Michigan Democratic Leader, Gretchen Whitmer. The board of medicine just approved a Right to Life of Michigan petition banning abortion insurance coverage. If approved by the Republican majority legislature (and not allowed to go to the voters), it would require patients to purchase an additional rider to cover abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.
Nearly half of the pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and about 40% of those are terminated. The cost of a first trimester abortion ranges anywhere from $300 to $950. Nearly 60% of women who experience a delay in accessing safe, legal abortion have cited the time it took to raise the money and make arrangements. Those delays increase the cost of abortion, as well as the risk of complications.
Imagine being denied emergency contraception after a sexual assault; to not even be informed about the steps you can take to prevent an unwanted pregnancy; and to later find yourself pregnant as a result of the rape.
For thousands of Native American women this is reality.
That is why the ACLU and NACB have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with Indian Health Services (IHS) seeking information on policies governing access to over-the-counter emergency contraception (sometimes known as “Plan B”) at IHS facilities and demanding to know what steps the government is taking to solve this problem.
Did you know 34.1 percent or more then 1 in 3 Native American women will be raped in their lifetime? Native American women experience sexual assault at a higher rate than all other U.S. populations, which is one reason why it is essential that they have access to Plan B.
According to FDA guidelines, Plan B is available to women 17 and older OTC. If used within 120 hours, EC can safely prevent pregnancy after contraceptive failure, unprotected sex, or sexual assault. But EC is most effective the sooner it is taken, with effectiveness decreasing every 12 hours.
Although Plan B has been available without a prescription to adult women since 2006, 90 percent of Indian Health Service (IHS) facilities do not provide Plan B OTC to the Native American women they serve. Given the rural locations of many reservation communities, if EC is unavailable at the IHS facility the next closest commercial pharmacy may be hundreds of miles away and transportation costs may be insurmountable, making timely access to EC difficult, if not impossible for too many women.
Read the rest here.
Just two years ago, as Roe v. Wade headed into its late thirties, it seemed to be losing its luster. States were hacking away at abortion rights, passing ninety-two new restrictions in 2011 alone—nearly triple the number of any other year on record. Americans appeared ready to tolerate all manner of barriers to abortion access, from parental notification laws and restrictions on late-term procedures to laws crippling the ability of clinics to provide care by subjecting them to absurd requirements (such as having five-foot-wide hallways, as one Virginia law demanded). These new burdens added to the weight of a decades-long and alarmingly successful campaign by the right to stigmatize women seeking abortions and to persecute abortion providers. As a result, 87 percent of US counties lack an abortion provider, and several states have only a clinic or two staffed by a doctor who flies in from another state. “It’s never been this frightening before,” one longtime clinic worker recently told The Washington Post.
What is taking shape looks increasingly like a patchwork system where the right to abortion applies only to women lucky enough to live in a state where the courts and legislature have not whittled it away. How, four decades after women celebrated the Supreme Court’s historic embrace of their privacy rights in Roe, has it come to this?
Read the rest at The Nation here.
I tend to get lot of emails, tweets, and messages about one thing: How do I become more aware of what’s happening in my community and nationwide when it comes to reproductive health and rights? What are some resources I can start using to increase my awareness?
I’ve used many resources throughout the years to get timely information on what’s happening in reproductive rights, health and education, and I wanted to share some of the best resources I’ve found. Of course, this isn’t a complete listing of every online source that you can use, but hopefully you can use this as a stepping stone to begin increasing your awareness of what’s happening across the country and globally when it comes to reproductive health and information. Plus, you may already be familiar with these resources. In that case, great! I’m sure there is always something use, fresh, and useful for you to learn and share.
From perspective blogs to interactive maps, here are 8 online resources you can use to jump-start your reproductive rights activism (and 3 ways to get the most out of them):
RH Reality Check- RH Reality Check is an online community that provides evidence-based information on what’s happening in sexual health and reproductive rights policy. From birthing rights, abortion, law and policy, public health, and many other topics, RH Reality Check has its regular site writers and also invites readers to submit posts and videos as guest bloggers in order to increase it’s range of progressive and insightful news an analysis. Not only will you find information and commentary on reproductive health and rights happening in the United States, you’ll also read what’s happening globally.
Scarleteen- Scarleteen is the go-to site for all things positive sexuality for youth and adolescents (and their parents and caretakers). Headed by author and activist Heather Corinna, Scarleteen provides frequently updated information on comprehensive sexuality, dating, ways to do outreach offline, resources, mentoring and leadership opportunities, advice on where to go for services, and much more. Coupled with All About S.E.X.: The Scarleteen Book!, Scarleteen also runs a moderated message board for you to ask questions and get answers on all things pro-healthy sexual development.
Read the rest from the fantastic Nicole Clark here.
I’m speaking, of course, about the required-transvaginal-ultrasound thing that seems to be the flavor-of-the-month in politics.
I do not care what your personal politics are. I think we can all agree that my right to swing my fist ends where your face begins.
I do not feel that it is reactionary or even inaccurate to describe an unwanted, non-indicated transvaginal ultrasound as “rape”. If I insert ANY object into ANY orifice without informed consent, it is rape. And coercion of any kind negates consent, informed or otherwise.
In all of the discussion and all of the outrage and all of the Doonesbury comics, I find it interesting that we physicians are relatively silent.
After all, it’s our hands that will supposedly be used to insert medical equipment (tools of HEALING, for the sake of all that is good and holy) into the vaginas of coerced women.
Fellow physicians, once again we are being used as tools to screw people over. This time, it’s the politicians who want to use us to implement their morally reprehensible legislation. They want to use our ultrasound machines to invade women’s bodies, and they want our hands to be at the controls. Coerced and invaded women, you have a problem with that? Blame us evil doctors. We are such deliciously silent scapegoats.
It is our responsibility, as always, to protect our patients from things that would harm them. Therefore, as physicians, it is our duty to refuse to perform a medical procedure that is not medically indicated. Any medical procedure. Whatever the pseudo-justification.
It’s time for a little old-fashioned civil disobedience.
Read the (awesome, awesome, so very awesome) rest on John Scalzi’s blog at: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/03/20/guest-post-a-doctor-on-transvaginal-ultrasounds/
H/T to Maureen Johnson for this one.