- According to the Supreme Court, an employee’s contraception is her boss’s business after all. Although the majority in the Hobby Lobby case claims that its decision is narrow, the truth is we won’t know the full reach of the decision for some time. Hobby Lobby challenged four forms of contraception, but Justice Samuel Alito did not limit the court’s ruling to those forms of contraception only. Thus, companies can refuse to cover ALL forms of birth control if they choose to do so — we’ll see how it plays out. Already 82 companies have stepped forward to say they will embrace the decision, but they have not confirmed how far they will take it.
Birth Control Order Deepens Divide Among Justices - In a decision that drew an unusually fierce dissent from the three female justices, the Supreme Court sided Thursday with religiously affiliated nonprofit groups in a clash between religious freedom and women's rights. The decision temporarily exempts a Christian college from part of the regulations that provide contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Supreme Court's 'Hobby Lobby' Ruling Won't Resolve Suits by Religious Colleges - While some religious colleges filed briefs backing Hobby Lobby, religious college leaders and lawyers said that they expected another Supreme Court case, likely in the next year or so, would determine how religious colleges are covered by the federal health-care law.
The Supreme Court Just Made It Harder For Women To Exercise Their Right To Choose - The Supreme Court unanimously struck down Massachusetts' abortion buffer zone law on Thursday, ruling in favor of anti-choice protesters who argued that being required to stay 35 feet away from clinic entrances is a violation of their freedom of speech. The decision rolls back a proactive policy intended to safeguard women's access to reproductive health care in the face of persistent harassment and intimidation from abortion opponents.
Poll: Public Backs Contraceptive Coverage Requirement for Most Employers - Majorities of Americans believe that both publicly and privately held corporations should have to cover contraceptives in their employer-sponsored health plans, according to a poll by the Public Religion Research Institute.
Health Department proposes first-ever youth sexual health plan - New York's first-ever Youth Sexual Health Plan was unveiled last week to combat the growing epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies among young people. "Reproductive and sexual health are key issues for adolescents and young adults," acting state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said. "Providing accurate and comprehensive information to protect adolescents' health and prepare them for responsible decision making is a public health priority."
Menstrual Hygiene Day Links Periods and Human Rights - Handling periods (or "menstrual hygiene management" as experts call it) isn't the first thing one might associate with human rights. Yet the link between realization of rights for women and girls and menstrual hygiene management could not be clearer.
Preventive Services Coverage Uneven Despite ACA Requirements - The Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) requires health plans to cover many preventive care services at no out-of-pocket cost to beneficiaries, but confusion among insurers and providers has left some consumers with unwarranted charges, Politico Pro reports.
Reproductive Justice and Women's Equality: There Is Some Good News! - In spite of the continuing onslaught against reproductive justice and women's equality, legislators in 17 states introduced 64 measures to expand reproductive options during the first quarter of 2014, the largest such number in 25 years.
How To Help Prevent Teen Pregnancies Without Shaming Young Women - May marks National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, an advocacy push to promote sexual health and address this country's disproportionately high rate of unintended pregnancies among young people. But programs in this area typically walk a fine line. All too often, public awareness campaigns focus on blaming teen mothers for their choices and telling young women that having a baby will ruin their lives.
Gap From Age at First Sex to First Marriage and Birth Increases for Women - Compared with several decades ago, women today face a longer time period from when they start having sex until they have their first child, a new study finds. The findings underscore the need for access to effective contraception during those years.
ACA Improves Contraceptive Access for Teens, But Coverage Gaps Remain - The Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) has increased teens' access to a broader range of contraceptives that will bolster efforts to reduce teen pregnancies, according to advocates at a forum hosted by the D.C. Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, CQ HealthBeat reports.
In the News: Public Widely Supports Contraceptive Coverage, Study Finds - A strong majority of U.S. residents favor a requirement that health plans cover contraceptives, according to a research letter published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In the News: Colorado Reproductive Health Freedom Act Advances - A Colorado Senate committee has advanced a bill (SB 175) that would prohibit government entities from enacting policies that deny or interfere with reproductive health care.
