This Week in Pro-Choice News

never going back picbrought to you by Lauren Kuhlik

Shippensburg University given green light to continue offering Plan B out of vending machine:  FDA officials are allowing the Pennsylvania university to distribute emergency contraceptive via a vending machine.  Students are required to use an ID to ensure that younger women do not circumvent the federal law requiring consumers to be at least 17.  The vending machine will continue to help Shippensburg students to access emergency contraception without an appointment and without any embarrassment. Go Shippensburg! Other colleges, some of which make it difficult for young women to obtain emergency contraception, should take note.  [Think Progress]


Obama administration clarifies “religious exemption”: The Affordable Care Act is revolutionary.  Women now are able to get contraception without any copays whatsoever. However, many religious organizations and places of worship have argued that the religious exemption (which will require women to get separately insured for birth control, from the same insurer at no extra cost) is too narrowly defined.  The Obama administration has rewritten the exemption so that organizations that serve primarily people of other faiths, and those that do not hold inculcation of religious values as their main objective, will still be eligible to refuse to provide insurance that covers birth control for women.  [Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight]


Senate still hashing out details on Violence Against Women Act: Republican senators are still finding fault with the Violence Against Women Act.  The problematic provision? The ability for Native American women living on tribal land to prosecute those who perpetrate sexual or domestic violence against them in tribal courts.  Violence against Native American women living on reservations is extremely high, and many feel that they have insufficient access to justice.  The provision would only apply to the women’s romantic partners who also live on the reservation.  The senate has not yet voted, although 8 Republican senators voted against reopening the issue.  Last year, the bill got scuttled by congressmen who opposed provisions that would have helped undocumented immigrants and non-straight or non-cisgendered women.  The bill’s fate should be decided by the end of the week.  [NY Times]


A New Tennessee bill would require ultrasounds before abortions: State Senator Jim Tracy’s bill would require women who want an abortion to get a transabdominal ultrasound, wait 24 hours, and then return to the same provider within 72 hours to receive an abortion.  If the bill passes, Tennessee will join 8 other states that require ultrasounds before abortions.  These ultrasounds are medically unnecessary and are intended to impede women from seeking out or going through with abortions.  [WBIR-TN]


Several states attempting to institute heartbeat laws: Lawmakers in Ohio, Mississippi, Wyoming, Arkansas and North Dakota want to push through legislation that would outlaw abortion after a fetal heartbeat could be detected.  Fetal heartbeats can begin as early as 6 weeks, before many women even know that they’re pregnant.  If this bill passes, women in these states may no longer have access to safe and legal abortion—especially considering the dearth of available clinics, waiting periods, and other obstacles already in place.  Colorado legislators are going even further—they want to ban all abortions except in cases where the life of the mother is in jeopardy or the fetus has already died during medical treatment.   [Think Progress]; [Associated Press]




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