REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS AS HUMAN RIGHTS ACROSS A POST-ROE NATION

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS AS HUMAN RIGHTS ACROSS A POST-ROE NATION

Pro-choice vs Pro-life? The conversation surrounding reproductive health has been trampled by the debate between two movements. It has been obscured by debates of when life begins. It has been convoluted with religious beliefs, political beliefs, and complex obscurities that the people have failed to realize the real focus of this discussion: women and their reproductive freedom. With the overturning of Roe vs Wade, the discussion of reproductive rights and women’s rights have become more urgent than ever. This is not a matter of women’s rights but human rights. Due to the constitutional right to an abortion granted by Roe vs Wade, women have had the law the federal government enabling the freedom to reproductive care but stripping this basic human right to healthcare puts them in more dangerous situations than ever [2]. The advent of this new decision has opened new laws that will soon ban abortion access, birth control and other means of contraceptives. This is a mean...
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Webinar Series

Webinar Series

The Center for Global Reproductive Health and the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health recently partnered to convene a webinar on “The unfinished agenda of maternal and child health in Africa and Asia: promising directions to address maternal mortality challenges.” The panel, moderated by Dr. Megan Huchko, included: Dr. Mariam Claeson, former Director of the Global Financing Facility for Every Women Every Child at the World Bank and now at the Karolinska Institute Dr. Qjan Long, Assistant Professor at Duke Kunshan University, formerly worked at the Department of Reproductive Health and Research, WHO Ms. Jacquelyn Caglia, Director of Learning, Communications for Merck for Mothers Experts discussed the historic and current challenges in addressing maternal and child mortality in the region, and brought up some promising innovations and strategies with the potential to effect these disparities in the future. The webinar can be seen here, with a fill description of the background and discussion on the CPIGH website....
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The Failures of American Sex-Education

The Failures of American Sex-Education

As the topic of sexual and reproductive health re-enters the public consciousness in America through the overturning of Roe v. Wade, it becomes increasingly important to access American Sex Education, or rather, the failures of it, and how we teach these topics to our most impressionable population, children. The state of sex-education in this country is in shambles. Though the majority of Americans support sex-education in middle school and in high school, what exactly does that education look like?  The first and one of the most important things to note about sex-education in the states is that there is no universal regulation of it. Only thirty nine states, plus DC, even have government mandated sex-education [5]. Within the states with mandated sex-education, only thirteen must provide “medically accurate” sex-education [1]. The content of what is covered in sex-education varies widely from state to state, within states that do have government mandated sex-education, it is often left to individual districts to decide...
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Resources for Abortion Access Across a Post-Roe Nation

Resources for Abortion Access Across a Post-Roe Nation

Pictured above: People marching in Boulder, Colorado for Reproductive Health Rights in May of 2022 with signs that say “Your right to abortion should not depend on your zip code.”   Unfortunately, though, zip codes shaping access to abortions may very much be more of a reality with the overturning of Roe v. Wade.    The New York Times reveals how the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Mississippi law could weaken or even overturn Roe v. Wade which could ultimately lead to legal abortion access dramatically decreasing, particularly in the American South and Midwest (Bui et al., 2021). This geographic discrepancy is even more reinforced through social class differences and communities that are “disproportionately Black, Latina, teenagers, uninsured, and undocumented immigrants” (Miller & Sanger-Katz, 2022). Ultimately, leading not only to be a social justice issue and human rights issue, but also a racial justice issue. Bui et al. quotes Caitlin Knowles Myers saying, “A post Roe-United States isn’t one in which abortion isn’t...
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The Heart of the Abortion Debate

The Heart of the Abortion Debate

When having discussions about Roe v. Wade and the consequences of overturning it, it is of the utmost importance that we remember to center the stories and the voices of those that would be most affected by the loss of abortion access. It is often easy to get lost in the big-picture, Constitutional implications of Roe v. Wade being overturned, but the heart of this issue is the people. Some of our most vulnerable and most marginalized populations will feel the impact of Roe being overturned the most, and listening to them and understanding their stories is imperative to movements to preserve abortion access. Through this blogpost, I hope to highlight the stories of real people that need access to abortion services.    Adriana was 34 and living in Mexico when she found out that she was pregnant. Abortion was not legal where Adriana was from in Mexico. Adriana knew immediately that she wanted to terminate her pregnancy, but her choices were...
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Maternal Mortality: Why is Race a Factor?

