Sunday, December 2, 2012

Reproductive Health Report Card

Be careful if you visit the Population Institute, it might make you nervous. Their website has a population counter and while I was there a few days ago, the counter showed that new people were being added to the planet every second. Now, a few days later, more than 660,000 people have been added since my first visit. Well, welcome all of them, but my gosh, that's a lot of people in such a short time. It makes me nervous that with all our talk of sustainability, it won't be enough to feed, clothe and house everybody.

This week, the Population Institute released its report, Not Making the Grade: a 50 State Report Card on Reproductive Health and Rights. Overall, the US gets a grade of C- because, among other reasons, the teen pregnancy rate here is higher than any other industrialized country. Nearly 3 out of every 10 teenage girls will become pregnant and nearly half of all pregnancies in the US are unintended. You can find the report here and see how your state fares. Massachusetts scores barely above the national average with a C, partly because it does not mandate sex education in public schools (really? in 2012?), nor does it offer a Medicaid expansion for family planning services.
reproductive health report card, women's rights, population growth

Only 12 states received grades of B- or better and 3 states received grades of A: California, Oregon and Washington. Here's why California received an A: (i) It does not currently have abortion restrictions that would make it unnecessarily difficult for a woman to obtain an abortion should she choose to do so; (ii) it guarantees a woman’s right to access emergency contraception in the emergency room and in pharmacies; and (iii) it requires private insurance companies to cover birth control with only a limited refusal clause that exempts only churches and church associations.

How does your state fare? Shouldn't we be trying to boost the national average?

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