Prochoice Groups Ready To Challenge Roe In Supreme Court | Teen Pregnancy Rate Plummets | OTC Contraception
Abortion & Contraception News
1.US Supreme Court Lets Stand Fourth Circuit Ruling that North Carolina Abortion Law Is Unconstitutional
US The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from the state of North Carolina, refusing to reconsider the ruling of an appeals court overturning a state law that would require doctors to perform a mandatory ultrasound on women seeking an abortion in the state. The law also would require doctors to display the ultrasounds and give the woman a mandatory explanation of details that would happen to her fetus.
In December, a unanimous three-judge panel in Richmond’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the North Carolina law was unconstitutional as a violation of the First Amendment.
“The state cannot commandeer the doctor-patient relationship to compel a physician to express its preference to the patient,” Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote in December.
Other federal court of appeals in Texas and South Dakota have upheld similar laws, traditionally forcing a direct appeal to the US Supreme Court, as happened with North Carolina. The SC is also expected to announce whether it will hear a state of Mississippi. via
2. Pro-Choice Groups Considering Direct Appeal to the Supreme Court Over Texas Abortion Law
After a recent Supreme Court decision upholding a Texas abortion law that would close down almost every remaining health facility in the state, pro-choice groups are changing course and seriously considering a demand that the nation’s highest court must clarify what it means in clarifying when rules governing doctors, clinics or medical procedures become an unconstitutional ‘undue burden’ on a woman’s right to an abortion.
In the 1992 Supreme Court decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the decision ruled that:
“the State may enact regulations to further the health or safety of a woman seeking an abortion, but may not impose unnecessary health regulations that present a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion.”
“An undue burden exists,” it continued, “and therefore a provision of law is invalid if its purpose or effect is to place substantial obstacles in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.”
3. Senate Reopens Debate On Expanded Access To Contraception
Democratic Senator Patty Murray introduced the Affordability is Access Act, an action that has renewed debate about access to birth control under the Affordable Care Act. The proposed bill requires health insurance companies to cover birth control pills, should they become available over-the-counter.
Many Republicans are pressing on the option of making some contraception available without a prescription, an action that could cost women up to $600 a year, writes The Guardian.
“I believe strongly that women should be able to get the comprehensive health care they need, when they need it — without being charged extra, without asking permission, and without politicians interfering,” said Sen. Murray in a news release.
A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation examining 20 insurance carriers in five states - California, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey and Texas - found that almost all the plans limit access to some forms of birth control — either by not covering them at all or by charging a co-pay.
The Guardian article narrates the Republican position on over-the-counter contraception as being driven by major concern that women’s reproductive health issues will be a major topic in the 2016 elections, where it’s very possible that Democrats can retake control of the Senate.
4. Good News! The Teen Pregnancy Rate Continues To Drop
Newsweek reviews multiple studies that confirm a consistent and even accelerating drop in the rate of teen pregnancy. From 1991 to 2013, the number of high school students who report never having sex declined from 54.1 percent to 46.8 percent, according to the CDC. Lisa Romero reports that more than 85 percent of teens who are sexually active are using some form of contraception or birth control.
TV shows have also played a role. One 2014 study concluded that this media that doesn’t glamorize teen sex resulted in an average 5.7 decline in teen births in the 12 months after their debuts. As Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin, puts it, there is a “growing conviction that teenage pregnancy can really derail a person’s immediate future.”