Massachusetts Makes Emergency Contraception Available at All Hospitals
In a victory for women's health, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) reversed his position under pressure and will support a state law that makes emergency contraception available at all hospitals, regardless of religious affiliation.
The Massachusetts legislature made emergency contraception available behind-the-counter at pharmacies in September, overriding Romney’s veto. The new law included the statement “each female rape victim” is guaranteed access to emergency contraception, according to the Associated Press. Last week, it was revealed that Romney’s Department of Public Health had adopted a policy that, contrary to the new law, would exempt private hospitals that had so-called moral or religious objections. Romney initially refused to force private hospitals, particularly Catholic hospitals, to abide by the new law.
Romney drew much criticism for his original refusal to enforce the new law, including that from his Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, who stated publicly that “it’s extremely important that victims of rape should be able to access emergency contraception in whatever medical setting they present themselves,” according to the Globe. Romney, who is considering running for president, changed his position on Thursday, overturning the Health Department policy.
Media Resources: AP 12/8/05; Boston Globe 12/8/05, 12/9/05
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. . . .