How the coronavirus crisis is affecting women’s reproductive health


You already know the importance of hand washing and staying home to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. But four women’s health problems emerged in the United States as the country experienced the reality of life at the time COVID-19:

  • Tax breaks for menstrual products
  • The rise of telemedicine for routine care for pregnant women
  • The lack of access for women who want to end unwanted pregnancies with medication
  • Several states declare abortions are not a necessary medical procedure and close clinics that perform abortions in six states

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Everyday Health studied how the response to the coronavirus outbreak is shaping the lives of American women.

1. People can use Pre-tax dollars to pay for period products

Legislators recently signed a $ 2 trillion bill to help Americans who are during the Coronavirus crisis. There will be money to those who hit certain income levels, will give some relief in the face of job loss, and support those trying to repay student loans or contribute to retirement plans, among other measures designed to help boost the economy.

One aspect of the new plan: items like menstrual pads, tampons and, Period or menstrual cups can be paid for with pre-tax dollars. If you have one Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you can set aside money to pay for certain medical items. For the first time in many years Period Products belong to these articles.

Menstruation management is important

“That is definitely a positive result,” says Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, Vice President of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and co-founder of Period capital, a legal and political organization. The aid package is called “menstrual products” and the wording leaves open the possible interpretation that it applies to related products, such as period-specific underwear. Weiss-Wolf did lobby work for the period reform for many years. While recognizing that not every woman has access to an HSA or FSA plan, “the label itself is an important acknowledgment to ensure that menstrual products are affordable, accessible and that they are a medical necessity”.

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The idea of ​​the essential has been turned on its head, she notes. “The people who run grocery stores need to be able to handle it when they have their periods,” she said. “It’s not too small a problem to deal with, and people have to be able to do their jobs well.”

2. Telemedicine visits are covered by many health insurances, including prenatal care

Since early to mid-March, many health insurers have been paying virtual visits between patients and health care providers via FaceTime, Skype and other everyday communication technologies Telemedicine visitsNotes the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on his website.

The Department of Gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor changed the way pregnant patients are perceived during the coronavirus era. In order to limit potential exposure, the department has reduced face-to-face visits and replaced some of the personal care with virtual ones Prenatal care.

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Aspects of prenatal visits can be done through telemedicine

The center also gives recommendations for Blood pressure monitoring Home devices and links to fetal heart rate monitoring apps. Other aspects of Prenatal caresuch as weight gain can be managed through video visits. Pregnant women should consult their gynecologist or other health care professional for the recommended remarks ACOG: “If you have an appointment to visit, your care team’s office can call you beforehand. They can let you know about telemedicine or make sure you don’t have symptoms of COVID-19 when you go to the office. Call the office before your visit if they haven’t answered.

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3. The abortion pill restrictions remain

Typically, people trying to terminate an early pregnancy can do so with a drug called. to do Mifepristone. The drug can be prescribed telemedically, but patients must still go to a clinic, doctor’s office, or hospital to receive it Report published by Vice explained. This means that patients cannot receive the drug at home, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s rules for use of the drug listed below Risk assessment and risk reduction strategy.

Given these restrictions, women seeking an abortion are forced to leave their homes to interact with others on the way to and from a clinic, risking possible coronavirus transmission on the go and in the clinic itself. The 18 states have different limits that require a health care provider to be in the room while taking the drug, they said Guttmacher Institute.

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“We have a solution to this problem, and that solution would be telemedicine delivery of abortion drugs.” Daniel Grossmann, MD, a gynecologist, abortion provider, and director of the University of California at the Center for Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health in San Francisco, said Vice.

4. Several states have total abortion bans

Governors and Attorneys General in Ohio, Texas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Alabama have closed abortion clinics in their states, claiming they are non-essential services, though some do ongoing lawsuits tried to block these measures.

The effort is an example of how “anti-abortion politicians and activists are shamelessly exploiting the current pandemic to advance ideological agendas and anchor discrimination and inequality in our health system,” wrote Herminia Palacio MD, MPH, President and CEO of the research and policy organization for reproductive health at the Guttmacher Institute on March 30, 2020, op-ed published on Rewire news.

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