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HHS Sec. Xavier Becerra thanks ANSIRH experts for abortion research

Xavier Becerra, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, discussed the impact of abortion restrictions on peoples’ lives with experts from Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH). 

Sec. Xavier Becerra speaks with ANSIRH Director Dr. Daniel Grossman

On Monday, Sec. Becerra met with ObGyn doctors, medical students, and ANSIRH researchers at the University of California, San Francisco's (UCSF) Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital campus. The secretary thanked attendees for their scientific research on complex issues related to abortion and their commitment to providing essential, lifesaving abortion care to patients in California.

"We at UCSF recognize the critical role that we have to play as national leaders in the care of women and other people with the capacity for pregnancy," said ANSIRH Director Dr. Daniel Grossman. "Now in the face of Dobbs and the erosion of abortion access in so many parts of the country, we at UCSF are working tirelessly across all of our mission areas to try to address this crisis."

Tracking the Impact of Abortion Bans Nationwide

ANSIRH researchers have been investigating and documenting the impact of abortion restrictions on peoples’ lives and serving as experts in the ongoing national conversation. Dr. Grossman shared results from the seminal report, Care Post-Roe, which documents cases where health care providers were unable to provide standard medical care in states with abortion bans, leading to delays, denials of care, and worsened health outcomes. 

Dr. Josie Urbina, an assistant professor at ANSIRH and physician specializing in complex pregnancy at San Francisco General Hospital, also discussed the health effects of abortion bans on vulnerable and marginalized communities, which includes Black, Brown, Native American, immigrant, LGBTQ, low-income, and non-English speaking patients.

ANSIRH Director Dr. Daniel Grossman, Sec. Xavier Becerra, and Dr. Ushma Upadhyay pose for a photo in front of ANSIRH's 20th anniversary poster.

ANSIRH researcher Dr. Ushma Upadhyay and Sec. Becerra discussed findings from the WeCount Study, which is a national effort led by the Society of Family Planning to document the shifts in abortion at the state level since the fall of Roe. The study shows how abortion access in the United States has plummeted to zero in some states, while increasing in others to meet the acute need – resulting in a major disruption to the U.S. healthcare system and people’s lives.

Also in attendance was Dr. Diana Greene Foster, who was recently named a 2023 MacArthur Fellow for her work on The Turnaway Study, which investigated the physical, mental, and financial impacts of being denied an abortion on women and their families.

"This is an institution that is renowned, not just in California, but throughout the world," Becerra said. “It’s great that you all have stepped up because there are people who are really looking for heroes out there right now.”

With support from policy leaders like Sec. Becerra, ANSIRH continues to provide much-needed research for active policy debates, legal battles, and cultural discourse around abortion and reproductive health topics. 

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