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Fact Sheet: Contraceptive Mandates
In the debate about whether state and federal law should mandate contraceptive coverage, advocates have
made numerous false claims about the supposed need for and effects of the mandates. Myth: "Failure to cover contraception constitutes sex discrimination." Facts:
Most health plans do not cover purely elective procedures or services. Some health plans do not
cover contraception or sterilization procedures for either men or women. These plans are not
discriminatory, because they treat men and women equally in terms of coverage of benefits.
Proponents of contraceptive mandates argue that because some health plans voluntarily cover Viagra all
health plans should be required by law to cover contraception. But Viagra, used properly, treats a medical
condition and restores reproductive function while contraception does just the opposite. Myth: "Contraceptive mandates will reduce the abortion rate by half." Facts:
More than half (58%) of all abortion patients were using contraception during the month when they
became pregnant.1 Only 11% of abortion patients have never used a method of contraception.2 Moreover,
studies have shown that once contraception is more widely available, abortion rates may actually rise.3 In
Maryland, for example, the first state to enact a contraceptive mandate, the number of abortions rose by
1,226 the year after the mandate took effect.4 Myth: Contraception is basic health care. Facts:
Contraception is an elective intervention that stops the healthy functioning of healthy women's
reproductive systems. Medically it is infertility, not fertility, that is generally considered a disorder to be
treated. Contraceptives also have numerous side-effects and risks of serious complications. Proponents of
contraceptive mandates have also obscured important consequences of many of these mandates. Most
contraceptive mandate laws and proposed legislation, including the proposed federal mandate ("EPICC")
Violate rights of conscience.
Seventeen states have passed contraceptive mandates and one state
has adopted such a mandate by administrative regulation. Of these eighteen states, only one
protects the moral and religious beliefs of individuals and entities who object to contraception.
Thirteen protect the conscience of religious employers but of these, six have adopted such narrow
definitions of "religious employer" that many Catholic organizations do not qualify for the
conscience protection. The proposed federal mandate would explicitly override existing
conscience protection in the state mandates, requiring all
religious employers (including the
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) to provide contraceptives.
Cover so-called "emergency contraception," which has primarily an abortifacient effect.
"Emergency Contraceptives" are multiple dose oral contraceptives taken after intercourse. The
pills have four possible mechanisms: (1) suppressing ovulation, (2) altering cervical mucus to
hinder the transport of sperm, (3) slowing the transport of the ovum and (4) inhibiting
implantation of the newly conceived human embryo. This last mode of action ends the life of a
developing human being and is therefore abortifacient. In fact, "[t]his mode of action could
explain the majority of cases where pregnancies are prevented by the morning-after pill."11
Because of its misleading nomenclature and its approval as a "contraceptive" by the FDA,
"emergency contraception" is mandated by almost all state contraceptive mandates. Only one state
(North Carolina) has expressly excluded "emergency contraception" from its mandate.
Undermine parental rights.
Once contraception becomes a mandated prescription benefit, the
benefit will apply to all beneficiaries of the health plan, including minor children. And in many
cases, physicians are allowed to provide contraceptives to minors without parental consent, so
children will often be able to obtain contraception covertly.12 In HMOs, where a family is covered
for all services by one capitated fee, parents may not receive any notification that their child has
been given a prescription contraceptive drug.
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The EsophagusThe StomachThe IntestineThe LiverGlossary of Medicines Additional ReadingsAdditional Resources Many medicines taken by mouth may affect the digestive system. These medicines include prescription (those ordered by a doctor anddispensed by a pharmacist) and nonprescription or over-the-counter(OTC) products. A glossary at the end of this fact sheet describessome common prescript