maternal health care

Healthcare Rant

I called our state-subsidized healthcare program for kids to see if our baby will qualify, and if he does, when I should apply.  The woman on the phone was very helpful and asked if I wanted to apply for a maternity health care program that they also offer.  I think it’s expanded medicaid, and didn’t think we qualified based on our annual income.  But she said it is actually based on income from the past 30 days, and our income dips way down in the spring and summer.  So I’m collecting our pay stubs and filling out the application… and our gross income exceeds the monthly income cap by $89.  I’ll call them on Monday and find out how firm that number really is.  I can also wait a month and apply when our income is even lower, but will need to pay our current healthcare premiums in the meantime. 

I’m “currently” covered as a dependent spouse under Husband’s graduate school insurance, which only covers 80% of our healthcare costs.  I say “currently” because it’s the open enrollment period.  As of today, I’m not covered at all, because grad school insurance won’t let you enroll a dependent until the open enrollment period starts - which is the day after the coverage lapses.  Once we pay our premiums, they’ll back-date the coverage to today, but the gap in coverage makes me crazy anxious - especially since my first third-trimester midwife appointment is on Friday .  I also need to double check our policy’s out-of-pocket limit.  Last summer, we got kicked off our insurance because Husband didn’t register for classes, and we didn’t realize that enrollment was a per-requisite for coverage in the summer.  We ended up having to pay a penalty on our taxes. 

I’m thankful that our a big surprise has been this pregnancy (which we are thrilled about!), rather than a surprise cancer diagnosis!  But makes me so very, very angry that healthcare is so complicated and expensive in our country.  I didn’t realize how spoiled I was as a union member in NYC. 


Here’s What Giving Birth Looks Like — In Two Very Different Worlds

Nearly one-fifth of all deaths among women ages 15 to 49 in Tanzania are related to pregnancy and labor. In Sweden the maternal mortality rate is one of the world’s lowest — just four women per 100,000 childbirths.

“I had the feeling Swedish women were acting out more, screaming more, even if they had painkillers.”




Sec. Hillary Clinton Defends Reproductive Rights

Hillary slaying a question about the role of U.S. government supporting access to safe abortion, contraception, maternal health care and education abroad with a vigorous defense of reproductive rights and family planning.

When I think about the suffering that I have seen of women around the world, I have been to hospitals in Brazil where half the women were enthusiastically and joyfully greeting new babies and the other half were fighting for their lives against botched abortions. 

I have been in African countries where 12 and 13 year old girls are bearing children. I have been in Asian countries where the denial of family planning consigns women to a life of oppression and hardship.

So we have a very fundamental disagreement.


United Nations Study Finds U.S. Way Behind In Women’s Rights

The U.S. is just one of seven nations that hasn’t yet ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Iran, Somalia and Sudan are some of the other countries on the list. The UN committee reports, “There is a myth that women already enjoy all these rights and protections under US law. However, there are missing rights and protections such as universal paid maternity leave, accessible reproductive health care and equal opportunity in standing for political election.”


Photo by Andrea Bruce

Most newborn & maternal deaths happen in the postnatal period.  Much of MSF’s work is devoted to preventing these types of deaths.  Read about how MSF cares for women and babies by offering pre and postnatal care in Chapter 2 of Because Tomorrow Needs Her:

Tell your Representative: Don’t strip protections for people with preexisting conditions!

Republicans think they’ve reached a new health care deal, and it’s bad. They want to let states apply for waivers to allow discrimination against people with preexisting conditions. In those states that apply for the waiver, insurance companies could charge sicker people as much as they want so that only healthy people can afford insurance, and they’d be free to sell plans that don’t cover things like maternity care or mental health care. They want to get this done fast, so we need to call NOW and tell our Representatives to protect affordable coverage for people with preexisting conditions!

Here’s your script: “Hi, my name is [your name] and my zip code is [your zip code]. I’m calling because I’m very concerned about the new health care amendment being discussed, which would let insurers charge people with preexisting conditions unaffordable high premiums. I want Representative So-and-so to vote against any bill that will raise costs for people with pre-existing conditions. Thank you!”

'Day of shame': Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden slammed the GOP for passing health care bill

(Vice President Joe Biden and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009.AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden joined the growing chorus of criticism against the GOP on Thursday after House Republicans narrowly passed the American Health Care Act.

“A shameful failure of policy & morality by GOP today,” Clinton said on Twitter. “Fight back on behalf of the millions of families that will be hurt by their actions.”

Clinton’s tweet came in response to a tweet soliciting donations to ActBlue, a political action committee that raises money for Democratic politicians.

Biden was equally blunt in his appraisal, calling Thursday a “day of shame.”

“Day of shame in Congress. Protections for pre-existing conditions, mental health, maternity care, addiction services – all gone,” he said on Twitter.

Day of shame in Congress. Protections for pre-existing conditions, mental health, maternity care, addiction services – all gone.

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden)

May 4, 2017

The AHCA passed 217 to 213, with 20 Republicans and all Democrats voting in opposition. It will now head to the Senate, where it faces an uphill battle to become law.

Both Clinton and Biden served in the Barack Obama administration when the Affordable Care Act, known widely as Obamacare, was enacted — Clinton as secretary of state, and Biden as vice president. The two Democrats joined other Obama administration members who denounced the bill on Thursday.

