Trump’s policy changes put women’s sexual and reproductive health at risk, argues expert

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Adapted Media Release

The
US political war on women has reached an all-time apex, and women´s health
physicians must speak out loudly on their behalf.
Donald
Trump’s sexual and reproductive health policy changes threaten women in the USA
and across the world, warns an expert in the Journal of Family Planning and
Reproductive Health Care.
“Much
progress has been made in the use of more effective contraception and in the
reduction of unintended pregnancies”, explains Professor Daniel Grossman
from the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at
the University of California, San Francisco.
However,
he warns that “Trump’s policies could roll back progress on women’s
health.”
A
concerning development is Trump’s re-imposition of the Mexico City Policy, also
known as the Global Gag Rule, which prevents US-funded organisations from
providing, informing about, or advocating for abortion care in their countries.
“If
reducing abortion were the aim of this policy,” Grossman says, “it is
not at all clear that this is effective,” as data suggests the policy was
associated with an increase in abortion in sub-Saharan African countries. This
is possibly because affected organisations lost funding for contraceptive
supplies.
Furthermore,
Trump has made statements in support of reversing the Roe v. Wade 1973 landmark
ruling that made abortion legal. While it is unclear that this ruling could be
overturned, it is worrying because “state legislatures and the US Congress
will certainly feel emboldened under the new administration to pass more
restrictive legislation,” explains Grossman.
For
example, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would deny
insurance coverage of abortion care to millions of women, and Trump indicated
he would sign into law a federal ban on abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation.
Several
policy proposals have the potential to severely limit access to contraception,
adds Grossman.
This
includes prohibiting clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood from receiving
federal funding from sources such as Medicaid, and Title X, which help low
income individuals. Evidence has shown after clinics in Texas were excluded,
contraceptive use declined significantly, and unintended pregnancy increased.
Furthermore,
if the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is repealed, as
Trump has promised, this may lead to more restrictions.
The
ACA provides women with insurance to access contraception without additional
payments, and research shows women’s expenditure has fallen and contraceptive
use appears to have increased. The recent decline in national abortion rates
has been partially related to improvement in contraceptive access and use.
“These
gains may be reversed if the contraceptive coverage guarantee under the ACA
disappeared,” warns Grossman.
Other
benefits at risk under the ACA include companies reverting to biased policies
that cause women to pay more for health insurance, and the decline of
well-woman visits with screening for sexually transmitted infections, and
mental health and substance use disorder services.
“Perhaps
most concerning,” Grossman adds, “is low income individuals in states
that have expanded public insurance coverage…as part of the ACA may soon find
themselves lacking any health insurance if federal funding is withdrawn.”
In
addition, other anticipated policies could discriminate against women and
lesbian, gay and transgender individuals, and impact access to sexual and
reproductive healthcare services.
“It
remains to be seen how many of these proposed policies will really go into
effect,” explains Grossman. “But regardless, it is clear that the US
political war on women has reached an all-time apex. Women’s health physicians
have a critical role to play: we must be a loud voice in support of
evidence-based health care that is unencumbered by political
interference.”
Based
on the results from the study, an improved intervention using a portfolio of
substances has been designed. “This mixture can potentially decrease the
amount of the fat accumulated in the liver,” Mardinoglu says. “There
is no such drug available at present and we are planning for further clinical
trials later this year.”
The
approach combines systems biology and clinical medicine in a manner not previously
done. “The results are exciting, and we have now designed a mixture of
substances that will boost the oxidation of fat and generate antioxidants in
the liver tissue,” says senior co-author Jan Borén from University of
Gothenburg.
The
researchers believe that the mixture of substances could also be used to treat
accumulated liver fat due to alcoholic fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes.
“Considering NAFLD and diabetes are common conditions that regularly
co-exist and can act synergistically to drive adverse outcomes, such a mixture
of substances might also be used in the treatment of subjects with
diabetes,” says co-author, Ulf Smith of University of Gothenburg.
Mathias
Uhlén, director of the Human Protein Atlas project and co-author of the paper,
says: “I am extremely pleased that the resource created through the Human
Protein Atlas effort has been used in the analysis of clinical data obtained
from NAFLD patients and that this analysis has led to the design of a mixture
of substances that can be used for treatment of this clinically important
patient group.
Editorial:
Sexual and reproductive health under the Trump presidency: policy change
threatens women in the USA and worldwide, Daniel Grossman, Journal of Family
Planning and Reproductive Health Care, doi: 10.1136/jfprhc-2016-101699,
published 2 March 2017.







SOURCE: MEDICAL NEWS TODAY
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.