below the poverty level, many of the unmet family planning needs of low-income women have fallen upon Medicaid. The report states that Medicaid currently accounts for nearly two-thirds of all family planning funding on the federal and state levels nationwide. However, the budget presented by President Bush last month proposes a drastic cut to Medicaid, further endangering the access of millions of Americans to women’s health services, according to AGI.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) recently sponsored the Prevention First bill to increase funding for multiple family planning services in an effort to reduce unintended pregnancies in the United States. The bill would more than double federal funding for family planning services, require private health plans to cover prescription contraceptive, promote the use of emergency contraception in hospitals for the treatment of rape victims, and require abstinence-only education to provide accurate information about contraceptives. However, the bill has “been met with deafening silence” by anti-choice by Republican leaders, a spokesperson for Reid told the Associated Press.
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. . . .