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National Abortion Federation Blog: Saporta Reporter

News about reproductive choice from the President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, Vicki Saporta. photo of Vicki Saporta
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  Remembering an American hero: George Tiller

We continue to mourn the loss of our friend and colleague, Dr. George Tiller. Dr. Tiller was a dedicated physician who provided quality abortion care to women, at great personal sacrifice and risk. He is truly a hero to his fellow abortion providers and his patients. Dr. Tiller’s office is filled with letters from women, thanking him for the excellent, compassionate care he provided. Many of these women say Dr. Tiller saved their lives.

Since his tragic death, we have received messages from some of his patients and from people around the world who are saddened and outraged. We feel it is important to share these words and tributes to our beloved colleague and friend. For the first time, we will enable comments on our blog so that all of you can share your condolences or offer memories of Dr. Tiller. We invite you to join us in honoring a true American hero, Dr. George Tiller.

Post your comments, condolences, and personal memories of Dr. Tiller

Friday, July 10, 2009

Report Finds Restricting Medicaid Funding for Abortion Care Forces 1 in 4 Low-Income Women to Carry Unwanted Pregnancies to Term

According to a new report published Wednesday, in states that restrict Medicaid funding for abortion, approximately one-fourth of women who would choose to obtain a Medicaid-funded abortion if given the option, are instead forced to carry their pregnancies to term because of their inability to pay for the procedure. Published jointly by the Guttmacher Institute and Ibis Reproductive Health, Restrictions on Medicaid Funding for Abortions: A Literature Review also found that Medicaid funding restrictions force some women to delay seeking abortion care by two to three weeks while they attempt to raise the necessary funds.

Funding restrictions like the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal Medicaid funds for abortion except in situations of rape, incest, and life endangerment, disproportionately affect low-income women who have limited resources with which to overcome these obstacles.

>Learn more about funding restrictions.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Report Examines Benefits of Publicly Funded Family Planning Services

This week, the Guttmacher Institute published a report on the benefits of publicly funded family planning services. The report found that, through the provision of contraceptives to young and low-income women, the national family planning program prevents 1.94 million unintended pregnancies and saves significant amounts of taxpayer dollars each year.

More than nine in 10 women receiving publicly funded family planning services would be eligible for Medicaid in the case of a pregnancy. By avoiding these costs associated with unintended pregnancies and pregnancy-related care, taxpayers save $4 for every $1 spent on family planning.

“Publicly funded family planning is basic health care that empowers disadvantaged women to decide for themselves when to become pregnant and how many children to have,” said Rachel Benson Gold, the study’s lead author.

>Read the full report here.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Abortion Far More Prevalent in Mexico Than in U.S., Study Shows

Despite the fact that abortion is largely illegal in Mexico, the abortion rate increased by one-third between 1990 and 2006, according to a recent national survey. The 2006 abortion rate in Mexico was more than 40% higher than the U.S. rate, where abortion is broadly legal and accessible.


The study, conducted by El Colegio de Mexico, the Population Council Mexico Office, and the Guttmacher Institute, found that many abortions in Mexico take place under unsafe conditions, resulting in serious health consequences for women.


In 2007, abortion was legalized in Mexico City within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy; however, abortion remains illegal in other Mexican states.


“These findings confirm research from other parts of the world – that making abortion illegal does not significantly decrease its frequency, it just makes it unsafe and puts women’s lives at risk,” said Fatima Juarez, lead author of the study.

>Learn more about reproductive rights in Mexico.

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2 comments

I never got to meet George in person but spoke with him on the phone and referred patients to him on a routine basis. The man who murdered George will have to answer to God for his horrible act of violence. I and many others will miss George, his work and his compassion for women. I will remember his wife, his four children and his 10 grand children forever. I am so very sorry for your loss, for the whole worlds' loss!!!
Sincerely,
"A Soldier For George"

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:55 PM  

Last August, I found out I had gotten pregnant by my ex-boyfriend. I was on Seasonique, so was supposed to only have a period every 3 months, so when my period never came I didn't think twice. Until the pregnancy symptoms started. I was 15 weeks by the time I found out and had an abortion, and I very well could have been farther along and needed someone like Dr. Tiller's services. I feel no need to justify my abortion; it was simply what I had to do, and I do not ever regret it. I regret getting into the situation in the first place, of course, but I was able to talk to my parents (both liberal physicians) about it and have my mother at the clinic with me to hold my hand when I needed it. I would like for any woman reading this who will have or has had an abortion to know that I am holding your hand now. I work at an abortion clinic currently, and I constantly give my patients as much love, compassion, and empathy as I can. Thank you, Dr. Tiller, for doing the same, without bias or judgement, and thank you, everyone posting and reading, for being on this journey of choice with me.

