Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
Starting Wednesday (August 1), American women will be entitled to free birth control pills, Pap smear tests, and mammograms as a provision of the new health care law takes effect. NBC News reports that women will also be entitled to free breastfeeding support, supplies for gestational diabetes, and screening for domestic violence:
It’s not clear how many women will take adavantage of the new policy, but the US Health and Human Services Department estimates that 47 million women, ages 15 to 64, have private health insurance plans that will be affected. The 2010 health reform law requires policies provided by private health insurance companies pay for a list of women’s health preventive services, starting August 1.
However, there may be a delay in services for many women. The law applies to new policies — women with existing coverage may have to wait for their policies to renew for the requirements to kick in, which could take months. Many health insurers already provide this coverage.
The new rules are based on guidelines from the independent, non-partisan Institute of Medicine, which said paying for these services will save money and lives down the road.
“We want healthy women to have healthy babies,” said Dr. Jennifer Howse, president of the March of Dimes Foundation, a charity that works to prevent birth defects. “Receiving regular medical care greatly increases the likelihood that important messages can be delivered to pregnant women around issues such as nutrition and tobacco cessation, and provides opportunities to detect potentially dangerous conditions like gestational diabetes or high blood pressure.”
There are a few exceptions. Purely religious employers don’t have to provide the services to employees if they object. Related groups, such as Catholic-affiliated universities, have objected so the Obama administration offered what it called an accommodation, forcing the insurance companies themselves to pay for the coverage. But the religious associations still object, as do Republicans in Congress. They have promised to repeal the whole law if they win enough seats in the November election.
Image: Birth control pills, via Shutterstock
Thursday, December 8th, 2011
A new study published this week in the journal Current Biology has found that the brains of children who are exposed to domestic violence, either perpetrated against themselves or other family members, are similar to the brains of military veterans who have witnessed traumatic combat situations. Like soldiers, the study concludes, children who are in violent households are vulnerable to emotional disorders like depression and anxiety later in life.
Specifically, the researchers found that children from abusive families are 50 times more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol and 6 times more likely to commit suicide. Roughly 80 percent go on to repeat the cycle of violence in adulthood.
“This new study, while small in sample size, demonstrates that children exposed to domestic violence may have a heightened neurological reaction to anger expressed by others. This may translate into greater anxiety and mistaken social cues in key social interactions and lead to other longer-term difficulties for children,” Makers of Memories Foundation researcher Jeffrey L Edleson, a Professor in the University of Minnesota School of Social Work and Director of the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse, said in a statement.
Image: Sad young girl, via Shutterstock.
Wednesday, October 5th, 2011
U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis has issued a statement urging vigilance, zero-tolerance, and action in honor of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Three American women reportedly die each day from violent abuse, she said, adding that partner violence has far-reaching consequences for women and children:
As the chair of the president’s Interagency Council on Homelessness, I’ve seen how intimate partner violence is the number one cause of family homelessness in America. It puts our young women and men in danger of long-term physical and emotional harm. And it puts their children at greater risk of substance abuse, emotional disorders and becoming abusers themselves later in life.
To those who have been victimized by domestic violence, it’s crucial you know that there is support and shelter available to help you break the cycle of violence. And to those who perpetrate this cowardly act, know that we will not relent in our efforts until you are brought to justice. Let’s be our brother and sister’s keeper, help those who need it and lock up the perpetrators of these awful crimes.
Solis says anyone who witnesses domestic violence of any kind should call 800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit http://www.TheHotLine.org.