Category Archives: Family Planning

The future of Obama Care

What will happen to those insured through Obama Care policies?

Republicans support the repeal of the health care law.

This law ended a common industry practice of charging men less than women for policies purchased directly from an insurer. It made maternity and newborn care a required benefit for individual market health plans. Most importantly, it added a list of preventive services to be provided at no extra cost to women, including birth control and breast pumps used by nursing mothers. T

What will the Trump replacement for Obamacare look like?
President Donald Trump says he will soon unveil his proposal to replace Obamacare. Reports say Trump’s plan will offer lower premiums and higher benefits for all. Democrats and many others have concerns that this will cause a backslide of healthcare in general throughout the country. Most say women benefited much more from the 2010 law than men.

A Trump administration spokesman says speculation about components of an Obamacare replacement is premature.

Any and all changes are likely to affect the estimated 18 million people who buy policies directly from an insurer, a group in which women tend to outnumber men. Most people covered by employers have broader benefits and are less likely to be affected.

Obamacare critics argue that required benefits aren’t the only basis for judging the value of a policy. Strip away costly federal requirements, and premiums will come down, they maintain. Women as well as men would benefit from lower-cost options. Potentially the future health of many is at stake.

Zika Working it’s Way Through the United States

Zika is working its way  all around the United States. It’s spreading across Florida, and is before long expected to reach Texas, Louisiana and other Southern states and finally make it’s way to the eastern and western coast.

The virus spreads from a type of mosquito.  But while mosquitoes are a key menace when it comes to Zika there is way more to focus on. We also need to pay attention to sex: If we are going to stop the spread of this disease, we are going to need better access to Zika testing for anyone who is sexually active in any and all Zika zones.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends testing for pregnant women at risk of Zika transmission, people who exhibit symptoms of being infected with Zika, and people who have had sex with a partner who might have been exposed to the virus.
The CDC now states that men, women who are not pregnant and children who are not symptomatic do not need to be tested. That, however, is not the best way to manage Zika.
Zika testing isn’t being offered as an essential preventive health service to every American right now. Nor should it be, at least not yet. It would be a waste of medical resources to include a Zika test with every sexually transmitted disease panel, especially for people outside areas of active transmission.
Men and Zika.  Zika isn’t the only virus that can be found in semen for months after infection.  We known  that men can transmit HIV and HPV to a male or female partner.
If men can be carriers of Zika, why aren’t they being recommended for testing in active Zika zones, too? Despite the fact that Zika is  a public health crisis for the general population, pregnant women and their doctors are being asked to bear the burden of preventing its spread. And if we are going to prevent the outbreak from spreading further, shouldn’t testing and counseling be offered to anyone who might be at risk as part of a panel of tests for sexually transmitted infections?
Another issue with testing is that not all brands of tests are created equal, which makes it difficult for patients to know if they even have Zika. While some use a well-established technique, the same one used for a rapid HIV test, some on the EUA list use newer technologies. For those tests, only labs with the equipment manufactured by the company marketing the test can get accurate results. So, without a standard test being offered in Zika zones, combined with the fact that we know a person with Zika is able to infect another person for at least six months, we are creating a perfect storm for the spread to continue.
 Worldwide we need a  Zika policy for the current outbreak and for the long run. Zika virus infection isn’t always a mild illness that will go away on its own.

Abortion and Family Planning Access Decreases Poverty

Many women in the United States live in poverty and financial insecurity everyday.  One of the less talked about causes of this is inadequate access to abortion and family planning services.

Women’s access to family planning, contraceptives and safe, legal abortion services is vital not only to their individual health and human rights, but it also plays a large role in a women’s socioeconomic status.

If there are little to no family planning and/or abortion services available , or if a low-income woman can’t afford to pay for a procedure or to travel to reach a free service, then she must face the repercussions of an unplanned pregnancy. These include preventing women from furthering their education and careers, which will ultimately affect her future income.
In Northern Ireland  women have been prosecuted for having abortions when they lacked the funds to travel elsewhere in the country to legally terminate a pregnancy, clearly  this demonstrates that link between financial resources and restricted access to services are having serious and disturbing ramifications for women in the UK too.

 

Women are much more likely to be poor than men. The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) points out that one in seven women in the US, and four in every 10 single-parent families headed by a woman, live in poverty. More than 18 million people in total, with 45% of those classified as being in “extreme” poverty.

Increasing access across the county to safe legal abortion and family planning services can decrease the poverty rate in the United States.

 

 

 

Garden State Gynecology

Permanent Family Planning Options

Family planning and deciding the number children you will parent is a very personal decision.  This decision should be thought out well with your partner.  Although tubal ligation for women, and vasectomy for men can sometimes be reversed, the reversal surgery is more complicated than the original procedure and may or may not be successful. So if you’re considering sterilization, you should be sure and confident that this is the right decision for you.

