July 2020: Power Updates Edition
There are plenty of articles, publications, and stories published every month. In an effort to help you distinguish fact from fiction, save time in your already busy day, and share news you may not have otherwise seen, here are nine stories from the last month we thought you might find interesting:
This article outlines a series of attacks on birth control coverage and access that have occurred in the last four years, since the Trump Administration took office. The authors note that beyond the direct attacks, there have also been many other, indirect attempts to reduce or create barriers to access contraceptive coverage and care.
Pregnancy and Birth
Women of color, and particularly Black women, have a far higher maternal mortality rates than their white counterparts. This is just one facet of a larger problem surrounding poor birth outcomes for women of color. This study recorded and analyzed interviews of 22 women of color about their health care experiences during pregnancy and postpartum. Interviewees shared practical ways to improve practices for other women of color and advocated for health care providers to listen to them more closely to their lived experiences.
Currently, most preconception interventions focus primarily on women, which the authors posit may contribute to the belief that women are more responsible for protecting their children’s health. This study examined the beliefs and behaviors of both men and women to better understand how they view preconception health and how they reacted to challenging preconception health recommendations.
The CDC has released changes in state-specific birth rates for teens between 2017 and 2018. The report data can be segmented by state for all births and for non-Hispanic single-race white, non-Hispanic single-race black, and Hispanic females. In total, the teen birth rate declined 7% across the country, with significant declines (between 10% and 19%) in 38 states.
Sexual and Reproductive Health
This article discusses ways in which family planning providers have adapted to the challenges of COVID-19. For example, more providers are now offering telehealth services to their patients and some have begun to offer curbside care and pickup for certain supplies and procedures, such as the birth control shot.
Authored by two University of Wisconsin-Madison professors, this article lays out current challenges to reproductive autonomy faced by people in the United States and across the world. They state that while the COVID-19 pandemic has increased some access challenges and posed a threat to reproductive care in other ways, that threats to reproductive autonomy existed prior to the pandemic and will continue after it’s over.
This report showcases newly collected data on, “the emerging impact of the pandemic on women’s sexual and reproductive health and reproductive autonomy in the United States.” The report covered five different areas:
- Childbearing preferences
- Contraceptive use
- Access to contraception and other sexual and reproductive health services
- Telemedicine for contraceptive care
- Exposure to intimate partner violence
As of May 2020, 21 million people in the United States were unemployed. As more than half of US adults rely on employer-sponsored health plans for health insurance, rising unemployment is a major cause for concern. Of the nearly 2,300 people surveyed, 1 in 5 adults reported that they or their partner were laid off or furloughed from their job due to COVID-19. And 1 of 5 of those furloughed or laid off lost their health insurance.
This article details the myriad of ways that adolescents and young adults sexual and reproductive health have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including lack of sexual education opportunities, decreased access to abortion and contraceptive care, and changes to social interactions. In addition to discussing several potential longer-term impacts, the authors also suggest eight policy recommendations to improve services and care for adolescents and young adults.