reproductive health & family planning

health action 2009

Bills in Brief

It took over a decade for health care reform to lose its Clinton-era-induced taboo status - but 2009 could be the year Congress approves sweeping changes to health care.

While lawmakers rev up for large-scale reform, though, some smaller health bills seeing action include:

SCHIP. Congress head butted with Bush the past two years over expanding State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which covers low income children who aren't low income enough to qualify for Medicaid. Having lost the battle in '07 and '08, lawmakers put SCHIP at the top of their agenda in '09, passing an expansion of coverage to 4 million additional children (up from 7 million) at an additional cost of $32 billion. (WP)

health action 2008

Bills in Brief

It took over a decade for health care reform to lose its Clinton-era-induced taboo status - but while health care policy is coming back in vogue, America will have to wait until 2009 before any major reforms become ripe for passage.

In the meantime, in 2007 Congress set out to pass a series of mini health care initiatives - which it may follow up on in 2008:

SCHIP. Congress head butted with Bush last year over expanding State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which covers low income children who aren't low income enough to qualify for Medicaid. Congress, which wanted to double the scope of the act, lost. It considered a second go in '08, but now SCHIP has officially been punted to '09 (NYT). Meanwhile, the administration sent states a letter saying they had to tighten eligibility for SCHIP, only to have the GAO weigh in that the administration overstepped its legal boungs (GAO).

family & marriage

Facts

The sanctity of marriage is at the center of today's culture war in America. Social conservatives see marriage being attacked by a disintegration of family values and by the advent of gay marriage. Others claim that marriage is making a bit of a comeback and that gay-marriages, rather than harming the santity of marriage, reinforce it.

General

How many Americans are married:

  • 120.2 million Americans are married (2000) (54% of population 15 years +) (Census).

Percent of couples that are unmarried. Unmarried couples that live together (NORC) make up:

  • 1997: 7% of all couples; 4.1% of all families
  • 1990: 5.1% of all couples; 3.1% of all families
  • 1980: 3.1% of all couples; 2% of all families

Same sex couples

Number of unmarried same sex couples living together in the US (Census):

teens & sex

Facts

Since a lot of the debates surrounding reproductive health - abortion, birth control and STDs - are particularly concerned with youth and sexual behavior, cJ thought a separate fact page on teens and sex was in order.

Contraception use

What percent of teens used contraception the first time they had sex? (2002) (CDC)

females

  • none: 25.5%
  • condom: 66.4%
  • pill: 16.5%
  • withdrawal: 7.5%
  • dual methods (condom and hormonal): 13.1%

males

  • none: 18%
  • condom: 70.9%
  • pill: 14.9%
  • withdrawal: 9.8%
  • dual methods (condom and hormonal): 10.4%

What percent of teen females have used emergency contraception (such as Plan B)? (2002)

  • 8.1%

Percent of teen females who had sex 3 months before the interview who used: (2002)

Plan B

Facts

Plan B - aka emergency contraception - is just one of the many debates about sexual health. Advocates of emergency contraception think that it lowers the rate of unwanted pregnancies and the rate of abortions. Those who oppose the availability of emergency contraception believe that it creates a false sense of security and will lead to high rates of promiscuity and STD infection and less personal, sexual responsibility - especially among young women. To give our readers a chance to figure out which side of the debate they fall on, below is some background information about Plan B and STD rates.

Plan B - not RU486

Plan B is often confused with RU486, another hotly debated sexual health issue (at least, a lot of us thought they were the same thing). (PlannedParenthood) Here's the diff:

abortion & family planning

Facts

In 1973, the Supreme Court declared in Roe v. Wade that a woman had the right to end her pregnancy within three months of conception. Since then, few issues in American politics have divided the country or generated such passion. The debate is no longer a simple "pro-choice vs. pro-life" option (until Roe v. Wade falls, that discussion is off the table); the new questions are whether to allow partial birth (late term) abortions, whether to require parent notification and whether to mandate waiting periods when women seek an abortion.