NOW WATCH: Watch a Trump surrogate get shut down after calling Trump the ‘Martin Luther King of healthcare’

More From Business Insider

Photo by Lynsey Addario/VII

“As I was finishing my shift at 7 a.m., the ambulance rolled in with a 17-year-old pregnant girl in a coma…” Betty Raney, an MSF OBGYN, spent 6 months working in Sierra Leone. Read the latest excerpts from her journal:

anonymous asked:

I’m confused about women’s health issues, including access to abortion, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, etc. Could you write a layperson’s version of what we’re facing in the USA in 2017? You have a lot of experience as a nurse and midwife, and a great deal of education, plus you’ve worked with all sorts of populations around the world. That’s something I liked about marching on Saturday. I marched to support rights of women in ALL countries, including American women living in poverty. Thank you

Oh dear anon… this would be much easier to answer if you asked me to reply in 100 words or fewer. I shall attempt to do my best to answer your question.  

I will say at the outset I wish women did not ever have to choose to have an abortion. I have spent nearly 30 years working with women, so I’ve spoken more often than the average bear to women who have had an abortion. But I’ve yet to meet a woman who has said, “I’m happy I had an abortion.” There may be women who are happy they’ve had an abortion - I’ve just never met one.

Every woman I know who has aborted feels sadness and/or guilt to some degree. Still some women will choose to abort, and if abortion is illegal in the US, many women will find a way to self-abort, or at least they will attempt it. This means more women will die. Some of my older colleagues have cared for women who tried to self-abort. To a person, they say “never again should women in the US be forced to try to end a pregnancy without competent and skilled care.”

In a perfect world, all pregnancies would happen at a time in a women’s life when she is supported and loved. That perfect world does not exist. I do not believe Roe v. Wade will be overturned, but I DO believe the Trump administration will cut funding to Planned Parenthood. There are about 650 PP locations in the U.S. In addition to abortion services, PP clinics provide STD treatment, pap smears, breast exams, and family planning services.

It is well documented the U.S. is facing an increasing shortage of maternity care providers:,,

About 50 percent of all counties in the US do not have a maternity care provider, i.e. an OB-GYN, Nurse-Midwife, or Family Physician qualified to provide care to childbearing women. The good news is the recent Improving Access to Maternity Care Act, a bipartisan bill that would require the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to identify regional shortages of maternity health professionals around the country. The bill would allow the National Health Service Corps, a unit of the Department of Health and Human Services created to address medical provider shortages in underserved areas, to place more OB-GYNs and certified nurse midwives in those areas. The bill goes next to the Senate and if passed there, it goes on to the President’s desk for signature.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, has enabled millions of previously uninsured persons to obtain health care coverage. Vulnerable populations have benefited greatly under health care reform. Many of us are wary about what the nation’s new political landscape portends for health care benefits, particularly for poor and hard-to-insure people. The ACA has enabled health insurance coverage to reach an all-time high in our country, with more than 90 percent of individuals in the U.S. covered, but it is under grave threat.

The Trump administration has already begun to repeal major provisions of the ACA. With Republican majorities in Congress, and a president uniting with them in opposition to the ACA, the path for repeal legislation to pass and be signed into law is wide open. This would be devastating to the 22 million Americans who have benefited from the law’s provisions, and to those who care for them. The ACA is not perfect - President Obama was the first to admit tweaking was necessary in several areas. But repealing major provisions without having a clear replacement plan ready for implementation is foolish and shortsighted.

What saddens me most about what I’ve heard from the Trump administration about health care is the seemingly increased focus on American nationalism - the “make America great” and “America first” mentality - will likely lead to significant decreases in foreign aid to organizations providing care to vulnerable populations globally. We are not an isolated island, we do not stand alone, we are all interconnected, and we will be much less the country our foremothers and forefathers intended us to be if we turn our backs on the suffering people of our world.

April 11, 2016: International Day for Maternal Health and Rights

Pregnant teens wait to be seen at the Tan Ux’il adolecent clinic in Petén, Guatemala, a partner of Planned Parenthood Global. 

Did you know that Latin America is the only region in the world where births among girls under 15 years old is on the rise? And nearly 90% of pregnancies in girls under 14 years old are the result of rape. Forcing a girl to carry a pregnancy to term puts her at risk for severe physical and mental health complications, and even death. 

Access to safe and comprehensive maternal health care, including safe abortion, is a human right. That’s why Planned Parenthood Global is proud to join global health activists from around the world in recognizing today, April 11, as the International Day for Maternal Health and Rights. Today especially, the maternal health of some of the most marginalized communities around the world must be front and center. 

Learn more about Stolen Lives, a research project to document the physical and mental health effects of forced motherhood on girls 9-14 years old in Guatemala, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Peru.

Photo by Andrea Bruce

Twin newborns in MSF’s hospital in Khost, Afghanistan. The postnatal period is the most dangerous time for mothers and babies: 75% of all neonatal deaths and more than 35% of maternal deaths occur during the first week after birth. Read stories from the field about the challenges to providing pre and postnatal care in Because Tomorrow Needs Her:

Midwives talk about the “three delays” that can kill a mother in labor or her baby.The first delay stems from an assumption or hope that they can deliver at home without skilled assistance, so they do not go to a properly resourced medical facility when complications arise. Read more in Because Tomorrow Needs Her: