The Language of “Abortion”: Why The Word Matters

The Language of “Abortion”: Why The Word Matters

Article by Diya Chadha This election cycle’s candidates are comprised of a diverse group, with representation of people from different racial/ethnic groups, sexual identities, religious backgrounds, geographic backgrounds, and more. They fall into different categories when it comes to where they stand on the democratic “spectrum” as well. More than ever before though, we’ve seen a strong contingent of very liberal, democratic socialist candidates for the presidency, in addition to politics in general. Because of the increasingly leftist policies that they’re proposing (especially when compared to the current state of U.S. politics), it has been interesting to see just how the candidates opt to speak about abortion and reproductive healthcare access, both as a women’s rights issue and a healthcare one. Interestingly, as progressive of a group as the candidates seem to be, they’re really failing when it comes to the way they talk about abortion in the explicit sense. At the last democratic debate, only two of the eight candidates asked...
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Looking to 2020 and The Future of Roe v. Wade

Looking to 2020 and The Future of Roe v. Wade

Article by: Diya Chadha Abortion and reproductive healthcare access at large have definitely been key areas of contention and policy focus under the Trump administration. Notably, the reform of Title X under the domestic gag rule and the passing of “heartbeat bills” in nearly 15 states have imposed serious limitations on women’s access to healthcare in the country. And, as much as we hail Supreme Court decisions to function as laws of the land, working to remedy some of the outdatedness of the Constitution, it is simply unreasonable to throw complete faith into the institution given how unorthodox politics have become. As can be seen with those aforementioned policy changes, it is clear that the legislative climate has become increasingly restrictive and less progressive, arguably working in the opposite direction of how it traditionally changes over time. Naturally, the interested portion of the public has been looking towards the 2020 candidates to see how they aim to combat the seemingly growing...
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Pilot Study: Use of mSaada Application to Address Cervical Cancer in Kenya

Pilot Study: Use of mSaada Application to Address Cervical Cancer in Kenya

Article by: Emmy Duerr At the DGRH Think Global Talk on October 15, Jacob Stocks presented his work on the mSaada mobile application platform. Prior to his pilot study, Stocks developed mSaada (meaning “support” in Swahili), an application designed to be a support tool for community-based cervical cancer screening for low-income communities. The app was intended to provide counseling/decision support for community health volunteers as well as patient and specimen tracking to better ensure follow up and patient retention. Stocks implemented a small (n = 19) 5-week pilot study in Migori and Kisumu between July and August of 2019. The pilot study consisted of six iterative feedback sessions with the goal of refining the mSaada platform. The first week of the study involved three group sessions with four participants in each session, using a mixed methods approach of a combination of qualitative in-depth interviews and quantitative usability surveys. Weeks 2-4 provided app developers time for feedback integration, and allowed them to implement...
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Reproductive Health Panel Hosted by PPGA, Empower Her Voice, and NARAL-NC

Reproductive Health Panel Hosted by PPGA, Empower Her Voice, and NARAL-NC

Article by: Diya Chadha On Monday, October 14, two women empowerment and health-focused student groups, Planned Parenthood Generation Action and Empower Her Voice, partnered with NARAL-NC, a pro-choice advocacy group to host a reproductive health panel on campus at the Freeman Center. Lynne Walter from NARAL-NC, Dr. Jonas Schwartz from Duke University Hospital, Gloria de los Santos from The Action Network, and Dani Hoffpauir from Planned Parenthood answered a series of moderated questions on the topics of the Hyde Amendment and the rising influence of pregnancy crisis centers/clinics in North Carolina. Two specific points that they brought attention to were the amount of funding directed from the state towards such emergency clinics and the subsequent negative impact that the clinics have on the healthcare options available to women, as well as the evolving narrative around the idea of abortion and healthcare access in the changing domestic political climate. In the state of North Carolina, crisis pregnancy centers receive nearly $1.3 million in state...
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HPV Vaccine Launch in Kisumu, Kenya

HPV Vaccine Launch in Kisumu, Kenya

Article by: Sandra Y. Oketch The launch of the HPV vaccination into the routine immunization schedule available for all 10-year old girls from September 2019 onward is a great milestone for Kenya. The Kisumu County launched the HPV vaccine Program on October 25th, 2019 at the Kisumu County Referral Hospital, accompanied by several activities such as HPV health information, speeches and educational entertainment. The Chief Guest of honor was Dr. Dickens Onyang, the Kisumu County Director of Health Services. Onyango voiced that the vaccine has been successfully included in the healthcare cascade of all Government of Kenya health facilities, and that the Ministry of Health will work hand in hand with the Ministry of Education and all other partners to ensure an effective and efficient implementation of the program. He reiterated the benefits of the launch stating, “The HPV vaccine is the silver bullet to prevention of cervical cancer that will greatly reduce the cervical cancer burden as has been in the 115...
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Illinois Passes Landmark Reproductive Rights Law

