Magazine article The Nation's Health

Report: Reproductive Health and Rights Declining in Many US States

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Report: Reproductive Health and Rights Declining in Many US States

Article excerpt

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH and rights have taken hits under the Trump administration, and the results are showing, according to a new report.

The Population Institute, in its sixth annual report card on reproductive health and rights, downgraded the U.S. from a "D" to a "D-" in 2017. Part of that drop included failing grades for 18 states.

"The State of Reproductive Health and Rights: A 50-State Report Card," released Feb. 15, shows how "escalating attacks" on abortion access, funding for health centers and pregnancy prevention programs are eroding vital public health programs.

In particular at the federal level, the report notes two major defeats: A regulation to keep states from blocking abortion providers from receiving Title X funding, an Obama administration-era regulation, was overturned by Congress. The report said the congressional action "cleared the way" for states to deny family planning funding for Planned Parenthood and other providers.

In October, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Justice Department expanded exemptions to the Affordable Care Act's birth control benefit, allowing any employer or insurer to opt out of no-copay birth control coverage. The result could mean millions of people would no longer have access to birth control, the report said.

The appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court also could be a set back for reproductive rights in future rulings, the report added.

Further threats loom at the state level, the Population Institute report noted. …

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