Monday, August 12, 2013
USA Today editorial: Contraception mandate applies to business: Our view:
If you choose to run a secular moneymaker, you can't claim exemptions unavailable to other businesses.
Controversy over ObamaCare isn't news, but any intrusion into deeply held religious beliefs is particularly contentious, and just such a dispute is underway.
Over the last year, the Affordable Care Act has phased in a requirement that most health insurance plans give women access to FDA-approved contraception methods, including birth control pills and the "morning after pill." The law is right to require this . . . .
Saturday, July 27, 2013
CHICAGO – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit today ruled against a Pennsylvania company that makes wooden cabinets and furniture and its owners that wished to avoid compliance with the federal rule requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception. The court upheld a lower court's denial of a preliminary injunction.
This case is one of more than 60 across the country addressing the rule mandating contraception coverage. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, as well as in similar cases recently heard by three other courts of appeals. The ACLU's brief in support of the federal rule urged the court to require Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation to comply with the requirement to provide employees with health insurance coverage for all preventive services, including contraceptive care. With this decision, there is now a split in the circuits.
"While the Constitution ensures that we are entitled to our religious beliefs, it also safeguards against having someone else's beliefs imposed upon us," said Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the ACLU. "Businesses cannot deny women coverage for something as fundamental as contraception by using the owners' personal beliefs as an excuse for discrimination."
For more information on the cases challenging the federal contraceptive coverage mandate, go to:
The decision can be found here:
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
The Boston Globe: Plan B One-Step gets exclusive rights, by Deborah Kotz:
The US Food and Drug Administration decided late Monday night to grant exclusive rights to Teva Pharmaceuticals to put its brand name form of emergency contraception on drugstore shelves without any age restrictions for the next three years. Plan B One-Step, Teva’s product, has started to appear in some drugstores this week on shelves next to spermicides and pregnancy tests. . . .
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Department of Educ. Office for Civil Rights Urges Greater Support for Pregnant and Parenting Students
U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights: Dear Colleague Letter:
We as a nation need to do more to help the hundreds of thousands of young people who become mothers and fathers each year graduate from high school ready for college and successful careers. According to studies cited in the attached pamphlet, Supporting the Academic Success of Pregnant and Parenting Students Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 26 percent of young men and young women combined who had dropped out of public high schools — and one-third of young women — said that becoming a parent was a major factor in their decision to leave school. And, only 51 percent of young women who had a child before age 20 earned their high school diploma by age 22. The educational prospects are worse at the higher-education level. Only 2 percent of young women who had a child before age 18 earned a college degree by age 30. This low education attainment means that young parents are more likely than their peers to be unemployed or underemployed, and the ones who do find jobs will, on average, earn significantly less than their peers.
To help improve the high school and college graduation rates of young parents, we must support pregnant and parenting students so that they can stay in school and complete their education, and thereby build better lives for themselves and their children. . . .
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Final Health Care Rule Retains Contraceptive Insurance Mandate, Despite Religiously Based Objections
The New York Times: Contraceptives Stay Covered in Health Law, by Robert Pear:
Despite strong resistance from religious organizations, the Obama administration said Friday that it was moving ahead with a rule requiring most employers to provide free insurance coverage of contraceptives for women, a decision that has touched off a legal and political battle likely to rage for another year. . . .
Thursday, June 13, 2013
The New York Times: Federal Plan for ‘Morning After’ Pill’s Sale Is Approved, by Pam Belluck:
The long-running lawsuit over emergency contraception finally ended Wednesday evening when a federal judge granted the Obama administration’s proposal to make the best-known morning-after pillavailable to all ages without a prescription. . . .
The Wall Street Journal: Stores Prepare to Widen Access to Plan B Pill, by Jennifer Corbett Dooren:
Drugstores are preparing to change how they stock and sell a widely used emergency contraceptive after the Obama administration agreed to allow the pill to be sold over the counter to customers of all ages. . . .
The New York Times - Motherlode blog: I Got Pregnant at 14. Ask Me About Plan B., by Liz Henry:
When I was 14, I started having sex. At 15, I became a mother.
Over the past decade, I have watched as two presidents disregarded safety and common sense to impose arbitrary age restrictions on over-the-counter emergency contraception for women and teenagers. I’m delighted by the news that the Obama administration has decided to end its efforts to restrict that access based on age, but I can’t stop thinking about the hypocrisy that has only just come to an end: when I became pregnant as a young teenager, my age would have restricted my access to a morning-after pill. But it didn’t make one iota of difference when it came to agreeing to place my daughter with an adoptive family. . . .
FoxNews.com - op-ed: Plan B for all girls -- science finally trumps politics and emotion, by Cathleen London:
Monday, the FDA issued a statement declaring it would approve Plan B One Step (a form of emergency contraception) for over the counter sale without restriction.
It is about time.
This decision allows science to trump politics and emotion. . . .
