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on the eve of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Fortnight for Freedom” to roll back birth control coverage, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) released new data clearly showing that American voters overwhelmingly support access to affordable birth control and understand that it is an issue of basic economic fairness and health, not religious liberty.
In most of the United States, a woman 17 years or older who needs Plan B, an emergency contraceptive that can prevent pregnancy up to 72 hours after intercourse, can walk up to a pharmacy counter and request it without a prescription.
But for Native American women served by the Indian Health Service, obtaining Plan B might require a drive of hundreds of miles, a wait beyond the pill's window of effectiveness, and a price beyond what the IHS would charge.
The recent controversy over contraception and health insurance has focused on who should pay for the pill. But there is a wealth of economic evidence about the value of the pill – to taxpayers as well as to women in general.
Indeed, as the economist Betsey Stevenson has noted, a number of studies have shown that by allowing women to delay marriage and childbearing, the pill has also helped them invest in their skills and education, join the work force in greater numbers, move into higher-status and better-paying professions and make more money over all.
One of the most influential and frequently cited studies of the impact the pill has had on women’s lives comes from Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz. The two Harvard economists argue that the pill gave women “far greater certainty regarding the pregnancy consequences of sex.” That “lowered the costs of engaging in long-term career investments,” freeing women to finish high school or go to college, for instance, rather than settling down.
A study by Martha J. Bailey, Brad Hershbein and Amalia R. Miller helps assign a dollar value to those tectonic shifts. For instance, they show that young women who won access to the pill in the 1960s ended up earning an 8 percent premium on their hourly wages by age 50.
This study assesses the impact of contraceptive use and delayed childbearing on urban married women’s ability to seek educational and employment opportunities after marriage in Tehran. The paper examines trends across three marriage cohorts, based on a 2009 survey collected by the author examining birth and contraceptive histories and education and employment status of husbands and wives over the life-course.
Even in urbanized Navi Mumbai, the majority of women in India do not have a say in deciding when to have a baby, the size of their family or the type of contraception to use. In other words, their reproductive life is dictated by their families. The Cidco survey found up that only 33.2% of the surveyed women decided on their reproductive rights.
From the article:
Even in urbanized Navi Mumbai, the majority of women do not have a say in deciding when to have a baby, the size of their family or the type of contraception to use. In other words, their reproductive life is dictated by their families. These are some of the findings of Cidco survey.
The report showed up that only 33.2% of the surveyed women decided on their reproductive rights. "The present survey shows that about a third of women have felt they have reproductive rights,'' the survey said. The remaining 66.8% followed the decisions made by men on having a child, the space between two children, the use of contraceptives , and such others.
There is a great variation across nodes as well. While 58% of women in Kharghar said they took their own decisions , only 1% women in Dronagri replied in the affirmative. Approximately 48% women in Jui Kamothe took their own decisions, while the figure for New Panvel was 11%. Even in Vashi-the oldest and the most urbanized centre-only 41% women took their own decisions .
Experts said the failure to allow women to exercise their rights has led to a poor child sex ratio as well. A Cidco official blamed the lower ratio on test centres that have come up as part of urbanization . Gynaecologists such as Dr Uday Thanawalla attributed the bias to the "ingrained conditioning that one should have a male child" .
The 2011 national population census has said that in the case of Thane district, the urban child sex ratio for females has fallen from 915 (2001 census) to 905, and for rural areas, from 966 to 953. In case of Raigad district, the ratio in urban areas has fallen from 914 to 903, and in rural areas, from 946 to 937. While Airoli to Belapur in Navi Mumbai come under Thane district, Kharghar, Panvel and Dronagri are under Raigad district.
The Cidco survey said, "The ability of women to control their own fertility is absolutely fundamental to women's empowerment and equality. When a woman can plan her family, she can plan the rest of her life. When she is healthy, she can be more productive. And when her reproductive rights-including the right to decide the number , timing and spacing of her children, and to make decisions regarding reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence-are promoted and protected, she has the freedom to participate fully and equally in society."
The survey also states that 29-30 % of working women have a say in their reproductive rights.
A survey of 1,006 mothers in the U.S. showed that more than 75 percent of women reported being done having children, but only 24 percent discussed this decision with their OB/GYNs. Without these important patient-physician conversations taking place, the survey found that women remain largely unaware of their permanent birth control options. In particular, the survey showed low awareness for non-surgical permanent birth control methods like the Essure procedure, which has been available in the U.S. since 2002. The survey was commissioned by HealthyWomen and supported by an educational grant from Conceptus, Inc., which manufactures and markets the Essure procedure.
