Archive for the ‘Guttmacher Institute’ Category

Use of Highly Effective Contraceptive Methods Increases Substantially, but Remains Low Among Women at Highest Risk of Unplanned Pregnancy

July 18, 2012 Comments off

Use of Highly Effective Contraceptive Methods Increases Substantially, but Remains Low Among Women at Highest Risk of Unplanned Pregnancy
Source: Guttmacher Institute

The proportion of women using highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptive methods—namely, the implant and intrauterine device (IUD)—increased significantly between 2002 and 2009, growing from 2.4% to 8.5%. This finding comes from a newly released study, “Changes In Use of Long-Acting Contraceptive Methods in the United States, 2007–2009,” by Lawrence B. Finer et al. of the Guttmacher Institute, which also found that use of these methods increased among almost every demographic group. This increase occurred simultaneously with a decline in both sterilization and the use of less effective short-term methods such as condoms and the birth control pill. Despite this overall increase, use of long-acting methods in the United States remains substantially lower than in other developed countries such as the United Kingdom (11%), France (23%) and Norway (27%).

The authors analyzed data from the 2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth, and found that the highest use of long-acting methods was among women aged 25–39 and among women who had already had at least one child. Notably, just 2% of women with no children had used these methods, compared with 15% of women with one or two children. The authors speculate that low levels of use among young women and among those who have not yet had children could be related to the high up-front costs of these methods, as well as provider misperceptions about who is an appropriate candidate for use.

New Study Finds Little Progress in Meeting Demand for Contraception in the Developing World

July 11, 2012 Comments off

New Study Finds Little Progress in Meeting Demand for Contraception in the Developing World
Source: Guttmacher Institute

A new study by the Guttmacher Institute and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, finds that the number of women in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy but are not using modern contraception declined only slightly between 2008 and 2012, from 226 to 222 million. However, in the 69 poorest countries—where 73% of all women with unmet need for modern contraceptives reside—the number actually increased, from 153 to 162 million women.

The report, Adding It Up: Costs and Benefits of Contraceptive Services—Estimates for 2012, finds that 645 million women of reproductive age (15–49 years) in the developing world are now using modern contraceptive methods, 42 million more than in 2008. However, about half of the increase is due to population growth rather than to a higher rate of contraceptive use. Disturbingly, the increase in the number of modern contraceptive users between 2008 and 2012, roughly 10 million per year, was much lower than the annual increase between 2003 and 2008, which was approximately 20 million per year.

The overall proportion using a modern method among married women–who comprise 92% of all modern method users—remained virtually unchanged between 2008 and 2012, at 56–57%. However, there were significant regional variations. Substantial increases occurred in Eastern Africa (from 20% to 27%) and Southeast Asia (from 50% to 56%), while there was little change in Western Africa and Middle Africa, regions where fewer than 10% of married women use modern contraceptives.

Young adulthood is a period of high risk for unintended pregnancy and birth

April 26, 2012 Comments off

Young adulthood is a period of high risk for unintended pregnancy and birth
Source: Guttmacher Institute

More than two-thirds of pregnancies among unmarried women aged 20–29 were unintended in 2008, according to “Unintended Pregnancy: Incidence and Outcomes Among Young Adult Unmarried Women in the United States, 2001 and 2008,” by Mia Zolna and Laura Duberstein Lindberg of the Guttmacher Institute. By comparison, only half of pregnancies among all women of reproductive age were unintended. In 2008, nearly 10% of unmarried women aged 20-29 (95 per 1,000) experienced an unintended pregnancy. Moreover, this represents a slight increase since 2001, when it stood at 92 per 1,000.

Social and economic disadvantage continue to be strongly linked to increased risk for unintended pregnancy. The authors found that in 2008, black and Hispanic women had rates of unintended pregnancy twice those of their white counterparts, while rates among poor women were more than four times the rate for women in the highest income group.