AAUW Blog: Defending Women’s Health Care at the Supreme Court
In the News: Why Religious Leaders Are Speaking Up in Support of Universal Contraceptive Access - When the Supreme Court took up the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods cases March 25, attorneys for the business owners argued that their religious freedom (and that of the corporations!) is being violated by the Obamacare contraceptive mandate. But not all religious leaders agree.
In the News: Hobby Lobby's Hypocrisy: The Company's Retirement Plan Invests in Contraception Manufacturers - When Hobby Lobby filed its case against Obamacare's contraception mandate, its retirement plan had more than $73 million invested in funds with stakes in contraception makers.
In the News: Supreme Court Rejects Catholic Groups' Contraceptive Coverage Appeals - The Supreme Court on Monday said it will not review appeals of lower courts' decisions to uphold the federal contraceptive rules in two cases involving the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, D.C.; Catholic University; and other Catholic not-for-profits.
In the News: Need for Family Planning Funding Remains High, Advocates Say - Reproductive health advocates at a Capitol Hill briefing on Thursday urged lawmakers to maintain funding for the federal Title X family planning program, even as the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) extends insurance coverage to more U.S. residents.
In the News: Poll: Female Voters Strongly Support Contraceptive Coverage - More than two-thirds of female voters say that corporations should not be allowed to deny contraceptive coverage to their employees because of their owners' religious beliefs, according to a new poll from Hart Research Associates.
In the News: FDA To Increase Access To Generic Morning-After Pills - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this week that it will allow generic versions of emergency contraception to be sold without a prescription or age restriction. Previously, the FDA had granted Teva Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Plan B One-Step, the exclusive right to sell emergency contraceptives over-the-counter and without age restrictions. This decision is expected to make emergency contraception available at lower prices.
In the News: ‘Boss bill’ would prevent discrimination based on reproductive health - A new bill that backers say would plug a loophole in existing labor laws was announced on Wednesday to make sure employers don’t deny employees birth control coverage under insurance plans. Introduced by Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, D-Suffern, the measure would ban employers from discriminating against employees based on their reproductive health choices.
In the News: The Seven Most Common Lies About Abortion - Debunking anti-choice misinformation about women's health.
In the News: Reproductive coercion, intimate partner violence prevalent - Enough women experience reproductive coercion -- male behavior to control contraception and pregnancy outcomes -- that a research team now recommends health care providers address the subjects with their patients and tailor family planning discussions and recommendations accordingly. "Reproductive coercion, co-occurring with intimate partner violence, is prevalent among women seeking general obstetrics and gynecology care," note the authors. In addition, reproductive coercion has been associated with intimate partner violence, including threats, physical injury, or sexual abuse.
In the News: Introducing…The Pink Press! A Blog from Family Planning Advocates of New York’s mission is to help advance women’s health care and reproductive rights in New York State, and keeping you in the loop about legislative issues is key to that mission.
In the News: The War Against Contraception: "Women Need to Be Liberated From Their Libidos" - Just when you thought an overly sexualized America couldn't get any sillier about sex, Republicans have launched a campaign against the 'contraception mandate' in the President's new health plan programme that would include birth control. For now, the Little Sisters of the Poor are now protected from their raging libidos.
In the News: U.S. abortion rate at lowest since 1973 - 13 percent drop from 2008-2011
In the News: Supreme Court Extends Nuns' Injunction in Contraceptive Coverage Case - The Supreme Court on Friday extended a temporary injunction barring the government from enforcing the federal contraceptive rules for an order of nuns and nearly 400 other organizations that use the same health benefits provider.
In the News: On Roe Anniversary, Both Sides Grapple With Legislative, Judicial Realities - On the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, abortion-rights supporters and opponents are assessing their strategies in light of this year's midterm election and judicial responses to recent abortion restrictions.
In the News: Half of States Fail Reproductive-Rights Report Card; Some Show Promise on Pro-Choice Laws - The NARAL report, which focused on all reproductive-rights legislation enacted in 2013, gave the U.S. a grade of "D" overall and also graded each state individually. Half of states received an "F." Meanwhile, the AUL report praised Louisiana, North Carolina and Texas as the three "most improved" states in restricting abortion. All three states passed additional restrictions on abortion providers last year.