A recent first-of-its-kind survey of 1,006 mothers in the U.S. showed that more than 75 percent of women reported being done having children, but only 24 percent discussed this decision with their OB/GYNs. Without these important patient-physician conversations taking place, the survey found that women remain largely unaware of their permanent birth control options. In particular, the survey showed low awareness for non-surgical permanent birth control methods like the Essure procedure, which has been available in the U.S. since 2002 and is the most effective form of permanent birth control available.*
"I was surprised that so many women who report being done having children are not talking to their healthcare providers about their decision," said Dr. Linda Bradley, President of AAGL and a practicing OB/GYN. "Permanent birth control can be an ideal solution for couples who are content with their families and want to avoid future unplanned pregnancies. However, most women are unaware of permanent options that do not require surgery, revealing a huge opportunity for us, as physicians, to educate our patients."
Patients Don't Know About the Non-Surgical Permanent Birth Control Methods
Nearly 90 percent of women surveyed knew about vasectomy and tubal ligation, as these are typically the first options most couples consider when they are done having children. However, only 12 percent were aware of non-surgical, minimally invasive solutions such as Essure.
"Although non-surgical permanent birth control for women has been available for nearly a decade, I often find female patients are surprised to learn that they don't have to get a tubal ligation or ask their husbands to go for a vasectomy," said Dr. Bradley. "The Essure non-surgical permanent birth control procedure offers women the option of no incisions, no hormones, no general anesthesia and no slowing down to recover."
Women Want Effectiveness, But They're Sticking with the Familiar
Though women surveyed said that effectiveness was one of the most important factors when considering permanent birth control, many women who are done having children are continuing to rely on less effective methods like condoms, which have a 15 percent commercial failure rate,1 or the Pill, which has an 8 percent commercial failure rate.1
In comparison, a 10-year global study being released at the AAGL meeting explores the data of the commercial use of Essure by approximately 500,000 women and tracks closely with Essure's clinical effectiveness rate of 99.8 percent.*
About the Survey and Methodology
The online survey was conducted by Harris Interactive among 1,006 women age 28-48 who have at least one child and are married or in a committed relationship. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. Because the sample is based on those who have agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive online research panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Online interviews took place between August 30 and September 6, 2011. Results were weighted for race/ethnicity, education, household income, region and employment status. This survey was commissioned by HealthyWomen and supported by an educational grant from Conceptus, Inc.
About the Essure® Procedure
The Essure procedure, FDA approved since 2002, is the first permanent birth control method that can be performed in the comfort of a physician's office in less than 10 minutes (average hysteroscopic time) without hormones, cutting, burning or the risks associated with general anesthesia or tubal ligation. Soft, flexible inserts are placed in a woman's fallopian tubes through the cervix without incisions. Over the next three months, the body forms a natural barrier around and through the inserts to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. Three months after the Essure procedure, a doctor is able to perform an Essure Confirmation Test to confirm that the inserts are properly placed and that the fallopian tubes are fully blocked, allowing the patient to rely upon Essure for permanent birth control.
The Essure procedure is covered by most insurance plans, and when it is performed in a doctor's office the cost to the patient may be as low as a simple co-pay.
About Conceptus, Inc.
Conceptus, Inc. is a leader in the design, development, and marketing of innovative solutions in women's healthcare. The company manufactures and markets the Essure procedure. The Essure procedure is available in the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and the Middle East. The company also promotes the GYNECARE THERMACHOICE(R) Uterine Balloon Therapy System by ETHICON(TM) Women's Health & Urology, a division of Ethicon, Inc., in U.S. OB/GYN physician offices.
I had the amazing opportunity to participate in a NOW webinar moderated by Terry O’Neill, President of NOW, “The Budget Deal is a Feminist Issue.” The webinar discussed how Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) 2012 budget deal would cut several social services. Programs on the chopping block include Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics, Pell grants, job training, Head Start, childcare programs, and WIC nutrition programs. Women are overrepresented in each of these program’s recipient pools.
We received the following news from Planned Parenthood this morning:
Yesterday the House Appropriations Committee announced that the Title X family planning program ($317 million) will be eliminated in the House leadership’s FY11 Continuing Resolution (CR), which will be considered next week by the full House. This bill is necessary to continue funding the government after March 4 (when the current CR expires) through the end of the fiscal year.
Other critical health programs are also targeted for significant reductions – including the maternal and child health block grant program and community health centers.
Bethany Cole has worked for over ten years in international health and has demonstrated expertise in sexual and reproductive health and rights. Currently based in New York, she is a Senior Program Associate with EngenderHealth on the Fistula Care Project to build provider and facility capacity in reproductive health services for obstetric fistula. Her portfolio includes prevention and care activities with partner organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia and Nigeria. She also provided management and technical support to a wide range of EngenderHealth’s family planning, maternal health and HIV and AIDS projects in West and Central Africa. Previously, following completion as a Peace Corps Volunteer in francophone Cameroon, she conducted monitoring and evaluation of food programs for unaccompanied minors in Rwanda, and worked in Sudan with the International Rescue Committee as a Field Manager in Nyala, South Darfur.