Supreme Court to Hear New Case on Contraception and Religion

NYT, 6 November 2015
Author: Adam Liptak
“The Supreme Court on Friday once again entered the conflict between religious freedom and access to contraception, taking up a case about whether some religious employers must provide free insurance coverage for birth control.”
Find article here.

Supreme Court To Review Contraceptive Coverage Accommodation For Religious Groups

Health Affairs blog, online 6 November 2015
Author: Timothy Jost
“On November 6, 2015, the Supreme Court agreed to review the accommodation that the government has offered nonprofit religious organizations to excuse them from complying with a regulatory requirement that they provide contraceptive coverage without cost-sharing to their employees and students. The Court granted certiorari in seven cases in which federal courts of appeal had rejected claims that the accommodation violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).”
Find article here.

Revisiting Essure — Toward Safe and Effective Sterilization

N Eng J Med September 23, 2015DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1510514
Authors: Sanket S. Dhruva, M.D., Joseph S. Ross, M.D., M.H.S., and Aileen M. Gariepy, M.D., M.P.H.
“In 2002, a novel hysteroscopic sterilization device was made available after expedited review and premarketing approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): the Essure System (Bayer). …  On September 24, 2015, nearly 13 years after Essure’s approval, the FDA is reconvening its Obstetrics and Gynecology Devices Panel to evaluate its safety and effectiveness and to assess the need for additional postmarketing studies.1 Safety concerns were raised by women with Essure implants who have reported large numbers of adverse events to the FDA … We believe that these safety concerns, along with problems with the device’s effectiveness, might have been detected sooner or avoided altogether if there had been higher-quality premarketing and postmarketing evaluations and more timely and transparent dissemination of study results.”
Find article here.

Planned Parenthood, Community Health Centers, And Women’s Health: Getting The Facts Right

Health Affairs Blog,2 September 2015
Author: Sara Rosenbaum
“The current Planned Parenthood fight, one of the most disturbing battles over women’s health in recent years, has been riddled with inaccuracies. A particularly damaging one is the assertion that the nation’s community health centers could pick up the slack if Planned Parenthood is defunded. …For now, legislation that would have cost the organization its ability to receive federal funding has failed (S. 1881, 114th Cong., 1st session). But given the frenzy surrounding the issue, it is likely that the subject will be revisited when Congress returns from its August recess.”
Find article here. See also “Anti-abortion groups target funding of Planned Parenthood” (The Lancet, Volume 386, No. 9997, 5 September 2015).

Judge Allows Moral, Not Just Religious, Contraception Exemptions

NYT, 31 August 2015
Author: Adam Liptak
“Employers do not need to provide insurance coverage for contraception even if their objections are moral rather than religious, a federal judge here ruled on Monday. Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit law firm that represented March for Life, called the decision a groundbreaking development in litigation over what it called the health care law’s contraception mandate. “The order is the first one to be granted in favor of an organization opposed to the mandate for pro-life reasons based on moral convictions instead of religion,” the firm said in a statement.”
Find article here.

Fertility Control Clinic v Melbourne City Council [2015] VSC 424

Judgment date: 26 August 2015
“Catchwords: JUDICIAL REVIEW — complaint to Melbourne City Council alleging that conduct of protesters constituted a nuisance — Council concluded that the only activity of protesters which constituted a nuisance was the blocking of entry to the complainant’s premises —Council advised that matter should be settled privately by aggrieved persons referring matter to Victoria Police — whether Council failed to exercise jurisdiction by misconstruing meaning of nuisance and misdirecting itself — whether Council failed to exercise jurisdiction by erroneously concluding that the matter could be settled privately by referral to Victoria Police — whether complainant entitled to declaratory relief — Council directed itself to questions required by legislation — any errors were within jurisdiction and did not give rise to entitlement to mandamus — plaintiff entitled to declaratory relief.”
Find judgment here.

The regulatory cliff edge between contraception and abortion: the legal and moral significance of implantation

J Med Ethics  2015;41:762-765   doi:10.1136/medethics-2015-102712
Author: Sally Sheldon
“In regulating the voluntary interruption of pregnancy, English law has accorded particular significance to two biological events. First, ‘viability’, the moment when a fetus is said to acquire the capacity for independent life, plays an important role in grounding restrictions on access to legal abortion later in pregnancy. Second, equally significantly but far less frequently discussed, ‘implantation’ marks the point in pregnancy from which abortion laws apply. This paper focuses on this earlier biological event.”
Find abstract here.

Preventing unsafe abortions through task shifting and sharing

The Lancet, Volume 386, No. 9993
“Worldwide, 22 million unsafe abortions are done each year, which contributes substantially to the global burden of maternal mortality and morbidity. Most unsafe abortions occur in low-income countries, especially in Africa, in rural and remote areas, where the shortage of trained health-care providers is greatest and maternal mortality and morbidity is highest. …To address this shortage in abortion care, WHO launched Health worker roles in providing safe abortion care and post-abortion contraception on July 29—its first guideline to give evidence-based recommendations on the safety, effectiveness, feasibility, and acceptability of involving a range of health workers in the delivery of effective interventions.”
Find editorial here.

Democrats block vote on bill to deny federal funds to Planned Parenthood

BMJ 2015;351:h4236
Author: Michael McCarthy
“Senate Democrats successfully blocked a Republican sponsored bill on 3 August that would have denied all federal funding of Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of family planning services in the United States. In a 53-46 largely party line vote, Republicans failed to reach the 60 votes needed to advance the bill to the Senate floor for debate.”
Find article here.