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Reproductive Health — Trends in the States: First Quarter 2015

April 7, 2015 Comments off

Trends in the States: First Quarter 2015
Source: Guttmacher Institute

By the end of the first quarter of the year, legislators had introduced 791 provisions related to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Nearly 42% of these provisions (332 provisions) seek to restrict access to abortion services; abortion restrictions have been introduced in 43 states. By April 1, 53 abortion restrictions had been approved by a legislative chamber, and nine had been enacted. Many of the new abortion restrictions enacted this year would either limit the use of medication abortion (Arkansas and Idaho) or ban abortion at 20 weeks postfertilization (West Virginia), a disturbing combination of attempts to curtail access in both the early and later months of pregnancy, potentially leaving women with fewer options and a greatly reduced time frame to get the care they need.

Unintended Pregnancies Cost Federal and State Governments $21 Billion In 2010

March 18, 2015 Comments off

Unintended Pregnancies Cost Federal and State Governments $21 Billion In 2010
Source: Guttmacher Institute

U.S. government expenditures on births, abortions and miscarriages resulting from unintended pregnancies nationwide totaled $21 billion in 2010, according to “Public Costs from Unintended Pregnancies and the Role of Public Insurance Programs in Paying for Pregnancy-Related Care: National and State Estimates for 2010,” by Adam Sonfield and Kathryn Kost. In 19 states, public expenditures related to unintended pregnancies exceeded $400 million in 2010. Texas spent the most ($2.9 billion), followed by California ($1.8 billion), New York ($1.5 billion) and Florida ($1.3 billion); those four states are also the nation’s most populous.

Unplanned Births Associated With Less Prenatal Care and Worse Infant Health, Compared With Planned Births

March 2, 2015 Comments off

Unplanned Births Associated With Less Prenatal Care and Worse Infant Health, Compared With Planned Births
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Compared with women having planned births, those who have unplanned births are less likely to recognize their pregnancy early, to receive early prenatal care or to breast-feed, and are more likely to have low-birth-weight babies, according to “Pregnancy Intentions, Maternal Behaviors and Infant Health: Investigating Relationships with New Measures and Propensity Score Analysis,” by Kathryn Kost and Laura Lindberg. The study examines the associations between U.S. mothers’ pregnancy intentions, their pregnancy-related health behaviors and their infants’ health at birth.

“Almost 40% of the four million annual births in the United States result from an unintended pregnancy,” says study author Kathryn Kost. “Our study found that births from unintended pregnancies are disadvantaged relative to births from intended ones. During and immediately following pregnancy, women with unplanned births are less likely to receive early prenatal care or to breast-feed the infant and are more likely to have infants with poorer health at birth. Enabling women to prevent an unintended pregnancy is a way to improve the health of children.”

Between 2006 and 2010, Unintended Pregnancy Rates Declined in a Majority of States

February 25, 2015 Comments off

Between 2006 and 2010, Unintended Pregnancy Rates Declined in a Majority of States
Source: Guttmacher Institute

In 2010, more than half of all pregnancies were unintended in 28 states; in the remainder of states, a minimum of 36% of pregnancies were unintended, according to “Unintended Pregnancy Rates at the State Level: Estimates for 2010 and Trends Since 2002,” by Kathryn Kost. In most states, unintended pregnancy rates were within the range of 40 to 55 per 1,000 women aged 15–44; the states with the highest unintended pregnancy rates were Delaware (62), Hawaii and New York (61 each), and the lowest rate was in New Hampshire (32). Unintended pregnancy rates were generally highest in the South (Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia) and Southwest (Texas, New Mexico), and in densely populated states (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York).

Contraceptive Needs and Services, 2012 Update (August 2014)

September 4, 2014 Comments off

Contraceptive Needs and Services, 2012 Update (PDF)
Source: Guttmacher Institute
From press release:

Between 2000 and 2012, the number of U.S. women in need of publicly funded family planning services increased by 22%, or 3.5 million women; in 2012, 20 million women were in need of publicly funded services. Women were considered to be “in need” if they were adults with a family income below 250% of the federal poverty level, or teens regardless of family income, and were sexually experienced and did not want to become pregnant. The increased need for publicly funded family planning services was driven primarily by a rise in the number of poor and low-income adult women (<250% of poverty) in need of contraceptive services and supplies.

Demystifying Data: A Guide to Using Evidence to Improve Young People’s Sexual Health and Rights

August 22, 2014 Comments off

Demystifying Data: A Guide to Using Evidence to Improve Young People’s Sexual Health and Rights (PDF)
Source: Guttmacher Institute

The guide aims to help health care providers, educators and advocates in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights to better understand and use evidence on adolescents’ knowledge and behaviors. The guide provides demographic and socioeconomic information about adolescents, as well as measures of their access to, need for, and use of sexual and reproductive health information and services. It is ultimately designed to provide professionals in the field with information they can use to argue effectively for and design policies and programs to meet young people’s needs for sexual and reproductive health, education and services, and information on sexual and reproductive rights.

Presenting the latest available data for 30 countries, the guide explains the practical meaning of the data in clear, nontechnical language. The guide can help those working with young people to bring about much-needed change, including
• provision of comprehensive sexuality education; increased access to sexual and reproductive health services;
• improved policies to protect the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people; and
• increased understanding of where the need is greatest in order to focus efforts on the most vulnerable young people.

Two Decades After Emergency Contraceptive Pills Became Available, Few Women Use Them

July 24, 2014 Comments off

Two Decades After Emergency Contraceptive Pills Became Available, Few Women Use Them
Source: Guttmacher Institute

In many developing countries, most women have never heard of or used emergency contraceptive pills, according to “Knowledge and Use of Emergency Contraception: A Multicountry Analysis,” by Tia Palermo of Stony Brook University. Although the method can help women avoid unplanned pregnancies, in every country surveyed but Colombia, fewer than 50% of women have ever heard of it and fewer than 6% have ever used it. In general, the more educated women were or the wealthier they were, the more likely they were to have known about or used emergency contraception.

The researchers analyzed national survey data from 2000–2010 of women aged 15–49 in 45 countries in four regions.Women’s knowledge and use of the method varied widely within each region. In Latin America and the Caribbean, for example, Colombia had the highest proportions of women who knew about the method (66%) and had used it (12%), while Haiti had the lowest (13% and 0.4%, respectively).

Wide ranges in knowledge and use were also seen in the other three regions. In Africa, women’s awareness of emergency contraception ranged from 2% in Chad to 40% in Kenya and use ranged from less than 0.1% in Chad to 4% in Ghana. In Asia, awareness ranged from 3% of women in Timor-Leste to 29% in the Maldives, and use ranged from a low of 0.1% (Cambodia, Nepal and Timor-Leste) to 0.9% (Pakistan). In Eastern Europe and West Asia, Ukraine had the highest rates of awareness and use (49% and 6%, respectively), while Azerbaijan had the lowest (5% and 0.5%).

According to the authors, rates of emergency contraception use in the countries studied tended to be much lower than in countries where the method has been on the market longer, such as France and the United States (17% and 11%, respectively). The exceptionally high levels of knowledge and use found in Colombia, reflect, among other things, a commercial sector that makes nine brands of emergency contraceptive pills easily available.

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