US Reproductive Health is in Sad Shape

The United States offers some of the world’s best healthcare with the most advanced technologies and medical advances. The problem is that our country does not offer some of those services to an awful lot of its residents.

In its October 2012 report, “The State of Reproductive Health and Rights: 50 State Report Card,” the Population Institute claims that reproductive health in the United States gets an overall grade of C-. Population Institute’s mission is to “promote voluntary family planning and reproductive health services and increase awareness of the social, economic, and environmental consequences of rapid population growth.”

It used nine criteria to evaluate each state’s reproductive health policies. Thirty percent of the grade is based on effectiveness measures including the rates of teen pregnancy and unintended pregnancy.

Another 30 percent is based on the affordability of family planning services under each state’s Medicaid rules, insurance coverage of contraception, and funding of family planning clinics serving low-income families.

The institute allotted 20 percent of the score to pregnancy prevention efforts. These include required comprehensive school sex education and access to emergency contraception.

The remaining 20 percent of the grade was based on access to family planning clinics, including an evaluation of abortion restrictions, and legislation that guarantees clinic access for clients. We feel it’s important to keep in mind that providing efficient family planning leads to fewer abortions; an objective that both anti-abortion and pro-choice advocates have in common. After all, no one in their right mind prefers abortion over not becoming pregnant in the first place.

It is astonishing, therefore, that so many states with so-called conservative majorities have such poor family planning records. The states that received an F in the report are, in alphabetical order, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Tennessee. The states with a grade of A are the contiguous states on the Pacific Coast: California, Oregon, and Washington (the only state with an A+). It must be the water.

Population Institute’s president, Robert Walker, put the composite C- grade in perspective. “The U.S. as a whole performs poorly compared to most other developed countries on the rates of teenage pregnancy and unintended pregnancies,” he said. “Voters who care about reproductive health and rights need to know how their state ranks vis-à-vis other states.”

Walker pointed out that while the United States has made considerable progress over the last 40 years, it has a relatively high rate of unintended pregnancies, including those among teens. So while the rates of unplanned pregnancy are unacceptably high, political pressure seeks to put family planning clinics out of business in many states.

This is an almost surefire formula for rising abortion and/or unwanted-birth rates. “While opposition to abortion is driving these political assaults, putting family planning clinics out of business will only increase the number of unwanted pregnancies and, as a consequence, the number of abortions being performed,” said Walker.

With all the pressure in Congress to balance the US budget by reducing entitlements, especially for the poor—and with so many states trying to make abortion as rare as chrome car bumpers—we wonder who is going to pay for the care and education of all those unwanted babies.

In fact, it just might well be that the states with the most “conservative” family planning policies might become the ones asking Congress for more revenues to pay for all the entitlements their policies are engendering. Those states may one day come to the conclusion that there are “Enough of Us.”




  1. ChildfreeWoman says:

    The oligarchs in those states do not want regular people to be able to pick & choose with jobs & turn them down or try to unionize. Never forget that the largest busts of illegals to date have been in North Carolina (a meat processing company known to bring in illegals per a disturbing documentary in which those illicit employees described how they were badly and dangerously treated & underpaid) & Mississippi (a computer company which I believe was the very biggest bust of hundreds). Mississippi’s Howard Industries had hundreds of Hispanic illegals using stolen IDs. They pretended they could not get local workers for their jobs that paid very, very well by state standards. Film footage after the busts showed hundreds of people — white and black — standing in the hot Mississippi sun, no shade anywhere, in line trying for jobs with this horrid, horrid company, Howard Industries. I have tried to follow this case which has had almost no national coverage. As far as I have been able to determine the main person to be prosecuted was one personnel man who was Hispanic. They seem to have gotten away with blaming all on him as though he could have single-handedly brought them all in and given them false IDs. No word from anywhere on anyone notifying those whose IDs were compromised. The oligarchs in La. & Miss. want all the unwanted babies that are born to starve so their parents will do anything to get a crumb.

    One can hope that the people in the states referenced will quit electing truly vile politicians like Bobby Jindal and Crazy Miss. Bryant who really don’t care if the poor die. What do we as a nation do? They are certainly draining more than their share of help they don’t want to provide for anyone else but if we don’t continue to carry them they WILL let the poor die. Republican party darling & former Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour literally cut the number of medicines that the poor on Medicaid could be allowed to have. Recently (and only with lots of national publicity) La. governor Bobby Jindal backed down from his plan not to allow the dying poor to have hospice! Before Katrina & before Jindal, Louisiana had a charity hospital system that former Gov. & Sen. Huey Long had established before being murdered in 1935. Jindal dismantled that using Katrina as an excuse though the buildings from the accounts I have read could have been saved and certainly the system could have been.

    IMHO, the reason most of the illegals are brought from countries where they haven’t figured out their overpopulation is why they don’t have anything decent is because they will be willing to work for a pittance and do as the oligarchs want even when the long-time U.S. citizens and legal immigrants have figured out that one should only have one or two children AT MOST to assure that one can care for them.

    Thanks for your post.

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