Today, for the third time, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) delayed its decision on making the emergency contraceptive Plan B available over-the-counter. This delay flies in the face of the deal between Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) and Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt. The Senators had blocked Lester Crawford's confirmation as FDA Commissioner until a deadline was set for approval of over-the-counter emergency contraception.
Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, said "The Bush Administration has shamelessly misled these two Senators," and that "these stall tactics are only harming women and increasing the need for abortions." Emergency contraception has the potential to cut in half the number of unintended pregnancies and to prevent hundreds of thousands of abortions in the United States annually.
Dr. Beth Jordan, MD, medical director of the Feminist Majority Foundation, says "To bow to political pressure and delay approval for over-the-counter status for EC will result in harming young women." Emergency contraception is safer than aspirin, meets all of the FDA's requirements for over-the-counter status, and is up to 95 percent effective if used within the first 24 hours after unprotected sex, birth control failure, or sexual assault.
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. . . .