But the mandate has drawn strong and sustained opposition from social conservatives, who see it as an infringement on freedom of conscience. The Obama administration exempted houses of worship, and set up a workaround for religiously affiliated nonprofits, such as hospitals, universities and social service organizations. The Supreme Court later ruled that closely held private companies were also eligible for the workaround, through which the government arranges contraceptive coverage for the affected women employees.
When it comes to alleviating some of the world's most pressing problems, perhaps we should look to the skies. The word "drone" might inspire images of counterterrorism strikes and the future of package delivery. But quadcopters and other autonomous flying vehicles are revolutionizing the ways we tackle the biggest social and environmental issues of our time. While there are definite drawbacks to using drones in this capacity -- problems of privacy, ethics, and cost among them -- the technology, when executed responsibly, helps aid organizations, scientists, and everyday citizens transform the act of doing good. From edible drones delivering lifesaving assistance to rural communities to quadcopters tracking illegal logging in rainforests, here are just a few of the recent ways people have used drones for social good.
If I told you there was a delivery app for birth control, you might disregard it as just another Silicon Valley-based subscription service, designed to excuse you from ever leaving your house again. But Nurx, which prescribes birth control online and mails it to users, isn't a boutique service for busy urbanites. It just might be a key player in blowing birth-control access wide open, especially as women's reproductive health becomes increasingly politicized in the U.S. The way Nurx works is simple: you register for a free account online, fill out a questionnaire of basic medical inquiries, exchange a few instant messages with a licensed doctor, and receive a package in the mail containing your birth-control method of choice. There are no consultation or delivery fees, so in most cases if you have insurance, it's free. If you don't have insurance, then you pay only for the cost of the medication itself.
Then comes Planned Parenthood's general information page about birth control methods--it's unwieldy and text-heavy, putting the burden on the reader to click through every page from top to bottom, or to know exactly what they're looking for. It's easy to find sites listing efficacy rates and side effects, but you rarely get a sense of what it's like to live with a given method of birth control every day. "There's a lack of curation and quality and accuracy of information that women can find about birth control options online," says Christine Dehlendorf, director of the Program in Woman-Centered Contraception at UC San Francisco. Iodine asks users questions with Google Consumer Surveys, which function kind of like ad veils on online content.
This NASA-Developed A.I. Could Help Save Firefighters' Lives, Smithsonian Magazine Disorienting scenes where a single move can be deadly is a common experience for both space rovers and firefighters. The Guardian A New York City subway rat carries a host of dangerous contagions, and its reproductive capacity -- up to 15,000 offspring in a year -- spread disease through city sewers and alleyways. Generational Poverty: Trying to Solve Philly's Most Enduring Problem, Philadelphia Magazine Can Mattie McQueen, an unemployed 52-year-old raising three grandchildren in a largely unfurnished apartment, escape the destitution that's dogged her ancestors since the postbellum years?
A drone takes a practice flight in Virginia with medical supplies -- part of a project to evaluate the flying machines for use in humanitarian crises. A drone takes a practice flight in Virginia with medical supplies -- part of a project to evaluate the flying machines for use in humanitarian crises. A group of public health experts, local health authorities and private-sector partners dreamed up the idea in 2014 when trying to figure out ways to improve access to contraception for women in the hardest-to-reach areas of sub-Saharan Africa. Access to birth control, reproductive health information and other services for women of childbearing age is a massive problem in this region, where fewer than 20 percent of women use modern contraceptives.