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Birth Control

SCIENCE
May 1, 2013 | By Monte Morin
The U.S. attorney's office announced late Wednesday that it would appeal a federal judge's decision to make Plan B One-Step and related emergency birth control pills available to consumers of all ages without a prescription. In papers filed with the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, government lawyers have asked that the court overturn an order by U.S. District Judge Edward Korman. They have also requested that Korman stay his order until the appeal is resolved. Korman, who has harshly criticized government health officials for their handling of the so-called morning after pill, ordered that all levonorgestrel-based emergency contraceptives like Plan B One-Step be made available, over the counter, beginning next Monday.
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NATIONAL
February 8, 2013 | By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - Judges across the country are increasingly split over whether private employers and their companies can cite their religious beliefs as a valid reason for denying birth control coverage to their employees. Earlier this month the Obama administration proposed a compromise for some nonprofit religious organizations, such as Catholic hospitals and colleges, that would allow them to avoid paying directly for such insurance. But the administration refused to consider a similar exemption for private, for-profit employers.
OPINION
February 7, 2013
Re "New plan for birth-control coverage," Feb. 2 If men want to make it difficult for women to prevent pregnancy, it's only fair that they make it difficult for men to cause it. One could hope the men of Roman Catholic or Republican persuasion would strive for equality and insist that Viagra and similar medications be treated the same as they want contraceptives treated - that is, not covered by insurance. Tom Egan Costa Mesa ALSO: Letters: Keep on dancing Letters: Jail isn't for the mentally ill Letters: The GOP's sudden conversion
WORLD
January 28, 2013 | By Batsheva Sobelman
JERUSALEM -- Rocked by a scandal involving birth-control treatments for Ethiopian Jews, Israel's health ministry issued new guidelines on the use of the injections known commercially as Depo-Provera. In a recent letter to the country's four HMOs reported Sunday , Ron Gamzu, director general of the health ministry, instructed gynecologists against renewing prescriptions in cases where the patient does not fully understand the treatment's implications. The ministry's new policy comes in response to a controversy exposed last month by local investigative journalist Gal Gabbay, who reported that Jewish Ethiopian women awaiting emigration to Israel in transit camps in Ethiopia were coaxed into the treatment with little medical explanation and led to understand this was a condition for moving to Israel.
WORLD
December 18, 2012 | By Kenneth R. Weiss and Sol Vanzi, Los Angeles Times
MANILA - Ignoring the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines' warning that "contraception corrupts the soul," the Philippine Congress on Monday passed a sweeping bill that would provide birth control to millions of poor women. The historic votes, with bishops and nuns sitting glumly in the gallery, came after the Catholic hierarchy and its political supporters had thwarted the legislation's passage for more than 14 years. The measure, which President Benigno Aquino III has pledged to sign, would override the de facto ban on contraceptives in Manila's public health clinics, make sex education mandatory in public schools and require hospitals to provide postabortion care, even though abortions will remain illegal.
NEWS
November 20, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a call Tuesday for birth control pills to be sold over the counter. Currently oral contraceptives are available only with a doctor's prescription. In a policy statement, the organization argues that making birth control pills easier to get will translate into fewer unwanted pregnancies. These unplanned pregnancies remain a major problem in the United States, they write, accounting for approximately 50% of all pregnancies.
NATIONAL
November 2, 2012 | By Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - It was just a few days after the Obama administration announced its groundbreaking decision to require employers providing health insurance to cover contraception, and a controversy was flaring. Roman Catholic bishops were vowing to fight an "unconscionable" mandate. Catholic hospitals and even some Catholic Democrats were assailing President Obama, saying he was trampling on religious freedom. Obama, as angry as his senior aides had ever seen him, summoned them to the Oval Office.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 23, 2012 | By Patrick McGreevy and Ari Bloomekatz, Los Angeles Times
Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed 25 health-related bills, including controversial legislation that extends for two years a study program that allows non-surgical abortions to be performed by a limited number of nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives and physician assistants. Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) introduced SB 623 to expand access to abortion for women, especially in rural areas where physicians are not as available. The bill was supported by Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and the American Civil Liberties Union of California, which argued that many women do not have enough access to early, safe abortions because of the limited number of physicians performing the procedure.
NEWS
August 16, 2012 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times
Ever wonder why there's no birth control pill for men? For starters, it's a math problem: To stop a woman from getting pregnant, all you have to do is block a single egg each month. But a man produces millions of sperm each day -- about 1,000 every time his heart beats. Blocking them all is a much bigger task. This helps explain why no one has come up with a reversible form of birth control for men since the condom was introduced centuries ago. (The first unambiguous description of the prophylactic's use appears in a 1564 writing called "De Morbo Gallico," which describes a syphilis outbreak in Europe that began in France in the 1490s.)
OPINION
July 31, 2012
Several Roman Catholic organizations have challenged Obama administration rules requiring religious colleges and hospitals (but not churches themselves) to offer preventive healthcare, including contraceptive coverage, with no deductibles or co-pays. Even though the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of most of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), the courts still have to decide whether those institutions are exempt from the contraception requirement under a federal law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Our view is that church-affiliated charitable and educational institutions should offer such coverage, even if they are self-insured.
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