Well, what we were worried about last year has come to pass: the likely closure of rural healthcare clinics in Maine that provide screenings, treatment for sexually transmitted infections, birth control, pre-natal care, and other sexual health services to women who qualify for reduced or free care. Some clinics also perform abortions.
New York City just passed a law that would force so-called pregnancy counseling centers to disclose, in advertising, signs, and over the phone, whether or not they actually provide the full spectrum of resources and referrals (including for abortion and emergency contraception) and pre-natal services -- which many do not
In the wake of cuts to both Title X, the federal family-planning funding mechanism that provides more than $300 million for health screenings, birth control, and prenatal care (but not abortions) nationwide, and Planned Parenthood (which gets about $75 million annually from the federal government -- none of which can be spent on abortion services), the Maine Choice Coalition held a press conference today, encouraging Mainers contact senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and urge them to vote against such cuts when a similar bill comes before the US Senate.
Doesn't really have the same ring to it, huh?
As we wait for the FDA to issue its ruling on Ella, the emergency contraceptive that can be taking with lasting efficacy up to five days after unprotected sex (the full FDA usually follows the recommendations of its advisory panels; the sub-committee on reproductive health approved the drug a few weeks ago), here's a brief Q&A between me and Christina Aplington, a PR exec for Ella-manufacturer HRA Pharma.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the birth-control pill (or at least, of FDA approval of the Pill), and you can read its history in this Time magazine article.Consider these sobering stats, though, buried at the end of the article:
A study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned
Pregnancy found that 86% of young men and 88% of young women say it is
important to avoid pregnancy in their lives right now.