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ANSIRH News

Laws targeting drug use in pregnancy have become more punitive

States are increasingly regulating drug use in pregnant women, yet little is known about these laws. We analyzed over 40 years of state-level policy in this arena and found that the number of states with one or more policies targeting drug use during pregnancy has increased substantially, and that these policies have become more punitive. We compared policies targeting alcohol use during pregnancy and drug use during pregnancy, and found that, with the exception of Mandatory Warning Signs, drug-related policies and alcohol-related policies almost entirely overlap.

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Abortion safety does not differ depending on facility type

Thirteen states have laws that require abortion clinics to meet the standard of Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs). This is the first study to directly investigate the safety of abortions performed in ASCs compared to office-based settings. There was no significant difference in rates of complications after having an abortion in an ASC compared to having an abortion in an office-based setting.  Laws that mandate that abortions be performed in ASCs do not increase the safety of abortions.

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State policies targeting alcohol use in pregnancy result in worse birth outcomes

Using data from over 148 million births over 50 years, we found that most state-level policies do not improve birth outcomes, and that several policies are associated with poorer birth outcomes, such as low birthweight, premature birth, and a low APGAR score. Even policies that are meant to be supportive of pregnant women, such as policies that require mandatory warning signs related to alcohol use during pregnancy, were associated with adverse birth outcomes and decreased prenatal care utilization.

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Study finds abortion-related emergency department visits are extremely rare

We analyzed data from nearly 200 million emergency department (ED) visits between 2009 and 2013 by women of reproductive age and found that among all visits, only about 0.01% (1 in every 10,000) were abortion-related. Previous research on abortion-related ED visits has been conducted at the state level only; this study is the first to use this extensive data set to explore the topic on a national scale.

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California university students face barriers to accessing medication abortion off campus; it would be feasible for student health centers to provide care

We assessed potential demand for medication abortion among California public university students and current barriers to accessing care. We also evaluated the capacity of University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) student health centers to provide medication abortion on campus.

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The Turnaway Study finds that abortion does not increase women’s risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts

New research from ANSIRH’s Turnaway Study found no evidence that women who have abortions are at higher risk of developing symptoms of suicidal ideation than women denied abortions. Women who sought abortion at later gestational ages were at no higher risk of having suicidal thoughts post-abortion seeking than those who sought abortion earlier in pregnancy. 

We found that having a history of mental health conditions, and intimate partner violence increased women’s risk of experiencing symptoms of suicidal ideation, not having an abortion.

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Novel study identifies 27 large U.S. cities as “abortion deserts”

We conducted a first-of-its-kind systematic online search for abortion facilities in U.S. cities with a population of 100,000 or greater and found that access to abortion facilities and certain types of services greatly vary throughout the United States.

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Allowing pharmacists to dispense medication abortion on prescription could improve access to early abortion care

Despite the growing use of medications to induce termination of early pregnancy, pharmacist involvement in abortion care is currently limited in the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for Mifeprex® (mifepristone 200 mg) prohibits the dispensing of the drug on prescription at pharmacies. But, given its safety record, this dispensing restriction is not evidence-based and constrains access to medication abortion.

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Discrimination, lack of LGBTQ competency by providers impedes reproductive healthcare for LGBTQ individuals

LGBTQ people seek reproductive healthcare services for diverse needs and face unique challenges in accessing care. In this study, we conducted in-depth interviews of 39 female-assigned-at-birth people who also identified as lesbian, bisexual, queer and/or genderqueer or transmasculine. We asked about both their current reproductive health needs and their past reproductive healthcare experiences.

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ANSIRH Update: April 2018

The latest ANSIRH Update, from April 2018. We are off to a very productive start to the year, with 14 peer-reviewed articles—four from the Turnaway Study alone. Our research was featured in 111 media articles from 67 media outlets, and we also published 5 op-eds and one New York Times letter to the editor. And Monica McLemore was not only named the Abortion Care Network (ACN) Person of the Year, but was also the star of billboards around the Bay Area for an ACN campaign that is challenging deceptive crisis pregnancy centers and so-called “abortion reversal” of medication abortion.

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ANSIRH is a program within the UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health and is a part of UCSF's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences.

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