Hot News Stories (5/28/15)

San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, CA)
An Oregon Senate committee has advanced pro-choice legislation requiring private insurers to cover up to 12 months of birth control at a time.

NECN News (USA)
The Maine House of Representatives has rejected a contentious anti-choice bill that seeks to require abortion clinics to be licensed by the state.

Madison News (Madison, WI)
A public hearing has been set on a fast-tracked anti-choice proposal in the Wisconsin Legislature that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.


12 Week Arkansas Abortion Ban Struck Down

 Today the U.S. Court of Appeals blocked an Arkansas law banning abortions after 12 weeks. Arkansas tried to ban abortion at 12 weeks based on fetal heartbeats. Such legislation has previously proven to be unconstitutional due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s groundbreaking decision in Roe v. Wade precedent women have the right to an abortion up to the point of viability (usually about 24 weeks). This viability discussion has been extensive, ultimately resulting in different states upholding different abortion banning laws. For example, ten states now have laws that ban abortions after 20 weeks.  North Dakota  holds the record for the most severe anti-choice abortion ban, where they tried to ban abortions after merely six-weeks, a period of time in which many women don’t even know they’re pregnant yet.

This anti-choice 12-week ban in Arkansas was permanently barred by a three-judge panel. Due to Arkansas’ strict beliefs, a backup bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy has been approved. This bill further stipulates that before undergoing an abortion a woman must wait two days before following through with the procedure.


Hot News Stories (5/27/15)

Wall Street Journal (New York, NY)

A likely unconstitutional law prohibiting abortions 20 weeks after conception took effect Tuesday in West Virginia, despite Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin twice vetoing the ban over concerns that a court could strike it down.

The Decatur Daily (Decatur, TN)
An anti-choice bill that would ban abortion clinics within 2,000 feet of a public school or campus is on the Alabama House’s agenda for a vote this afternoon. If approved — it still needs to go through the Senate — and signed into law, the targeted legislation would close the one clinic in Huntsville and others in the state.

ABC News (USA)
Louisiana appears unlikely to add a new anti-choice restriction banning so-called gender-based “sex-selection” abortions. The House-backed proposal stalled Tuesday in a Senate judiciary committee, on a 2-2 vote.


Renew the U.S. Commitment to Sexual Education

Over the course of the last 20 years advocacy and advancement in terms of sex education have increased in the United States, however, teen birth rates and rates of STIs are still amongst the highest worldwide. Recent research reveals the federally funded focus on abstinence and “just say no” programs have not proven to be an effective way of preventing unintended pregnancies and STIs. Instead of focusing on abstinence-only education and targeting individual’s actions through the force of law, we must focus on providing knowledge through evidenced-based education, giving individuals the opportunity to make smart and responsible decisions.

The decades-long call to provide comprehensive sex education, not only to prevent unintended pregnancies or the spread of STIs, but to enable individuals to be more knowledgeable about themselves and their bodies highlights an important idea that sexual health is a fundamental part of all life. By inhibiting individuals from truly understanding what sexual health means and strictly providing only one course to follow (i.e. abstinence-only-until-marriage), we are blatantly labeling each person’s sexual health as a black and white situation with one right answer. Each person comes from different family situations, different socioeconomic statuses, and different life experiences. Evidence-based comprehensive sex education is the most universal and fair way to provide the best care and sexual health. It provides options and enables individuals to know each perspective and make the best choice specific to their situation.


Congress Advances Measure to Increase Contraception Access for Military Servicewomen

Both the House and Senate have advanced versions of the annual defense bill that include provisions increasing access and the quality of contraceptive care for women serving in the military. After the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services released a report last year finding that servicewomen regularly encounter “barriers, both informal and formal” to accessing family planning care, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been discussion solutions. Last week the House approved a version of the defense bill that includes would require military clinics and hospitals to be able to access all FDA-approved methods of contraception. The new provisions would also ensure women in combat would receive appropriate counseling to determine the best and most effective method for their situation.


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