Scots women to get birth control pill direct from pharmacists

An Aberdeen pharmacy has become the first in the country to offer birth control pills directly from a specially trained pharmacist, thus avoiding the need to obtain prescriptions from physicians.  The new scheme will be tested in a Boots the Chemist outlet, and will be available to women who are at least16 years of age. [Scotsman]

Dispute develops about cost, payment for birth control insurance

The Obama administration’s alternative scheme for providing insurance coverage for surgical sterilization, contraceptives, and embryocidal drugs is being marketed as cost-free by its supporters.  They argue that the coverage can be provided by insurance companies without additional cost to the employer because it is actually cheaper to offer health insurance with birth control coverage than without it.  Others insist that costs will be passed on to the employer through insurance premiums. [Time; NPR]

US administration insistent on plan to force universal insurance for birth control

Spokesmen for the Obama administration have stated that the President is committed to the policy of forcing universal insurance coverage for surgical sterilization, contraceptives, and embryocidal drugs.  The administration opposes the passage protection of conscience legislation like S2092 -the Religious Freedom Protection Act of 2012, S2043 -the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012, and S1467 – Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011. [Washington Post; Reuters]


Tanzanian bill proposes to enforce ‘access to reproductive health services’

A Bill to Enact the Safe Motherhood Law (2012) will be proposed in Tanzania in February for the purpose of enforcing ‘rights to access reproductive health care,’ a term frequently associated with suppression of freedom of conscience among health care workers.  It is reported to include sections dealing with contraceptives and family planning, maternal and new-born health, sexual and reproductive health of adolescents, abortion, and “enforcement mechanisms.” [All Africa]


Population control and abortion in Pakistan

Sindh, the second largest province in Pakistan, is setting up a Population Council for the purpose of implementing a population control programme.  Among the concerns voiced by supporters of the plan is that most people are reluctant to adopt contraception, and that many medical professionals object to abortion for religious reasons. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Pakistan (SOGP) organized a seminar on abortion, during which a spokesman for the Society stated that abortion is “purely a health issue and must not be confused with religion and culture.”  The assertion was inconsistent with a statement made at the conference that Islamic scholars permit abortion during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.  This at least implies some religious opposition to abortion after 16 weeks, and that the procedure is not “purely” a health issue. [Indo-Asian News Service; Pakistan Today]