+ Unintended Pregnancy: Incidence and Outcomes Among Young Adult Unmarried Women in the United States, 2001 and 2008 (PDF)

Facts on American Teens’ Sources of Information About Sex

March 23, 2012 Comments off

Facts on American Teens’ Sources of Information About Sex
Source: Guttmacher Institute

• Although only 13% of U.S. teens have had sex by age 15, most initiate sex in their late teen years. By their 19th birthday, seven in 10 teen men and teen women have had intercourse.
• Between 1988 and 2006–2010, the proportion of never-married teens aged 15–17 who had ever engaged in sexual intercourse declined from 37% to 27% among females, and from 50% to 28% among males. During the same period, among teens aged 18–19, that proportion declined from 73% to 63% among females, and 77% to 64% among males.
• The pregnancy rate among young women has declined steadily, from 117 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15–19 in 1990 to 68 per 1,000 in 2008.
• The majority (86%) of the decline in the teen pregnancy rate between 1995 and 2002 was the result of dramatic improvements in contraceptive use, including an increase in the proportion of teens using a single method of contraception, an increase in the proportion using multiple methods simultaneously and a substantial decline in nonuse. Just 14% of the decline is attributable to decreased sexual activity.

More Than Half of All Reproductive-Age U.S. Women Now Live in States Hostile to Abortion Rights

March 19, 2012 Comments off

More Than Half of All Reproductive-Age U.S. Women Now Live in States Hostile to Abortion Rights
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Fifty-five percent of all reproductive-age U.S. women lived in a state hostile to abortion rights in 2011, up significantly from 31% in 2000, according to a new Guttmacher Institute policy analysis. The increase is the result of a dramatic shift in the abortion policy landscape at the state level over the past decade, including a record number of abortion restrictions that were enacted in 2011.

“In 2000, the country was more evenly divided: nearly a third of women lived in states solidly hostile to abortion rights, slightly more than a third in states supportive of abortion rights and close to a third in middle-ground states,” says Rachel Benson Gold, Guttmacher’s director of policy analysis. “By 2011, however, more than half of women of reproductive age lived in hostile states. This growth came largely at the expense of the states in the middle. Only one in 10 women lived in a middle-ground state by 2011.”

The analysis finds that most states—35 in total—remained in the same category in all three years (see below). However, of the 15 states whose abortion policy landscape changed substantially, all became more restrictive. Two formerly supportive states had moved to the middle-ground category by 2011, and one had become hostile. And 12 states that had been middle-ground in 2000 had become hostile by 2011. In 2000, 19 states were middle-ground and only 13 were hostile. By 2011, 26 states were hostile to abortion rights, and the number of middle-ground states had been cut in half, to nine.

+ Full Report
+ Map: Shrinking Middle Ground

Sex Education Linked to Delay in First Sex

March 18, 2012 Comments off

Sex Education Linked to Delay in First Sex
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Teens who receive formal sex education prior to their first sexual experience demonstrate a range of healthier behaviors at first intercourse than those who receive no sex education at all. This is particularly so when the instruction they receive includes information about both waiting to have sex and methods of birth control. These findings come from a new study, “Consequences of Sex Education on Teen and Young Adult Sexual Behaviors and Outcomes,” by Laura Duberstein Lindberg and Isaac Maddow-Zimet of the Guttmacher Institute.

The authors analyzed data from 4,691 men and women aged 15–24 who participated in the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth. They found that 66% of sexually experienced females and 55% of sexually experienced males reported having received information about both abstinence and birth control prior to first intercourse. Eighteen percent of sexually experienced females and 21% of males had received only abstinence instruction, while 16% of females and 24% of males had had no instruction on either topic. However, these measures do not correlate directly with any specific “abstinence-only” or “comprehensive” sex education programs (see below).

