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News from ANSIRH

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Receiving versus being denied a wanted abortion is not associated with graduating or dropping out of school over five years

Prior research has been unclear about whether people attain lower levels of education as a result of unintended childbearing itself or as a result of other factors that limit their socioeconomic opportunities. We did not find a difference in graduation or drop-out rates between women who received a wanted abortion compared to women who were denied an abortion. However, among those that graduated, women who received a wanted abortion more often finished a post-secondary (post high school) degree compared to women who were denied a wanted abortion and went on to parent.

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Social scientists file amicus brief urging U.S. Supreme Court to find admitting privileges unconstitutional

Leading social scientists filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court of the United States to reject Louisiana’s law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at hospitals. The brief points to the body of scientific evidence on these restrictions showing that admitting privileges are medically unnecessary and that laws that create barriers to abortion services harm, rather than improve, women’s health.

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Performing informed consent visits through telemedicine reduces burdens of mandatory delay

Utah is one of five states with a mandatory 72-hour delay between when a patient attends an informed consent visit and when they can have an abortion, which means patients have to make two separate visits to the clinic. We examined the impact of using telemedicine for informed consent visits and found that it reduced travel distance for people living in areas with limited access to abortion.

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Medical and midwifery students in Chile want their university to provide abortion training

In 2017, Chile decriminalized abortion in 3 limited circumstances. Soon after legal reform, we assessed support for training in abortion-related care among students seeking medical or midwifery degrees at both secular and religious universities. While most medical and midwifery students are interested in becoming trained to provide abortion-related care and believe their university should provide this training, they also have some concerns.

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Health websites should do a better job reflecting evidence about miscarriage

Many people turn to popular health information websites during pregnancy. We found that, while the advice on these websites was mostly complete, the lack of information on treatment options may affect patients’ ability to make informed choices about their care.

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Telemedicine reduces barriers to accessing medication abortion

In our commentary on the Gynuity Telabortion study, we note that telemedicine abortion can help mitigate existing barriers to abortion, such as having to travel long distances for care, losing wages from taking time off work and paying for gas, public transit fare or hotel and childcare.

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Women entering prenatal care report unmet need for social services

Policy restrictions on abortion result in some women being unable to obtain an abortion and instead, continuing their pregnancies. These women may have unique needs when entering prenatal care. We conducted both surveys and interviews with women entering prenatal care in Louisiana and Maryland, and found that the most commonly reported social service needs included WIC, food stamps, dental care, and housing assistance. Women who faced a policy-related barrier to obtaining an abortion reported the highest unmet social service needs. Policy makers should focus on both improving access to abortion and to social services support.

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Majority of TV abortion plotlines reinforce myths about the procedure

We viewed all plotlines on American scripted television between 2008 and 2018 that contained an abortion, and found that only 40% of plotlines depict some aspect of the abortion procedure, the majority of which are surgical abortions. Less than a quarter of plotlines depict medication abortions, contrasting with real life in which one third of patients have an abortion by pill. Plotlines involving a surgical abortion often (but not always) occur in hospitals, and medication abortions are often both easy to access and are associated with danger or death. This misinformation may lead to unnecessary fear and anxiety amongst abortion patients, and cause confusion about the safety and accessibility of abortion.

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Impact of policies targeting alcohol use during pregnancy varies by race

Over the last 40 years, most states have implemented at least one law targeting alcohol use during pregnancy, yet little research has examined impacts of these laws. This study examines whether effects of these policies on birth outcomes and prenatal care use vary by race. Impacts of alcohol/pregnancy policies do vary by race for preterm birth, vary in a few cases for low birth weight, and generally do not vary for prenatal care utilization. Most policies had adverse impacts on preterm birth and/or low birth weight birth for White women. Some policies had beneficial impacts for preterm birth for Black women, and one had an adverse impact for low birth weight. More research is needed to understand why policies have opposite effects for White and Black women.

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Medicaid abortion restrictions are an insurmountable barrier

The Hyde Amendment imposes restrictions on Medicaid’s ability to provide insurance coverage for abortion. This study is the most recent research to estimate the impact of this lack of coverage. Researchers conducted both surveys and structured interviews with women entering prenatal care in Southern Louisiana. The study confirmed the continued accuracy of a decade-old statistic, finding that about one forth of Medicaid-eligible pregnant women who would have had an abortion instead give birth instead of have an abortion because of lack of Medicaid coverage for abortion. The Hyde Amendment continues to substantially limit women’s ability to obtain wanted abortions.

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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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