Female sterilization works by preventing the passage of eggs through the Fallopian tubes. This procedure is called a tubal ligation.  This surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia, and the woman usually will not overnight in a hospital. A tubal ligation usually will  not cause any changes in a woman’s sexual desire, menstrual cycle, or breastfeeding ability. Tubal ligation involves all of the risks of surgery.  A full recovery is usually expected within 7-10 days at most.

Male sterilization is called a Vasectomy.  This works by preventing the passage of sperm through the vas deferens (tubes that carry sperm). This procedure is usually performed in an office setting using local anesthesia. A vasectomy usually does not cause any changes in a man’s sex drive or masculinity. Vasectomy is a very  quick procedure (less than 30 minutes), with very few risks. A full recovery is usually expected within 1-2 days.

There is also a vast difference in the cost of  permanent sterilization for men and women.  The cost for a  tubal ligation is $5,000-8,500 while the cost for a  vasectomy is $800-1,500.

Garden State Gynecology

10 Myths About Abortion

 

 

Myth 1:  Making abortion illegal will decrease abortions.  Making abortions illegal does nothing but drive desperate women to unsafe abortions, often carried out by completely untrained people. That’s much more dangerous. Unsafe abortions lead to 30 deaths per 100,000 live births and are 16 times more likely in places where abortions are illegal.

Myth 2:  Abortion leads to mental health issues
There are several studies that link mental health issues with abortion… they’re scientifically bogus. Credible studies done over the last two decades state that abortions don’t cause metal health issues and that the most likely determination of a woman’s mental health post-abortion is her mental health pre-abortion (assuming the abortion was her purposeful decision rather than the medically necessary abortion of a wanted pregnancy). Not only that, women denied an abortion face more mental health consequences.

Myth 3:  Abortion causes  breast cancer
At least three studies have proven this to be completely false. This is just an anti-choice scare tactic.

Myth 4:  Women use abortion as birth control
The reality is, the majority of women who experience unplanned pregnancies and subsequent abortions were using a different primary method of birth control that failed.

Myth 5:  Women who have abortions do not want children

Of the women who have abortions, in 2008, 61 percent already had children. This number increased after the 2009 financial crisis to 72 percent.

Myth 6:  Plan B is the same as an abortion
There are medical (non-surgical) abortions that involve drugs, but Plan B (aka “the morning-after pill”) doesn’t cause an abortion. It prevents implantation that is it!

Myth 7:   Most Americans think abortion should be illegal.More than 60% of Americans believe in safe, legal abortion.

 

Myth 8:   Abortion is safest if performed in a hospital.Actually there are laws requiring facilities to adhere to hospital like standards.  An office based surgical procedure performed by qualified personnel in an accredited facility is equally as safe as a hospital procedure.

Myth 9: People of color are more likely to get abortions
Non-Hispanic white women account for 36 percent (the largest segment) of all abortions. Non-Hispanic black women follow at 30 percent, with Hispanics (25 percent) and women of other races (9 percent) accounting for the remainder.

Myth 10: People who aren’t religious are more likely to get abortions
Sixty-five percent of women who have abortions identify as Christian.

Garden State Gynecology

Will my Birth Control Soon be Free ????

Many women are still surprised by the high cost of birth control.  Isn’t this supposed to be free?

Well yes…and no, it turns out. The Affordable Care Act says healthcare plans must cover contraception prescribed by a woman’s doctor without a copayment or coinsurance (they’re considered preventative services). That means most private plans must cover the 18 methods of contraception approved by the FDA (including hormonal methods like birth control pills and vaginal rings, barrier methods like diaphragms, implanted devices, emergency contraception, and sterilization) as well as counseling appointments related to birth control.

It turn out many insurance carriers are interpreting the law in their own way and denying coverage for these services.

Two big gaps: coverage of the hormonal ring or patch, as well as certain IUDs. “Insurers interpreted the guidance to mean if they covered a hormonal combination that was available in an oral contraceptive, they didn’t have to cover the patch or ring because they were the same hormone”.  Or, if they covered a hormonal IUD, they wouldn’t have to cover a non-hormonal version.

Should women be provided a wide varity of both hormonal and non-hormonal options.

In light of these issues, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released a set of Frequently Asked Questions intended to close potential gaps in coverage. The move doesn’t change the policy—just clarifies it—but it should help more women get covered.

This doesn’t mean your Rx will suddenly be free tomorrow. Insurance company may phase in the guidelines likely beginning in 2016.

 

 

Garden State Gynecology

Should I continue taking the birth control pill?

Should I go off the Pill?

The IUD is rising in popularity and nearly one in three women is now discontinuing her use of the birth control pill. For some women, the pill has many from side effects. As more and more women consider going off oral contraception for reasons other than conception, there is growing interest in learning what to expect during the transition. This transition we refer to is your pre-pill hormones.

While the actual synthetic estrogen and progestin from hormonal birth control will be out of your system in just a day or two, it could take significantly longer for your body to return to its natural balance. For some women it can take a full year before their hormones are operating, in what they consider a normal way. While your hormones may be off, your fertility will not be.

Just as you can expect certain changes when you go on the Pill — such as slight weight gain or loss, changes in mood or libido, decreased acne and lighter periods — there are also some changes you might experience when you stop taking it.

Many women find that PMS symptoms recur; others find that their mood is better off the synthetic hormones. Menses may become heavier and more painful, especially if estrogen dominance is present. Acne may increase as testosterone levels rise. Along with the bad, there is some good, many women also report experiencing an improved libido after going off the Pill — especially if they found that the medication had a negative effect on their sex drives.

But just as women react differently to going on the Pill, they also react differently to going off the Pill. A woman’s unique individual hormone profile, as well as the hormone dosage in the Pill that she was taking will determine which, if any, of these side effects she experiences.

Most women should expect ovulation to return within a few days and their period to return within four to 12 weeks, although periods could be irregular for quite a while longer. If you haven’t gotten your period three months after stopping the Pill, experts recommend talking to your doctor to rule out any other potential causes.

Today there are many options available for women to consider, talk to your doctor for the benefits, risks and side effects of each.

Garden State Gynecology

N.C. abortion ultrasound law overturned

A federal appeals court found the North Carolina ultrasound requirement which requires doctors to perform ultrasounds on patients who seek abortions but also show and describe the images—unconstitutional on Monday.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a district court judge’s decision that the law, created in 2011, disrupts the free speech of doctors, The Washington Post said.

The court said disruption of free speech includes compelled speech in addition to prohibitions of speech. The law forces doctors to say things that they wouldn’t typically say and to make an ideological statement. Some say they are trying to force doctors to make a woman change her mind about seeking an abortion.

Many groups have fought against the law in the past.

This decision is fair and reasonable not interfering with the doctor-patient relationship. Some may argue saying this information and description provided by their physician allows a woman to make a fully informed decision.

There are other states with ultrasound requirements, but few as strict as North Carolina’s law. A similar statute has been upheld in Texas but declared unconstitutional in Oklahoma.

Hopefully 2015 will see less and and less of the scrutiny and invasive regulations that the past few years have seen. These regulations create more and more barriers for women seeking abortion services.

Garden State Gynecology

The number of abortion facilities continues to decrease.

The number of abortion facilities nationwide has decreased by nearly one-quarter over the last five years, with 60 facilities shuttered in 2014 alone.

A total of 551 clinics remain open nationwide, the smallest figure in more than two decades, according to a survey released Monday by the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue.

Abortion facility closures have increased since the Republican wave of 2010, when the GOP took over the House and made gains in state legislatures around the country.

Since then, a staggering 200 new abortion rules have passed through state legislatures. The disappearance of the clinics comes as the rate of abortions nationwide continues its decades-long decline.

The number of abortion clinics closed this year is less than the record 93 clinics closed in 2013, which saw a wave of laws in states such as Texas close clinics.

Texas has been a symbol in the state-level abortion debate since the passage of its harsh abortion law in 2013, which drew national attention with the help of a marathon filibuster from then-state Sen. Wendy Davis.

Much of the law was put on hold by the Supreme Court in October, though a lengthy legal battle is still ahead.

As a country we need to unite to protect a women’s right to chose.  It is imperative that women seeking abortion care have safe, quality services available.  Many women find them selves having to travel to other states to find a provider.

It is acceptable for many providers in every state to offer vasectomies to men.  Women should have the same reproductive rights that men do.

More Birth Control Options for Men on the Horizon

When it comes to contraceptives, women have many choices — pills, patches, shots, rings, etc.

Men, on the other hand, don’t. Condoms and vasectomies are their only options .

Researhers may be on the verge of a game-changing new option in male birth control, spearheaded by Parsemus Foundation.

They are currently working on a substance called Vasalgel, an injectable barrier that creates a seal in the male vas deferens (AKA the small tube through which sperm generally travels). Once it’s in place, the gel works like a filter to allow fluids to pass through, but not sperm.

Unlike a traditional vasectomy, this method should be incredibly easy to reverse if evidence from animal trials is any indication. An additional injection quickly dissolves the barrier, allowing men to resume their fertility.  In lab testing so far, the technology has proven effective in animals.

Researchers at Parsemus hope to begin clinical trials for Vasalgel  within the next year. They also  plan to bring it to market within three years if all goes well.

This will never replace the traditional vasectomy which is a long term and not easily reversible birth control option for men.  traditional vasectomies are inexpensive and very effective for men that no longer want children.

This new easily reversible method is geared more towards men wanted long term birth control, similar to a woman placing an IUD.