Respondents who had received instruction on both abstinence and birth control were older at first sex than their peers who had received no formal instruction and were more likely to have used condoms or other contraceptives at first sex; they also had healthier partnerships. Those who had received only abstinence instruction were more likely to have delayed first intercourse than were those who had had no sex education, but abstinence instruction was not associated with any of the other protective behaviors at first sex. Moreover, condom use at first sex was significantly less likely among females who had had only abstinence instruction than among those who had received information about both abstinence and birth control. The study found no relationship between sex education and current sexual behaviors, suggesting the need for ongoing education after the onset of sexual activity.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

U.S. Teen Pregnancy Rate at Lowest Level in Nearly 40 Years

February 13, 2012 Comments off

U.S. Teen Pregnancy Rate at Lowest Level in Nearly 40 Years
Source:  Guttmacher Institute

Teen pregnancies have declined dramatically in the United States since their peak in the early 1990s, as have the births and abortions that result; in 2008, teen pregnancies reached their lowest level in nearly 40 years, according to “U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions, 2008: National Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity,” by Kathryn Kost and Stanley Henshaw of the Guttmacher Institute. In 2008, the teen pregnancy rate was 67.8 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15–19, which means that about 7% of U.S. teens became pregnant that year. This rate represents a 42% decline from the peak in 1990 (116.9 per 1,000). Similarly, the birthrate declined 35% between 1991 and 2008, from 61.8 to 40.2 births per 1,000 teens; the abortion rate declined 59% from its 1988 peak of 43.5 abortions per 1,000 teens to its 2008 level of 17.8 per 1,000.
Even with dramatic reductions in pregnancy, birth and abortion rates among all racial and ethnic groups, disparities between black, white and Hispanic teens persist. After peaking in the early 1990s, the teen pregnancy rate dropped by 37% among Hispanics, 48% among blacks and 50% among non-Hispanic whites; yet the rates among black and Hispanic teens remain 2–3 times as high as that of non-Hispanic white teens. There were also considerable disparities in birth and abortion rates. The birthrates in 2008 among black and Hispanic teens, as well as Hispanic teens’ abortion rate, were twice the rates among whites; the abortion rate for black teens was four times that of whites.

Full Report (PDF)

Long-Term Worldwide Decline in Abortions Has Stalled

January 20, 2012 Comments off

Long-Term Worldwide Decline in Abortions Has Stalled
Source: Guttmacher Institute

After a period of substantial decline, the global abortion rate has stalled, according to new research from the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization (WHO). Between 1995 and 2003, the overall number of abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age (15–44 years) dropped from 35 to 29; according to the new study, the global abortion rate in 2008 was virtually unchanged, at 28 per 1,000. This plateau coincides with a slowdown, documented by the United Nations, in contraceptive uptake, which has been especially marked in developing countries. The researchers also found that nearly half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, and almost all unsafe abortions occur in the developing world. The study, Induced Abortion: Incidence and Trends Worldwide from 1995 to 2008, by Gilda Sedgh et al., was published online today by The Lancet.

In the developing world, the abortion rate was 29 per 1,000 in both 2003 and 2008, after falling from 34 per 1,000 between 1995 and 2003. The situation was somewhat different in the developed world, excluding Eastern Europe, where the abortion rate was much lower, at 17 per 1,000 in 2008, having declined slightly from a rate of 20 in 1995.

“The declining abortion trend we had seen globally has stalled, and we are also seeing a growing proportion of abortions occurring in developing countries, where the procedure is often clandestine and unsafe. This is cause for concern,” says Gilda Sedgh , lead author of the study and a senior researcher at the Guttmacher Institute. “This plateau coincides with a slowdown in contraceptive uptake. Without greater investment in quality family planning services, we can expect this trend to persist.”
Research from WHO shows that complications due to unsafe abortion continued to account for an estimated 13% of all maternal deaths worldwide in 2008; almost all of these deaths occurred in developing countries. Globally, unsafe abortion accounted for 220 deaths per 100,000 procedures in 2008, 350 times the rate associated with legal induced abortions in the United States (0.6 per 100,000). Unsafe abortion is also a significant cause of ill-health: Each year approximately 8.5 million women in developing countries experience abortion complications serious enough to require medical attention, and three million of them do not receive the needed care.

