The Year in Review
The Good, the Bad and the Backward:
Planned Parenthood Ranks Reproductive Health Access in 2005
WASHINGTON, DC — 2005 was a year of progress and setbacks for women's health, rights and access to health care. Pharmacists denied women their prescribed birth control, politicians tried to limit access to reproductive health services and President George Bush tried to move the Supreme Court profoundly to the right with justices that don't believe the Constitution protects a woman's right to choose (that drama continues to unfold). But, significant gains were also made. Several states passed laws that allow women to acquire emergency contraception directly from a pharmacy, protect patients' rights to have prescriptions filled and expand sex education to include or improve information on contraception. Following is a look at the best and worst in reproductive rights this year.
Five Best, Five Worst Places to Get your Birth Control Prescriptions Filled
Pharmacies should not allow a pharmacist's personal bias to trump a patient's ability to have her prescriptions filled in-store, in a timely manner, and without discrimination or delay. Shop at pharmacies that respect your health and your rights.
Six Politicians Who Want EC to be EZ (that is, over-the-counter)
For more than two years, with no medical basis, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has delayed a decision to give women over-the-counter access to emergency contraception (EC). A government study found no reasonable explanation for the delay. These legislators are leading the effort to push the FDA to make a decision based on science, not politics.
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY)
Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT)
Eight States Where Pharmacists WANT to Fill Your Prescription for EC
Why wait for the FDA? These vanguard states have taken the step of providing women with easier access to EC directly from a pharmacist.
Seven Politicians You Don't Want In Your Bedroom
We can blame these seven anti-choice representatives for the federal refusal clause, the federal abortion ban, the attempted ban on mifepristone, state inquisitions on women's medical records and many other legislative attacks on reproductive rights.
Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt Jr.
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL)
Top Five Reasons Judge Alito Should Not Sit on the Supreme Court
On January 9 the Senate Judiciary Committee begins hearings on the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito. Alito's decisions and writings demonstrate a hostile stance toward women's rights, privacy rights and civil rights.
* He doesn't believe the constitutional right to privacy includes the right to an abortion.
* In 1985, he wrote a memo outlining a political strategy to gut and ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade.
* He said some forms of birth control are equivalent to abortion.
* He voted to uphold a Pennsylvania law that would require women to notify their husbands before having an abortion, even if they were battered women at risk of psychological or economic harm to themselves or their children as a result.
* Even his own mother said, "Of course he's against abortion."
Worst States for Reproductive Health Access
The following states impose the most restrictions to accessing reproductive health care, including defunding family planning, promoting abstinence-only education, limiting access to contraception (including emergency contraception) and abortion, and attacking minors' access to reproductive health care.
Best States for Reproductive Health Access
These states protect reproductive rights and have laws that allow greater access to emergency contraception, require that health insurance plans cover contraception, protect women from blockades and violence at clinics and/or fund family planning. Many of these states even include greater state constitutional protections for a woman's right to choose than the federal Constitution.
Five Most Promising, Five Most Backward States for Sex Education
While some states moved forward, others fell back in educating teens about sexual health. The most promising states expanded students' access to balanced and responsible sex education. The most backward states put teens at risk by passing or pushing laws that eliminate or limit contraception from sex education and only teach abstinence to the exclusion of other important health information. Uneducated about contraception, sexually active teens are at greater risk for unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. Teens need appropriate and comprehensive information to grow into sexually healthy adults.
December 21, 2005