Low-income women are taking the brunt of a poor economy when it comes to their healthcare. With so many states hoping to balance the budget by limiting or eliminating women’s reproductive healthcare, it’s easy to see that what for now implies “fiscal conservatism” could balloon into a crisis when women without insurance and the babies they are carrying have to face catastrophic costs to cure maladies that could have been avoided if their preventative care hadn’t been gutted.
Florida had now begun down the same path, announcing that they will be eliminating care to all adults at three Jacksonville public health clinics – including pregnant women.
Three public health clinics in Jacksonville plan to stop treating adults after today, forcing more than 6,000 patients, including many pregnant women, to seek care elsewhere.
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The cuts are aimed at defraying a $2.8 million drop in the Duval County Health Department’s health care services budget this year, said Tim Lawther, the department’s assistant director. He attributed the decrease to a reduction in state spending on health care and the demise of a $1 million grant that sought to expand the county’s primary-care options.
At the West Jacksonville Family Health Center on King Street, adult primary care will no longer be an option as of Wednesday. Women’s health services, which include prenatal care, are being eliminated at the Marietta Health Center on West Beaver Street and the Center for Women and Children on West Sixth Street.
Children’s health services will remain untouched.
Health Department officials say they are working to reassign affected patients to other locations. The department sent letters to every patient who had an appointment at one of the clinics over the past six weeks, notifying them of the change.
But some will almost certainly find themselves turning to charity-care organizations or choosing to go without care because of the inconvenience, officials say.
“The honest reality is that services will be reduced for the uninsured population at the Health Department,” Lawther said.
In California, mamograms and cervical cancer screenings for low income women had been either elminated or reduced in an attempt to save money for the state. However, that may be reversed if the governor signs a new bill passed by the legislature to roll back those cuts.
A bill supporters say is essential to women’s health is awaiting a decision by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. It would fully restore a program that provides free cancer screenings to low-income women.
The Every Woman Counts Program offers breast and cervical cancer screenings to poor women statewide. More than 6,000 women in San Diego County use the program annually.
Late last year, the governor made some changes to save money. He raised the minimum age for eligibility for mammograms from 40 years old to 50. He also froze enrollment in the program.
The legislature has unanimously approved a bill that would reverse those changes.
Supporters say early detection of cancer is key to surviving the disease. They say screenings of low-income women ultimately save lives, and save the state money.
Luckily, not all states are interested in the pennywise, pound foolish effort of balancing the budget on the backs of the poor. Wisconsin is still going forward with its plan to use medicaid funds to provide birth control, knowing that prevention of unwanted pregnancy now can save the state large amounts of money down the road.
Of course, conservatives, fiscal or otherwise, still refuse to see that correlation, as The UWM Post notes:
With all the criticism that has arisen from conservative groups, this must be the first time any state has tried to receive funding for this cause, right? Wrong. “Twenty-six other states already provide free contraception and other reproductive health services through a Medicaid pilot to lower-earning women who otherwise wouldn’t qualify,” according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Interestingly enough, half of those states are from the Midwest, too: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Missouri.
Perhaps my understanding and support of this funding is generational, but the prevention of unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and reproductive issues for low-income individuals just seems logical.
Wisconsin’s federal Medicaid funding reimburses 90 percent of the cost of most family-planning services, so with 53,000 people receiving this aid in the state, Wisconsin spent $18.4 million on the program in 2008, according to WSJ. In comparison, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services estimates that the program prevented 11,064 unplanned pregnancies, which means they saved an estimated $139.1 million in expenses that would have gone to the birth and care of those children. As Jason Helgerson, Wisconsin’s Medicaid Director, told The Wall Street Journal, “Regardless of your political stripes, I don’t think anybody wants [unplanned pregnancies].”
