Statement of Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, on Proposed Policies for Contraceptive Coverage and Religious Organizations
The Feminist Majority Foundation applauds the Obama Administration's continued commitment to women's access to contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The proposed rules released today by Health and Human Services operationalize the Obama Administration's commitment to requiring health insurance coverage under the ACA to provide birth control without co-pays or deductibles. Employees who work at religiously affiliated institutions such as hospitals and universities/colleges will be covered seamlessly by the insurance provider or plan administrator. The sole exception is narrowly construed to only houses of worship that object and can deny coverage to their employees.
Although we disagree with any exception, we believe that these proposed rules represent for millions of women an historic advancement in basic health care. It is unconscionable that religious institutions would even attempt to use the ACA to prohibit insurance coverage for basic preventive care that women need but too often cannot afford.
FMF enthusiastically supports the ACA and the many advances it is making for women's health care and lives. We believe that the full implementation of the ACA, with the comprehensive preventive care for women, will result in saving countless women's lives, pain, and suffering.
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. . . .