Abortion-Rights Bill Introduced in California Aimed at Public Universities

Abortion-Rights Bill Introduced in California Aimed at Public Universities

Last week, an abortion-rights bill targeted at public universities in California was passed inspired by a student-led movement at the University of California, Berkeley. If signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom during the next month, this legislation would mandate all on-campus health centers of California public universities to offer medication abortion by 2023. In the state of California, this legislation would therefore directly apply to 34 college campuses. Medication abortion requires taking two different pills which are approved by law to end pregnancy during the first 10 weeks. There have already been around $10.3 million dollars of donations raised privately that would go toward training staff at campus health centers and equipping the centers with proper medical devices for medication abortion. A study published in August 2018 directly analyzed California college students desire and access to medication abortion and concluded, “College students face cost, scheduling, and travel barriers to abortion care. Offering medication abortion on campus could reduce these...
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Links Between Hormone Replacement Therapies and Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

Links Between Hormone Replacement Therapies and Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

Hormone replacement therapies (HRT) are often prescribed to women facing menopause to help relieve harsh symptoms like hot flashes and dryness. The transition of menopause often begins for women around the ages 45 and 55 and is caused by a shift in the body’s sex hormone production. Estrogen and progesterone are two of the most commonly used hormones and there are currently around 12 million users of HRT. A study recently published in the journal The Lancet based on an analysis of data from 58 other studies on HRT, revealed that the longer a woman uses HRT, the greater the risk she has of developing breast cancer. It also concluded that in comparison to women who use estrogen-only hormone therapies, women who use estrogen-progestogen hormone therapies have greater risks for breast cancer. This research is important for both doctors and women to take into consideration before deciding to begin hormone replacement therapy and Dr. Janice Rymer, gynecologist and vice president...
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Federal Funded Family Planning Program New Rule

Federal Funded Family Planning Program New Rule

Title X is a federally funded family planning program for birth control and reproductive healthcare and it is particularly aimed at people with low incomes. Enacted in 1970 as part of the Public Health Service Act, Title X helps more than 4 million Americans each year. Under the Trump administration, a new rule would mandate providers receiving Title X funds to be separate from any providers that perform or refer to abortions. In regards to Planned Parenthood, this rule would prohibit all Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving Title X funds if any Planned Parenthood health center counseled on abortions or performed abortions. Legal challenges to this rule have led to injunctions; however, Planned Parenthood released a statement saying it will formally withdraw from the Title X program on August 19 unless a federal court intervenes. Officials from Planned Parenthood believe it is wrong to keep complete medical abortion information from clients, which the rule would require, and acting president...
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Three Ground-Breaking HIV Studies

Three Ground-Breaking HIV Studies

Three ground-breaking studies published in the New England Journal a few weeks ago reveal the benefits of door-to-door health workers, mobile clinics, and whole community testing in reducing the rate of new HIV infections in African Countries. The first study, the Ya T’sie trial, provided HIV testing, linkage to care, and early antiretroviral treatment to communities of Botswana; the second study, Search, focused on universal HIV treatment for communities in Uganda and Kenya; and the third study, PopART, implemented combination prevention intervention with ART in communities of Zambia and South Africa. The conclusion of these workings points to a 30 percent decrease in HIV incidence proving the success of these testing and treatment efforts. The key to the success is the idea of the “warm handoff” implemented in all three studies in which the health care workers ensured anyone who tested positive for HIV followed up at a clinic and did not forget. These studies are so important considering that...
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The Trump Administration’s Domestic Gag Rule

Since running for President and into his presidency, Donald Trump and his Administration have sought to undermine women’s access to reproductive health care. Last year, the Trump Administration proposed changes to Title X—which is federal grant program that provides funding for comprehensive family planning services. Known as the “domestic gag rule,” the proposed changes “gag” or bar healthcare providers from referring their patients to abortion providers. Moreover, the rule would drastically alter access to reproductive health care, including birth control and other family planning services, for millions of women who depend on Title X funded clinics. When the Administration released the final version of the rule changes, reproductive health organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association immediately challenged the rule. Despite a preliminary injunction that prevented the rule’s implementation, on July 3, a panel of three judges lifted the injunction. Devastatingly, last week by 7-4...
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Healthcare in the West African nation of Mali