+ Full Report (PDF)

Second-Trimester Abortions Concentrated Among Certain Groups of Women

December 23, 2011 Comments off
Source:  Guttmacher Institute

In the United States, nearly nine in 10 abortions occur in the first trimester, but, until now, little was known about the 10% of women who have abortions at 13 weeks’ gestation or later. According to “Who Has Second-Trimester Abortions in the United States?,” by Rachel K. Jones and Lawrence B. Finer of the Guttmacher Institute, certain groups of women are overrepresented among second-trimester abortion patients. These groups include women with lower educational levels, black women and women who have experienced multiple disruptive events in the last year, such as unemployment or separating from a partner.

This first-ever comprehensive profile of second-trimester abortion patients in the United States relies on data from a nationally representative sample of more than 9,400 women obtaining abortions in 2008. The authors first compared first-trimester abortion patients with those obtaining abortions at 13 weeks or later to see if there were differences in characteristics between the groups; next, among second-trimester abortion patients, they compared early second-trimester abortion patients (13–15 weeks’ gestation) with those having abortions at 16 weeks or later.

Certain groups of women were more likely than others to obtain abortions at 13 weeks or later. For example, teens were more likely than older women to obtain an abortion in the second trimester—accounting for 14% of abortions among teens, compared with 9% among women aged 30 and older. Similarly, the proportion of abortions that occurred in the second trimester was 13% among black women, compared with 9% among non-Hispanic whites; 13% among women who had not graduated from high school, compared with 6% among college graduates; 14% among those using health insurance to pay for the procedure, compared with 8% among those who paid out of pocket; and 15% among those who had experienced three or more disruptive events in the past year, compared with 9% among women experiencing no disruptive events.

Full Report (PDF)

The World at Seven Billion: Helping Women Achieve Their Desired Family Size Is the Micro-Level Solution to a Macro-Level Challenge

September 2, 2011 Comments off

The World at Seven Billion: Helping Women Achieve Their Desired Family Size Is the Micro-Level Solution to a Macro-Level Challenge
Source: Guttmacher Institute

The fact that the world’s population continues to grow apace and will reach seven billion later this year presents numerous economic, developmental, environmental and social challenges. Many of these pressures can be effectively addressed by doing more to empower women and couples around the world to decide for themselves when to become pregnant and how many children to have, according to a new Guttmacher analysis.

“Especially in the developing world, millions of women and couples are still unable to control the timing, spacing and total number of the children they have because of the barriers they face to obtaining and using contraceptives,” says Susan Cohen, author of the analysis. “Recognizing this fact provides a road map for action that simultaneously addresses the needs of people and our planet.”

Previous Guttmacher research found that 215 million women in developing countries have an unmet need for contraception, meaning they want to stop or postpone childbearing, but are not using a modern contraceptive. These women account for more than 80% of all unintended pregnancies in the developing world each year.
Helping women and couples achieve their stated desire to have a smaller family would result in the world’s population peaking within the next few decades and then actually starting to decline. But, according to Cohen, getting there requires significantly increased political and financial commitment at the global level—with the ultimate goal of achieving universal access to reproductive health care for all women.

+ The World at Seven Billion: Global Milestone A Reflection of Individual Needs

Disparities in unintended pregnancy grow even as national rate stagnates

August 29, 2011 Comments off

Disparities in unintended pregnancy grow even as national rate stagnates
Source: Guttmacher Institute

A new analysis from the Guttmacher Institute shows that following a considerable decline between 1981 and 1994, the overall U.S. unintended pregnancy rate has remained essentially flat—about 5% of U.S. women have an unintended pregnancy every year. However, the rate has increased dramatically among poor women, while among higher-income women it has continued to decrease substantially, according to “Unintended Pregnancy in the United States: Incidence and Disparities, 2006,” by Lawrence B. Finer and Mia R. Zolna.

