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ANSIRH News

ANSIRH Update: September 2017

Welcome to the September 2017 ANSIRH Update. Here is a list of our major accomplishments, as well as recognition for those accomplishments, over the past quarter. This edition includes publications, awards, media coverage, and more.

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Reporters experience multiple challenges when reporting on abortion

The study, a collaboration between ANSIRH and The Sea Change Program found that reporters experience multiple challenges when reporting on abortion, including struggling to maintain neutrality, finding new angles, connecting with new sources, facing harassment, and needing to educate editors on abortion.

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Receiving medication abortion through telemedicine as safe as in person

In this study, we looked at data from Iowa patients who received a medication abortion either via telemedicine or in person from 2008 to 2015, including any reports of serious complications, such as blood transfusion, hospitalization or visits to the emergency department where treatment was given. Of the nearly 20,000 patients studied, only 49 complications were reported, and there was no difference in the complication rate between women who had an in-person visit and those who received the service via telemedicine.

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Abortion and Insurance: More than the Hyde Amendment

Although there has been increasing attention paid to legal prohibitions on public and private insurance coverage for abortion, policies like the Hyde Amendment are only part of the reason accepting insurance in abortion care is complicated. Insurer practices, such as high deductibles in private insurance plans that exceed the cost of abortion and the low reimbursement rate of Medicaid, also influence whether abortion-providing facilities can accept insurance and still keep their doors open.

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How are state and local health departments addressing abortion?

Most state health departments are involved in activities related to abortion. However, we found that this involvement largely reflects what the law requires and not the full range of core public health activities.

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Women traveling far for an abortion are more likely to go to emergency departments for follow-up care

This is the first paper to examine the relationship between distance traveled for abortion and where women seek any potential follow-up care. By analyzing data from 39,747 abortions covered by Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, researchers found that women who traveled 100 miles or more for an abortion were over twice as likely as women traveling 25 miles or fewer to seek subsequent care at an emergency department.

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States with more punitive laws on alcohol use during pregnancy have more laws limiting reproductive rights

States with restrictive reproductive rights laws also tend to have more policies that punish women who drink alcohol while pregnant. There is also no evidence that these punitive policies reduce harm from alcohol use during pregnancy, suggesting more of a focus on restricting women’s reproductive autonomy than effectively addressing harms from alcohol. The study is based on an analysis of U.S. state policies targeting alcohol use during pregnancy from 1970 through 2013.

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Mandatory ultrasound viewing does little to dissuade women from getting abortions

Our study in Wisconsin, the first of its kind to examine the effects of a mandatory ultrasound viewing law, found that women seeking abortions overwhelmingly go through with the abortion, regardless of whether they view the ultrasound image before the procedure.

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New Abortion Onscreen database

The Abortion Onscreen database is a project of ANSIRH’s Abortion Onscreen program and aims to include all American film and television depictions in which a character obtained an abortion or disclosed that they had had one in the past. Plotlines in which a character considers but does not have an abortion are not included in these results. You can search by title and keyword; media type, genre, and release date (going as far back as 1916); character age, race, and location; and the legality and health outcome of the abortion portrayed. 

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“PAIRS Framework” helps clinicians and researchers classify abortion-related adverse events and other morbidities in abortion care

Abortion is a common and safe procedure yet there has been little standardization of how to classify incidents related to patient safety. Abortion clinicians and researchers need a system that differentiates between adverse events due to clinical care and morbidities related to pregnancy, the abortion process, or other non-abortion-related conditions. The Procedural Abortion Incident Reporting and Surveillance (PAIRS) Framework, published by ANSIRH’s Diana Taylor and colleagues in the journal Contraception, provides a comprehensive, evidence-based classification framework for monitoring the quality and safety in abortion care.

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ANSIRH is a program within the UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health and is a part of UCSF's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences.

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