USA – Limiting Abortion Access Contributes to Poor Maternal Health Outcomes

Limiting Abortion Access Contributes to Poor Maternal Health Outcomes
By Anusha Ravi
Posted on June 13, 2018

Access to abortion is a key component of women’s comprehensive health care. The ability to choose if, when, and how to give birth is linked to women’s economic success, educational attainment, and general health and well-being.

Anti-choice advocates, unfortunately, often use women’s health and maternal mortality as justifications for abortion restrictions. Although abortion has been proven to be one of the safest medical procedures, anti-choice policymakers at state and federal levels continue to use the guise of protecting women’s health to promote restrictions on abortion providers and procedures such as medication abortion; add requirements for women to fulfill in order to receive an abortion; and limit the procedure after an arbitrary number of weeks into a pregnancy.

Continued: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2018/06/13/451891/limiting-abortion-access-contributes-poor-maternal-health-outcomes/

Read more

Nigeria: Advocates urge women to embrace contraceptive use

Advocates urge women to embrace contraceptive use

Published on February 1, 2018
By Appolonia Adeyemi

The Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria, has called on the Federal Government to respond to Trump’s Global Gag Rule by and taking advantage of family planning (FP) as a development strategy to save billions in scarce resources and reduce poverty.

In a Communiqué signed by its President, Mr. Roland Ogbonnaya and Secretary, Mrs Yinka Sokunbi at the end of its meeting which held in Ibadan recently, the network observed that as a result of the United State President, Donald Trump’s Global Gag Rule (GGR), more Nigerian women were losing access to contraception while more incidences of unintended and unwanted pregnancies, abortions and unsafe abortions and deaths of women are being recorded.

https://newtelegraphonline.com/2018/02/advocates-urge-women-embrace-contraceptive-use/

Read more

Nigeria: Family Planning Champions Seek Increased Investment In Reproductive Healthcare

Family Planning Champions Seek Increased Investment In Reproductive Healthcare
By Chioma Umeha -
January 31, 2018

To improve reproductive healthcare in the country, Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria (NRHJN), a non-governmental organisation, has tasked government at levels to increase its investment in the area.

The demand came after a strategic meeting and training workshop of the Network which its members are Nigerian journalists that campaign for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) issues and policies.

Continued: https://independent.ng/family-planning-champions-seek-increased-investment-reproductive-healthcare/

Read more

U.S.: Trumpcare’s Uncaring Impact on Pregnant Women

Trumpcare’s Uncaring Impact on Pregnant Women
March 22, 2017

On March 13, 2017, President Trump and the Republican Party released their plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Their plan, Trumpcare, will have a devastating effect on millions of Americans. Women are a particular target of the plan and pregnant women will face specific health care challenges regardless of their pregnancy outcomes.

For example, pregnant women who want to go to term will have trouble accessing or affording the maternity care they need. Trumpcare eliminates Medicaid expansion and removes federal support for adults earning more than 133% of the federal poverty level (a meager $33,000 for a family of four).1 As a result, some women will no longer be eligible for Medicaid under the new rules, even when they are pregnant.

Continued at source: National Advocates for Pregnant Women: http://advocatesforpregnantwomen.org/Trumpcare%20and%20Pregnant%20Women_3.22.17.pdf

Read more

U.S.: She’s 17 and Needs Birth Control. Do We Turn Our Backs?

She’s 17 and Needs Birth Control. Do We Turn Our Backs?

Nicholas Kristof
MARCH 4, 2017

LEWISTON, Me. — She is 17 years old, has an alarming itch “down there” and has come to the family planning clinic because she doesn’t know where else to go.

Sara Hayes, a nurse practitioner, breezes into the examining room and soothes the teenager. Hayes takes a swab and quickly diagnoses a mild yeast infection — perhaps from scented tampons — while setting aside samples to test later for gonorrhea and chlamydia. Then Hayes explains birth control options, and the girl brightens at the idea of an invisible implant in her arm, fully covered by insurance. It will last at least three years and be more than 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.

Continued at source: New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/04/opinion/sunday/shes-17-and-needs-birth-control-do-we-turn-our-backs.html

Read more

The Growing Challenge of Meeting the Reproductive Health Needs of Women in Humanitarian Situations

The Growing Challenge of Meeting the Reproductive Health Needs of Women in Humanitarian Situations
Recent Progress Is Threatened by Rising Nationalism in the United States and Europe

February 13, 2017
News Release

About one in four of the 129 million people around the world in need of humanitarian assistance are women and adolescent girls of reproductive age. Women and girls are at particular risk when a region or country’s social, health and other support systems collapse, exposing them to sexual violence, unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, STIs (including HIV), and maternal illness and death. And yet, sexual and reproductive health services in humanitarian settings continue to lag far behind the enormous need, argues a new analysis in the Guttmacher Policy Review.

“Humanitarian agencies have made substantial advances in issuing sexual and reproductive health guidance in crisis settings. But implementation of these policies and standards has often fallen far short of what is needed,” says Sneha Barot, author of the new analysis. “Fundamentally, the same barriers that can interfere with access to sexual and reproductive health care under normal circumstances are often magnified during emergencies.”