Illinois Passes Landmark Reproductive Rights Law

Article by Jackie Vicksman Illinois governor J. B. Pritzker signed a progressive reproductive rights bill into law on June 12, 2019. The Reproductive Health Act identifies abortion as a “fundamental right” for individuals, and states that a “fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights.” It also explicitly does not permit the State to “deny, interfere with, or discriminate against these fundamental rights.” By repealing old restrictive laws such as the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 and the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the Reproductive Health Act also removes barriers to abortion such as waiting periods, consent from a partner, and TRAP laws that incriminate doctors who provide abortions or post-abortion care. The new law also requires private insurance companies to cover abortions along with contraceptives. As several other states such as Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri have attempted to intensively restrict abortion access and other reproductive resources, the passage of this law is especially essential....
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Lancet Publishes New Study on Caesarean Procedures in LMICs

Lancet Publishes New Study on Caesarean Procedures in LMICs

Article by Jackie Vicksman In March 2019, the Lancet published a study titled “Maternal and perinatal mortality and complications associated with caesarean section in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” In one of the most comprehensive studies to date, a research group from the Queen Mary University of London found that a “disproportionately high” number of women in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) are dying due to caesarean sections, especially in Sub-Saharan countries. The mortality rate was 7.6 out of 1000 women who had the procedure and in Sub-Saharan countries the number rose to 10.9/1000. The study used a systematic review of online databases and analyzed information from 196 studies in 67 LMICs. The study found that risks arise when the procedure is not preceded by quality antenatal care, delayed during obstructed labor, or not considered for at-risk women until complications arise. The biggest risk was for women receiving emergency c-sections in the second stage of labor. In...
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Impact of the “Domestic Gag Rule”

Impact of the “Domestic Gag Rule”

Article by Emmy Duerr In February of 2019, the Trump administration proposed changes to Title X’s family planning program that forbid Title X-funded clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, from performing some of their foundational services. Under the new propositions, providers and staff are not permitted to refer patients for abortion or accept funds to provide cancer and STI screenings, even if they use non-federal funds to fund abortion. In place of these services, the rule recommends referral for prenatal care and social services such as foster care or adoption. The Trump Administration’s proposed changes, widely known as the “domestic gag rule” went into effect on July 15, forcing Planned Parenthood to completely withdraw from the Title X program. Although the intention of the new ruling is to decrease domestic abortion rate, the consequences will likely reflect those of its international counterpart, the “global gag rule”. The rule is unlikely to decrease abortion because it reduces women’s access to a broad spectrum of reproductive health services including contraception, resulting in an increase in...
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UK’s Commitment towards Global Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Article by Ramya Ginjupalli During the UN General Assembly on Universal Health Coverage, the UK’s International Development Secretary, Alok Sharma, pledged £600 million towards a “Reproductive Health Supplies programme” between 2020-20251. This program aims to provide up to 20 million women and girls with family planning services including the contraceptive pill, condoms, and safe abortions2. In addition, this program aims to prevent millions of unintended pregnancies, prevent over a million of unsafe abortions, and save thousands of women’s lives3. This commitment is in the wake of President Donald Trump’s reinstatement of the Mexico City policy, also known as the “Global Gag Rule”2. With new restrictions, this policy affects an additional $8 billion of United States’ aid2. According to a leaked letter, the United States also encouraged UN member states with a pro-life stance to join a coalition against the promotion of abortion in the United Nations2. In response to this, Mr. Sharma gave a speech renewing the UK’s commitment towards Universal Health...
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Northern Ireland Makes Progress in Reproductive Rights

Northern Ireland Makes Progress in Reproductive Rights

Article by Jackie Vicksman After criminalizing abortion for more than a century, Northern Ireland has finally reached a breakthrough. Although the rest of the United Kingdom legalized abortion in the 1967 Abortion Act and the Republic of Ireland repealed its restrictive abortion laws in September of 2018, these laws did not extend to Northern Ireland, which maintained its extremely strict policies. Until now. Beginning October 22 of this year, women in Northern Ireland may be given the right to have an abortion in certain circumstances. This possibility is due to the fact that Northern Ireland has not had a functioning government for the past two years because of partisan conflict between Unionists and Republicans, as both parties have an agreement to share power equally in the country. As a result, the U.K. was able to sign an amendment that decriminalizes abortion in the region. The amendment will go into effect on October 21 if the government of Northern Ireland has not...
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