Roundup: Spain’s Decriminalized Abortion Law Goes Into Effect, Viagra Use Leads To More STIs?

Robin Marty

Spain is entering a new era where abortion in the first 14 weeks is no longer a criminal offense, and it appears that men using sexual enhancement drugs aren't protecting themselves.

On Monday, Spain put into effect its new law, which changed abortion from an illegal procedure that could only be done in cases of maternal health to one where it is allowed for any reason for the first 14 weeks of a pregnancy. The New York Times reports:

A new law allowing abortion without restrictions in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy went into effect on Monday, but the Constitutional Court could intervene to suspend or change it. The law, approved by Parliament in February, allows abortions without parental permission for 16- and 17-year-olds, although the parents must be informed. It also declares a woman’s right to abortion and eliminates the threat of imprisonment. The conservative Popular Party is challenging the 14-week clause as unconstitutional, and the Constitutional Court must decide whether to suspend the law while it studies the appeal.

Supporters of the new regulations are unphased by the thought of a court challenge, and are eager to remove criminal penalties and bring Spain more line with its European neighbors.  From The Associated Press:

The law, approved by Parliament in February, was the latest item on a liberal agenda undertaken by the Socialist government, which took power in 2004. The measure is seen as bringing this traditionally Roman Catholic country more in line with its secular neighbors in northern Europe.

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Equality Minister Bibiana Aido told Cadena SER radio the government was unworried by an appeal by the conservative Popular Party to the Constitutional Court challenging the 14-week clause as unconstitutional.

“The government is fully convinced of the constitutionality of the law,” she said. …

“Above all it is a more secure law, providing legal protection for both women and health professionals,” said Aido. She said it reflected the needs of Spanish society better than the previous law.

Under the previous law, which dated to 1985, women could in theory go to jail for getting an abortion outside certain strict limits — up to week 12 in case of rape and week 22 if the fetus was malformed.

Of course, no change in abortion law ever exists without anti-choice protests, in this case even though the new law isn’t expected to make much of an overall impact on the number of abortions in the country, just whether they are “legal” or “illegal.”  Via Christian Post:

Hundreds of people protested the new law on Saturday, shouting “no to abortion” and “yes to life.” Earlier in March, tens of thousands made the same plea at a major rally in Madrid and other cities.

The new law also removes the threat of imprisonment that was present in the previous law. Women who had an abortion outside the specified limits could have been sent to jail.

Last week, Spain’s highest court agreed to hear a challenge to the law from the Popular Party. The conservative party, which filed suit in June, argued that the legislation violates an article of the constitution which recognizes that “everyone has the right to life,” as reported by Agence France-Presse.

Abortion was decriminalized in 1985 and since then the number of abortions done has continued to increase. Last year, there were around 115,000 abortions carried out in Spain. The majority of abortions were done with women claiming “psychological risk.”

Mini Roundup: Remember that whole argument that it’s ok to cover Viagra and not birth control because Viagra doesn’t run up other insurance costs?  Look who’s suddenly skyrocketing up the STI charts — sexual enhancements users.  In the meantime, now contraception may become insurance freebies!

July 5, 2010

Spain’s High Court To Review Constitutionality Of New Abortion Law – Medical News Today

Abortion Expert In Hot Soup – Peace FM Online

What’s common ground on abortion? – CNN

Spain’s unrestricted abortion law takes effect – The Associated Press

Ouellet’s anti-abortion legacy – National Post

Abortion laws don’t reflect public opinion – Sydney Morning Herald

Majority of Australians support access to late abortion – International Business Times

Liberalized Abortion Law Takes Effect in Spain – Christian Post

Opinion: ‘Feminists’ and Abortion.Real Feminism Does Not Kill! – Catholic Online

Spain: Looser Restrictions on Abortion Take Effect – New York Times

Bristol Palin politicizes teen pregnancy in ABC’s The Secret Life of the … – Examiner.com

Buffett Donates $1.6 Billion in Biggest Gift Since 2008 Crisis – BusinessWeek

What can cause bleeding during sex? – CNN

Bristol Palin: I Don’t Want to Be an Actress! – Us Magazine

Men need more contraceptive choice – BBC News

Health insurers may soon offer contraceptives at no extra cost – Washington Post

360: Clinics care for teens, few strings attached – Minneapolis Star Tribune

360: Peers pass the word on safe sex – Minneapolis Star Tribune

Immune Cells That Fight Off HIV Created In Mice – SmartAboutHealth

HIV/AIDS Prevention Efforts Need New, Innovative Thinking – Voice of America

Sex Diseases Higher in Men 40 or Older Taking Viagra, Cialis – BusinessWeek

Stand and deliver – Omaha World-Herald

Huge success for Gardasil – Sydney Morning Herald

July 6, 2010

‘Secret Life of American Teenager’ 3.06 Clips: Adrian Goes for Abortion – AceShowbiz

Abortion in Spain finally legal – Jakarta Post

Letters: Abortion indefensible when you add it up – Appleton Post Crescent

Silence of the Anti-Abortion Protesters – Mother Jones

Spain’s new abortion law comes into force – Sify

Viagra users more likely to have STDs – Sify

HIV scare causing new problems for Veterans Affairs – Washington Post

Genital wart decline sparks call for men’s vaccine – ABC Online

Breast Cancer Still a Threat to Reckon With – AllAfrica.com

Scientists Developed HIV Fighting Immune Cells – A New Hope in Fight against AIDS – ADI News

News Law and Policy

California Lawmakers Take Action Against Rampant Wage Theft

Nicole Knight

A survey of people who work for low wages found that wage theft robbed workers of $26.2 million each week in Los Angeles, making the locale the "wage theft capital of the country."

