Double Dose: New State Laws, Pro-Choice Carnival and 21 New Leaders

January 6, 2008

Pro-Choice Carnival: The first Pro-Choice Carnival was recently published at Abortion is a Woman’s Right. Two of Rachel’s posts are featured: “More Disturbing Ballot Initiatives – Abortion Access in Missouri,” from Our Bodies Our Blog, and “How Operation Rescue and National Right to Life Spin Abortion Research,” from Women’s Health News.

The second edition will be posted at the same blog Feb. 28; submissions deadline is Feb. 27. Check here for more information.

21 Leaders Worth Getting to Know: Women’s eNews has announced its 21 Leaders for the 21st Century 2008: “20 women and one man who are dedicated to improving the lives of women in their homes, in their communities, in their nations and across the globe.” Included among them are four women being honored for their work on behalf of women’s health.

Civil Unions Spark Excitement as Well as Yawns: On Jan. 1, New Hampshire became the fourth state — behind Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey — to allow civil unions, and the first to do so without legal challenge. Massachusetts remains the only state that allows gays and lesbians to marry.

This Boston Globe editorial page notes that “the event was met with a collective yawn,” adding: “There are several reasons for this change, but the most important is that residents of New Hampshire have had a chance to observe Vermont and Connecticut’s civil unions and Massachusetts’ same-sex marriage, and realized that extending rights to a minority is no threat to the majority — or to the institution of marriage.”

Prescription Plan Includes Pill: In Oregon, a state law that went into effect Jan. 1 requires health insurance plans that cover prescription drugs to include contraception and requires hospitals to offer emergency contraceptives to women who seek care after a sexual assault, reports The Oregonian.

A separate Oregonian story describes a state law requiring employers with 25 or more workers to provide a separate space and adequate time for mothers to pump breast milk.

“This law is national-precedent setting,” said Amelia Psmythe, executive director of the Nursing Mothers Counsel of Oregon. “It is the most detailed, toughest mandate of its kind in the country, so all eyes are on Oregon.”

Most Free Products Go to the Insured: “Free drug samples are more likely to go to wealthy and insured people than to poor or uninsured Americans, according to a study by Boston-area doctors that conflicts with the view that giving away prescription medications forms a safety net for low-income patients,” reports the Boston Globe.

“That finding suggests that the samples were a marketing tool and not a safety net because the poor and uninsured patients were not finding their way to where the samples were,” said lead author Dr. Sarah L. Cutrona. The study appears in the February issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Doctors Connect with the Mind-Body: The Chicago Tribune reports on the medical community’s growing acceptance of the mind-body connection. In fact, “About 75 percent of medical schools now have some CAM [complementary and alternative medicine] courses in the curriculum, and the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine includes 39 academic health centers, including the Mayo Clinic plus Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Duke and Yale Universities.”

Blog for Choice: The annual Blog for Choice Day takes place Jan. 22, the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. This year’s topic — why it’s important to vote pro-choice.