By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
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Everyone wants their family to be healthy. And a key component of this is ensuring that mothers, daughters, and sisters have access to the preventive services they need. When it comes to health, women are often the sole decision maker for their families and the trusted source in circles of friends – and they are also key consumers of health care.
Women have unique healthcare needs across their life span and have high rates of chronic disease, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Yet while women are more likely to need preventive health care services, they often have less ability to pay. Too often, the combination of women’s lower incomes and out-of-pocket health costs mean that women forgo necessary preventive services. But removing cost sharing requirements improves women’s access to important preventive services. In fact, one study found that the rate of women getting a mammogram went up as much as 9 percent when cost sharing was removed.
The Affordable Care Act helps make prevention affordable and accessible for all Americans by requiring new health plans to cover recommended preventive services and by eliminating cost sharing, such as deductibles, copayments or co-insurance, for many preventive services. The law also requires insurance companies to cover additional preventive health benefits for women.
For the first time ever, HHS is adopting a new comprehensive set of guidelines for women’s preventive services that builds on and fills the gaps in existing preventive services recommendations for women’s health. Together, these guidelines will help ensure that women stay healthy at every stage of life.
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In a statement released today, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health strongly denounced the deeply offensive and racist billboard campaign by an anti-choice organization targeting African American women. This organization posted a three-story high billboard in New York City this week claiming that “the most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb” in conjunction with a national campaign during Black History Month.
“These offensive billboards are nothing more than political ploys designed to stigmatize African American women and communities of color and restrict access to reproductive health care”, said Silvia Henriquez, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. “The organizations promoting these ads are focused on sensationalizing abortion and cutting even more women off from the reproductive health care they seek.”
Studies show that African American women and Latinas are more likely to be uninsured or underinsured and often lack basic access to birth control and comprehensive sex education due to fundamental structural inequities in society.
“We should be doing all we can to support women making the best personal reproductive health care decisions for themselves and their families”, added Henriquez. “As the only national Latina reproductive health and justice organization, we stand with other women of color to speak out in opposition to these condescending ad campaigns.”
For more information about NLIRH, visit: http://www.latinainstitute.org
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Photo Credit: New York Times
On Tuesday, October 12, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health announced its support for a piece of legislation in New York City that would require crisis pregnancy centers, or limited-service pregnancy centers, to disclose on all signage and advertising that they do not provide contraception or abortion services, or referrals to either. The legislation would also require the centers to disclose if they do not have a licensed medical provider on site, and would hold them to the same confidentiality standards as licensed medical centers.
Crisis pregnancy centers are often innocuously labeled: “Pregnant? Need Help?” What many of these signs do not say is that these centers have an explicit anti-choice agenda, and often spread misinformation about abortion, such as the outdated and clinically-disproved claim that abortion increases risk of breast cancer. The bill follows an investigation by NARAL Pro-Choice New York, who released a report documenting the tactics of these centers.
NLIRH’s own Senior Policy Analyst, Verónica Bayetti Flores, was interviewed in Spanish by Telemundo regarding this story. Read the story here, or watch here.
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By Lucy Panza, DC Policy Intern
Two professors from Penn State and Northeastern University, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, have released the findings of a three-year long study of the rate of sexual and other forms of victimization of Latinas. The Sexual Assault Among Latinas (SALAS) Study sought to fill in the dearth of social science research on Latina victimization specifically. Approximately 1% of the published literature that looks at interpersonal victimization focuses on Latinos, the authors said. And in a nation that is 14% Latino as of 2004, that is unacceptable. As the report states, the goals of SALAS were:
Determine extent of sexual victimization in a sample of adult Latino females.
Determine the coexistence of other forms of victimization among those sexually victimized and the risk for subsequent victimization.
Examine formal service utilization among sexually victimized Latino women.
Examine informal help-seeking among sexually victimized Latino women.
Examine culturally-relevant factors associated with experience and responses to sexual violence.
Determine the psychosocial impact of sexual victimization on Latino women.
2,000 Latinas were interviewed on the phone by “[t]rained professionals from an experienced survey research firm … in either English or Spanish.” The participants were selected from a randomized list of land-line phone numbers, and they were paid $10 for their participation. Counselors followed up with any participants who suffered emotionally from the interviews, which asked questions from preexisting social science questionnaires that seek to measure various symptoms of victimization like depression or anxiety. The interviewers also asked about whether the participants sought formal or informal help.
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Posted in Sexual health on June 4, 2010 |
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A German pharmaceutical company has produced a new drug called flibanserin, which has been shown to improve women’s sexual desire. Flibanserin was previously used in a clinical study to treat Hypo Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD), in which the results reflected in an increase of satisfying sexual events and minimizing distress, a symptom associated with HSDD. On June 18, the FDA’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee will meet to discuss the approval of Flibanserin as the new Viagra for women. Unlike Viagra, which stimulates blood flow, flibanserin works in the brain, decreasing serotonin while increasing dopamine and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters that regulate mood and behavior. While there are many reasons why a woman could have a decreased sex drive, flibanserin could very well become an option for treatment.
Amy Allina of the National Women’s Health Network stated, “Achieving a happy and healthy sex life can be a real and important problem for some women,” she also added that, “But we have lots of questions about the ‘pink Viagra.” I agree with Ms. Allina that before the FDA approves the new drug, we need to know more about it. Dr. Joel Match, a Reston-based OB-GYN was interviewed in the article, “On Your Side: ‘Female Viagra’ Up for FDA Approval” saying that while he welcomes new treatment for women with low libido, he cautions women with low sex drive to find the cause given that low libido could be a sign of other problems, such as diabetes or depression. I also hope that doctors do not start immediately prescribing this drug without investigating the cause of the decreased sex drive. Female sexual dysfunction is a topic that is merely spoken in society, which is why even if the ‘pink pill’ doesn’t get approved, it brought attention to something that affects women across the country. I am happy that we are recognizing a woman’s sexual health as something important and being able to provide options for it such as flibanserin, a step towards women’s sexual health equity.
By Sheila Reynoso, Research Intern
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At the National Latina Institute, we work to ensure that access to abortion remains a major component of the reproductive justice movement.
We also realize that not all will agree with abortion. This is true for all the Republican presidential candidates, for the exception of Rudolph Giuliani who holds pro-choice views. So far, the primarily questions around reproductive health and rights has been “are you pro-choice or pro-life” and “will you try to overturn Roe V. Wade”? Automatically, the answers will tend to be “pro-life” and “yes,” respectively. But, what about other reproductive health and rights issues?
In this August 17th commentary at Newsweek.com, Eleanor Clift suggests that reporters and debate moderators should stop asking candidates about their views on abortion, and start asking questions about family planning. Since the candidates are targeting specific voters, their statements on abortion are unlikely to change.
However, what will happen if people start asking specific questions, such as “do you think it’s OK for a pharmacy to refuse to fill a woman’s prescription for birth-control pills based on the personal views of the pharmacist? Should hospital emergency rooms be allowed to withhold information from a rape victim about the morning-after pill, which can prevent a pregnancy if it’s taken soon enough after the assault? Do you support age-appropriate sex education[…]?” Questions like these can lead to more than just a “yes or no” answer and more genuine responses as to their position on women’s right to bodily autonomy and reproductive choice.
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