Alabama and Georgia Pass Restrictive Abortion Laws

  On Wednesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the most restrictive anti-abortion legislation in the country. The bill not only bans abortion at nearly every stage of pregnancy, it also criminalizes the procedure for doctors who perform abortions. Although women who receive an abortion will not be prosecuted, the new law targets doctors who could face up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion. The bill includes protections when a mother’s life is endangered, but it does not include exceptions for rape or incest. While the courts have continued to reaffirm a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion since the decision in Roe v. Wade, the Alabama law is most recent attempt to challenge the 1973 precedent. Since the beginning of 2019, nearly 300 restrictive abortion laws have been introduced in state legislatures across the country. Earlier this month, Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed into law a fetal heartbeat bill that prohibits abortion after a doctor can detect...
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South Korea Poses Amendment for Anti-Abortion Law

South Korea has fostered an anti-abortion law for 66 years which names abortion a crime with repercussions of heavy fines and women facing up to a year in jail and doctors facing up to two years. Last Thursday, South Korea’s Constitutional Court ruled this law unconstitutional and concluded that Parliament must revise the law by 2020 or else it will become invalid. There are a few exceptions to the law which allow for abortions under the situations of pregnancy from rape or incest, pregnancy which poses great risk to the mother’s health, or pregnancy that will result in a child with a serious deformity. However, a study does prove that since the law has been enacted, there have been huge amounts of illegal abortions—49,7000 abortions took place in 2017 and an estimated 94% of those were performed illegally. There also seems to be a general shift in trends of what South Koreans think of abortion because a poll shows that...
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Updates on Research With Male Birth Control

Updates on Research With Male Birth Control

     Last week, the drug 11-beta-MNTCD, a male contraceptive pill, was introduced at the Endocrine Society annual meeting. There has been a lot of efforts in both the scientific and medical communities to develop male birth control in recent years. Dr. Christina Wang, associate director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, noted how this new pill works to mimic testosterone’s effects, but does not allow for sperm production in the testicles. Dr. Wang then also predicted that this pill will not actually be able to be sold in the market for another decade due to the need of much more research and specific trials testing the pills effectiveness. In addition to the production of pills, the idea of a contraception through a body gel that men apply to their back and shoulders where it is absorbed by their skin is also being researched and made for trials. The production of the...
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Smoking During Pregnancy is Linked to SUID

Smoking During Pregnancy is Linked to SUID

    “Every cigarette counts,” stated Tatiana Anderson, a neuroscientist at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and a head author of a new study published relating SUID, sudden unexpected infant death, to smoking during pregnancy. The research analyzed more than 20 million births which included 19,000 SUID cases and concluded that one cigarette a day smoked by a pregnant woman can double the risk of SUID for her baby. In the United States, there are approximately 338,000 women each year who self-report they smoke during their pregnancy. The study also found that “if no woman smoked in pregnancy, SUID rates in the United States could be reduced substantially.” Ongoing studies analyzing exactly how SUID and smoking are related are being conducted and one possible theory is that smoking increases serotonin levels in infants during sleep which may affect the ability of the brain stem to regulate the respiratory system and therefore leads to SUID. There is also evidence that cigarette usage...
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The Inaccessibility of Sexual Health Care for Disabled Women in Canada

The Inaccessibility of Sexual Health Care for Disabled Women in Canada

In Canada, standard health protocol recommends that women receive a Pap test every few years in order to detect cervical cancer as early as possible. However, health practitioners at ACCESS, a clinic in Vancouver which provides sexual health services exclusively for disabled women, have identified a significant deficit in the accessibility of such services for the demographic they serve. This inaccessibility is derived in part from a widespread lack of appropriate equipment. Many offices do not possess an accessible exam bed with a lift, preventing gynecological screening for disabled women. Additionally, many doctors, in providing care to these women, draw upon the misguided assumption that individuals with disabilities are not sexually active and thus neglect to ask their patients for a comprehensive history of their sexual health. Because this discourse does not occur, or is  not prioritized due to more immediate health issues directly relating to the disability, cervical cancer is rarely screened for amongst disabled women, and thus persists largely...
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New Studies Relating to the Grandmother Hypothesis

