Wednesday, May 11, 2016
New York Times (May 3, 2016): Silence Order on Abortions Violates Law, Doctor Says, by Erik Eckholm:
Diane J. Horvath-Cosper, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Med-Star Washington Hospital Center has filed a federal civil rights complaint against Med-Star in the wake of the hospital's order that she cease speaking out in favor of abortion liberty. The hospital has required Dr. Horvath-Cosper to turn down "several requests for interviews or articles or risk losing her job." The hospital says that the order is a "sensible precaution" because it fears violence in the current fraught climate. Dr. Horvath-Cosper and some of her colleagues believe that staying silent about abortion "feeds the drive to stigmatize and restrict abortion." "'I don't think the way to deal with bullies is to cower and pull back," she said.'" The chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health, a national advocacy group, commented that physicians who speak out about abortion are making a personal decision based on privacy and risk. If the complaint moves forward, the hospital risks losing its federal funding.
Friday, May 8, 2015
TIME: How a New Study on Premature Babies Could Influence the Abortion Debate, by Eliza Gray:
A new study showing that a tiny percentage of extremely premature babies born at 22 weeks can survive with extensive medical intervention could change the national conversation about abortion, though the research is unlikely to have a major effect on women’s access to abortions in the short term.
Pro-life advocates said the study—which was published by theNew England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday and found that 3.5% percent of 357 infants born at 22 weeks could survive without severe health problems if hospitals treated them—could benefit the pro-life movement by sparking discussion about the viability of premature babies. . . .
This article correctly points out that the study in no way contradicts or forces reconsideration of Supreme Court precedent governing pre- and post-viability abortions. Unlike what some articles suggest, the Supreme Court has never set viability at a specific point in pregnancy (even in Roe), but rather has left the determination of viability to the provider to determine based on the individual facts surrounding each pregnancy. Viability depends on many factors, including the type of medical facilities available.
Monday, December 8, 2014
Bustle: An Anti-Choice Group Is Pushing "Abortion Reversal" Treatment, And It's Alarming To Say The Least, by Jessica Blankenship:
In Bettendorf, Iowa, an anti-choice advocacy group is offering women an “abortion reversal” using an experimental treatment about which little is known, and it’s all decidedly suspect and troubling. The Women’s Choice Center (which is, to reiterate, is run by a pro-life/anti-choice group) is now promoting what they’re touting as a chance for women who are in the middle of a medical abortion the chance to “unabort” their pregnancies. The major problem with this is that the therapy hasn’t really been tested, and the entire procedure just generally feels problematic all around: imploring women to undergo experimental-at-best, hormone-altering treatments, underscored, obviously, by an anti-choice agenda.
Here’s how this whole thing, more or less, supposedly works . . . .
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Study Finds that Men's "Biological Clock" Means Higher Risk of Mental Illness in Children Born to Older Fathers
The New York Times: Mental Illness Risk Higher for Children of Older Fathers, Study Finds, by Benedict Carey:
Children born to middle-aged men are more likely than those born to younger fathers to develop any of a range of mental difficulties, including attention deficits, bipolar disorder, autism and schizophrenia, according to the most comprehensive study to date of paternal age and offspring mental health. . . .
. . . Men have a biological clock of sorts because of random mutations in sperm over time, the report suggests, and the risks associated with later fatherhood may be higher than previously thought. The findings were published on Wednesday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. . . .
The Los Angeles Times: Study calls DNA test reliable in discovering fetal disorders, by Monte Morin:
The screening more accurately identifies likely cases of genetic disorders caused by extra chromosomes, like Down syndrome, in a study of low-risk pregnant women.
It's billed as a faster, safer and more accurate way of screening expectant mothers for fetal abnormalities like Down syndrome, and proponents say it has already become the standard for prenatal care.
But as a handful of California companies market their DNA-testing services to a growing number of pregnant women, some experts complain that the tests have not been proven effective in the kind of rigorous clinical trials that are required of new drugs.
Now, a study published Wednesday by the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine has verified that one of the tests can identify likely cases of Down syndrome and other genetic disorders caused by extra chromosomes in low-risk women with greater reliability than traditional noninvasive screening methods. . . .
