California Forms Network to Reduce Unintended Pregnancies
More than 50 Californian advocacy groups, including the Pharmacy Access partnership and the Feminist Majority Foundation, have joined together to form the California Emergency Contraception Network. The coalition intends to work to reduce California’s unintended pregnancy rate. California has the seventh highest teenage pregnancy rate in the nation, with more than 100,000 teens becoming pregnant each year. It is estimated that half of all pregnancies in California are unintended. Despite these high numbers, the Guttmacher Institute recently ranked California as number one in the country for its family planning initiatives.
The goals set by the California Emergency Contraception Network include “increasing community awareness, understanding and access to emergency contraception, sharing models of successful programs throughout the state and ultimately helping improve emergency contraception efforts nationally.”
Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy if taken within five days of unprotected sex, birth-control failure, or rape, but is most effective if taken within 24 hours. Most states require a doctor’s prescription, which takes time and therefore increases risk of pregnancy. California is one of eight states that have an over-the-counter exchange for emergency contraception, which allows women to get EC from pharmacists who can prescribe and distribute the drug rather than doctors.
Media Resources: Pharmacy Access Partnership 7/5/06; Women’s eNews 7/8/06
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. . . .