In 1994, the unintended pregnancy rate among women with incomes below the federal poverty line was 88 per 1,000 women aged 15–44; it increased to 120 in 2001 and 132 in 2006—a 50% rise over the period. At the same time, the rate among higher-income women (those with incomes at or above 200% of the poverty line) fell from 34 in 1994 to 28 in 2001 and 24 in 2006—a 29% decrease. Poor women’s high rate of unintended pregnancy results in their also having high—and increasing—rates of both abortions (52 per 1,000) and unplanned births (66 per 1,000). In 2006, poor women had an unintended pregnancy rate five times that of higher-income women, and an unintended birth rate six times as high.

Analyzing U.S. government data from the National Survey of Family Growth and other sources, Finer and Zolna found that of the 6.7 million pregnancies in 2006, nearly half (49%) were unintended. Although some unintended pregnancies are accepted or even welcomed, more than four in ten (43%) end in abortion. Unintended pregnancy rates are elevated not only among poor and low-income women, but also among women aged 18–24, cohabiting women and minority women. It is important to note, however, that poor women have high unintended pregnancy rates nearly across the board, regardless of their education, race and ethnicity, marital status or age.

In contrast to the high rates among certain groups, some women in the United States are having considerable success timing and spacing their pregnancies. Higher-income women, white women, college graduates and married women have relatively low unintended pregnancy rates (as low as 17 per 1,000 among higher-income white women—one-third the national rate of 52 per 1,000), suggesting that women who have better access to reproductive health services, have achieved their educational goals or are in relationships that support a desired pregnancy are more likely than other women to achieve planned pregnancies and avoid those they do not want.

+ Full Report (PDF)

States Enact Record Number of Abortion Restrictions in First Half of 2011

August 5, 2011 Comments off

States Enact Record Number of Abortion Restrictions in First Half of 2011
Source: Guttmacher Institute

In the first six months of 2011, states enacted 162 new provisions related to reproductive health and rights. Fully 49% of these new laws seek to restrict access to abortion services, a sharp increase from 2010, when 26% of new laws restricted abortion. The 80 abortion restrictions enacted this year are more than double the previous record of 34 abortion restrictions enacted in 2005—and more than triple the 23 enacted in 2010. All of these new provisions were enacted in just 19 states.

+ State Legislation Enacted in 2011 Related to Reproductive Health (PDF)

Providing Postabortion Contraceptive Services is Key To Reducing Repeat Unintended Pregnancies and Abortions

June 15, 2011 Comments off

Providing Postabortion Contraceptive Services is Key To Reducing Repeat Unintended Pregnancies and Abortions
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Because most abortions result from unintended pregnancies—and many from repeat unintended pregnancies—better access to affordable and effective contraceptive services and supplies for women who obtain abortions should be a high priority. Virtually all abortion providers offer at least some postabortion contraceptive services, yet for many women, the facility at which they obtain an abortion is unable to fully meet their needs.

Two new studies from the Guttmacher Institute examine postabortion contraceptive services, one from the perspective of patients and one focusing on providers. The first, “Patients’ Attitudes and Experiences Related to Receiving Contraception During Abortion Care,” by Megan Kavanaugh et al., finds that two-thirds of women seeking abortion report that they want to leave their appointments with a contraceptive method in hand, and 69% believe that the abortion setting is an appropriate one for receiving contraceptive information. Among women who had had an abortion in the past five years, more than two-thirds had received a method of contraception during their visit.

According to “Perceived and Insurance-Related Barriers to the Provision of Contraceptive Services in U.S. Abortion Care Settings,” also by Megan Kavanaugh et al., comprehensive reproductive health centers that provide abortions offer a wider range of postabortion contraceptive methods than do specialized abortion clinics. In 2008, specialized clinics accounted for 21% of abortion providers but performed 70% of all abortions. Specialized clinics that do not accept health insurance are less likely than other facilities to have highly effective contraceptive methods such as IUDs and implants on site.

Meanwhile, specialized abortion clinics—although they may have difficulty providing full-spectrum and ongoing contraceptive care (because they tend to see women only at the time of their abortion)—may be especially well-suited to provide the most effective contraceptive methods on the market, according to “Abortion Clinics and Contraceptive Services: Opportunities and Challenges,” by Adam Sonfield. Providing long-acting reversible methods, such as IUDs and contraceptive implants, and even surgical sterilization, would be well within their medical expertise. Doing so, however, would require significant financial and institutional investments in order to overcome challenges related to patient demand, the high cost of services and supplies, and the need to interface with public and private insurance systems.

