FDA Does Damage Control, Naming New Head of Women's Health
Women's groups reported in shock last week that Norris Alderson, PhD, a specialist in veterinary medicine, had been appointed to replace Susan Wood as acting director of the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Women's Health. However, late on Friday, the FDA appeared to do some damage control, announcing the appointment of Theresa Toigo, who has a pharmacy degree and an MBA, to the post.
On Monday, FDA spokesperson Suzanne Trevino told The Washington Post that Alderson had never been appointed to the position, despite the fact that he had been listed as acting director on the official website for the Office of Women’s Health, a statement announcing his appointment had been sent to women’s groups, and he had been introduced to the office’s staff as the acting director. Nonetheless, “There was no official decision made until we announced Theresa Toigo’s appointment,” Trevino told The Post. (Her office has not returned calls from Ms. magazine.)
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. . . .