Colorado Governor Vetoes Emergency Contraception Bill
Colorado Governor Bill Owens (R) vetoed a bill on Tuesday that would have required all hospitals to inform rape victims about emergency contraception. Owens, a Roman Catholic, claimed that the bill would have forced church-backed institutions to violate their own ethics guidelines, reports the Associated Press. The bill, HB 1042, which passed 46-19 and 22-13 in the state House and Senate, respectively, would have allowed individual health care workers with moral or religious objections to refrain from informing women about emergency contraception (EC), but would have required them to refer patients to another health professional who would discuss contraception options, reports the Kaiser Network. State Representative Terrance Carroll (D) argued that Owens had misconstrued the legislation’s intent. “This was not about abortion, it was not about freedom, it was about women who were raped,” reports TheDenverChannel.com.
Lawmakers tried to attach an amendment to exclude Catholic hospitals, but the bill’s sponsors, Representative Betty Boyd (D-CO) and Senator Jennifer Veiga (D-CO), refused, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Boyd and Veiga pointed out that rape victims do not always have a choice about where they go for treatment.
Republican supporters of the bill argued that studies have shown 50 percent of women who are raped and become pregnant have an abortion, reports the Rocky Mountain News. EC, which can be taken up to five days after unprotected intercourse to prevent pregnancy, would presumably lower these statistics. “This bill was about providing compassionate care to women who have been sexually assaulted,” said Beth Ganz, head of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado. “The governor clearly put politics ahead of women’s health and lives,” reports Rocky Mountain News.
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. . . .