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
The New York Times: U.S. Drops Bid to Limit Sales of Morning-After Pill, by Michael D. Shear & Pam Belluck:
The Obama administration has decided to stop trying to block over-the-counter availability of the best-known morning-after contraceptive pill for all women and girls, a move fraught with political repercussions for President Obama. . . .
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Politico: Courts to hear birth control mandate lawsuits, by Kathryn Smith & Jennifer Haberkorn:
Obamacare’s birth control mandate will go before four different appeals courts over the next three weeks as private businesses that object to the policy on religious liberty grounds bring a barrage of lawsuits that opponents hope to get before the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as this fall.
On Wednesday, two for-profit companies will ask the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to strike the requirement that they provide employees with insurance coverage that includes birth control and other drugs that they say can cause abortion. Three other companies will present oral arguments in different appeals courts by early June. . . .
Friday, May 10, 2013
Bloomberg: 'Morning-After' Pill Judge Won't Delay Ruling for Appeal, by Christie Smythe:
A federal judge rejected as “frivolous” a government request to delay the effect of his order giving girls of all ages access to the so-called morning after-pill.
U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman in Brooklyn, New York, refused today to put the ruling on hold while the government appeals his decision that the contraceptive doesn’t require a prescription. He gave officials until May 13 to seek a delay from the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York. . . .
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Federal Judge Admonishes Obama Administration for Its Insistence on Limiting Access to Emergency Contraceptive Pill
The New York Times - The Caucus blog: Judge Criticizes Obama Administration as It Appeals Contraception Decision, by Michael D. Shear:
A federal judge on Tuesday angrily accused the Obama administration of hurting poor and minority women by seeking to restrict their access to morning-after contraceptive pills. . . .
Judge Korman, of United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, said he would decide this week whether to freeze implementation of his order while the appeal proceeds. But for the second time in a month, he used his perch on the bench to lecture the Food and Drug Administration and President Obama for their efforts to restrict access to the drug by very young women. . . .
Thursday, May 2, 2013
The New York Times: U.S. to Defend Age Limits on Morning-After Pill Sales, by Pam Belluck & Michael D. Shear:
The Justice Department said on Wednesday that it would appeal a federal judge’s order to make the most common morning-after contraceptive available without a prescription for girls and women of all ages.
The announcement came a day after the Food and Drug Administration said that one well-known morning-after pill, Plan B One-Step, would be made available without a prescription for girls as young as 15 — instead of only to girls ages 17 and over, as has been the case. . . .
The Los Angeles Times: Government will appeal Plan B emergency birth control ruling, by Monte Morin:
The U.S. attorney's office announced late Wednesday that it would appeal a federal judge's decision to make Plan B One-Step and related emergency birth control pills available to consumers of all ages without a prescription. . . .
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: FDA approves 'morning-after pill' for women 15 and up, by Sam Baker:
The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that the contraceptive known as Plan B should be available without a prescription for all women 15 and older.
The move is sure to stir controversy among social conservatives, some of whom view Plan B as a form of abortion. Unlike other forms of birth control, Plan B is intended for use after sex, rather than before. . . .
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: FDA pressed to go further on Plan B, by Sam Baker:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is under pressure from political activists — and some doctors — to remove all age restrictions on the over-the-counter sale of Plan B.
The FDA made waves Tuesday by allowing the sale of Plan B without a prescription to women 15 and older. Its previous policy had restricted the drug to patients 17 and older.
Women's-health advocates said the move from 17 to 15 was a good first step, but doesn't go far enough. . . .
RH Reality Check: Administration Again Fails on Over-the-Counter Emergency Contraception, by Jodi Jacobson:
Today, in a proposal that can best be described as adding insult to injury, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved making emergency contraception (EC) available over-the-counter for teens and women ages 15 and up. This convoluted proposal from the Obama administration comes despite a court order in early April by U.S. District Court Judge Edward R. Korman to make EC available over-the-counter to all ages within 30 days of his decision. It comes from an administration which pledged to make science the cornerstone of public policy and instead has consistently flouted a wealth of accumulated evidence on emergency contraception. It also comes after several studies showing that current policy requiring prescriptions for some groups and not others has confused so many pharmacists that access to EC has been denied to many who were in fact legally eligible to obtain it quickly. In practice, the new policy will almost certainly perpetuate, not resolve, that confusion. . . .
The Nation: Hey, FDA: Drop the Plan B Restriction, by Jessica Valenti:
Yesterday, the FDA announced that it will make Plan B—also known as emergency contraception (EC) or the morning after pill—available over the counter to women older than 15 years old who can prove their age. This decision comes less than a week before the end of a thirty-day deadline imposed by a federal judge mandating EC be available without a prescription to women of all ages. So despite the FDA’s announcement, the Obama administration still needs to appeal the judge’s decision or request a stay by Monday. . . .
