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Afternoon Roundup: Is There An Abortion Statistics 'Cover-Up'?

The first FDA approved drug to reduce the risk of preterm birth; Egyptian women are empowered by the protests; the abortion statistics controversy that isn't; more anti-choice maneuvering in Minnesota.

  • The FDA has approved the first drug which would reduce the risk of delivering preterm - prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy. It's called Makena and, under the process by which its been approved, "the manufacturer must conduct additional studies following approval to demonstrate that the drug has clinical benefit." Preterm deliveries in the United States are a significant issue with potentially negative health consequences for both mother and babies. 
  • Egyptian women, notes this article, often steer clear of public spaces for fear of the sexual harrassment which runs rampant especially in the cities; most especially in Cairo (as I recall, as well, from my month long visit to the amazing country). The protests, however, have brought a new found sense of personal empowerment and a lack of fear for Egyptian women: “I was brought up to believe I was powerless,” said 23-year-old Reem Hatem, a middle-school teacher who lives in Giza, in the shadow of the pyramids. “But this was a chance to send a message that no, we’re not weak and sitting at home and being afraid. This is a way of telling men something.”
  • I completely missed this "controversy" that isn't though I feel compelled to reference it with a huge H/T to the amazing Rachel Walden for her excellent post on the issue. Conservative bloggers are up in arms over what they say is a massive CDC/Obama administration cover-up of abortion statistics covering 2007. The CDC generally (though by no means always as Rachel points out) release the annual Abortion Surveillence Report in November; the statistics cover information from three years prior. In 2010 they didn't release the information in November. When one writer called the CDC to find out why, he claims the press person told him they had no plans to release the information (?); a claim the CDC adamantly denies. As it turns out, the whole thing has been debunked by Media Matters and the numbers are being released as planned. The odd thing? The statistics are from 2007 - prior to President Obama's presidency, or a Democratic Congress. As Rachel writes, if there is something sinister to this delayed release, it's important to note. But unless these statistics reveal something mind-blowing when they are released (February 25th), this whole "controversy" is just...not. 
  • I'm sure Minnesotans are grateful that Republicans have kept their promise to focus on jobs and the economy this legislative session. They've already introduced three bills, said to be a priority, which...ban abortion access. Oh. No less than three bills, reports the Minnesota Independent, have been introduced by both Senate and House Republicans (two in the Senate, one in the House) which include the language, "“Funding for state-sponsored health programs shall not be used for funding abortions, except to the extent necessary for continued participation in a federal program.” According to the site, a ban on state funding for abortion care was already ruled unconsitutional in the state but, thankfully, Republican policymakers are prioritizing jobs and the economy will use more taxpayer funds fighting this unnecessarily. 
  • A fascinating blog post on EmpowerHer looks at the conclusions drawn from a recent study of New Jersey's efforts to improve comprehensive postpartum care for women in the state. New Jersey has been at the forefront of fighting for funds and resources for, and crafting, thorough postpartum mood disorder programs. While the study concludes that New Jersey's efforts weren't successful in terms of improving treatment options for postpartum care for women who used Medicaid, the blog author takes issue with the methodology and conclusions drawn.


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