New Study Shows Barriers to Receiving Emergency Contraception
A new study found that 55 percent of Catholic hospitals and 42 percent of non-Catholic hospitals in the United States do not dispense emergency contraception in their emergency departments under any circumstances. The study, conducted by Ibis Reproductive Health and published in the American College of Emergency Physicians’ Annals of Emergency Medicine found that of the non-Catholic facilities, 45 percent said that emergency contraception (EC) was only available to sexual assault survivors, meaning a woman would have to file a policy report in order to receive EC.
Of the Catholic hospitals that provide EC, 79 percent said they only dispense the pills to sexual assault survivors and 19 percent said they require a physician on duty to decide whether to dispense EC. At the time of the study six states had laws requiring hospitals to provide EC, but researches found that 40 percent of hospitals in these states did not provide EC. At non-Catholic hospitals 52 percent and at Catholic hospitals 42 percent of hospitals stating that they do not provide EC gave callers a valid referral to a facility where EC might be obtained. When follow-up calls were made, 80 percent of the referrals given by non-Catholic hospitals and 65 percent given by Catholic hospitals were either the wrong number or to facilities that were closed on weekends.
Teresa Harrison, a project manager at Ibis and study author, said the study findings demonstrate the “importance” of making EC available without a prescription. “The findings from this study illustrate the barriers that women face when trying to access emergency contraception from hospital emergency departments, particularly outside of regular business hours,” said Harrison.
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. . . .