By Blogger Natalie, at 12:27 PM  

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

“Post-Abortion Syndrome” Myth Based on Faulty Science

The myth that women who choose abortion experience subsequent mental health problems has no valid scientific basis, according to a new study published in this month’s Contraception. Through a literature analysis, researchers found that high quality studies reflected no significant difference between the mental health of women who have had abortions and those who have not. The researchers reviewed 21 studies on the relationship between abortion and mental health conducted between January 1989 and August 2008.

"A clear trend emerges … [that] the highest quality studies had findings that were mostly neutral,” and "making policy recommendations such as the enforcement of so-called ‘informed consent’ laws (which often provide misinformation regarding mental health risks of abortion) is unwarranted based on the current state of the evidence," the researchers concluded.

In August, the American Psychological Association drew similar conclusions after spending two years analyzing more than 150 studies.

>Learn more about the “Post-Abortion Syndrome” myth.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Column Profiles Women Obtaining Abortion Care

This weekend, the New York Times published an article, which addressed the myth that teens make up the majority of women seeking abortion care. The article explained that, due to recently publicized cases of teenagers continuing with pregnancies, the view of the typical woman obtaining an abortion has been misconstrued.

According to the article and recent studies, “the typical American woman having an abortion is a parent of one or more children (60 percent); in her 20s (57 percent); has never married (67 percent); is economically disadvantaged (57 percent); lives in a metropolitan area (88 percent); considers herself a Christian (70 percent); and has graduated from high school (87 percent) and attended at least some college (57 percent).”

The article features stories from three women who share these demographic characteristics and were all patients of NAF member Cherry Hill Women’s Center in New Jersey.

We know that women who share their abortion experiences can make a difference. NAF is committed to ensuring that voices of women are part of the public debate about abortion. If you have had an abortion and would like to share your story visit: http://www.prochoice.org/pregnant/hotline/share.html.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Review Finds Global Trend Toward Liberalization of Abortion Laws

Since 1998, 16 countries have adopted more liberal abortion laws, a study published by the Guttmacher Institute reported. The report, released this week, examined changes in abortion laws between 1998 and 2007, and found that 16 countries increased the grounds on which abortions can be legally provided. An additional 10 countries maintained their current laws, but added supplements that increased access to abortion care.

In Latin America, major change occurred in Columbia, whose constitutional court struck down its blanket prohibition of abortion in 2006, and in Mexico City, whose government recently revised its laws to allow unrestricted access to abortion care up to 12 weeks’ gestation. In 2002, abortion access laws in Nepal were amended to allow abortion care up to 12 weeks’ gestation, as well as in cases of rape, incest, fetal impairment or risk to the mother. In 2003, the African Union ratified a protocol guaranteeing a woman the right to an abortion in cases of rape, incest, sexual assault or threat to the mother’s mental or physical health. This trend reflects international recognition of the negative effects abortion restrictions have on women.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Report Documents 30-Year Abortion Trends

A new report released today documents 30-year abortion trends and provides in-depth analysis of the demographics of women who obtained abortion care between 1974 and 2004. The findings were gathered from data collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and by periodic surveys of abortion providers conducted by the Guttmacher Institute.

According to the report, the rate of abortion in the U.S. is at its lowest level since 1974 and the proportion of abortions at seven weeks or earlier has increased substantially from 16% in 1994 to 28% in 2004. This shift is most likely due to greater availability of early surgical procedures and increased use of medical abortion, which is not usually an option after nine weeks. These findings demonstrate that with greater availability of medical abortion more women can obtain abortion care earlier in pregnancy. The FDA approved the mifepristone and misoprostol combination for medical abortion in September 2000.

