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birth control

President Donald Trump has rolled back the access to birth control as his government issued a ruling that allows employers to opt out of providing free birth control to millions of Americans.

The rule allows employers and insurers to decline to provide birth control if doing so violates their “religious beliefs” or “moral convictions”.

About 55 million women benefited from the Obama-era rule, which made companies provide free birth control.

Before taking office, Donald Trump had pledged to eliminate that requirement.

The mandate requiring birth control coverage had been a key feature of ObamaCare – President Obama’s efforts to overhaul the healthcare system.

However, the requirement included a provision that permitted religious institutions to forgo birth control coverage for their employees.

Image source Wikimedia

Supreme Court rules on Hobby Lobby birth control mandate

Philippine Supreme Court backs birth control law defying Catholic Church

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said on October 6 it was important to expand which organizations can opt out and deny free contraceptive coverage.

“We should have space for organizations to live out their religious ideas and not face discrimination because of their religious ideas,” said one HHS official, who did not wish to be named.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, praised the decision as “a landmark day for religious liberty”.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Women’s Law Center have announced that they will sue the federal government over the decision.

In announcing the rule change, HHS officials cited a study claiming that access to contraception encourages “risky s**ual behavior”.

The HHS disputes reports that millions of women may lose their birth control coverage if they are unable to pay for it themselves.

Roger Severino, the director of the HHS Office of Civil Rights, argued that only a small percentage of employers will choose to opt out, and therefore only a limited number of women will be affected.

However, many health policy analysts say employers that do not wish to pay for their employees’ contraceptive coverage will now be able to.

Philippine top court has approved a birth control law, in a defeat for the Catholic Church.

The law requires government health centers to distribute free contraceptive products.

The Supreme Court had deferred implementation after the law’s passage in December 2012 after church groups questioned its constitutionality.

Supporters of the law cheered as the court found that most of the provisions were constitutional.

The government of President Benigno Aquino defied years of church pressure by passing the bill.

Philippine top court has approved a birth control law, in a defeat for the Catholic Church

Philippine top court has approved a birth control law, in a defeat for the Catholic Church

It says the law will help the poor, who often cannot afford birth control, and combat the country’s high rates of maternal mortality.

The provisions will make virtually all forms of contraception freely available at public health clinics.

Health education will also be compulsory in schools and public health workers will be required to receive family planning training.

There will also be medical care for women who have had illegal abortions.

The Philippines is about 80% Catholic, and with a population approaching 100 million, has one of the highest birth rates in Asia.

The church fought fiercely against the bill, denouncing it as evil and a threat to life. It denounced politicians who supported it, including President Benigno Aquino.

Campaigners have warned of potential civil obedience following the court ruling.

The Catholic Church has played a significant role in Philippine political life and continues to wield much influence over the population.

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Grisly photos of Chinese young woman Feng Jianmei as she was lying beside her baby which had been aborted by force in her seventh month of pregnancy have caused outrage in China.

Pictures purporting to show Feng Jianmei and her blood-covered baby have shocked anti-abortion groups in China – and fury is spreading around the world.

The mother told local media that she was forceably injected with a chemical to induce an abortion and her child was stillborn 36 hours later.

Because Feng Jianmei already had a child, she said, local birth-control authorities ordered her to pay a fine of $6,500.

She didn’t have the money, she said, so a team from the local family planning authority in Shannxi province came to collect her from her home and take her to hospital for the forced abortion.

Recounting the horror, Feng Jianmei said she told the family planning department she could not pay the fine because her mother-in-law needed money for cancer treatment.

It was then, she claimed, the authorities began their action against her.

Because Feng Jianmei already had a child, she said, local birth-control authorities ordered her to pay a fine of $6,500

Because Feng Jianmei already had a child, she said, local birth-control authorities ordered her to pay a fine of $6,500

Feng Jianmei said no less than 20 staff from the family planning department came to her home and placed her under arrest.

As they drove her to the hospital for a forced abortion, she began to resist – resulting in her being beaten.

At the hospital she was restrained and given an injection that would be lethal to the foetus. None of her family was allowed to be present during the traumatic time, she said.

Feng Jianmei said that her father-in-law heard about her being taken away but when he rushed to the hospital he was prevented from entering the obstetrics ward.

As outrage spread around anti-abortion groups in China, the authorities strenuously denied Feng Jianmei’s version of the events.

Li Yuongjou, deputy chief of Ankang’s family department, said the reality was that “Feng was not forced to abort”.

He said: “A lot of us tried for days to educate her. She agreed to the abortion herself.”

Li Yuongjou added that in China an abortion is allowed up to 28 weeks, saying: “It’s not illegal to conduct <<medium term>> induction of labor.”

And he admitted, however, that in his town the local target of enforcing the one-child policy had not been achieved for two consecutive years and the authorities were acting more strenuously to see that the target covering 95% of the population was reached.

Local media said it was most likely that Feng Jianmei had been injected with a chemical commonly known as Lifannuo – a powerful bactericide used in the late 1980s and early 1990s when China’s one-child policy was strongly pursued by authorities.

It is not known how Feng Jianmei managed to obtain photos of herself beside the aborted child, but anti-abortion groups said they were convinced the pictures were genuine.