+ Patients’ Attitudes and Experiences Related to Receiving Contraception During Abortion Care (PDF)
+ Perceived and Insurance-Related Barriers to the Provision of Contraceptive Services in U.S. Abortion Care Settings (PDF)
+ Abortion Clinics and Contraceptive Services: Opportunities and Challenges (PDF)

Publicly Subsidized Family Planning Services are Indispensable for Many Women

June 9, 2011 Comments off

Publicly Subsidized Family Planning Services are Indispensable for Many Women
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Family planning services are vital to the health and well-being of poor and low-income women in general, and marginalized populations in particular, according to three new articles in the Guttmacher Policy Review. These services constitute

  • a gateway into the U.S. health care system for women who would otherwise only have a tenuous connection to medical care, or none at all;
  • a source of urgently needed contraceptive services and other sexual health care for young women in foster care, who are at high risk of unintended pregnancy; and
  • a highly successful public health program that boosts maternal and newborn health, saves billions in taxpayer dollars, and averts significant numbers of unintended pregnancies, unplanned births and abortions.

+ “The Role of Family Planning Centers as Gateways to Health Coverage and Care,” by Rachel Benson Gold

+ “Teen Pregnancy Among Young Women in Foster Care: A Primer,” by Heather D. Boonstra

+ “The Numbers Tell the Story: The Reach and Impact of Title X,” by Susan A. Cohen

Nation Pays Steep Price For High Rates of Unintended Pregnancy

June 1, 2011 Comments off

Nation Pays Steep Price For High Rates of Unintended Pregnancy
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Two new studies taking different methodological approaches arrive at the same conclusion: Unintended pregnancy costs U.S. taxpayers roughly $11 billion each year. Both estimates are conservative in that they are limited to public insurance costs for pregnancy and first-year infant care, and both studies conclude that the potential public savings from reducing unintended pregnancy in the United States would be huge. A related new study provides first-ever estimates of unintended pregnancy for each state, and a starting point for future efforts to monitor states’ progress toward reducing unintended pregnancy.

+ The Public Costs of Births Resulting from Unintended Pregnancies: National and State-Level Estimates (PDF)
+ Unintended Pregnancy and Taxpayer Spending (PDF)
+ Unintended Pregnancy Rates at the State Level (PDF)

Updated: Just the Numbers—The Impact of U.S. International Family Planning Assistance

June 1, 2011 Comments off

Updated: Just the Numbers—The Impact of U.S. International Family Planning Assistance (PDF)
Source: Guttmacher Institute

The Benefits of U.S. International Family Planning Assistance

A total of $615 million (of which $40 million is designated for the United Nations Population Fund) is appropriated for U.S. assistance for family planning and reproductive health programs for the remainder of FY 2011, a cut of about $33 million below the FY 2010 amount. This level of funding makes it possible for

  • 37.4 million women and couples to receive contraceptive services and supplies;
  • 11.7 million unintended pregnancies and 5.1 million unplanned births to be averted;
  • 5.1 million induced abortions to be averted (3.7 million of them unsafe);
  • 32,000 maternal deaths to be averted;
  • 3.6 million fewer healthy years of life (DALYs) to be lost among women; and
  • 140,000 fewer children to lose their mothers.

More Investment In Contraceptive Technologies Needed To Reduce Unintended Pregnancy Rates Among Developing Country Women

May 13, 2011 Comments off

More Investment In Contraceptive Technologies Needed To Reduce Unintended Pregnancy Rates Among Developing Country Women
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Seven out of 10 women in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Central Asia and Southeast Asia who want to avoid pregnancy but are not using modern contraceptives report reasons for nonuse that indicate currently available methods do not satisfy their needs, according to new Guttmacher research. The findings suggest that substantially bringing down unintended pregnancy rates in these developing regions will require increased investment in the development of new methods that better address women’s concerns and life circumstances.