>Read the full report.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Report Confirms Abortion Does Not Cause Mental Illness

A report authored by the American Psychological Association has concluded that women who have abortions have no greater risk of mental-health problems than if they carry the pregnancy to term. While some women may experience feelings of grief and loss after choosing to have an abortion, there is no evidence that an abortion causes significant mental health problems. The task force drew its conclusions after spending two years reviewing more than 150 studies on the subject.

From the Supreme Court to states such as South Dakota, some politicians and government officials have been willing to mislead or manipulate women with inaccurate claims about the impact of abortion on a woman’s health. This report underscores the importance of providing nonjudgmental, medically accurate information, so that every woman can make the best decision for her particular circumstances.

>Read the full APA report here.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Canada Releases Abortion Statistics

Today, Statistics Canada released abortion data for 2005. According to the data, a total of 96,815 abortions were provided to Canadian women that year, which was down 3.2 percent from 100,039 in 2004.

The agency reported that abortion rates fell in every age group except among women aged 35 to 39, where it remained the same. Women in their early 20s accounted for the largest age group—at 31 percent—of women who obtained abortion care in 2005.

These numbers include all abortions provided in hospitals and clinics in provinces and territories, except Manitoba clinics, which have not had data available since 2004. Abortions obtained by Canadian women in some U.S. states are also not accounted for by the data.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Study Finds Women’s Sense of Responsibility a Key Factor When Choosing Abortion

According to a Guttmacher Institute study published in this month’s Journal of Family Issues, women’s sense of responsibility for their existing and future children influences their decision to obtain abortion care. The study found that the majority (61%) of U.S. women who have abortions are already mothers, more than half of whom have two or more children.

“Among those women with children, the most commonly cited reason for choosing to have an abortion was the concern that having another child would compromise the care given to existing children,” said Rachel K. Jones, senior researcher with the Guttmacher Institute. “Women felt that they were already stretched thin financially, emotionally and physically—and they wanted to put the children they already had front and center. Two-thirds of women who gave this answer were at or below the poverty line and received little help from their partners.”

Through our toll-free Hotline and website, women from diverse backgrounds tell us about their abortion experiences every day. This latest study confirms something that we know to be true from these patient stories: women who have abortions are the same women who have children, just at different times in their lives.

>Call our Hotline: 1-800-772-9100
>Share your story about your abortion experience.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Abortion Rate Declines Worldwide, But Illegal and Unsafe Abortions Remain a Problem

A new report shows the abortion rate declined more in developed countries, where abortion is generally safe and legal, than in developing countries, where the procedure is largely illegal and unsafe, according to “Induced Abortion: Rates and Trends Worldwide,” a new report released by the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization (WHO) published in the October 13, 2007 issue of The Lancet.

The number of induced abortions worldwide has declined from nearly 46 million to under 42 million between 1995 and 2003. Abortion rates fell most significantly in Eastern Europe, a trend that corresponds with substantially increased contraceptive use in the region.

The study also found that an estimated 20 million unsafe abortions occurred in 2003, 97% of these in developing regions. The prevalence of unsafe abortion remains high, with up to 39 unsafe abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 in Eastern Africa and 33 per 1,000 in South America. By contrast, developed regions, where almost all countries allow abortions with few restrictions, had an average unsafe abortion rate of two per 1,000.

The report concluded that reducing the incidence of unsafe abortion would result in an immediate and substantial reduction of maternal mortality and improve maternal health.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

The Health Dangers and High Costs of Unsafe Abortion

This month’s issue of the UK publication id21 health focus addresses the health dangers and economic impact of unsafe abortion. The issue highlights the findings of a technical meeting held at the Institute of Development Studies (UK) in April.

Unsafe abortion is a major global public health problem particularly affecting low-income women. The World Health Organization estimates that 68,000 women worldwide die from unsafe abortions annually and millions more are injured, many permanently. Ensuring safe, legal, and accessible abortion care promotes health and justice for women.

The issue also features articles on ways to reduce abortion costs to health systems and necessary advances in international abortion policy.

