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Reproductive Health Matters. 2004; 12 Suppl 24:157-166.Discourse on abortion rights inevitably centres on the fetus, and is often framed around the dichotomy of ''pro-life'' vs. ''pro-choice'' positions. This dichotomy is not, however, the only framework to discuss abortion; concerns about the fetus have found varied expression in theological, legal and medical constructs. This article examines discourses on the fetus from the Philippines, Iran and the United States, to show how complex they can be. It examines laws punishing abortion compared to laws punishing the murder of children, and also looks at the effects of ultrasound, amniocentesis and stem cell research on anti-abortion discourse. Although the fetus figures prominently in much legal discourse, it actually figures less prominently in popular discourse, at least in the English and Philippine languages, where terms like ''child'' and ''baby'' are used far more often. Finally, the article highlights the need to examine the experiences and narratives of women who have had abortions, and the implications for public policies and advocacy. It is important to expose the way anti-abortion groups manipulate popular culture and women's experience, driving home their messages through fear and guilt, and to show that pregnant women often decide on abortion in order to defend their family's right to survive. (author's)
Women's preferences for vaginal antimicrobial contraceptives IV. Attributes of a formulation that would protect from STD / AIDS.
CONTRACEPTION. 1998 Oct; 58(4):251-5.Market research conducted in Campinas, Sao Paulo State, Brazil, in 1996-97 investigated the attributes that potential users considered acceptable and unacceptable in a vaginal antimicrobial contraceptive. 635 women from two age groups (adolescent and adult) and two socioeconomic groups (low and middle/high) were enrolled. 99% of respondents indicated a preference for a vaginal formulation that provided dual protection against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV. Overall, 40% of women stated they would use a dual protective method even if it was messy. Acceptance of messiness was lowest (35%) among adolescent respondents. Irritation, itching, swelling, or burning were unacceptable side effects to the vast majority of women. 96% would use a vaginal method if it could only be inserted with an applicator, but this rate dropped to 75% if the method required manual insertion. 55% would use the method if it appeared on their partner's penis. Overall, 50% would accept a method that required refrigeration during very warm days--but rates were higher among adult women and those of low socioeconomic status. There was a clear preference for a formulation that was transparent or had a very light color. About 45% of women were willing to pay up to US$5 for each application of the product, while another third said they would pay $1. Socioeconomic status did not exert an effect on price considerations, confirming the importance to all women of protection against both pregnancy and STDs.
CHRISTIAN CENTURY. 1990 Feb 21; 107(6):180-4.Following the Webster decision of the Supreme Court, both sides of the abortion debate have stepped up their efforts to attain their goals. The abortion battle has become a full fledged political war. Currently the pro-choice side is winning as more and more politicians are discovering that an anti-abortion stance will not get them elected. Governors wilder (VA) and Florio (FL) both ran and won with pro-choice position. However the Catholic Bishops have announced that abortion is their top priority and their primary concern, not poverty, racism, or global conflict. They are using their 28 professional state wide lobbying offices to try to reverse or restrict Roe. The pro-choice side has found a new strategy by focussing attention from choice to government involvement in decision making. While this may be effective in gaining supporters, it does very little to help reach compromise with the anti-abortion groups. Pro-choice advocates must realize that fetal life has some value and that openly recognizing this will lead to an end of the abortion war. Policies must be supported by the pro-choice side that recognize the value of fetal life, but that do not restrict access to abortion. Currently any attempt to place value on the fetus is attacked by pro-choice advocates that feel threatened by such an action. Ultimately abortion will only go away when the problem of unwanted pregnancies goes away. Abortion is a symptom of a larger problem and the war is currently focussing on this symptom and ignoring the problem. Funding for counseling and contraception must be increased so that women do not have to have abortions. Funding for adoption and childbearing must also be increased so that when a women becomes pregnant she has the full spectrum of choices. These choices must be more or less equal so that abortion is not seen as a necessity. All this change would mean a significant departure from how our society is currently structures. But it is only through this kind of commitment to change that the abortion war will end.
TEC NETWORKS. 1991 Sep; (30):1, 8-9.The author expresses concern over the lack of legislative interest in and support for reducing and rate and incidence of pregnancy and childbearing in the adolescent and teenage population. While experts and professionals have some of the answers needed to reduce these rates, often misinformed, ill-advised, and ignorant policymakers provide neither cooperation nor support for effective changes. Policymakers who have pledged to address the needs and social conditions of this age group, yet have failed to deliver once elected, should be removed from office. Those few who do support the interests of youths need help in the form of citizen advocacy and leadership. The reader is called upon to remain informed and abreast of local, state, and federal legislation regarding the needs of at-risk, pregnant, and parenting adolescents. Policymakers must, in turn, be educated about social factors directly contributing to the continued prevalence and incidence of teen pregnancy and childbearing. Systemic change, institutions, laws, and policies are required to better meet the needs of youths. Reasons for the decreased incidence of teen childbearing over the period 1970-88 include a decrease in the size of the adolescent population since 1988, increased use of contraception, and more abortions. In closing the Title X family planning program recently approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee is discussed. In view of Title X's crucial and unique role in providing services to low-income women and adolescents, the reader is urged to rally in support of its reauthorization.
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH. 1990 Mar; 80(3):269-70.Trends toward increasing restrictions on abortion in the U.S. since the Reagan administration are summarized, and implications for adolescent pregnancy noted. Although abortion was legalized in 1973 by the Supreme Court, federal administrative tactics sine 1982 have cut funding for Title X of the Public Health Service Act 15% from 1981-1989, required parental permission for adolescent abortion--"squeal rule", forbid informing, referring or counseling women about the possibility of abortion--"gag rule", and appointed Supreme Court justices such that cases concerning restriction on abortion are being decided restrictively. Public backlash has resulted in reversal of the parental notification requirement in publicly funded clinics and election of several "pro-choice" candidates. Research studies have shown that early childbearing is not beneficial to individuals or to society, and that parental notification does not improve family communication but delays abortion by as much as 23 days and encourages women to travel to other states for abortion. Restrictive policies regarding access to the public funding of abortion affect the poor, young and underprivileged disproportionately. Denying that the U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world will not reverse the problem: only effective sexuality education, social intervention and complete, compassionate adolescent health care can prevent teen pregnancy and abortion.