Australia Moves Closer to Allowing Mifepristone Access
The Australian Senate passed a measure this week that will increase women’s access to mifepristone. The bill takes the regulation of mifepristone (also known as RU-486) away from the Minister of Health, giving regulatory power to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, a non-elected government agency. While under the oversight of the Minister of Health, currently abortion-opponent Tony Abbott, the drug was effectively banned.
The Australian Medical Association recommended allowing mifepristone prescriptions, and placing decisions about the drug in the hands of the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Senator Lyn Allison, leader of the Australian Democrats party, said, "It is galling listening to the men, and it is mostly men, who have such contempt for women who terminate unwanted pregnancies,” reports Reuters. In the course of debate, Allison challenged that attitude by telling parliament about her own experience, saying “an estimated one in three women have had an abortion and I am one of those.”
Feminist Majority Foundation Medical Director Beth Jordan, MD, testified before Community Affairs Committee of the Australian Senate in support of the legalization of mifepristone in Australia. “Decades of research and long-term surveillance data worldwide on mifepristone document that it is an effective medication that has been safely used by millions of women,” said Dr. Jordan. “Medication abortion should be made widely and easily available to the women and men of Australia for safe, effective and early abortion as well as for compassionate use purposes for patients with health-threatening conditions.”
The House of Representatives has not yet voted on the measure, though it is expected to vote next week, and the measure is considered likely to pass, reports AFP.
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. . . .