Reproductive Health and Economic Issues
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Pregnancy & Family Leave Issues
Updated: Februray 10, 2018
- Tackling Buffalo’s high teen pregnancy rate - More than 40-community and health care organizations will work to reduce the rates in the city of Buffalo by 30-percent by the year 2020. HOPE Buffalo is a new program to prevent teen pregnancies.
- Most groups agree to stop abortion services in exchange for US aid - Trump went a step further than previous presidents by extending the policy to cover all global health assistance programs furnished by all U.S. departments or agencies. In exchange for this funding, organizations had to promise not to provide or promote abortions, even with their own funding. According to a six-month review of the policy released by the State Department, of the 733 organizations whose funding came up for renewal under the new restrictions, only four rejected the new terms. Another 500 grants have not been subjected to the criteria but will by the end of the fiscal year.
- The Trump administration is 4 months behind on providing critical family planning grants - Family planning providers across the country are worried they will soon run out of money. The Trump administration is also having all Title X applicants apply at the same time for funding, meaning they’ll have to review even more applicants. Normally, there are different grant cycles, but this is not the case this time around. Director of Advocacy and Communications at the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, Audrey Sandusky, is concerned that the shortened application period jeopardizes the quality and competitiveness of the applicants. Her organization represents the majority of current Title X grantees.
- Climate change is impacting some women’s decisions to have children - Climate change is creating yet another debate -- this time largely among women who are wondering what it means for their reproductive future. They are not saying they fear their ovaries are affected by climate change; instead, they are saying they are so worried about climate change, it has made them wonder if bringing a child into the world right now is a bad idea.
- Cecile Richards - How Planned Parenthood Is Faring Under President Trump - Extended Interview - Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards talks about protecting access to birth control under President Trump and explains how white feminism can be more inclusive. 62 million women now get birth control at no cost thanks to the Affordable Care Act. 30,000 women have initiated training to get elected this year.
- Trump Admin Will Protect Health Workers Who Refuse Services On Religious Grounds - The top civil rights official at the Department of Health and Human Services is creating the Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom to protect doctors, nurses and other health care workers who refuse to take part in procedures like abortion, or treat certain people because of moral or religious objections.
- Reproductive Freedom Is Tied to Women’s Economic Security - As costs of both health care and child care skyrocket, it is paramount that women are able to control their own decisions about when, if, and how to start a family. The existing pay gap already hurts women, their families, and the economy. Limiting reproductive choices and access only compounds these issues. On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we celebrate our freedoms and look to a future in which increased access to critical health care leads to greater economic security and parity for women.
- 45 Ways Trump and Congress Threaten the Promise of Roe v. Wade - Roe v. Wade is the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that established the right to abortion. The Roe decision placed abortion in the hands of women, allowing them to better determine their futures, operate with greater autonomy, and achieve a level of equality in society; however, the decision has loopholes that allow continued restriction of abortion for certain groups. While the promise of Roe is at best incomplete, the very core of the decision is being shaken under the Trump administration. Under this administration and a Republican-controlled Congress, there has been a particularly ferocious and obsessive effort to deny women their fundamental rights and to impede access to abortion and an array of reproductive health services.
- The Secret to Wealth and Prosperity for Any Society - Making sure parents get to decide when they want to have children is a proven strategy for communities' well-being. Poverty is a complex equation. But if current policies and cultural trends continue, the good news is that the reproductive empowerment factor is changing, and not just in Cascadia. According to Pew Research Center projections based on recent trend lines, by 2060, American women from four major demographic groups—black, white, Hispanic and Asian-American—may have approximately the same stable near-replacement birthrate, a sign that parenthood is more often becoming an intentional choice and less an unexpected circumstance.
- Reproductive Health Policy Trends in the States - The Guttmacher Institute published a report reviewing reproductive health policy trends across states in the U.S. in 2017. The analysis found that 19 states enacted 63 new restrictions on abortion access, while 21 states enacted 58 measures to expand reproductive health access and education.