Monday, April 15, 2013
ACLU (blog): Reproductive Rights and Yesterday's Budget Release, by Sarah Lipton-Lubet:
President Obama yesterday released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2014. Here are five things you should know about how it affects reproductive rights:
Home Rule for the District of Columbia
As he has each year of his presidency, President Obama removed the D.C. abortion ban from his budget proposal. That ban prohibits the District of Columbia from using its own locally raised funds to pay for abortion care for low-income D.C. residents. By contrast, all other states are permitted to use non-federal revenues to pay for abortion care if they so choose. . . .
Friday, April 5, 2013
The New York Times: Judge Orders Morning-After Pill Available for All Ages, by Pam Belluck:
A federal judge ruled Friday that the government must make the most common morning-after pill available over the counter for all ages, instead of requiring a prescription for girls 16 and younger. In his ruling, he also accused the federal government of “bad faith” in dealing with the requests to make the pill universally available. . . .
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Center for American Progress: Cutting Title X Family Planning in the Sequester Hurts Women’s Reproductive Health, by Lindsay Rosenthal:
If the automatic across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester are allowed to take effect tomorrow, Title X—our nation’s family-planning program—could be cut by $15 million in fiscal year 2013.* The cut would be a significant blow to Title X, which has already been cut by more than $23 million over the past two fiscal years—limiting access to family-planning services and causing clinics to cut back on staff and hours.
For more than 40 years, Title X has served primarily low-income women, who rely heavily on community health centers for their reproductive health care. . . .
ThinkProgress: Five Ways The Sequester Will Harm Women, by Lindsay Rosenthal:
If sequestration is allowed to take effect as scheduled on March 1, $1.2 trillion will be automatically removed from the federal budget in across-the-board spending cuts that would potentially reverse our economic recovery. These cuts — which take money out of critical investments in education, public health services and research, disaster preparedness, and national security — would have devastating consequences in communities around the country and would harm all Americans in a number of ways.
Sequestration also institutes several cuts to key public investments that would disproportionately harm women. Low-income women and women of color will be hit hardest by the sequestration. Here are the top five ways in which the sequestration harms women . . . .
Monday, February 25, 2013
In the 1980s, President Reagan -- under pressure from anti-choice activists -- directed C. Everett Koop to review the research on abortion and report back about the health effects of the procedure. Although personally opposed to abortion, Koop refused to issue the report, finding that there was no credible evidence that abortion caused women either physical or mental harm. Unfortunately, anti-choice activists continue to perpetuate the myth that abortion causes lasting emotional trauma and to push for laws that require doctors to pass along this misinformation to women.
See: The Guttmacher Institute: Abortion and Mental Health: Myths and Realities
The New York Times: C. Everett Koop, Forceful U.S. Surgeon General, Dies at 96, by Holcomb B. Noble:
Dr. C. Everett Koop, who was widely regarded as the most influential surgeon general in American history and played a crucial role in changing public attitudes about smoking, died on Monday at his home in Hanover, N.H. He was 96. . . .
Dr. Koop was completing a successful career as a pioneer in pediatric surgery when he was nominated for surgeon general, having caught the attention of conservatives with a series of seminars, films and books in collaboration with the theologian Francis Schaeffer that expressed anti-abortion views. . . .
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Obama Administration's Contraceptive Mandate Compromise Gets Warmer Reception from Catholic Health Association
The Wall Street Journal - Washington Wire blog: Catholic Health Assn. Sees ‘Progress’ in Contraception Proposal, by Louise Radnofsky:
The Catholic Health Association said Wednesday that the Obama administration’s latest proposal on how employees of religiously affiliated institutions would get contraception under the 2010 health law represents “substantial progress.”
The response from the group’s president, Sister Carol Keehan, was considerably warmer than the one issued last week by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who said the new rules “fall short.” . . .
Sunday, February 10, 2013
The Nation: Who's Paying for Your Birth Control?, by Emily Douglas:
Last week, the Obama administration updated its proposed regulations regarding birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act. It refused to create an exemption for for-profit employers who object to provide contraceptive coverage on religious grounds, but it left a lot of people, reporters included, confused about how religiously affiliated employers would be accommodated, and who—the insurer, a third-party provider, or the federal government—would be left footing the bill for the coverage. . . .
The infographic is available here.
Friday, February 8, 2013
The New York Times: Bishops Reject Birth Control Compromise, by Robert Pear:
The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops on Thursday rejected the latest White House proposal on health insurance coverage of contraceptives, saying it did not offer enough safeguards for religious hospitals, colleges and charities that objected to providing such coverage for their employees.
The bishops said they would continue fighting the federal mandate in court. . . .
Politico: President Obama sends support to abortion rights group, by Kathryn Smith:
Days after proposing a compromise on his contraceptive coverage policy, President Barack Obama sent a strong video message of support for women's right to make their own reproductive choices at a NARAL Pro-Choice America annual dinner Tuesday night.
"Tonight we celebrate the historic Roe v. Wade decision handed down 40 years ago, but we also gather to recommit ourselves to the decision's guiding principle: that women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care," the president said in a video at an anniversary celebration that also welcomed NARAL's new president, Ilyse Hogue. . . .