New Studies Relating to the Grandmother Hypothesis

The “grandmother hypothesis” represents the idea that a grandmother has beneficial effects on the reproductive success of her children and the survival of her grandchildren. Therefore, it is predicted that women who have the genes for living longer would then have grandchildren who also carry these genes. Recently, two more studies that further explore the notion of the grandmother effect were published in Current Biology. The first analyzes data of birth, death, and marriages in certain Catholic parishes from 1608 in an area that is present-day Quebec. The findings point to the fact that families who stayed geographically near their grandmas not only created larger family sizes and shifted child mortality rates, but positively promoted mothers to have children at younger ages. The second study was led by Dr. Chapman of the University of Turku in Finland and analyzed data from pre-industrial Finland. Dr. Chapman concluded that specifically, when a grandma is in her 50-70’s, she is most capable of...
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Update on Health Efforts in Nigeria

Update on Health Efforts in Nigeria

Reproductive health supplies are dwindling in Nigeria, with family-planning funds provided by the United States having been revoked two years ago in accordance with Trump’s gag-rule. This revocation of funds was catalyzed by the Trump administration’s accusations that the United Nations Population Fund was facilitating coercive abortions and sterilization- accusations which turned out to be entirely unfounded. Regardless, Nigeria, a country with one of the world’s highest rates of maternal mortality, subsequently lost more than half of its family planning funds within one year, bringing about devastating impacts upon contraceptive accessibility and efforts to address gender-based violence. FP2020 is a family planning initiative launched in 2012 with the goals of improving accessibility to family planning services and commodities, slowing the rate of population growth, and empowering the agency of women within decisions having to do with their bodies and health. However, without U.S. Funding, FP2020 has seen Nigerian health services deteriorate. And yet, despite the gag rule, studies have shown...
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World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day

Yesterday, on February 4th, the world celebrated World Cancer Day. Initiated in February 2000 at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium in Paris, the event is an initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control. The Paris Charter aims to promote research, prevent cancer and raise awareness. 2019 marks the beginning of the organization's "I Am and I Will" campaign, which will last till 2021 and emphasize each individual's personal commitment to reducing cancer's impact. In concurrence with World Cancer Day, the UN World Health Organization released a statement explaining that incidences of cervical cancer will likely increase by almost 50 percent in 2040. It noted that the number of new cases could be reduced if all girls between the ages of 9 and 14 are vaccinated for HPV. The organization stressed the importance of collaboration between governments, UN agencies and healthcare professionals to preventing increased rates of cervical cancer....
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New York State Passes Reproductive Health Act

New York State Passes Reproductive Health Act

On the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the New York legislature passed a law protecting a woman's right to abortions. The most controversial aspect of the law is its provision for abortions after 24 weeks, in cases of fetal in-viability or danger to the woman's life or heath. According to the Guttmacher Institute, only slightly more than one percent of abortions are performed during or after 21 weeks of pregnancy. The law also took abortion off of the state's criminal code, which prevents medical professionals from being criminally prosecuted. The pro-choice community has lauded the law's passage, considering it a protection against possible future decisions by the Supreme Court. The Catholic Bishops of New York State denounced the law, and many critics claim it is too far-reaching....
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How Climate Change May Affect the Gender of Newborns

How Climate Change May Affect the Gender of Newborns

Author and founder of the M&K Health Institute in Hyogo, Japan, Dr. Misao Fukuda, led a study with results that stated, “temperature fluctuation may play a role in the recent decrease in the sex ratios of births.” Since the mid-20th century, climate change has been a direct result of human activity and has caused a warming trend of the planet. Extreme weather has a connection to human stress which is likely to impact the birth sex ratio. Climate change very well may affect the number of male newborns; more male newborns are predicted to be born in areas with rising high temperatures. Scientist Steven Orzack of the Fresh Pond Research Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts claims that sex ratio is equal at conception, but there are external factors throughout birth and childhood which cause the ratio to differ. Specifically, senior researcher in the Section of Ecology, Department of Biology at the University of Turku in Finland, Samuli Helle, discovered evidence that...
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