Saturday, February 1, 2014
The New York Times: Responding to Critics, Gynecology Board Reverses Ban on Treating Male Patients, by Denise Grady:
After months of protest from doctors and patients, a professional group that certifies obstetrician-gynecologists has lifted a ban it imposed in September and now says its members are free to treat men.
The decision, announced Thursday by theAmerican Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, was a reversal of its September directive, and followed partial concessions the group had made in November and December in an effort to mollify critics. . . .
Saturday, January 25, 2014
TIME: Effectiveness of Emergency Contraception for Overweight Women Reviewed in Europe, by Alexandra Sifferlin:
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) — the European version of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — launched a broad review of whether body weight influences the ability of emergency contraceptives to prevent unintended pregnancies.
The agency recently required makers of the European version of Plan B, called Norlevo, to add an alert that the product may be less effective for overweight women. . . .
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
NPR: Using Birth Control Pills May Increase Women's Glaucoma Risk, by Nancy Chute:
Taking birth control pills may increase a woman's risk of eye disease later in life, a study finds, because they may reduce protective levels of estrogen. . . .
In this study, researchers looked at data on 3,406 women over 40 who participated in a bignational health survey administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The women who had taken oral contraceptives for more than three years were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with glaucoma.
But the absolute risk of getting glaucoma after age 40 is small, about 1.86 percent, according to the CDC. So doubling that risk would bring it up to a bit under 4 percent.
And there's no proof that taking birth control pills, which contain hormones that keep estrogen levels from peaking midway through a woman's monthly cycle, cause the apparent increased risk. . . .
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
The New York Times: HPV Vaccine Not Reaching Enough Girls, C.D.C. Says, by Sabrina Tavernise:
The very low vaccination rate for teenage girls against the human papillomavirus — the most common sexually transmitted infection and a principal cause of cervical cancer — did not improve at all from 2011 to 2012, and health officials on Thursday said a survey found that doctors were often failing to bring it up or recommend it when girls came in for other reasons. . . .
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
The Boston Globe: Plan B One-Step gets exclusive rights, by Deborah Kotz:
The US Food and Drug Administration decided late Monday night to grant exclusive rights to Teva Pharmaceuticals to put its brand name form of emergency contraception on drugstore shelves without any age restrictions for the next three years. Plan B One-Step, Teva’s product, has started to appear in some drugstores this week on shelves next to spermicides and pregnancy tests. . . .
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: FDA approves 'morning-after pill' for women 15 and up, by Sam Baker:
The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that the contraceptive known as Plan B should be available without a prescription for all women 15 and older.
The move is sure to stir controversy among social conservatives, some of whom view Plan B as a form of abortion. Unlike other forms of birth control, Plan B is intended for use after sex, rather than before. . . .
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: FDA pressed to go further on Plan B, by Sam Baker:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is under pressure from political activists — and some doctors — to remove all age restrictions on the over-the-counter sale of Plan B.
The FDA made waves Tuesday by allowing the sale of Plan B without a prescription to women 15 and older. Its previous policy had restricted the drug to patients 17 and older.
Women's-health advocates said the move from 17 to 15 was a good first step, but doesn't go far enough. . . .
RH Reality Check: Administration Again Fails on Over-the-Counter Emergency Contraception, by Jodi Jacobson:
Today, in a proposal that can best be described as adding insult to injury, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved making emergency contraception (EC) available over-the-counter for teens and women ages 15 and up. This convoluted proposal from the Obama administration comes despite a court order in early April by U.S. District Court Judge Edward R. Korman to make EC available over-the-counter to all ages within 30 days of his decision. It comes from an administration which pledged to make science the cornerstone of public policy and instead has consistently flouted a wealth of accumulated evidence on emergency contraception. It also comes after several studies showing that current policy requiring prescriptions for some groups and not others has confused so many pharmacists that access to EC has been denied to many who were in fact legally eligible to obtain it quickly. In practice, the new policy will almost certainly perpetuate, not resolve, that confusion. . . .
The Nation: Hey, FDA: Drop the Plan B Restriction, by Jessica Valenti:
Yesterday, the FDA announced that it will make Plan B—also known as emergency contraception (EC) or the morning after pill—available over the counter to women older than 15 years old who can prove their age. This decision comes less than a week before the end of a thirty-day deadline imposed by a federal judge mandating EC be available without a prescription to women of all ages. So despite the FDA’s announcement, the Obama administration still needs to appeal the judge’s decision or request a stay by Monday. . . .
