Archive for the ‘abortion’ Category

Transparency About Abortion Coverage Still Lacking, but Achievable

July 6, 2015 Comments off

Transparency About Abortion Coverage Still Lacking, but Achievable
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Individuals purchasing coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance marketplaces may have difficulty finding consistent, clear information on whether a plan includes or excludes abortion coverage. However, transparency about abortion coverage is both necessary and achievable, according to a new analysis published in the Guttmacher Policy Review.

Under the ACA, insurance plans are neither required to nor prohibited from covering abortion. However, 25 states prohibit coverage of abortion on their health insurance marketplaces. In the remaining states and the District of Columbia, issuers can offer plans that cover abortion care beyond the narrow instances of rape, incest or when the woman’s life is endangered. But a new Guttmacher analysis of publicly available 2015 plan documents in these states found the vast majority of plans do not include information on whether and to what extent abortion is covered. Among the minority of issuers that do address abortion coverage, the way the information is provided varies considerably and is not always useful.

U.S. Abortion Reporting Systems Should Be Strengthened, Not Subverted to Promote Antiabortion Agenda

June 30, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Abortion Reporting Systems Should Be Strengthened, Not Subverted to Promote Antiabortion Agenda
Source: Guttmacher Institute

The current U.S. abortion surveillance system yields reliable statistics on abortion incidence and patient characteristics, thanks to the joint efforts of state and federal governments and the Guttmacher Institute. Still, a new analysis in the Guttmacher Policy Review argues that this system should be strengthened in two key ways: First, the state and federal governments should collect data in a more complete and timely manner. Second, government abortion surveillance at the state and federal levels must be focused solely on collecting basic incidence and demographic data needed for legitimate public health purposes.

While very effective in informing public health policies and programs, the current U.S. abortion surveillance system is a patchwork. Most states report aggregate abortion data to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but reporting from some of them is incomplete and California, Maryland and New Hampshire do not report to the CDC at all. The Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit that funds its abortion surveillance work through private sources, supplements these government collection efforts through its own periodic census of abortion providers and survey of abortion patients.

You Shall Procreate: Attacks on Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Iran

March 19, 2015 Comments off

You Shall Procreate: Attacks on Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Iran
Source: Amnesty International

Women in Iran could face significant restrictions on their use of contraceptives and be further excluded from the labour market unless they have had a child if two proposed laws are approved, says a new report by Amnesty International.

You Shall Procreate: Attacks on Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Iran details the extreme lengths the Iranian authorities are going to in order to encourage repeated childbearing in a misguided attempt to boost the country’s declining population figures.

The Bill to Increase Fertility Rates and Prevent Population Decline (Bill 446) outlaws voluntary sterilization, which is believed to be the second most common method of modern contraception in Iran, and blocks access to information about contraception, denying women the opportunity to make informed decisions about having children. Coupled with the elimination of state funding for Iran’s family planning program, which had, up until 2012, provided millions of women in the country with access to affordable modern contraception, the move would undoubtedly result in greater numbers of unwanted pregnancies, forcing more women to seek illegal and unsafe abortions. Lack of access to condoms, which were previously dispended through urban clinics and rural health houses funded by Iran’s Family and Population Planning Programme, would also lead to a rise in sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

The U.S. Government and International Family Planning & Reproductive Health: Statutory Requirements and Policies

March 18, 2015 Comments off

The U.S. Government and International Family Planning & Reproductive Health: Statutory Requirements and Policies
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

This fact sheet summarizes the major statutory requirements and policies pertaining to U.S. global family planning/reproductive health (FP/RH) efforts over time and identifies those currently in effect. These laws and policies collectively serve to direct how U.S. funds are spent, to where and which organizations funds are provided, and generally shape the implementation and define the scope of U.S. global FP/RH activities. It includes U.S. laws and annual requirements enacted by Congress through appropriations bills (statutory provisions) as well as executive branch policies and guidance specific to FP/RH (policy provisions). Each category lists provisions in chronological order.

Sex, contraception, or abortion? Explaining class gaps in unintended childbearing

March 6, 2015 Comments off

Sex, contraception, or abortion? Explaining class gaps in unintended childbearing
Source: Brookings Institution

There are wide class gaps in unintended childbearing among single women in the United States, resulting from different contraceptive and abortion choices across income groups. In this paper, we use data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG 2011-2013) to estimate how sexual activity, contraceptive use, and abortion use vary across income lines. Though rates of sexual activity are comparable for all women, low-income women are less likely to use contraception and are less likely to have an abortion once pregnant. We use a shift-share analysis to simulate the effect of equalizing, at the rates of affluent women, the use of the contraception and abortion services across income groups. We find that equalizing contraceptive use reduces the ratio of unintended births between affluent and poor women by half, and that equalizing abortion rates reduces the ratio by one-third.

CRS — Abortion: Judicial History and Legislative Response (January 23, 2015)

February 12, 2015 Comments off

Abortion: Judicial History and Legislative Response (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded in Roe v. Wade that the U.S. Constitution protects a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy. In Doe v. Bolton, a companion decision, the Court found that a state may not unduly burden the exercise of that fundamental right with regulations that prohibit or substantially limit access to the means of effectuating the decision to have an abortion. Rather than settle the issue, the Court’s rulings since Roe and Doe have continued to generate debate and have precipitated a variety of governmental actions at the national, state, and local levels designed either to nullify the rulings or limit their effect. These governmental regulations have, in turn, spawned further litigation in which resulting judicial refinements in the law have been no more successful in dampening the controversy.

Abortion Legislation in Europe

February 12, 2015 Comments off

Abortion Legislation in Europe (PDF)
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report summarizing laws on abortion in selected European countries shows diverse approaches to the regulation of abortion in Europe.

A majority of the surveyed countries allow abortion upon the woman’s request in the early weeks of pregnancy, and allow abortion under specified circumstances in later periods. Some countries impose a waiting period of a certain number of days following counseling. Some require consultation with medical personnel before an abortion may be performed. Several countries require that medical personnel certify the abortion is for a reason permitted by law. The most restrictive country surveyed here, Ireland, allows abortion only when there is a real and substantial risk to the woman’s life.