Eradicating Human Diseases: Opportunities and Risks

Eradicating Human Diseases: Opportunities and Risks

The Director of the Center for Global Reproductive Health, Dr. Megan Huchko, participated in a panel on November 28th entitled "Eradicating Human Diseases: Opportunities and Risks." Dr. Gavin Yamey (Director for the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health) moderated the event, which featured Dr. Christopher Plowe (Director of the Duke Global Health Institute), Dr. Lavanya Vasudevan (Assistant Professor in Community and Family Medicine) and Dr. Osondu Ogbuoji (Deputy Director of the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health) as additional panelists. While the panelists disagreed on the definition of eradication, they all commented upon 'donor fatigue' and the economic and political difficulty of completing eradication as cases dwindle. The panel discussed the difficulty global health programs face in second-world countries, which don't benefit from the same economic resources as first-world countries or as many donations as third-world countries. The panelists stressed the importance of continued screenings, especially in the case of cervical cancer, and emphasized the necessity of childhood vaccinations....
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State Department looks to Ban Term ‘Sexual Health’

State Department looks to Ban Term ‘Sexual Health’

As leaked by Foreign Policy last week, recent State Department memos suggest that American diplomats may soon be unable to use words essential to discussions of reproductive rights. If Secretary of State Mike Pompeo approves the memos' proposal, officials will be banned from saying "sexual and reproductive health" and "comprehensive sexuality education," and would instead use the term "reproduction and the related health services." This follows the State Department's pattern of treatment of gender-related language. Its annual human rights report this year trimmed language focused on family planning, and officials have worked to remove the term "gender" from multiple UN human rights documents. While the policy implications of this change remain unclear, the alteration in language could complicate United Nations discussions regarding reproductive health issues and funding for NGOs that maintain their vocabulary use. The removal of "gender" from State Department usage further excludes transgender individuals from political discussions; the Department of Health and Human Services also recently moved to establish...
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California Governor Vetoes Abortion Bill

California Governor Vetoes Abortion Bill

Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed a bill that would have required all health centers at University of California and California State University schools to offer prescription abortion pills. Introduced in February 2017, Senate Bill 320 would have made California the first state to require access to medication abortion at public universities. Medication abortion was approved by the FDA in 2000, and currently accounts for one-third of abortions in the United States. A combination of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, allows the patient to undergo the procedure in their own home. In spite of years of research deeming the procedure safe, thirty-four states heavily regulate medication abortion by requiring licensed physicians, rather than midwives or nurse practitioners, to administer the drugs. In spite of living in a state with otherwise progressive abortion legislation, women at public universities in California often have restricted access to abortion options. More than 500 women at California's public universities seek the abortion pill at off-site healthcare providers every...
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Oregon Ballot Measure 106 would ban public reproductive healthcare coverage

Oregon Ballot Measure 106 would ban public reproductive healthcare coverage

A state with a long history of supporting abortion rights, Oregon will have a constitutional amendment to limit state funding for abortions on the ballot this November. After narrowly gaining enough signatures to head to the ballot in late July, Measure 106 has inspired intense activism on both sides of the issue. Oregon is one of seventeen states that uses its own funds to provide abortions; the federal government prohibits the use of Medicaid funding. If Measure 106 passes, the state would only be able to fund abortion in cases necessary for the safety of the mother — as in ectopic pregnancies — or in situations of incest or rape. Although the Oregon Health Plan paid $2 million for abortions for 3,600 women in the last year, the official cost analysis of Measure 106 states that passage of the initiative could cost the state an additional $10 million each year. An estimated 271,833 women of reproductive age are covered by the Oregon...
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Philippines to join its first World Contraception Day

Philippines to join its first World Contraception Day

The Philippines announced Wednesday that it will be participating in the upcoming World Contraception Day on September 26th. In its first year joining the global campaign, the country will hold a forum at the University of the Philippines in Diliman to discuss the nation's treatment of reproductive health issues. With one of the world's fastest rates of population growth and a population that has tripled over the last fifty years, the Philippines faces a growing need of family-planning education; widespread awareness of safe and effective contraception methods may slow unsustainable population growth, with positive effects on public health, the economy and the environment. World Contraception Day is an international campaign, with the mission to educate younger generations about contraception so they can make informed decisions about their reproductive and sexual health. The Day is organized by a group of 17 international NGOs, governmental organizations, and medical societies, and is funded by Bayer AG. Held yearly since 2007, World Contraception Day envisions...
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Baltimore’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen, named President of Planned Parenthood

Baltimore’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen, named President of Planned Parenthood

Article by Jessica Williams Planned Parenthood announced on September 12th that Dr. Leana Wen will become the organization’s next president. After current president Cecile Richards announced her resignation, Planned Parenthood organized a search committee in early February to find her replacement. Months later, Dr. Wen was selected to be her successor due to her extensive experience in the healthcare sector; she has been Baltimore's health commissioner since 2015, and is only the second doctor in the organization's 102-year history to take its leading role. Born in Shanghai, Dr. Wen immigrated to the United States with her family shortly before her eighth birthday. They were granted political asylum, and became U.S. citizens in 2003. While growing up in a low-income area in California, Dr. Wen relied on Planned Parenthood for healthcare. She later volunteered for a Planned Parenthood clinic during medical school in St. Louis. Dr. Wen's appointment comes at a critical time for Planned Parenthood. A target of Republican-led Washington over the past...
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Kavanaugh on Abortion: Many Questions, Few Answers

Article by Jessica Williams As Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee to become a Supreme Court justice began last Tuesday, it became immediately clear that his stance on abortion would take center stage. The Hart Senate Office building was filled with protesters dressed as ‘handmaids’ from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian “The Handmaid’s Tale,” reflecting fears that Kavanaugh’s appointment would lead to a country in which women do not have control over their reproductive decisions. As the hearing has progressed, though, little information about Kavanaugh’s stance on abortion has come to light. When asked about a woman’s right to abortion, Kavanaugh described the current precedent—Roe v. Wade’s 1973 establishment of abortion as a constitutional right, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey’s 1992 reaffirmation of that decision. While he did say that “precedent also reinforces the impartiality and independence of the judiciary,” new leaked documents suggest he may be willing to overrule the Roe precedent. In a 2003 email he stated “I am...
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