In the News: Supreme Court Declines 20-Week Abortion Ban Case; Lower Court's Ruling Stands - The Supreme Court's decision means that the lower court's ruling invalidating the law will stand, and it adds to uncertainty about the legality of several similar abortion bans in about a dozen other states.
In the News: ‘16 and Pregnant,’ May Serve as a Cautionary Tale - A study finds that MTV’s “16 and Pregnant,” a reality show depicting very young parents, may have contributed to a drop in teenage pregnancy. “It’s thrilling,” said Sarah S. Brown, the chief executive of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a nonprofit group in Washington. “People just don’t understand how influential media is in the lives of young people.”
OpEd: When the state interferes in a family drama - His father-in-law, Ernest Machado, told the New York Times the state has made his daughter “a host for a fetus.” Indeed. In seeking to protect a life not yet viable outside the womb, it has reduced its mother to a thing, and robbed her family of its right to say a dignified and proper farewell.
In the News: Study Suggests Link Between Domestic Violence, Abortions - Researchers say 25 percent of women having abortions worldwide were victims of partner violence.
January 22: mark the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.
In the News: Long-Acting Contraceptives Help Improve Pregnancy Spacing, Study Finds - Women who used intrauterine devices or other long-acting, reversible contraceptives after pregnancy were four times less likely than women who used condoms or other barrier methods to become pregnant within 18 months, according to a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
In the News: Obama Administration seeks to un-block birth control mandate - The Obama Administration has filed a response to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's decision to temporarily block the new health-care law's birth control mandate for religious employers. It is asking that the Supreme Court stop blocking the mandate.
In the News: Access to Abortion Falling as States Pass Restrictions - A three-year surge in anti-abortion measures in more than half the states has altered the landscape for abortion access, with supporters and opponents agreeing that the new restrictions are shutting some clinics, threatening others and making it far more difficult in many regions to obtain the procedure.
In the News: Physicians and the (Woman's) Body Politic - For two decades, legislatures have been encroaching on the realm of medicine. Heedless of medical ethics or evidence-based standards of care, they have been declaring medical “facts,” specifying or forbidding medical procedures, and dictating to doctors what they must say to their patients. Roe v. Wade was not only about a woman's right to abortion. It was also about the right to her physician's medical judgment and best care, unconstrained by partisan strategies. It is not only women's bodies that are being held hostage to politics; it is also the hearts, minds, and professional pride of their physicians.
In the News: More Abortion Restrictions Enacted in Last Three Years Than Previous Decade, Guttmacher Study Finds - The study found that 22 states passed 70 total antiabortion-rights laws in 2013, accounting for almost half of all reproductive health-related laws passed nationwide.
In the News: In North Dakota, Some Women Assume Abortion Is Now Illegal - The environment surrounding reproductive rights has become so hostile that many [women] simply assume the procedure has been outlawed."
In the News: Millions of Insured Women Gained Access to Birth Control Without Copays Under ACA, Study Finds - The percentage of privately insured women obtaining birth control pills without copayments increased from 15% in 2012 to 40% in 2013, according to a study to be published in Contraception.
In the News: About Half of States Have Banned Most Abortion Coverage in ACA Marketplace Plans - Nearly four years after disputes over abortion coverage threatened the passage of the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), almost half of states have used a provision in the law to ban the coverage in health plans sold through the insurance marketplaces.
In the News: The abortion rate has fallen by one-third in the past two decades - This is the result of two trends, the first being an overall decrease in pregnancies. The second is a smaller portion of pregnancies ending in abortion. Among married women, the percent of pregnancies ending in abortion fell from 10.6 percent in 1990 to 6.1 percent in 2009. Among unmarried women, there was a significant drop from 47.7 percent of pregnancies ending in abortion in 1990 to 28.9 percent in 2009.