The report, Contraceptive Technologies: Responding to Women’s Needs, focuses on the three regions that together account for the majority of women in the developing world with an unmet need for contraception. Overall, 40% of pregnancies in these regions—about 49 million—are unintended. Each year, these pregnancies result in 21 million unplanned births, an equal number of abortions (three-quarters of which are unsafe) and 116,000 maternal deaths.

“The findings make clear that meeting the need for contraception requires not only increased access and counseling, but the development of new methods that better meet women’s needs,” says Jacqueline E Darroch, senior fellow at the Guttmacher Institute and one of the study’s authors.

+ Full Report (PDF)

Adding it Up: The Costs and Benefits of Investing in Family Planning and Maternal Health

April 21, 2011 Comments off

Adding it Up: The Costs and Benefits of Investing in Family Planning and Maternal Health
Source: Guttmacher Institute

This presentation estimates the costs and benefits of simultaneously meeting the need for family planning and maternal and newborn health care in developing countries. It includes information designed to help governments, donors and policymakers develop strategies, set priorities and focus resources on health care interventions with high returns for society and individuals.

+ Full Report (PDF)

Powerpoint slides also available.

Laws Affecting Reproductive Health and Rights: Trends in the First Quarter of 2011

April 21, 2011 Comments off

Laws Affecting Reproductive Health and Rights: Trends in the First Quarter of 2011
Source: Guttmacher Institute

To date, legislators have introduced 916 measures related to reproductive health and rights in the 49 legislatures that have convened their regular sessions. (Louisiana’s legislature will not convene until late April.) By the end of March, seven states had enacted 15 new laws on these issues, including provisions that:

  • expand the pre-abortion waiting period requirement in South Dakota to make it more onerous than that in any other state, by extending the time from 24 hours to 72 hours and requiring women to obtain counseling from a crisis pregnancy center in the interim;
  • expand the abortion counseling requirement in South Dakota to mandate that counseling be provided in-person by the physician who will perform the abortion and that counseling include information published after 1972 on all the risk factors related to abortion complications, even if the data are scientifically flawed;
  • require the health departments in Utah and Virginia to develop new regulations governing abortion clinics;
  • revise the Utah abortion refusal clause to allow any hospital employee to refuse to “participate in any way” in an abortion;
  • limit abortion coverage in all private health plans in Utah, including plans that will be offered in the state’s health exchange; and
  • revise the Mississippi sex education law to require all school districts to provide abstinence-only sex education while permitting discussion of contraception only with prior approval from the state.

Contraceptive Use Is the Norm Among Religious Women

April 20, 2011 Comments off

Contraceptive Use Is the Norm Among Religious Women
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Contraceptive use by Catholics and Evangelicals—including those who attend religious services most frequently—is the norm, according to a new Guttmacher report. This finding confirms that policies making contraceptives more affordable and easier to use reflect the needs and desires of the vast majority of U.S. women and their partners, regardless of their religious beliefs.

“In real-life America, contraceptive use and strong religious beliefs are highly compatible,” says Rachel K. Jones, the report’s lead author. “Most sexually active women who do not want to become pregnant practice contraception, and most use highly effective methods like sterilization, the pill, or the IUD. This is true for Evangelicals and Mainline Protestants, and it is true for Catholics, despite the Catholic hierarchy’s strenuous opposition to contraception.”

The analysis, based on a nationally representative U.S. government survey, has important implications for health policy, which is still at times shaped by the mistaken belief that contraceptive use runs counter to strongly held religious beliefs. The new report counters this myth and shows that opposition to contraception by the Catholic hierarchy and other socially conservative organizations is not reflected in the actual behaviors and health care needs of Catholic and Evangelical women. For instance, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops actively opposes the designation of contraceptive services as women’s preventive health care that, under a provision of the health care reform law, must be covered in all health insurance plans without cost sharing.

+ Full Report (PDF)


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