This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Reproductive Rights for the Poor--Trying to Get it Right

Medicaid is the federal health insurance program for the poor (funded by both the federal government and states) and back in the 1970s Medicaid rules were established that prohibited a woman on Medicaid from receiving a tubal ligation (then, and still now, a very popular form of female sterilization) without a 30-day waiting period and some other safeguards against being forced into an unwanted sterilization. No problem, right? Well, maybe not. A new study just published in the journal Contraception and reported by suggests that by now the policy is working in the wrong direction--creating a situation where women are winding up with unwanted pregnancies. The research team, which included demographers from Princeton and UT-Austin, concluded that:
With the implementation of a revised Medicaid sterilization policy, we estimated that the number of fulfilled sterilization requests would increase by 45%, from 53.3% of all women having their sterilization requests fulfilled to 77.5%. Annually, this increase could potentially lead to over 29,000 unintended pregnancies averted and $215 million saved.
Sounds like policy-change time to me...

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