Archive for the ‘abortion’ Category


Sunday, November 4th, 2012

According to Nicholas Kristof in the NY Times, Mitt Romney, if elected, promises to support the following actions and policies1:
1. Cut off funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides women with breast and cervical cancer screening as well as advice about contraception.
2. Eliminate Title X family planning funding, which would curb many women’s access to contraception.
3. Bar family planning money from going to organizations that only provide information about abortion.
4. Cut off funding for the United Nations Population Fund, which addresses a number of women’s health issues abroad.
5. Together with his running-mate, Congressional representative Paul Ryan, Romney has endorsed a “personhood” initiative which would treat a fertilized egg as a legal person. This would make an abortion for any reason a criminal act and prohibit the use of certain contraceptives.
6. If elected, Romney has pledged to appoint judges to the US Supreme Court who would likely reverse Roe vs. Wade, thereby making all abortions illegal again.
These positions of Romney’s would severely limit many women’s access to necessary health care and reproductive choice and do point to a clear choice in the election of Nov. 6th.
IPPA strongly opposes these severe restrictions and has from its inception supported the concept that abortion should be legal, safe and rare2. IPPA has also acknowledged the complex ethical issues surrounding abortion3. However, we have strongly urged access to informed sex-education as important to women and men to prevent unwanted pregnancies4. Most recently we have reported on a study which points to the reduction of abortions in a large group of women who had access to education about and free contraception5. IPPA strongly disagrees with these draconian restrictions favored by Romney that would limit essential health care and criminalize choice for many women.



Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Providing birth control methods at no cost significantly reduced unplanned pregnancies and abortion rates, in a study of more than 9000 women reported by investigators at Washington University Hospital in St. Louis. It was published on line in the Oct. 4, 2012 issue of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.1 The effect among teenagers [ages 15-19] reduced pregnancies to 6.3 births per 1000, compared to the 2010 rate among teenagers of 34 births per 1000. The abortion rates of all the women in the study were 7.5 per 1000. This was much lower than the 13.4-17 per 1000 rate in the greater St. Louis area and also than the national rate of almost 20 abortions per 1000 women2.

The lead author, Dr. Jeff Piepert is quoted as saying; “the impact of providing no-cost birth control was far greater than we expected in terms of unintended pregnancies. We think improving access to birth control, particularly IUD’s and implants, coupled with education on the most effective methods has the potential to significantly decrease the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions in this country1”.

The women in the study were counseled on the different methods approved and available for pregnancy prevention. These included the shorter acting ones, such as the birth control pill, along with longer acting methods such as IUD [intrauterine devices] and implantable ones. All of these options were free to the study participants, in contrast to many options currently available in health insurance plans. So the women in the study, after counseling, overwhelmingly chose the more effective methods, the IUD or implants which have a 1% failure rate. This is in contrast to the shorter acting methods which have a reported failure rate of 8-10 %. The more effective options are unaffordable for many women because they have higher upfront costs that are not covered.

IPPA emphasizes that this study convincingly demonstrates how important is the new provision in the Affordable Health Care Act [Obamacare,(AHC)]that all FDA approved contraceptive methods will be available for no cost to women enrolled in workplace insurance plans. It can be effective in reducing unwanted pregnancies and abortions all across the country. IPPA stresses that those of us who are really serious in wanting a much lower abortion rate in this country, should strongly support the AHC. It will provide free and accessible, safe and approved pregnancy prevention methods for many women of reproductive age.



Monday, October 8th, 2012

“Recognizing Conscience in Abortion Provision” is the title of a recent article in The NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL of MEDICINE, by Lisa Harris, M.D., Ph.D. ,  of the University of Michigan Hospitals, Department of Ob-Gyn, and Planned Parenthood of Mid- and South Michigan.1 The author shows that both sides of the abortion debate appeal to a  moral standard to justify the personal and legal positions to which they adhere. If we know what these standards are, we can decide if we want to oppose or support legal legislation that is based on such reasoning. The Republican Party’s 2012 position is, “Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence we assert the sanctity of human life and assert that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life…”

IPPA encourages people to refer not only to moral standards or moral beliefs by referring to which they support their positions, but also to go on and to identify the contents of those beliefs. We have been disappointed that in the past many pundits and public figures have justified their positions by appealing to moral mandates and “ethics” without giving them any content. During the 2008 U.S. Presidential campaigns, Hillary Clinton said that “There is a moral imperative to ensure quality affordable health care is available to all Americans.  President Obama’s first economic advisor, Lawrence Summers, said the same thing. The columnist Thomas Friedman said, “We need to re-establish the core balance between our markets, ethics, and regulations.” And the economist and columnist Paul Krugman said that helping the needy through health benefits “is the morally right thing to do; it’s also a far more effective form of economic stimulus than cutting the capital gains tax.” But none of these figures went  on to say what the relevant moral principles are.

To refer at least to the basic parts of one’s beliefs is to strengthen a position; it does the same for an opponent when she does it. It allows the reader or listener to look at a person’s guiding principles, for consistency, relevant co-existing values cited or just implicit, and coherence of the guidelines with human experience.  Do the guidelines appeal to fundamentals daily shared by many humans, or do they require beliefs exclusive to one group of people? Are the guidelines workable in the sense that they do not put unreasonable demands on a person’s basic motives (two of which are, to preserve her own life and to avoid long term suffering)? (more…)


Monday, February 22nd, 2010

It seems to be generally agreed that to achieve the goal of fewer abortions performed in this country there needs to be a sharp reduction in unwanted pregnancies. Particularly this is important among teenagers and especially for those who are in disadvantaged situations. The question is what kind of public policy will help to achieve that goal as well as reducing significantly the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases [STDs] in this very vulnerable age group.
 For some time there has been an ongoing debate about a federally mandated and supported program of school based abstinence-only sex education. In the recently passed Omnibus government spending bill signed into law by President Obama in December 2009 there was included a provision for removing all spending for these highly restrictive abstinence-only programs. The programs, under longstanding Federal law since the 1980’s, denied young people accurate information about contraceptives, STDs and the avoidance of unwanted pregnancies.
 A congressional study mandated in 2007 demonstrated that elementary and middle school children receiving abstinence-only sex education, had no fewer unplanned pregnancies than those in a similar group of students who had not been exposed to the program. Also States that opted out of these mandated abstinence-only programs had lower abortion rates than in those states participating. The new initiative, to replace the abstinence-only education program, is championed by the Obama White House. It will be managed by new office of adolescent health within the Department of Health and Human
Services. [1]
 Recently a new study reported this year from the University of Pennsylvania showed that in a select group of middle school students abstinence-only was emphasized, 33% delayed having sex for a 24 month period as compared to 42% in a group assigned to classes incorporating comprehensive sex education.  As explained by the study director. Dr. John B. Jemmott III, this new study differed from previous restrictive abstinence-only programs in that in addition to counseling abstinence, sexual activity was not portrayed negatively nor were condoms taught to be ineffective. In addition, the classes contained only medically accurate information.[2]  Considering those modifications, this study does suggest that in younger age groups abstinence emphasis may have definite value.
 Taking into consideration currently available medically and scientifically based information, IPPA strongly supports that this new federally supported national public policy emphasizing comprehensive, medically accurate and age appropriate sex education, including abstinence, [particularly in younger age groups] be available to students in every region of this country. Once implemented it is also very important that these programs undergo rigorous evaluation. Widespread access to such programs should help in reducing unwanted pregnancies, thereby hopefully reducing the need for abortions, as well as reducing the incidence of STDs.

1. Editorial, “End to the Abstinence-Only Fantasy” New York Times
2. Tamar Lewin, “Abstinence Education Is found to Delay Sex”
     New York Times 7-3-2010