>View a pdf of the issue.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Report Examines Unmet Need for Contraception in Developing Countries

More than 100 million married women living in developing countries have an unmet need for contraception according to a new report released this week by the Guttmacher Institute. The study defines a woman with an unmet need if she “is married, in a consensual union, or never-married and sexually active; is able to become pregnant; does not want to have a child in the next two years or wants to stop childbearing; and is not using any method of contraception, either modern or traditional.”

The study identifies the populations with the greatest unmet need for contraceptive services in developing countries and examines why women with unmet needs are not using a contraceptive method. Some of the more common reasons the study finds that women do not use contraceptives include health concerns stemming from fear of possible side effects, and the belief that they are not at risk of getting pregnant.

“Family planning programs have made significant strides in reducing unmet need around the world and educating women about contraception, but there is still a long way to go,” said lead study author Gilda Sedgh, senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute.

>Watch the slide show New Evidence to Address the Unmet Need for Contraception
>Get Facts About the Unmet Need for Contraception in Developing Countries

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Study Finds No Link Between Abortion and Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

Scientists from Harvard published a study last week that “found no difference in breast cancer incidence between the women who had had spontaneous or induced abortions and those who had not.

According to Karin Michels, the lead author of the study and an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard, “There are still some states that require women to be informed about the risk of breast cancer if they get an abortion. I think that may not be justified based on the current evidence.”

More than 100 of the world’s leading experts on pregnancy and breast cancer have concluded that having an abortion does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer. However, the anti-choice community continues to claim an association between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer in an attempt to scare women away from choosing abortion.

>Learn about other abortion myths

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Study Finds Doctors' Moral Views May Affect Patient Care

According to a study published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine, one in seven doctors surveyed said they would not mention a procedure they believed to be morally wrong to patients as a viable treatment option. Fifty-two percent of the doctors in the study said they opposed abortion, and 42 percent opposed prescribing birth control to 14- to 16-year-olds without parental approval. The study, conducted by University of Chicago researchers, is the first to examine how the religious or moral beliefs of physicians might affect patients' care—especially when dealing with abortion, teen birth control, and emergency contraception.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Researchers Search for Alternate Uses for Mifepristone

Researchers continue to look for other uses for mifepristone, such as treating breast cancer and reproductive system disorders. So far, the research has been promising. A study released in November reported that mifepristone had been successfully used to treat breast cancer in mice. Finding additional uses for mifepristone will increase its availability and benefit the lives and health of women.

>Learn more about mifepristone and Medical Abortion.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Study Examines Global Impact of Unsafe Abortions

A study published this week by The Lancet identifies ending the pandemic of unsafe abortion as an urgent public-health and global human-rights issue throughout the developing world. According to the report, 68,000 women – mostly in developing countries – die each year during unsafe abortions, and millions more are hospitalized from complications. Even in countries where abortion is legal, restrictive laws make it difficult for women to access safe abortion care. The report compares data from 13 countries and finds a clear association between legal access to abortion and improvement in sexual and reproductive health. The evidence clearly demonstrates that when abortion is made legal, safe, and easily accessible, women’s health rapidly improves.

Titled “Unsafe Abortion: The Preventable Pandemic,” the report is authored by NAF member David A. Grimes, MD, of the University of North Carolina Medical School; Janie Benson, DrPH and Bela Ganatra, MD, both of Ipas; and other noted experts in obstetrics-gynecology or international public health.

>Learn more about the barriers that restrict abortion access to women around the world.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Report Shows Americans are Ready for a Conclusion to the War on Choice

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, released a new report on social issues and concluded that a majority of Americans want abortion to remain legal and think that laws on abortion should be made on the federal level, rather than by individual states.

>Read the full report

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

NAF Commends Study Exposing CPCs

The National Abortion Federation commended a new study released by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) on federally funded Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs). The study found that 87 percent of the CPCs reviewed provided false or misleading information about abortion.

>View NAF’s press release

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Thursday News Roundup

The LA Times reports on how the FDA is grappling with political pressure after its controversial decision to withhold judgment on over the counter use of emergency contraception.

According to a new study, more teens in Alberta Canada are learning about contraception and reproductive health from their parents than in other provinces.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports on a website that provides counseling for men whose partners have chosen to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

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