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Reproductive health supplies are dwindling in Nigeria, with family-planning funds provided by the United States having been revoked two years ago in accordance with Trump’s gag-rule.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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Judges Block Trump Birth Control Policy

Judges Block Trump Birth Control Policy

This Monday, Philadelphia District Judge Wendy Beetlestone decided to block a Trump administration rule that would allow employers to decline contraceptive healthcare coverage on religious grounds. While the Women's Health Amendment of the Affordable Care Act originally required employer-provided healthcare plans to include free or affordable birth control, the current administration amended the ACA to expand religious-based exemptions. The Trump administration's rules would have impacted tens of hundreds of childbearing-age women, increasing pressure on state-funded healthcare services. This nationwide injunction followed a similar decision earlier in the day, in which a California judge blocked the new rules for 13 states and the District of Columbia. After this decision, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement that “the law couldn’t be clearer – employers have no business interfering in women’s healthcare decisions. Today’s court ruling stops another attempt by the Trump Administration to trample on women’s access to basic reproductive care. It’s 2019, yet the Trump Administration is still trying to roll...
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California Right to Access Act Revisited

California Right to Access Act Revisited

Story by Karina Moreno Bueno, T'21 There was a recent attempt in September to require California to provide medical abortion in public colleges and universities. Medical abortion is otherwise known as the abortion pill. Unfortunately, this bill was not signed by by Governor Jerry Brown. California’s governor announced that he vetoed the bill because “the services required by this bill are widely available off-campus” within five to seven miles off California state university campuses, meaning that he found it an unnecessary government expenditure. The problem with going off-campus to seek these services is that half of students in the California state university school-system are low-income students, meaning that they are likely to struggle to pay for abortions off-campus. Furthermore, the majority of these students do not have a car, making transportation very difficult and not accessible to everyone. Reproductive health rights activists have not given up, as there has been an introduction of updated version of the bill into the state’s legislature...
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How does pain after childbirth affect the risk of postpartum hemorrhage?

How does pain after childbirth affect the risk of postpartum hemorrhage?

Story by Karina Moreno-Bueno, T'21 Previous research has focused on the link between pain during labor and delivery and postpartum depression. It wasn’t until recently that a study was presented at the Anesthesiology 2018 meeting suggesting that the pain experienced after childbirth is the bigger issue in terms of increasing postpartum depression. Researchers studied pain scores from 4,327 first-time mothers from the beginning of labor to the end of childbirth. One week later, researchers compared these pain scores to a mothers’ postnatal depression scale scores. They found that women who experienced postpartum depression had complaints more related to pain during recovery than anything else. As a result, women who had a higher postpartum pain score was more likely to develop postpartum depression. Additionally, women who had C-sections were more likely to experience postpartum depression. Postpartum pain can take forms of cramps, constipation, vaginal soreness, and painful C-section recovery. Postpartum depression affects 1 out of every 7 women, in which they experience disinterest in...
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Yale implements Plan B in its vending machines

Yale implements Plan B in its vending machines

Story by Amelia Steinbach, T'21 Yale University recently announced that it would make emergency contraception, or Plan B, available in its school vending machines for $49.99 – a comparable price at local pharmacies. While emergency contraception is available through Yale Student Health, including it in vending machines is meant to make it more accessible to students, as well as remove some of the stigma surrounding the product. While emergency contraception is free to Yale students, no matter their health insurance plan, that fact on campus is plagued with rumors and misinformation. Even staff at student health are often unaware of the policies and regulations surrounding emergency contraception at the school, meaning that the majority of students are unable to take advantage of these services. As is the case with emergency contraception handed out by the school’s pharmacy, if a student purchases Plan B more than three times, they will be required to meet with an OB-GYN to discuss effective forms of birth...
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Significant decrease in rate of abortion in the United States

Significant decrease in rate of abortion in the United States

Story by Amelia Steinbach, T'21 Data that were recently released from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that the number of abortions in the United States has decreased by 24% over the last decade. In reporting the data through 2015, the CDC noted that this drop was almost certainly related to a lower number of unintended pregnancies, the largest contributor to induced abortion, as well as increased use of effective contraception methods. The overall trend is not consistent for women of different demographic groups, such as race, class, and marital and motherhood status. While white and black women together make up the vast majority of abortions, black women account for nearly 20 more abortions per 1000 women than their white counterparts. Women who were not married accounted for the majority of those seeking an abortion, as do women who already have children. Over 90% of abortion occur before the 13-week mark and abortions that do not occur during the first trimester...
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New findings show that pregnant women are increasingly likely to be addicted to opioids and methamphetamines

New findings show that pregnant women are increasingly likely to be addicted to opioids and methamphetamines

Story by Amelia Steinbach, T'21 A study recently released in the American Journal of Public Health shows a significant increase in the use of methamphetamines and opioids by pregnant women in recent years.  Usage more than doubled from the 2008-2009 period to the 2014-2015 period, with the greatest increases seen in rural areas. Worse health outcomes, longer lengths of stay, and higher delivery costs are all more common in deliveries relating to amphetamine and opioid use. Additionally, deliveries affected by amphetamine usage were also disproportionately affected by preeclampsia, placental abruption, preterm delivery, and extremely high maternal morbidity. While there is a correlation between opioid usage and these negative outcomes during pregnancy and delivery, the drugs may not be the only factor. Women who are substance-abusers also generally attend fewer prenatal appointments and only receive prenatal care later in the country. This trend of increased amphetamine and opioid usage in the United States is far more common in rural areas of the...
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Over 100 women elected to House of Representatives for the first time and the impact that is expected to have on laws regarding women’s healthcare

Over 100 women elected to House of Representatives for the first time and the impact that is expected to have on laws regarding women’s healthcare

Story by Amelia Steinbach, T'21 The 2018 Midterm results from Election Day on November 6th resulted in historic numbers of women elected to the House of Representatives. For the first time in American history, more than 100 women will be serving as congressional representatives in January of 2019. The elections included several “firsts” – the youngest woman, the first Muslim women, the first Native American congresswomen, and the first black women elected from Connecticut and Massachusetts. Additionally, while the proportion of the Republican caucus that is white men increased, that same proportion in the Democratic caucus decreased to 38%, which is relatively close to the representation of that demographic group in the overall population. Tennessee and Arizona also elected female Senators for the first time in history. Several studies have shown that female legislators are more likely than their male counterparts to sponsor and vote for legislation relating to the needs of families, women, and children. They are generally more liberal about...
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Protections against FGM overruled by federal judge in US

Protections against FGM overruled by federal judge in US

Story by Amelia Steinbach and Suzanna Larkin, T'21 A recent federal case in Detroit resulted in America’s law regarding female genital mutilation being found unconstitutional. Two doctors were charged with violating a federal law after performing procedures on young girls from Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan. The procedures all occurred in the Detroit area. The law prohibits “knowingly circumcising, excising, or infibulating any part of the labia majora, labia minora, or clitoris of another person who has not attained age 18.” The judge, Bernard Friedman, noted that while he was not in opposition to the protection against the abuse of girls, his interpretation of the Constitution led him to believe that “federalism concerns deprive Congress of the power to enact this statute,” essentially implying that the power to ban female genital mutilation and cutting must be left to state legislatures. Friedman’s decision dismisses almost all of the charges against the doctor. Michigan is one of 27 states which currently criminalizes FGM, but...
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Burden of Uterine Cancer Disproportionately Impacts Black Women in the US

Burden of Uterine Cancer Disproportionately Impacts Black Women in the US

Story by Alex Lichtl, T'19 Uterine cancer rates in the United States continue to rise, with the burden of this disease disproportionately impacting black women. Deaths from uterine cancer were twice as likely for black women compared to white women, even though the incidence was high among both racial groups. The higher mortality from uterine cancer seen in African American women may be due to factors such as genetics and unequal access to care, according to Dr. Michael Birrer at the University of Alabama. Birrer stated that more research is needed to address these factors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the rise in uterine cancer rates is partially due to the increase in obesity rates in the United States. Dr. Joseph Davis, an OB/GYN at Cayman Fertility Center, explained that apart from hormonal risk factors, such as higher-than-normal estrogen levels, social factors like diabetes and obesity have become more common due to the amount of processed foods...
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