Maternal Mortality: Why is Race a Factor?

The United States is one of the leading nations in medical advancement and spends a significant portion of expenditures in healthcare and yet, we have the highest rate of maternal mortality (ratio of 57) among developed countries. About 57 mothers die during childbirth per 100,000 birth in a year. Maternal mortality is defined as the death of a mother due to pregnancy and/or childbirth complications [3]. These complications can arise due to a variety of factors including environmental lifestyle, predisposing conditions, risk factors, genetics and socioeconomic factors [1]. Pregnancy complications are likely to arise in women with higher maternal age and those with chronic cardiovascular conditions. Preeclampsia is a condition in which women develop high blood pressure due to preexisting cardiovascular conditions and kidney disease. Black non-Hispanic mothers are 2.5 times more likely to die from pregnancy or labor complications compared to white women and 3.5 times more likely to die than Hispanic women [3]. Why is there a disparity in...
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Myna Mahila Foundation Combats Period Taboo in Urban Indian Communities

Myna Mahila Foundation Combats Period Taboo in Urban Indian Communities

Although stigma surrounding menstruation exists around the world, this stigma manifests in a way that has a deeply negative effect on the lives of menstruators in some communities in India. In these communities, periods are treated as dirty and impure. Many menstruators are not allowed to pray, go to the temple, or enter the kitchen while on their period. Due to the negative stigma surrounding menstruation, menstruators in these communities do not discuss menstruation. Many men do not even know what menstruation is. Menstruators feel ashamed buying sanitary pads from male workers at health stores and are thus forced to use unsanitary cloth rags during their cycles. As a result of the lack of access to proper menstrual hygiene products and community support, in some Indian communities, young menstruators are forced to end their education after they get their period.  Despite how pervasive this taboo is in many Indian communities, there are a variety of efforts to combat this detrimental stigma....
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Faculty Spotlight:  An Interview with Dr. Jonas Swartz

Faculty Spotlight: An Interview with Dr. Jonas Swartz

Jonas Swartz, MD, MPH is an OB/GYN and an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He completed his undergrad at Duke University and then his MPH and MD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Oregon Health and Science University, followed with a fellowship in Complex Family Planning back at UNC. I had a conversation with Dr. Swartz to understand more about how he became involved in health policy and reproductive health access. “Well, I grew up in North Carolina and did Medical School here, and one of the striking things when I was a medical student was the discrepancy in care during pregnancy for people who were citizens versus non-citizens. And, in particular, thinking about low-income people who use Medicaid.” Swartz described his early medical training and becoming acquainted with the Federal Emergency Medicaid program, which only pays for labor and delivery services for authorized immigrants. He noted that...
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SRT Spring 2022 Reflection

SRT Spring 2022 Reflection

This summer, 4 students will join the Center as part of the Student Research Training Program (SRT). Hear their thoughts heading into the program.   Bentley Choi When I first applied to the SRT program, I merely expected to ‘conduct’ research abroad. In reality, I learned more important skills such as writing IRB amendments, scheduling a meeting with teammates, and communicating with a research team in Kisumu. My goal for this summer is to apply what I learned from Dr. Eric Green’s Global Health Research Methods class into a real-life setting, and I believe we are making our way to this goal since the team proposed a new way to evaluate the intervention! I look forward to conducting observational study and focus group discussions. Also, I am hoping to learn how to navigate myself in a new living environment and what are Kenya’s unique cultural factors that influence stigma and perception towards reproductive health since it is also related to my senior thesis...
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BD4RH Spring 2022 Reflection

BD4RH Spring 2022 Reflection

Our Big Data for Reproductive Health Bass Connections team worked on three teams throughout the year and presented their work at the Bass Connections Showcase. Using Natural Language Processing (NLP) Techniques to examine Stigma with Cervical Cancer in Kenya Members: Foxx Hart, Lynne Wang, Alexandra Lawerence, and Neha Shrishail For our project, we utilized topic modeling to identify recurring themes and sentiments in HIV interview data with Kenyan women, as well as develop an understanding of stigma frameworks. This year we were able to learn new technical and project management skills while diving deeper into the emerging interdisciplinary space between quantitative machine learning and qualitative social science research. Due to the many nuances and complexities involved with categorizing stigma, we have concluded that rudimentary NLP is not sufficient for identifying the various forms of stigma in qualitative data. However, we believe that this was a great introduction to applying these methods to an important area in global reproductive health. We hope more research...
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