Bill to Expand Abortion Access in Peace Corps Introduced
On Thursday, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced a bill that would extend insurance coverage for abortion in cases of rape or incest to Peace Corps volunteers. Currently only paid Peace Corps staff have this coverage, forcing Peace Corps volunteers who are assaulted to pay for abortion procedures out of pocket. The bill, titled the "Peace Corps Equity Act" is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Currently there is no sponsor in the House.
In a press release, Lautenberg said "We must not stand idly by while Peace Corps volunteers continue to be subjected to this gross inequity in their health care coverage. Peace Corps volunteers choose to provide a valuable public service despite inherent risks to their safety, including sexual assault, and it is unacceptable that their own country restricts their access to care. My legislation would ensure that Peace Corps volunteers don't have to forfeit their rights or jeopardize their health when they volunteer to help underserved populations throughout the world."
A spokesperson for the Peace Corps, Shira Kramer, said in a statement that the corps supports the bill to create changes that "provides female volunteers with the same rights and protections as many of their female colleagues."
Media Resources: ThinkProgress 4/26/2013; Lautenberg Press Office 4/25/2013; Washington Post 4/25/2013
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. . . .