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
NPR: Morning-After Pills Don't Cause Abortion, Studies Say, by Julie Rovner:
The most heated part of the fight between the Obama administration and religious groups over new rules that require most health plans to cover contraception actually has nothing to do with birth control. It has to do with abortion.
Specifically, do emergency contraceptives interfere with a fertilized egg and cause what some consider to be abortion? . . .
Saturday, February 16, 2013
ThinkProgress: Five Facts to Remember as Anti-Choice Activists Launch Attack Against 'Webcam Abortions', by Tara Culp-Ressler:
Abortion opponents have rushed to introduce a slew of new abortion restrictions in the 2013 legislative session, attacking reproductive rights from all angles. But it’s not just about restricting access to existing medical procedures. Anti-choice activists are also looking ahead to the future, attempting to prevent medical technology from advancing to better accommodate women’s reproductive care. . . .
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Medical News Today: Reproductive Coercion Common in Abusive Relationships, by Kelly Fitzgerald:
Adolescent girls and women should now be screened for reproductive coercion, a form of abuse that occurs when male partners sabotage their contraception intentionally.
This form of abuse, known as reproductive coercion, can manifest in several ways, such as deliberately giving a partner a sexually transmitted disease (STIs), forcing a partner to have an undesired abortion or pregnancy, or seizing control of a woman's contraceptive pills. . . .
Friday, December 28, 2012
The Atlantic: 2013: Year of the Stem Cell, by Lindsay Abrams:
Researchers have already safely injected stem cells into patients with neurodegenerative diseases and spinal cord injuries -- and they've seen the potential to vastly improve lives.
. . . In 1998, when human embryonic stem cells were first isolated, we anticipated a "rush of medical advances," as The New York Times put it. That promise -- along with all of the ensuing controversy -- is still alive, has already become reality in select cases -- for example, with bone marrow transplantations -- and still has plans to live up to all of the expectations that have been set for it.
"The question now," the Times wrote then, "is what use can be made of the potentially awesome power to rejuvenate human cells." After 15 years, there are a lot of people waiting for a miracle, for the day cell-based therapy gives back what's been taken from them.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Slate: OB-GYNs Back Over-the-Counter Birth Control, but Hurdles Remain, by Abby Ohlheiser:
The nation's largest group of obstetricians and gynecologists announced yesterday that oral contraceptives are safe to sell without a prescription, a huge boon for advocates of increasing contraceptive accessibility. . . .
Feminist Majority Foundation - Feminist Daily News: AAP Advocates Plan B Access for Teens:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released new policy guidelines today in support of increasing access to emergency contraception among teenage girls.
Currently young women under the age of 17 must have a prescription in order to get emergency contraception such as Plan B. This restricts access to young women and girls who can't get a prescription after unprotected sex in time to use emergency contraception effectively or are afraid that a doctor will tell their parents. The new AAP policy encourages that pediatricians write a prescription for young women of reproductive age in advance of any sexual activity, along with educating pediatricians about various emergency contraceptive methods including "off-label" combinations of oral contraceptives. . . .
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Reuters: Serious birth complications rising in the U.S., by Amy Norton:
Between 1998 and 2009, the rate of serious complications like heart attack, stroke, severe bleeding and kidney failure during or after childbirth roughly doubled among U.S. women, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). . . .
Sunday, September 23, 2012
The Huffington Post: Birth Control Study: Over 2 In 5 Women In The United States Don't Use Contraception, by Emma Gray:
Despite the availability of contraception, over two in five women in the United States forgo any form of protection during sex, says a new survey, possibly because they misjudge how likely they are to get pregnant.
The Contraception in America study, conducted by medical communications company Strategic Pharma Solutions and sponsored by pharmaceutical company Teva Women's Health, looked at 1,000 women between the ages of 18 and 49, and also surveyed 100 OB-GYNs and 101 primary care physicians who treat women, reported ScienceDaily. . . .
Saturday, September 22, 2012
WebMD: Which Birth Control Methods Are Best for Teens?, by Daniel J. DeNoon:
More than 40% of teens are sexually active. Nearly all of them use some kind of birth control. But fewer than 1 in 20 uses the most effective contraceptives. . . .