- Federal judge temporarily blocks Trump contraception rule - A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked a Trump administration rule that allows virtually any business to cite religious or moral objections and opt out of a federal requirement that they cover contraception as part of employee health plans.
- CDC gets list of forbidden words: fetus, transgender, diversity - The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget. Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden words are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”
- Contraceptive use gaining momentum in world's poorest countries - Nearly 40 million more women and girls use modern contraceptives now compared to five years ago across 69 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, according to a report by advocacy group Family Planning 2020 (FP2020). Family planning is a key tool for reducing poverty since it frees up women to work and leads to smaller families, allowing parents to devote more resources to each child's health and education, experts say. Condoms, birth control pills and other contraceptive methods have prevented 84 million unintended pregnancies, 26 million unsafe abortions and 125,000 maternal deaths in the past year alone, FP2020 said.
- Linking Access to Reproductive Health Care to Labor Market Opportunities for Women - The states where women workers have better access to reproductive health care services are also the states that create better conditions for women to have more opportunities in the labor market, including higher-quality job opportunities, better wages, and less occupational segregation. The analysis also found that restriction on abortion access was a key indicator of the likelihood of women also facing job lock – or lack of labor mobility. This correlation suggests that women’s economic empowerment is integrated into an overall climate of women’s equality, including accessible reproductive health care that better enables women to exercise self-determination over their reproduction.
- Rhetoric vs. Reality: Why Access to Contraception Matters to Women - Research shows that more than 9 out of 10 women will use contraceptives at some point in their lives. And birth control is not solely used to prevent pregnancies: It helps with painful cramps, migraines, and period regulation, to name a few. Needing birth control and being able to afford it, however, are different. Before the ACA, unless a state had a contraception coverage mandate, individual insurers and employers could choose whether or not to cover contraception. As a result, contraceptives made up an estimated 30 percent to 44 percent of all out-of-pocket health care spending for women. The ACA regulation has provided more than 62 million women with access to birth control and saved women $1.4 billion in 2013 alone.
- Attorney General Schneiderman Files For National Injunction To Block Trump Administration’s Unlawful Rollback Of Birth Control Rule - Attorney General Schneiderman, along with the Attorneys General of California, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, filed the motion for a preliminary injunction last night with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. “If a woman can’t control her own body, she isn’t truly free,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Healthcare decisions should be made by a woman – not her boss. These retrograde rules seek to deny basic healthcare to millions of women in New York and across the country. We’ll continue to fight back and protect New Yorkers.”
- The Economy Can’t Grow Without Birth Control - While access to contraception is clearly about women’s health, it also profoundly affects the economy. The easier it is for women to obtain birth control, the more able they are to gain education and employment. That has been enormously important for the economy. The opposite, however, can be just as true. Mr. Trump has promised economic growth at rates we haven’t seen in decades. His actions on contraception are at odds with that.
- 69% of Young Women Oppose the Trump Administration's Rollback of Birth Control Coverage - A new Cosmopolitan.com/SurveyMonkey poll showed a deep partisan divide on whether employers should be able to claim moral or religious exemptions to contraception coverage. The poll, conducted from October 17 to 20 among a national sample of 5,130 adults ages 18 and older, showed that Americans are dissatisfied with the way the Trump administration has handled reproductive issues. Only 36 percent of Americans overall say they would give the Trump administration a very or somewhat good rating on reproductive rights, and 59 percent say they would give the administration a very or somewhat bad rating. Young women are especially critical of the president’s track record: 78 percent said they would give the administration a very or somewhat bad rating on reproductive rights.
- Meet the Trump Appointees Who Want to Sabotage Your Access to Birth Control - They’re anti-women's-health – and they’re planted at key positions across the Department of Health and Human Services. The Trump administration’s attack on birth control coverage — which jeopardizes more than 62 million women’s access to contraception — was no fluke. Since January, women have been in the crosshairs of virtually every major health policy decision at the federal level. Take a look at the officials selected to serve at the highest echelons of Trump’s executive team.