Los Angeles has earned the distinction as the country’s wage theft capital, but a new California law is tackling the rampant problem of wage theft with new enforcement tools.

The law, SB 1342, signed last month by Gov. Jerry Brown (D), gives city and county authorities subpoena powers when investigating wage violations. Until now, the state Division of Labor Standards Enforcement was the primary agency charged with investigating wage theft cases.

State Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) authored the legislation to “ensure that our low-wage workers, who already face many challenges, receive the pay that they have earned,” Mendoza wrote in an Orange County Breeze op-ed.

Wage theft is the illegal practice of failing to pay overtime and minimum wages, denying lunch breaks, or forcing employees to work off the clock. A survey of people who work for low wages by the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment found that wage theft robbed workers of $26.2 million each week in Los Angeles, making the locale the “wage theft capital of the country.”

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Some 654,914 workers in L.A. County are subjected to at least one pay-based violation in any given week, researchers noted.

Most people who work low-wage jobs in L.A. were born outside the United States, and the majority are Latino (73.4 percent), Asian (17.9 percent), or Black (6.3 percent), researchers found.

Wage theft is not only illegal, it contributes to food insecurity and housing instability in low-income families, Mendoza noted.

“This bill protects hard-working Californians by clarifying the ability of cities and counties to investigate non-compliance with local wage laws,” Mendoza said.

A legislative analysis of SB 1342 cited research noting that minimum wage violations are rampant in industries such as garment manufacturing, domestic service, building services, and department stores, where wages are low.

The measure comes as states and cities are increasing minimum wages as lawmakers in Congress have refused to consider raising the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

Brown in April signed a law lifting the statewide minimum pay rate to $15 per hour by 2022. More than a dozen cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, have proposed or enacted $15 minimum wage rates, according to the National Employment Law Project.

News Abortion

Study: Telemedicine Abortion Care a Boon for Rural Patients

Nicole Knight

Despite the benefits of abortion care via telemedicine, 18 states have effectively banned the practice by requiring a doctor to be physically present.

Patients are seen sooner and closer to home in clinics where medication abortion is offered through a videoconferencing system, according to a new survey of Alaskan providers.

The results, which will be published in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, suggest that the secure and private technology, known as telemedicine, gives patients—including those in rural areas with limited access—greater choices in abortion care.

The qualitative survey builds on research that found administering medication abortion via telemedicine was as safe and effective as when a doctor administers the abortion-inducing medicine in person, study researchers said.

“This study reinforces that medication abortion provided via telemedicine is an important option for women, particularly in rural areas,” said Dr. Daniel Grossman, one of the authors of the study and professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). “In Iowa, its introduction was associated with a reduction in second-trimester abortion.”

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Maine and Minnesota also provide medication abortion via telemedicine. Clinics in four states—New York, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington—are running pilot studies, as the Guardian reported. Despite the benefits of abortion care via telemedicine, 18 states have effectively banned the practice by requiring a doctor to be physically present.

The researchers noted that even “greater gains could be made by providing [medication abortion] directly to women in their homes,” which U.S. product labeling doesn’t allow.

In late 2013, researchers with Ibis Reproductive Health and Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health interviewed providers, such as doctors, nurses, and counselors, in clinics run by Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands that were using telemedicine to provide medication abortion. Providers reported telemedicine’s greatest benefit was to pregnant people. Clinics could schedule more appointments and at better hours for patients, allowing more to be seen earlier in pregnancy.

Nearly twenty-one percent of patients nationwide end their pregnancies with medication abortion, a safe and effective two-pill regime, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Alaska began offering the abortion-inducing drugs through telemedicine in 2011. Patients arrive at a clinic, where they go through a health screening, have an ultrasound, and undergo informed consent procedures. A doctor then remotely reviews the patients records and answers questions via a videoconferencing link, before instructing the patient on how to take the medication.

Before 2011, patients wanting abortion care had to fly to Anchorage or Seattle, or wait for a doctor who flew into Fairbanks twice a month, according to the study’s authors.

Beyond a shortage of doctors, patients in Alaska must contend with vast geography and extreme weather, as one physician told researchers:

“It’s negative seven outside right now. So in a setting like that, [telemedicine is] just absolutely the best possible thing that you could do for a patient. … Access to providers is just so limited. And … just because you’re in a state like that doesn’t mean that women aren’t still as much needing access to these services.”

“Our results were in line with other research that has shown that this service can be easily integrated into other health care offered at a clinic, can help women access the services they want and need closer to home, and allows providers to offer high-level care to women from a distance,” Kate Grindlay, lead author on the study and associate at Ibis Reproductive Health, said in a statement.

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