In the News: 20-Week Abortion Bans Will Disproportionately Affect Younger, Low-Income Women, Study Finds
In the News: Michigan Lawmakers Considering Abortion Bill That Would Force Women to Buy 'Rape Insurance' - Michigan lawmakers are currently deciding whether to advance a bill that would require women in the state to purchase a separate insurance policy for abortion coverage, even in cases of rape or incest. If it's approved, Michigan would join a long list of other states that have attacked abortion access by preventing women from using their own insurance to pay for it.
In the News: Family Planning Argument Takes Path to Prosperity - About 222 million women in the developing world do not have access to contraception. Birth control isn't just good for women, says one advocacy group, it's key to economic prosperity.
AAUW OpEd: Much is at stake in challenges to ACA contraceptive coverage
AAUW Blog: Supreme Court Takes Up Troubling Contraceptive Lawsuits - AAUW strongly supports this coverage requirement, as it benefits millions of women. However, more than 40 for-profit companies (businesses whose goal is making money) have sued for the right to deny their employees access to contraceptive coverage.
In the News: New York needs new abortion laws - The current statutes don't do enough to protect women's health late in pregnancies.
In the News: Custody Battle Raises Questions About the Rights of Women - "Especially with current political pressures to recognize separate legal rights for fetuses, there will be increasing calls on the courts to fault a pregnant woman for moving, to restrain women from living their lives because they're pregnant," said Sarah E. Burns, the head of the Reproductive Justice Clinic at the New York University law school.
In the News: Grassroots 1960s Push Reformed Women's Health Care - The women's health movement of the 1960s and 1970s transformed the doctor-patient relationship and yielded the novel concept that women can take control of their own health, says Laurie Edwards in this excerpt from "In the Kingdom of the Sick."
In the News: Anti-Abortion Forces Reassess Their Tactics After Ballot Defeat in Albuquerque - The decisive defeat of a municipal ballot measure here that sought to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy left anti-abortion forces conceding that some of their tactics had backfired and that they had less support among Catholic Hispanic voters than they had expected.
In the News: Title X Needed Now More Than Ever Under Obamacare - The only federal program dedicated to family planning will be critical to the job of providing and expanding women's health care under the Affordable Care Act. But several states are attempting to restrict Title X at the very time it is needed most.
In the News: Most Women Don’t Know About Obamacare’s Birth Control Coverage - Phoenix Marketing International conducted three separate surveys on this topic over the past year, and every time, the company found that fewer than half of women between the ages of 18 and 45 knew about Obamacare’s birth control coverage. The first two surveys found that about 45 percent of women knew that the full cost of FDA-approved contraception should be covered by insurance companies. That number ticked up very slightly in the third survey, to 48 percent — but that still means that half of the women in the country may not realize that the birth control method of their choice is more affordable now.
In the News: Study Examines Link in College Women's Use of Substances, Condoms - A new study from researchers at The Miriam Hospital finds a link between alcohol consumption and reduced condom use among college women. The findings also indicate that women who smoke marijuana with established romantic partners may use condoms less often. The study was recently published online in the Journal of Sex Research. Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 account for 50 percent of all new HIV infections and are also at an elevated risk for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Condom use is an excellent method for reducing the risk of STIs as well as unplanned pregnancy, so it is important to understand the factors predicting use.
In the News: PSAs Aimed at Young African-American Women Use Humor To Tout Birth Control Information - According to data provided by Bedsider.org, 73% of pregnancies among African-American women ages 18 through 29 are unplanned. The data also show that 44% of unmarried African-American women who are in a sexual relationship and do not want to get pregnant either do not use contraception or use it inconsistently.
In the News: Women's Reproductive Rights from "8" to "B" - Would it surprise you to learn that AAUW's position on birth control can be traced as far back as 1935? That year, Dr. Louise Tayler-Jones (1870-1941), member of the AAUW Washington (DC) Branch and the AAUW Committee on Legislation, introduced a resolution known as "Item 8" to the organization's legislative agenda during the national convention in Los Angeles. Item 8 would make it legal for physicians to distribute information on contraceptives.