- Here Are the Cities Standing Up for Women's Health - Urban areas are battling state and federal authorities over reproductive rights, and some are doing better than others. No city received a perfect score of five stars—meaning no city has matched each of the 37 policies tracked by the NIRH, a New York-based advocacy organization that promotes reproductive freedom. But the report, which is called the Local Reproductive Freedom Index, provides a blueprint for what cities are doing well already, and how they can increase access to reproductive healthcare for their residents—and often for the residents of the rural communities around them, too.
- Women's Health Docs Say Trump Ignores Birth Control Science - "This rule is listing things that are not scientifically validated, and in some cases things that are wrong, to try to justify a decision that is not in the best interests of women and society," said Dr. Hal Lawrence, CEO of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which represents women's health specialists. "The interpretation is very selective in terms of the science that they use," said Alina Salganicoff, director of women's health policy at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. "You can make an argument that you don't agree because of your religious or moral objections, but that is a different discussion."
- What Really Helps Women Succeed at Work? Access to Birth Control. - A new poll out from Small Business Majority surveyed more than 500 female entrepreneurs and found that more than half of the women (56 percent) say that access to birth control and the ability to decide if and when to have children allowed them to advance in their careers and start their businesses. Women-led small businesses are one of the fastest-growing segments of the economy, projected to create about one-third of all new jobs between 2010 and 2018.
- Trump's Contraception Rule Ignores the Reality That Birth Control Is Health Care - This is not a controversial issue, an estimated 77 percent of women and 64 percent of men support providing contraception care at no cost.
- Trump Health Officials Just Quietly Defined Life as 'Beginning at Conception' - The HHS strategic plan is drafted every four years, intended to clarify the administration’s focus; the 2018–2022 versionhas been updated to this: "HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception." This new phrasing means one thing: personhood, the ideology that a fertilized egg has the same rights as a woman. The word “unborn” also appears in the new plan.
- My Word (and welcome to it): The Gender and Culture Wars - Reproductive Health (Oct. 15, 2017)
- On Contraception, It’s Church Over State - It’s not much of a stretch to see in the rules issued by the Trump administration last week the fraying of civil society as the United States has known it. Ours is a diverse society in which all are expected, with limited and precisely defined exceptions, to abide by the rules that apply to all. The alternative, as Justice Antonin Scalia observed decades ago, “would be courting anarchy.” It’s hard to overstate the radical nature of what has just happened. Just three years ago, in the Hobby Lobby case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Obama administration could not impose the mandate on a closely held for-profit business owned by a family with religious objections to birth control. But the decision did not end there.
- 5 Ways Immigration Justice Is Reproductive Justice - The Trump administration recently announced the decision to end legal protections for young, unauthorized immigrants who came to the United States as children. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative was a measure to protect young immigrants from deportation; allow them to attain proper identification; and provide access to jobs and higher education. The decision to rescind DACA will have enormous consequences for immigrant families, particularly for women who often handle family responsibilities. The decision also marginalizes immigrants as undeserving of basic rights and freedoms, such as access to health care, the ability to parent with dignity, and the right to be safe and free—all of which are essential tenets of both immigration justice and reproductive justice. This column highlights five ways immigration justice intersects with reproductive justice.
- Despite Trump action, Cuomo says NY still requires insurance for contraception - Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration clarified Friday that despite the Trump administration’s move to roll back a federal requirement that birth control be covered by health insurance plans, New York’s regulations still mandate such coverage.
- Trump administration narrows Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate - The Trump administration issued rules Friday that immediately carve broad exceptions to the Affordable Care Act’s promise of no-cost contraceptive coverage, touching off fresh lawsuits and renewed debate about the proper scope of religious liberty.
- Maura Healey sues Trump over birth control coverage - Massachusetts dove headfirst into another legal confrontation with the Trump administration Friday, as Attorney General Maura Healey sued the federal government over newly issued rules giving employers the right to deny women birth control coverage by claiming religious or moral objections. “This is about taking away women’s access to birth control under the guise of religious liberty,” Healey told reporters during a conference call. The suit charges that the new rules “promote the religious freedom of corporations over the autonomy of women.”
