Reverting Back to Old Days: Progress or Regress?

Recently there have been a lot of policy changes revolving sexual reproductive health. Changes should be made so that the system can be improved, however these changes seem to be stuck on the theme of reverting back to old days. Sadly, reverting back to old days does not necessarily correlate into developing for the better.

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As mentioned on a previous post, the GOP bill planned on cutting funding for Planned Parenthood, a non-profit organization that provides services on reproductive health care. Although the GOP bill has been withdrawn on March 24, 2017, the plans on defunding Planned Parenthood did not stop. On April 13, 2017, President Donald Trump signed a legislation that allows states to withhold family planning funds from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. Title X is the only federal grant program that provides individuals with comprehensive family planning and related health services. Therefore, defunding family planning provides will not make individuals healthier or safer, instead it is holding back what Title X is meant to do and it is reducing access for people to other important services such as cancer screenings, prenatal care, etc. For many people, Planned Parenthood and other clinics is the only health provider available. Cutting funds to these providers will reduce access to affordable health services for people of low socioeconomic status and people of the area with limited services.

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Another case in which changes made demonstrated the theme of reverting back to old days is the Texas Omnibus Abortion Bill –HB2. This Texas law created criteria to have an abortion. Generally, there are two criteria: 1) requires all abortions to take place only when there is access to a hospital from a 30-mile radius and 2) health clinics must hold emergency room like standards. The reason for this law is to prevent unnecessary abortions and to have a hospital/ health clinic nearby to protect women’s health in case of emergency during abortion. However, in terms of access, the number of women who have access to hospitals and health clinics are severely low. This causes delay that push abortions to the second trimesters. Having an abortion during the first trimester is the safest (lowest risk procedure). Therefore, this law is not reasonable at all and it is harmful to women’s health. According to the court ruling, the state does not have the access to take away abortion all together, but the state does have the right to regulate abortion. This ruling gave the state more power which changes the idea that abortion is not a fundamental right. This law is going back to pre- Roe V. Wade (1973) which ruled that it is unconstitutional for a state law to ban abortions. By limiting access to abortion, the law is essential taking away an individual’s choice. Right now, the Center for Reproductive Rights identifies 12 states that have regulations just as strict as the Texas Omnibus Abortion Bill –HB2. The question now is: What will happen when other states pose regulations like Texas?

These changes on sexual reproductive health shows how it is creating an inconvenience for the people who are looking for services and health care providers. If this continues, will people be restricted from having an abortion and receiving affordable health care services all together due to these unreasonable policy changes? As a reference, policy changes should aim to improve on access, coverage and health outcomes for individuals. Policy changes should take into account for people’s position and decide whether a change is reasonable or not.

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