- Tougher Abortion Law Takes Effect – Courthouse News Service
- Kenya to revive family planning campaign – Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
- Nigeria: Nation on Course On Maternal, Child Health, Says Pate – AllAfrica.com
- Palin Woos Women and Stirs Up Foes – New York Times
- Why Would You Google ‘Abortion’? – National Catholic Register (blog)
- Nigeria: WHO Session Discusses Maternal, Infant Mortality – AllAfrica.com
- Women urged to go for cancer tests – The Press Association
- Weighing up the UN’s development goals – Radio Australia
- Pakistan: Over Half a Million Births Expected Among Flood Victims – ReliefWeb (press release)
- More needs to be done to end HIV/AIDS stigma – Jamaica Observer
- Sex-ed slang teacher settles vulgar suit for 45G – New York Post
- Feminists’ Eggs Came Home to Roost – HomepageDaily
- Sex, religion law no big deal? – Edmonton Journal
- MP Jackson defends himself over Twitter criticism – Peterborough Today
- AP-GfK Poll: Most attuned voters tilt toward GOP – The Associated Press
- Beliefs: Barrier to women’s health – The Herald
- Maternal health access ‘not hard to fix’ – Sydney Morning Herald
- Parents support sex ed in Roanoke city schools – Roanoke Times
- Abortion coverage needed in student insurance policy – The Daily Tar Heel
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- Birth-control funding still drives conservatives crazy – UWM Post
- Church takes a stand for what is right – Press & Sun-Bulletin
- One Third of First-Time Pregnancies Delivered by Cesarean – Medscape
- Abortion is murder, not ‘termination of pregnancy,’ maintains archbishop – Catholic News Agency
- Pawlenty rejects $850000 federal grant for sex ed – Minneapolis Star Tribune
- Maternity line at teen fashion store splits customers – Press-Enterprise
- Add Values to Rights to Achieve Marriage Equality – Huffington Post (blog)
- Does frequent sex lead to cervical cancer? – Nigerian Tribune
- To reduce the incidence of reproductive coercion, healthcare providers need to … – Los Angeles Times
- Clinic cuts raise fears of backslide in prenatal care – Florida Times-Union
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- Abortion Group Gives Maximum Donation To Bennet – cbs4denver.com
- Maiden audit to provide key data about maternity mortality rate – Times of India
- Parents, Schools Should Talk to Kids About Sex – WebMD
- 10th Dist. hopefuls detail abortion stances – Chicago Daily Herald
- Gay and Lesbian Republicans Seek Political Inclusion – U.S. News & World Report
- Vitamin supplements may increase risks for pregnant women with HIV – Pediatric SuperSite
- Put women’s rights back on Afghanistan’s agenda – Daily Star – Lebanon
- Scientists expect C-section rate to keep rising – The Associated Press
- Is Glenn Beck mobilizing the religious right for November? – Salon
- High C-section rate may have something to do with impatience – Los Angeles Times
- New clues to unnecessary Caesareans – Washington Post (blog)
- US Congress Should Make Good on US Commitments to PEPFAR, Global Fund – TheBody.com
- Task Force on Illinois Teen Pregnancy and Domestic Violence Releases Final Report – Huffington Post (blog)
- Gov’t launches US-designed family planning program – Inquirer.net
- Be green! Use birth control! – ChicagoNow (blog)
- Can Birth Control Pills Treat Urinary Incontinence? – Opposing Views
- Yaz: Top-Selling Birth Control at a Price? – Lawyers and Settlements
- In Sierra Leone, First Lady Explains ‘WISH’ Project – Awareness Times
- The shame of Alveda King – Washington Post (blog)
- Canadian Minister Travels To Mali, Mozambique To Start Rolling Out Canada’s G8 … – Kaiser Family Foundation
- SOUTHERN AFRICA: More sterilizations of HIV-positive women uncovered – Plus News
- South African Strike Puts Thousands of HIV-Infected Patients at Risk – Voice of America
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- ADAP Funding Becomes Focus at Gay Men’s Health Summit – SouthFloridaGayNews.com
- County reaches out to expectant moms – Chippewa Herald
- CHUNG-PING LI v. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF U.S. – Leagle.com
- Bill Would Restore Cancer Screenings For Poor Women – KPBS
- Child Autism Epidemic Firmly Linked to Environment – Huffington Post (blog)