- Students Look to Vending Machines for Better Access to Morning-After Pill - It has been four years since the federal government lifted the age limit for the morning-after pill, but college students across the country say gaining access to it remains fraught with confusion and difficulty. Now some colleges think they have found a solution: vending machines stocked with the morning-after pill.
- New STD cases hit record high in US, CDC says - In 2016, Americans were infected with more than 2 million new cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia, the highest number of these sexually transmitted diseases ever reported, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. The CDC estimates there are more than 20 million new cases of STDs in the United States each year. At least half occur in young people ages 15 to 24.
- Trump Administration Is Aggressively Defunding Pregnancy Prevention Programs - An authoritative update to a 2006 report on abstinence-only sexual education programs confirms that such programs fail to prevent pregnancy, waste federal funds and violate human rights. If only Trump hadn't cut $214 million in funding for teen-pregnancy prevention programs this past July while teen-pregnancy is at an all-time low. In a released statement, Leslie Kantor, the study's coauthor and the vice president of education at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, further explains, "Withholding critical health information from young people is a violation of their rights. Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs leave all young people unprepared and are particularly harmful to young people who are sexually active, who are LGBTQ, or have experienced sexual abuse."
- HPV researchers, Planned Parenthood win prestigious Lasker medical awards - The Lasker Awards, among the most prestigious in medicine, will go to two National Cancer Institute researchers whose work led to the development of vaccines that prevent cervical cancer, and to Planned Parenthood for providing “essential health services and reproductive care” to millions of women, the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation said. Planned Parenthood will receive the Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award, in recognition of its role as a critical provider of women’s medical services from breast-cancer screenings to tests for sexually transmitted diseases, the foundation explained. It noted that Planned Parenthood helped 2.4 million women in 2015, including many who had no other source of care. The foundation’s creators — public relations pioneer Albert Lasker and his wife Mary, who became one of the nation’s leading cancer advocates — had a long relationship with Planned Parenthood. In 1937, Mary Lasker read about Margaret Sanger, who two decades before had opened the first birth control clinic in the United States and later founded the American Birth Control League. She made a donation and subsequently joined the group’s board. Her husband proposed a new name to better describe the group’s mission: Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
- Oregon, Texas Lay Down Markers On Abortion Coverage - Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, signed a bill requiring most health plans to cover reproductive health services, including contraceptive drugs, devices, and procedures, without charging consumers anything out-of-pocket. Abortion is one of those services.
- State Abortion Restrictions Are Bad for Women’s Health Outcomes - To date, states have enacted 53 new abortion restrictions during the 2017 legislative session. While proponents of these laws often argue that they are intended to help women, new research from the Center for Reproductive Rights and Ibis Reproductive Health finds that states with more anti-abortion laws tend to have poorer health outcomes for women and children when compared to states that have fewer restrictions. Specifically, the study looks at access to primary care providers, maternal mortality rates, vaccinations, and access to mental health care for children. This suggests that abortion restrictions do not actually benefit women and children and in fact do the exact opposite.
- Who's Seeking Religious Exemptions? - The Trump administration is now considering expanding exemptions—beyond the requirements of recent court rulings—to make it even harder for women to access much-needed health care services. Companies ranged in size from less than 50 employees to more than 1,000 employees, and at least five of these companies are subsidiaries of larger corporations. All but one of the educational institutions requesting exemptions were colleges or universities.
- Is This the End of Free Birth Control? - According to a draft regulation, all of the IUD preppers might have been onto something. After the election, liberal women took to the internet in droves to warn each other to get the long-acting contraceptive devices, free under Obamacare but pricey otherwise, implanted while they still could. If the draft federal rule is implemented, that option could be going away for some women soon: Their employers would soon be allowed to stop covering birth control entirely.
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