(WNS)–When Jessica Duran walked into Southwest Women’s Options in Albuquerque, N.M., in 2012, she was cash-strapped, depressed, and 12 weeks pregnant. Center staff told her she could have an abortion, and on one of her visits handed her a single document to sign, requiring her consent for the procedure and consent to donate her baby’s body to the abortion facility. On Dec. 5, Duran filed a lawsuit over what they didn’t tell her: Her baby’s body parts probably went to the University of New Mexico (UNM) for research, an outcome she could have refused. Duran’s lawsuit alleges Southwest Women’s Options broke state and federal law, breached its contract with her, and intentionally inflicted emotional distress.
CDC reports abortion rate at all-time low
(WNS)–The number of women and girls seeking abortions in the United States dropped by one-fifth between 2004 and 2013, a new report shows. The abortion rate is the lowest it’s been since 1969 when the government started tracking the procedure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its 2013 abortion surveillance in late November. It shows a 20 percent drop in total abortions since 2004, another tick in the decades-long downward trend. Pro-life leaders see the new data as more proof the pro-life movement has changed public opinion about abortion.
VA backpedals on gender reassignment surgery
(WNS)–Citing a lack of funding, the Department of Veterans Affairs has backpedaled on a proposed rule change that would have covered sex-change surgeries for transgender veterans. But the agency pledged in a statement to “continue to explore regulatory change in the medical benefits package when appropriate funding is available.” Transgender advocates vowed not to abandon efforts to get the expensive surgeries covered. “Even though they are changing their minds right now, there’s going to be a way and we’re going to find that way. … We’re not going to be set back,” Leila Ireland, a transgender soldier who served in the Army as a man and was medically retired last year, told Military.com. The proposed regulation changes are due out Dec. 5 and would have included gender reassignment surgery, but the VA did not have a plan for funding the procedures, a requirement President Barack Obama signed as an executive order in 2011.
Vermont doctors: Don’t force us to help kill patients
(WNS)–A group of Vermont medical professionals is suing state officials for demanding doctors counsel patients on physician-assisted suicide. The Vermont Board of Medical Practice and Office of Professional Regulation declared the state’s assisted suicide law, enacted in 2013, requires healthcare professionals, regardless of conscience or oath, to inform terminally ill patients that one of their medical options is doctor-prescribed suicide. Two groups—Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare and the Christian Medical and Dental Association—filed a lawsuit in federal court in July against the state agencies, saying the mandate forces doctors to help kill their patients and violates their oath to “do no harm.”