Raising Women’s Voices

Public Health over Ideology — reproductive health for all stages of life

Posted in Uncategorized by raisingwomensvoices on December 9, 2008

The New England Journal of Medicine published an article last month proposing a discussion of national reproductive health policy framed in a public health discourse — “a field that favors pragmatic, evidence-based approaches over ideology.”  The authors stress the need for an approach that views women’s repro health through all stages of life, rather than as piecemeal issues and events.  Health policy must be formed on the basis of “dispassionate, accurate information,” both in the science that informs the treatment available, and in the unbiased education of the public.

Public health, the authors say, “places medical problems in the context of social forces such as poverty, environmental pollution, poor education, and domestic violence.  With such a multifaceted lens, it becomes clear that the domain of work and family will be a critical focus.”

The authors also make a crucial point, beyond policy protecting the right to privacy and choice concerning our bodies, about the necessity of policy to protect equal access to reproductive care:

“Even if Americans elect an administration committed to nominating Supreme Court justices who support a constitutionally protected right to privacy encompassing reproductive choice, reproductive health services must still be legally, financially and practically accessible.”

Policy regarding funding to states and restrictions on insurance companies must be designed to provide adequate numbers of facilities in urban, suburban, and rural areas and to ensure reproductive health coverage by insurance companies.

The article leaves us with the thought that equal access to accurate information, individual choice, and consistent reproductive care throughout all stages of life “is not just good policy, it is a human right.”

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