Healthcare in the West African nation of Mali

     The West African nation of Mali is one of the world’s poorest countries and has extremely high rates of maternal and child mortality. The WHO has approximated that costs of healthcare are a force pushing 100 million people across the globe into extreme poverty every year. So, in the area of Yirimadio during 2008, the community implemented a free door-to-door health-care plan sponsored by the government in order to ensure wellness and combat health ailments. After 7 years of the trial, the University of California collected data from the region and discovered that child mortality in the region dropped by 95%—marking the program as extremely successful. After this news, the President of Malawi announced the goal for the entire country by 2020 to have localized, free health care for pregnant women and children under the age of 5 to fight maternal and child mortality. This program will focus on training community health care workers, providing door-to-door services, and...
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The Irony of the Mexico City Policy

In his first days as President of the United States, Donald Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy. Also known as the Global Gag Rule, the policy “gags” international NGOs receiving U.S. aid by not allowing them to “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.” First enacted by President Ronald Reagan, U.S. funding for critical reproductive healthcare abroad has been a partisan issue ever since with every Republican President instating the policy and every Democratic repealing it. President Trump’s reinstatement of the policy greatly expanded its parameters and includes a wide range of global health programs such as HIV funding through PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief). The expansion of the policy diminished the provision of services by international NGOS who weren’t previously affected by the policy and who feared losing critical funding from the U.S. Last week, a study published in the Lancet found that when the Mexico City Policy is instated, rates of abortion...
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Important New Study Regarding Injectable Contraceptives

Important New Study Regarding Injectable Contraceptives

There is an unmet need affecting 47% of women in Africa who want modern contraception in order to prevent pregnancy. During the last few years, there has been an increase in the use of injectable contraceptives, such as Depo-Provera, across the continent specifically in Mali, Sierra Leone, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. Many African women rely on these types of shots because they are more easily concealable compared to other forms of contraception such as a daily birth control pill. Also, in some health clinics, these shots are the only method of contraception offered. Many women need secret protection due to men refusing condoms and the women wanting to avoid any social, physical, and mental consequences they may endure if they are found trying to keep away from pregnancy. A specialist in HIV at Britain’s Medical Research Council, Dr. Sheena McCormack, stated that African women’s, “husbands or partners, and their families, often want them to have children.” Along with the...
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New State Abortion Bans

  Photo Credits: John Benson After the recent passage of restrictive abortion legislation in Georgia and Alabama, abortion continues to be under attack across the country. The abortion bans signal continued attempts by states to undermine a woman’s right to access an abortion. Last week, Louisiana Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, signed into law a restrictive “heartbeat” bill. The law, like other recent abortion legislation, would prohibit an abortion after an ultrasound detects electric pulsing of what will become a fetus’ heart—which can occur before most women know they are pregnant. Moreover, the Louisiana law does not include exceptions for rape or incest. Although the law will not go into effect immediately, it is likely to be stalled in the courts. In Missouri, only one abortion clinic remains open. If it closes, it would be the first time a state does not have an abortion clinic since 1974—when the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade. A judge is expected to a settle...
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Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada and United States

In 2014, Tina Fontaine, a member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Canada was murdered. Her death garnered national attention as it highlighted the alarmingly high rate of violence against indigenous women in Canada. Such violence prompted the creation of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. After nearly three years of investigation, a report was published earlier this week that calls the treatment of indigenous women “a genocide.” The report included policy recommendations that seek to mitigate the violence and address its causes. As in Canada, native women in the United States disproportionately experience violence. A report conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) found that some counties in the U.S. have murder rates against indigenous women that are more than ten times the national average. Moreover, limited data and reporting on crimes against indigenous women and girls in the United States make it more difficult to understand the extent of the violence. According to a...
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