Continued at source: Guttmacher Institute: https://www.guttmacher.org/news-release/2017/growing-challenge-meeting-reproductive-health-needs-women-humanitarian-situations

Read more

U.S. Study: Catholic Hospitals ‘Dump’ Abortion Patients, Often Refuse Referrals

Aug 3, 2016, 4:50pm, by Nicole Knight Shine

Respondents reported that they received mixed messages from hospital authorities when the facility's moral teachings were pitted against its financial interests. For example, Catholic doctrine prohibits handling eggs and sperm for in-vitro fertilization procedures, but a respondent said a Catholic hospital system skirted the ban by opening an off-site fertility clinic. (Photo: Shutterstock)

"What doctors told us is sometimes for abortion ... there was a sense of, 'You're on your own,'" said Dr. Debra B. Stulberg, assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Chicago.

The patient learned she had brain cancer in her first trimester of pregnancy. She needed chemotherapy and abortion care.“I’ve got a woman whose life is threatened by brain cancer,” her doctor, an OB-GYN at a Catholic hospital, told authorities there. “I need to do a termination.” Catholic hospitals follow religious directives that generally bar certain types of health care, including abortions, except when the patient is in imminent danger.

The hospital refused the treatment, telling the OB-GYN to refer his patient elsewhere.

“They said, ‘Go take her to another hospital. Take her to another place. Those places are available to you. We don’t have to do it here…’,” the OB-GYN explained.

The case is among many contained in a new paper, “Referrals for Services Prohibited in Catholic Health Care Facilities,” which will be published in the September issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. The study explores whether Catholic hospitals make timely referrals, provide complete and accurate health-care information, and supply emergency treatment when needed.

And it comes as Catholic facilities exert more and more control over U.S. health care, now accounting for one in six hospital beds nationwide, according to recent figures from the advocacy group MergerWatch.

“Until now, there hasn’t been a study asking about referral patterns in Catholic hospitals,” lead author, Dr. Debra B. Stulberg, assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Chicago, said in a phone interview with Rewire. “We set out to ask OB-GYNs how the institution where they worked affected the care they provide.”

In 2011 and 2012, Stulberg and her co-authors conducted in-depth interviews with 27 OB-GYNs who were working or had worked in Catholic hospitals.

The OB-GYNs came from a diversity of faiths and hailed from all parts of the country; 17 were female, ten were male. And while the qualitative nature of the survey means the responses cannot be generalized across Catholic hospitals nationwide, the survey reveals a referral process plagued by reports of inconsistencies and treatment delays.

Survey respondents described cases where they felt that referring a patient to an outside provider put the patient’s health at risk.

One OB-GYN found it “nearly impossible” to treat heavy vaginal bleeding because of the hospital’s ban on hormonal contraceptives.

“Say you have…a 45-year-old who comes in [at three in the morning] with heavy bleeding and irregular periods. The most common approach to stopping her bleeding is to give her high-dose birth control pills for a short period of time. So, that became very difficult…’cause they didn’t have them in stock. I won’t say it’s impossible to get them, because like the head pharmacist knows where there’s three secret packs, and if you happen to manage to find the head pharmacist at [that hour], you can. But it’s nearly impossible to get birth control pills to treat heavy bleeding.”

OB-GYNs described broad inconsistencies in how hospitals handled referrals, with some hospital administrators and ethicists encouraging or tolerating referrals, and others actively discouraging referrals. Sometimes doctors kept referrals hidden. Respondents reported that patients needing abortion care were given less assistance with a referral than those requesting other prohibited services.

In one instance, a secretary tried to block an abortion care referral.

“What doctors told us is sometimes for abortion … there was a sense of, ‘You’re on your own,'” Stulberg told Rewire. She said the disparities in referrals can delay medical treatment and reinforce abortion stigma.

By referring patients for abortions rather than allowing the doctors to administer the prohibited care, some respondents felt the hospital “dumped” or “punted” the patients.

“It tells women that this care is not standard. It’s something we do on the side, under the table,” Stulberg said. “Imagining myself in those patient’s shoes, I might feel really abandoned by my doctor.”

Respondents reported that they received mixed messages from hospital authorities when the facility’s moral teachings were pitted against its financial interests.

For example, Catholic doctrine prohibits handling eggs and sperm for in-vitro fertilization procedures, but a respondent said a Catholic hospital system skirted the ban by opening an off-site fertility clinic.

As the OB-GYN explained, “Now, they’re getting a little crafty with how they get around it, and they go off-campus [to provide such services]. So we actually do now have…an infertility specialist, who is starting up an in vitro fertilization clinic off-campus…. We had somewhere to send them anyway before—it was just out of the system—but now the system wants the business.”

The authors call on policymakers to require Catholic hospitals that refuse to offer care to refer patients to providers and to inform patients beforehand about the limits on treatment at religiously run facilities.

“Having consistent procedures and help to access abortion will reduce the chance that the patient will be given the run around and have her care delayed,” study co-author Lori R. Freedman, assistant professor in the departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at University of California-San Francisco, told Rewire in a phone interview.

The recommendations are in keeping with ethical guidelines from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which advises health-care providers with religious objections to abortion care to notify patients beforehand and to refer them to abortion care providers.

The study builds on research published in Contraception by a team that included Freedman and Stulberg. They found that Catholic hospitals’ ban on tubal ligations caused unnecessary second surgeries and erected barriers to care for patients with low incomes.

“You really want women to find safe and compassionate providers as soon as possible,” Freedman told Rewire. “Delays…are not good for women.”

Source: Rewire

Read more