March 4, 2013 — "A lack of adequate legal protection is not the only way our government fails Native women who have been sexually assaulted," Charon Asetoyer -- CEO of the Native American Community Board -- writes in a letter to the editor of the New York Times in response to a recent opinion piece.
Asetoyer writes that more than 50% of clinics run by the Indian Health Service do not provide emergency contraception, "[d]espite devastatingly high rates of sexual assault." Many IHS clinics that do provide EC require women to have a prescription, even though FDA allows EC to be sold without a prescription to individuals ages 17 and older. "[F]or some Native women, the next pharmacy is hundreds of miles away, and transportation costs are insurmountable," Asetoyer writes.
NACB and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a Freedom of Information Act request to determine what actions the federal government has taken to make EC available to more Native American women.
IHS "cannot continue to flout its own internal policies, legal obligations and F.D.A. guidelines by depriving Native women of the health care they deserve," Asetoyer concludes (Asetoyer, New York Times, 2/28).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership