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Vocapedia > Life, Health > Pregnancy, Childbirth, Birth

 

 

 

The Guardian        p. 2        6 November 2004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Guardian         p. 8        29.6.2004

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2004/jun/29/health.sciencenews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The politics of childbirth:

Overly medicalised? Starved of resources? Understaffed?

 

Our story yesterday about one family's

tragic experience of childbirth on the NHS

has focused attention on maternity services in Britain.

 

But are things really that bad?

 

Sarah Boseley asks some of those on the frontline

if they have faith in the system

 

The Guardian        Review        p. 2        18 March 2005

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/mar/18/gender.health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathryn Barnard, a professor of nursing, in 1986.

 

Andy Nelson/The Seattle Times

 

Kathryn Barnard,

Innovator in Care and Development of Newborns,

Dies at 77

By BRUCE WEBER        NYT        JULY 1, 2015

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/02/
health/research/kathryn-barnard-authority-on-infants-dies-at-77.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jen and Nora.

 

Photograph: Jenny Lewis

 

'I gave birth yesterday' - mothers with their brand new babies

G

Friday 13 March 2015        23.59 GMT

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/mar/13/
i-gave-birth-yesterday-mothers-brand-new-babies-portraits-jenny-lewis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside Out Embryo        NYT        5 May 2015

 

 

 

 

Inside Out Embryo | ScienceTake | The New York Times        5 May 2015

 

Seeing how growth unfolds, and folds, in a simple organism.

 

Produced by: David Frank and James Gorman

Read the story here: http://nyti.ms/1bsjJ4Q

Watch more videos at: http://nytimes.com/video

 

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmCE5iU7-Gg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

conception        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/us/
virginia-lawmakers-backtrack-on-conception-bill.html

 

 

 

 

baby-making        USA

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/01/27/
267025357/youd-think-wed-have-baby-making-all-figured-out-but-no

 

 

 

 

designer babies        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/may/05/
fertility-treatments-threaten-humanity-winston

 

 

 

 

egg

 

 

 

 

fertility problems        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/society/fertility-problems 

 

 

 

 

fertility treatment        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jul/12/
story-ivf-five-million-babies 

 

 

 

 

Interactive map:

how does the UK's fertility rate

compare to other nations?        UK        17 January 2014

 

Global fertility rates

currently stand at 2.5 children per woman.

 

But according to the UN,

half of the people on the planet

may already be living in a country

with replacement fertility rate.

 

That means

for every man and woman in the country

there are two children

living to childbearing age.

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/interactive/2014/jan/17/
how-does-the-uk-fertility-rate-compare-to-other-nations
 

 

 

 

 

donor egg        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/apr/13/
health.medicineandhealth 

 

 

 

 

frozen embryos        UK

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/
frozen-embryos-the-future-for-ivf-1222839.html

 

 

 

 

frozen embryos        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/30/
opinion/sofiavergaras-ex-fiance-our-frozen-embryos-have-a-right-to-live.html

 

 

 

 

in vitro fertilisation    IVF        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/may/05/
fertility-treatments-threaten-humanity-winston

 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jul/12/
story-ivf-five-million-babies 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/frozen-embryos-the-future-for-ivf-1222839.html

 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/jul/04/health.medicineandhealth1   

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/apr/13/health.medicineandhealth 

http://www.channel4.com/health/microsites/F/family/baby/ivf.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/medical_notes/308662.stm

 

 

 

 

in vitro fertilization        USA

 

1966 > the first birth

through in vitro fertilization

in the United States

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/01/science/
howard-w-jones-jr-a-pioneer-of-reproductive-medicine-dies-at-104.html

 

http://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1966/03/04/
79308763.html

 

 

 

 

in vitro fertilisation

 

the world's first test tube baby

Louise Joy Brown, born in 1978        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jul/12/
story-ivf-five-million-babies

 

 

 

 

 “three-parent babies"        USA

 

“Three-parent babies”

is a sensationalized term

to describe a special form

of in vitro fertilization, or I.V.F.,

that is better labeled

“mitochondrial transfer.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/23/opinion/the-three-parent-babys-first-step.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/23/
opinion/the-three-parent-babys-first-step.html

 

 

 

 

 “designer babies"        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/23/
opinion/the-three-parent-babys-first-step.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teen Pregnancy in America's Heartland: Sarah's Uncertain Path    NYT    22 January 2014

 

 

 

 

Teen Pregnancy in America's Heartland: Sarah's Uncertain Path

Op-Docs | The New York Times        22 January 2014

 

Op-Doc: Profiling a pregnant teenager in Missouri,

this short documentary provides

a window into rural poverty in America's heartland.

 

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFcT1cCeGjY&list=PL4CGYNsoW2iCb4uQUNgWK6TJJgNVp-MpP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pregnancy        UK

 

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/pregnancy

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2008/oct/08/
health.research

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

teenage pregnancy        UK

 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/teenage-pregnancy

 

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/20/
teenage-pregnancies-shaming-contraception-love

 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2009/feb/26/
teenage-pregnancy-rise

 

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2005/may/26/
children.immigrationpolicy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

teenage pregnancy        USA

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/
opinion/health-teenage-pregnancy-prevention.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pregnancy        USA

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/05/27/
725821730/a-growing-number-of-people-are-getting-pregnancy-care-in-groups

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/29/
opinion/sunday/texas-childbirth-maternal-mortality.html

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/07/10/
535644276/women-with-high-risk-pregnancies-are-more-likely-to-develop-heart-disease

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

die in pregnancy or childbirth        USA

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/29/
opinion/sunday/texas-childbirth-maternal-mortality.html

 

 

 

 

teenage pregnancy        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/13/
opinion/krugman-enemies-of-the-poor.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/16/
opinion/i-was-a-teenage-mother.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/us/
27teen.html

 

 

 

 

 unplanned pregnancy        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/08/26/
491240645/a-new-course-at-arkansas-colleges-how-to-not-get-pregnant

 

 

 

 

high-risk pregnancies        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/07/10/
535644276/women-with-high-risk-pregnancies-are-more-likely-to-develop-heart-disease

 

 

 

 

develop severe preeclampsia,

a dangerous type of hypertension

that often happens

during the second half of pregnancies

— and can also emerge

after the baby is delivered,

when it often is overlooked,

accounting for dozens

of maternal deaths a year        USA

http://www.npr.org/2017/08/03/
541191480/if-you-hemorrhage-dont-clean-up-advice-from-mothers-who-almost-died

 

 

 

 

be pregnant        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/03/11/
519416036/im-pregnant-what-would-happen-if-i-couldnt-afford-health-care

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/16/
opinion/i-was-a-teenage-mother.html

 

 

 

 

pregnant        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/20/nyregion/
doctors-letter-spells-end-of-job-for-pregnant-employee.html

 

 

 

 

expect a baby

 

 

 

 

foetus        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/sep/29/
luisa-dillner-becoming-pregnant

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2004/apr/23/
health.genderissues

 

 

 

 

sentient being

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

surrogacy        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/surrogacy

 

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jul/26/
too-old-for-surrogacy

 

 

 

 

surrogate mother        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/apr/27/
secret-diary-of-a-surrogate-mother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

birth        USA

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/05/17/
611898421/u-s-births-falls-to-30-year-low-sending-fertility-rate-to-a-record-low

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/15/
opinion/sunday/abortion-and-birth-together.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/
opinion/sunday/lifes-unequal-beginnings.html

 

 

 

 

give birth        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gallery/2015/mar/13/
born-yesterday-mothers-and-their-newborn-babies-in-pictures

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/mar/13/
i-gave-birth-yesterday-mothers-brand-new-babies-portraits-jenny-lewis

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/jan/11/
experience-gave-birth-outside-waitrose

 

 

 

 

childbirth        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/11/
caesareans-natural-birth-kirstie-allsopp

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2005/jan/12/
familyandrelationships.lifeandhealth

 

 

 

 

childbirth        USA

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/02/18/
693635055/scientific-duo-gets-back-to-basics-to-make-childbirth-safer

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/01/07/
682861330/childbirth-injury-led-a-new-mom-to-start-a-parenting-podcast-to-feel-less-alone

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/07/29/
632702896/to-keep-women-from-dying-in-childbirth-look-to-california

https://www.npr.org/2018/05/10/
607782992/for-every-woman-who-dies-in-childbirth-in-the-u-s-70-more-come-close

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/05/
opinion/black-mothers-childbirth.html

 

https://www.npr.org/2017/12/22/
572298802/nearly-dying-in-childbirth-why-preventable-complications-are-growing-in-u-s

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/08/17/
543924405/many-nurses-lack-knowledge-of-health-risks-for-mothers-after-childbirth

http://www.npr.org/2017/05/12/
527806002/focus-on-infants-during-childbirth-leaves-u-s-moms-in-danger

 

 

 

 

natural childbirth        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/
health/elisabeth-bing-mother-of-lamaze-dies-at-100.html

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/17/
natural-childbirth-pioneer-elisabeth-bing-dies-at-100

 

 

 

 

freebirthing - giving birth without medical support        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/sep/14/
freebirthing-birth-without-medical-support-safe

 

 

 

 

give birth outside the hospital        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/07/13/
419254906/should-more-women-give-birth-outside-the-hospital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

home birth        USA

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/03/11/
700829719/home-birth-can-be-appealing-but-how-safe-is-it

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/14/
health/sheila-kitzinger-childbirth-revolutionary-dies-at-86.html

 

http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/bigpicture/2015/03/01/
family-welcomes-baby-boy-birthed-home/zD4EFANnHvbYBSrkPSaKSK/story.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/02/24/
is-home-birth-ever-a-safe-choice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

birthplace        UK

 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/apr/21/
fight-to-save-ringo-starr-estate 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

deliver        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2006/sep/26/
theairlineindustry.britishairways

 

 

 

 

delivery        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/mar/07/
baby-born-on-london-commuter-train

 

 

 

 

caesarean / caesarean section        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/04/
baby-born-alive-crash-mother 

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/besttreatments/2008/jun/04/
no-link-found-between-caesareans-and-stillbirth

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2007/dec/12/health

 

 

 

 

have a baby by Caesarean section

 

 

 

 

cesarean        USA

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/03/09/
390977656/the-gentle-cesarean-more-like-a-birth-than-an-operation

 

 

 

 

 emergency cesarean        USA

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/
i-found-myself-in-a-dark-wood/

 

 

 

 

episiotomy        USA

 

surgical incision

made in a woman's vaginal opening

during childbirth to speed

the baby's passage

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/07/04/
483945168/episiotomies-still-common-during-childbirth-despite-advice-to-do-fewer

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/07/04/
483945168/episiotomies-still-common-during-childbirth-despite-advice-to-do-fewer

 

 

 

 

Ireland > symphysiotomy        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/dec/12/
symphysiotomy-irelands-brutal-alternative-to-caesareans

 

 

 

 

maternity blunders        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/apr/14/
nhs-compensation-bill-maternity-blunders

 

 

 

 

baby        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/mar/13/
i-gave-birth-yesterday-mothers-brand-new-babies-portraits-jenny-lewis

 

 

 

 

baby        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/08/20/
488991373/for-parents-who-have-lost-a-baby-some-aid-in-their-grapple-with-grief

 

 

 

 

midwife

 

 

 

 

labour        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/21/
how-to-plan-your-perfect-birth-all-the-options-you-need-to-know

 

 

 

 

in labour        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2008/mar/20/
nhs.health1

 

 

 

 

labour ward

 

 

 

 

be in labor        USA

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/05/02/
403705082/kate-middleton-wife-of-prince-william-is-in-labor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

artificial wombs

to bring a foetus of a human being

to full term outside a woman’s body

 

 

 

 

test tube babies

 

human embryos

conceived in the laboratory        UK        1978

http://www.theguardian.com/society/1978/jul/27/
health.lifeandhealth 

 

 

 

 

Mrs Lesley Brown,

the world's first test-tube mother        UK        1978

http://www.theguardian.com/society/1978/jul/26/
health.lifeandhealth 

 

 

 

 

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

 

 

 

 

UK fertility rate        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2007/dec/12/
immigrationandpublicservices/print

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

be born

 

 

 

 

birth

 

 

 

 

home births        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jul/01/
home-birth-childbirth-babies-study

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jul/01/
childbirth-home-birth-experience

 

 

 

 

birthday

 

 

 

 

baby        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2007/aug/25/
immigration.immigrationpolicy 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/feb/21/
health.lifeandhealth 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/jun/16/
health.children

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/mar/29/
patrickbarkham 

 

 

 

 

Amillia:

the most premature baby

to have ever survived        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/feb/21/
health.lifeandhealth 

 

 

 

 

11-month-old baby

 

 

 

 

cradle

 

 

 

 

from the cradle to the grave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

neonatal care        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/05/
opinion/end-of-life-at-birth.html

 

 

 

 

neonatologist        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/05/
opinion/end-of-life-at-birth.html

 

 

 

 

premature babies        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/12/
opinion/life-questions-on-premature-babies.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/05/
opinion/end-of-life-at-birth.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

menopause        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2008/nov/02/
medical-research-health-menopause-fertility

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of Life, at Birth

 

August 4, 2013

The New York Times

By APRIL R. DWORETZ

 

ATLANTA — FIFTY years ago this Wednesday, Americans were gripped by the fate of a baby — Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, the first child born to a sitting president since the 19th century, and John F. Kennedy’s last. He arrived on Aug. 7, 1963, five and a half weeks premature. Despite medical heroics, including the use of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, he died 39 hours later.

Neonatal care has improved greatly since then. Were he born today, Patrick, who was delivered at 34 weeks’ gestation, would very likely survive and have a healthy life, too.

For all the biomedical advances, though, the key ethical problems surrounding premature birth remain. Today, babies as much as 11 weeks younger than Patrick can be saved at birth. The problem is that their prognoses are often much worse than his would have been.

I am a neonatologist. I save babies. Most of them, especially those born after 28 weeks, will at most suffer mild or moderate disabilities. But of those born before 28 weeks — 30,000 of the half million babies born prematurely each year in this country — many will have serious physical, social or cognitive problems.

Consider that a one-pound, one-ounce girl born unexpectedly at 23 weeks’ gestation has a 92 percent chance of dying early or having moderate to severe neurodevelopmental impairment.

Most extremely premature babies will experience at least one complication — bleeding in the brain, infections, intestinal perforation, severe lung damage — before discharge. Many will need treatment long after birth, sometimes for life, at great financial and emotional cost to them and those around them.

A few months ago I cared for just such a child. Let’s call her Miracle. She was born at 23 weeks’ gestation and weighed a little over a pound. Despite the bleak prognosis, her parents asked that we resuscitate her in the delivery room.

So we did. But over the next eight weeks, to keep her alive, we had to prick Miracle’s heel so many times she developed scarring. We suctioned her trachea hundreds of times. We put tubes through her mouth and into her stomach, we stabbed her again and again to insert IVs, and we took blood from her and then transfused blood back. We gave her antibiotics for two severe infections.

Each of these events created suffering, for Miracle and her parents. Her mother visited daily and developed an anxiety disorder. Her father came in only once a week, the pain and sadness was so great.

After eight weeks, Miracle came off the ventilator we had put her on. But three days later we had to turn it back on, and it was possible she would die or remain on the ventilator permanently if we didn’t give her steroids, which can have side effects as serious as cerebral palsy. Her mother opted for the steroids. But Miracle’s father was angry. He muttered to me: “Why do you do this? Why do you keep these babies alive?”

I’ve been thinking about that question for decades and haven’t found a simple answer. Some parents believe that withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment will prevent their infant from suffering and living a life not worth living; others consider it murder. Some families soar in caring for their disabled kids; others disintegrate.

Ultimately, parents have the right to decide, but we physicians must help them make informed decisions. I asked Miracle’s father whether anyone had talked to him about resuscitating Miracle before she was born. He vaguely remembered a conversation, but hadn’t understood what treating such a tiny premature baby meant.

And nobody talked to him after Miracle was born about continuing life-sustaining treatment. In fact, he had gotten to her two-month birthday without realizing that her suffering might end in death. We had updated his wife, but she didn’t like to hear bad news, and didn’t tell him.

Luckily, the news has improved. Miracle is off the ventilator and will likely survive to be discharged, though she will suffer from chronic lung disease.

Even so, we need to make sure both parents are always kept part of the discussion, to ensure we have their informed consent throughout treatment. It can’t be just one conversation.

More broadly, when in the first trimester obstetricians talk with pregnant women and their partners about testing for genetic anomalies, they should include discussion of values and attitudes toward life, death and disability, or at least recommend such discussions. Certainly parents at high risk of giving birth to premature babies, or to babies with severe congenital defects, should receive such counseling, including from neonatologists and other specialists.

Sometimes, I think we doctors need to do more than inform. On occasion, I’ve offered to make a life-or-death decision for parents. If they agree, they are essentially making the decision, but are shifting the burden to me. It’s harder for parents to say, “I unplugged my baby,” than to let the doctor do it.

Our culture is slowly growing more comfortable talking about end-of-life issues as they relate to the elderly: whether to allow a natural death or prolong life even if it means suffering.

In my world, though, the “surrogate” decision makers are young parents of infants like Miracle. And they are still completely unprepared. It’s time we broaden the discussion to include them.

 

April R. Dworetz is an assistant professor of pediatrics,

specializing in neonatology, at Emory University.

End of Life, at Birth,
NYT,
4.8.2013,
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/05/
opinion/end-of-life-at-birth.html

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s Health Care at Risk

 

February 28, 2012

The New York Times


A wave of mergers between Roman Catholic and secular hospitals is threatening to deprive women in many areas of the country of ready access to important reproductive services. Catholic hospitals that merge or form partnerships with secular hospitals often try to impose religious restrictions against abortions, contraception and sterilization on the whole system.

This can put an unacceptable burden on women, especially low-income women and those who live in smaller communities where there are fewer health care options. State regulators should closely examine such mergers and use whatever powers they have to block those that diminish women’s access to medical care.

Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky, for example, recently turned down a bid by a Catholic health system to merge with a public hospital that is the chief provider of indigent care in Louisville. He cited concerns about loss of control of a public asset and restrictions on reproductive services.

The nation’s 600 Catholic hospitals are an important part of the health care system. They treat one-sixth of all hospital patients, and are sometimes the only hospital in a small community. They receive most of their operating income from public insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid and from private insurers, not from the Catholic Church. They are free to deliver care in accord with their religious principles, but states and communities have an obligation to make sure that reproductive care remains available. This should be a central goal for government officials who have a role in approving such consolidations.

As Reed Abelson wrote in a recent report in The Times, these mergers are driven by shifts in health care economics. Some secular hospitals are struggling to survive and eager to be rescued by financially stronger institutions, which in many cases may be Catholic-affiliated. By one estimate, 20 mergers between Catholic and non-Catholic hospitals have been announced over the past three years and more can be expected.

The 2009 “Ethical and Religious Directives” issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops warns that Catholic institutions should avoid entering into partnerships “that would involve them in cooperation with the wrongdoing of other providers.” Catholic hospitals have refused to terminate pregnancies, provide contraceptive services, offer a standard treatment for ectopic pregnancies, or allow sterilization after caesarean sections (women seeking tubal ligations are then forced to have a second operation elsewhere, exposing them to additional risks).

In one case, the sole hospital in a rural area in southeastern Arizona announced in 2010 that it would partner with an out-of-state Catholic health system, and would immediately adhere to Catholic directives that forbid certain reproductive health services. As a result, a woman whose doctors wanted to terminate a pregnancy to save her life had to be sent 80 miles away for treatment. A coalition of residents, physicians and activists campaigned against the merger and it was called off before it was finalized.

Over the past 15 years, MergerWatch, an advocacy group based in New York City, has helped block or reverse 37 mergers and reached compromises in 22 others that saved at least some reproductive services. As mergers become more common, state and local leaders would be wise to block proposals that restrict health services.

Women’s Health Care at Risk,
NYT,
28.2.2012,
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/29/
opinion/womens-health-care-at-risk.html

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘Safe, Legal, Rare’ Illusion

 

February 18, 2012

The New York Times

By ROSS DOUTHAT

 

AMID the sound and fury of the latest culture-war battles — first over breast cancer dollars and Planned Parenthood, and then over the White House’s attempt to require that religious employers cover contraception and potential abortifacients — it’s easy to forget that there is at least some common ground in American politics on sex, pregnancy, marriage and abortion.

Even the most pro-choice politicians, for instance, usually emphasize that they want to reduce the need for abortion, and make the practice rare as well as safe and legal. Even the fiercest conservative critics of the White House’s contraception mandate — yes, Rick Santorum included — agree that artificial birth control should be legal and available. And both Democrats and Republicans generally agree that the country would be better off with fewer pregnant teenagers, fewer unwanted children, fewer absent fathers, fewer out-of-wedlock births.

Where cultural liberals and social conservatives differ is on the means that will achieve these ends. The liberal vision tends to emphasize access to contraception as the surest path to stable families, wanted children and low abortion rates. The more direct control that women have over when and whether sex makes babies, liberals argue, the less likely they’ll be to get pregnant at the wrong time and with the wrong partner — and the less likely they’ll be to even consider having an abortion. (Slate’s Will Saletan has memorably termed this “the pro-life case for Planned Parenthood.”)

The conservative narrative, by contrast, argues that it’s more important to promote chastity, monogamy and fidelity than to worry about whether there’s a prophylactic in every bedroom drawer or bathroom cabinet. To the extent that contraceptive use has a significant role in the conservative vision (and obviously there’s some Catholic-Protestant disagreement), it’s in the context of already stable, already committed relationships. Monogamy, not chemicals or latex, is the main line of defense against unwanted pregnancies.

The problem with the conservative story is that it doesn’t map particularly well onto contemporary mores and life patterns. A successful chastity-centric culture seems to depend on a level of social cohesion, religious intensity and shared values that exists only in small pockets of the country. Mormon Utah, for instance, largely lives up to the conservative ideal, with some of America’s lowest rates of teenage pregnancies, out-of-wedlock births and abortions. But many other socially conservative regions (particularly in the South) feature higher rates of unwed and teenage parenthood than in the country as a whole.

Liberals love to cite these numbers as proof that social conservatism is a flop. But the liberal narrative has glaring problems as well. To begin with, a lack of contraceptive access simply doesn’t seem to be a significant factor in unplanned pregnancy in the United States. When the Alan Guttmacher Institute surveyed more than 10,000 women who had procured abortions in 2000 and 2001, it found that only 12 percent cited problems obtaining birth control as a reason for their pregnancies. A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of teenage mothers found similar results: Only 13 percent of the teens reported having had trouble getting contraception.

At the same time, if liberal social policies really led inexorably to fewer unplanned pregnancies and thus fewer abortions, you would expect “blue” regions of the country to have lower teen pregnancy rates and fewer abortions per capita than demographically similar “red” regions.

But that isn’t what the data show. Instead, abortion rates are frequently higher in more liberal states, where access is often largely unrestricted, than in more conservative states, which are more likely to have parental consent laws, waiting periods, and so on. “Safe, legal and rare” is a nice slogan, but liberal policies don’t always seem to deliver the “rare” part.

What’s more, another Guttmacher Institute study suggests that liberal states don’t necessarily do better than conservative ones at preventing teenagers from getting pregnant in the first place. Instead, the lower teenage birth rates in many blue states are mostly just a consequence of (again) their higher abortion rates. Liberal California, for instance, has a higher teen pregnancy rate than socially conservative Alabama; the Californian teenage birth rate is only lower because the Californian abortion rate is more than twice as high.

These are realities liberals should keep in mind when tempted to rail against conservatives for rejecting the intuitive-seeming promise of “more condoms, fewer abortions.” What’s intuitive isn’t always true, and if social conservatives haven’t figured out how to make all good things go together in post-sexual-revolution America, neither have social liberals.

At the very least, American conservatives are hardly crazy to reject a model for sex, marriage and family that seems to depend heavily on higher-than-average abortion rates. They’ve seen that future in places like liberal, cosmopolitan New York, where two in five pregnancies end in abortion. And it isn’t a pretty sight.

The ‘Safe, Legal, Rare’ Illusion,
NYT,
18.2.2012,
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/
opinion/sunday/douthat-the-safe-legal-rare-illusion.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related > Anglonautes > Vocapedia

 

health, contraception, abortion,

pregnancy, birth, life, life expectancy,

aging, death

 

 

family > mother

 

 

gender > man / woman

 

 

time