Women's Healthcare Is Under Attack, Someone Needs To Do Something
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Women's Healthcare Is Under Attack, Someone Needs To Do Something

The Trump Administration has enacted policies limiting access to important women's health services.

Women's Healthcare Is Under Attack, Someone Needs To Do Something
Photo by Simone van der Koelen on Unsplash

The United States has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world with 26.4 deaths per 100,000 live births according to a 2017 NPR and ProPublica report. The country with the second highest amount of maternal deaths is the United Kingdom with 9.2 deaths per 100,000 live births. The United States teen birth rate also remains among the highest in the developed world with around 24 teen births per 1,000 adolescent girls. Instead of fixing these problems, the Trump administration in its first year has enacted many policies that threaten to only inflate these numbers.

1. Attempting to ban abortions after 20 weeks

This law has already been enacted by a dozen states including Ohio, North Carolina, and Texas. However, 20-week ban legislation violates a Roe v. Wade Supreme Court provision which “established the right to an abortion in the United States up until fetal viability, generally determined by doctors to be around 24 weeks’ gestation.”

No matter what your view on abortion is, banning them in this form is still illegal. Less than 1% of abortions occur after the 20-week mark according to a study done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and most of these terminations are wanted pregnancies. Abortions at this stage usually occur because of the risk of harm to the mother or fetus should the pregnancy continue.

Currently, Congress is trying to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act which would enact this ban nationwide. However, the reasoning for this bill, that the fetus will feel pain while being aborted, is flawed given that most doctors agree that the nervous system, which is how we feel pain, doesn't fully develop until the third trimester.

2. Undermining Title X protections

Title X was enacted in 1970 during the Nixon administration to provide access to contraceptives and related preventative health services to low-income and uninsured individuals. Mike Pence cast the deciding vote in rescinding a rule that protects patient access to family planning care at health centers that do provide abortions such as Planned Parenthood.

Before the rule, 13 states denied federal funding to clinics providing abortion and they now have the ability to do that again. Clinics such as Planned Parenthood provide maternity healthcare such as prenatal exams and postpartum care to low-income women and because of this new law, these women will not have access to these services because these clinics happen to also provide abortions.

3. Limiting access to birth control

The Department of Health and Human Services introduced new rules in October that allows employers to refuse to provide birth control access without a copay in company health insurance policies on the basis of moral and religious grounds. While birth control is used to prevent unwanted pregnancy, it also has other health benefits such as decreasing the risk of ovarian cancer and cysts, treating anemia, preventing bone thinning, and easing painful menstrual cramps just to name a few.

It is a necessary medication for many women and limiting access only threatens women’s health. Currently, 10.6 million women of reproductive age are using the pill according to the CDC.

4. Reinstating the Global Gag Rule

The Global Gag Rule , instituted by every Republican administration and rescinded by every Democratic administration since Reagan, withholds federal funding from an international organization that provides abortion services. Like most of these policies, the Global Gag Rule affects women with low-income backgrounds and actually increases abortion rates internationally according to a study done by the World Health Organization because most of the organizations the gag rule targets also provide contraception and women’s healthcare.

5. Cutting funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs

The Trump administration cut two years off five-year grants to multiple organizations that do research to find ways to lower the United States teen birth rate which currently stands at 24.2 births per 1,000 teenage girls ages 15 to 19. These prevention programs provide sex education and access to birth control methods.

The success of such programs has been seen in many states including Colorado where teenagers and low-income women were offered free IUDs through such programs. The teen birth rate dropped by 40% and the abortion rate dropped by 42% from 2009 to 2013 proving that funding such programs were beneficial.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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