NIH Holds Conference on "Vaginal Birth After Cesarean" Safety and Availability
An independent panel met at the National Institutes of Health Wednesday to discuss whether vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is a safe or accessible procedure for pregnant US women. The panel consisted of gynecologists, obstetricians and experts in maternal/fetal pain, according to RH Reality Check. They discussed the advantages and risks of both a vaginal delivery and a repeat cesarean, citing a wide range of statistical medical data for and against both cases.
According to an NIH press release, Dr. F. Gary Cunningham, panel chair, and chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas said, "Declining VBAC rates and increasing cesarean delivery rates over the last 15 years would seem to indicate that planned repeat cesarean delivery is preferable to a trial of labor. But the currently available evidence suggests a very different picture: a trial of labor is worth considering and may be preferable for many women."
Dr. Cunningham cited two hospital administration surveys stating 30 percent of hospitals have stopped providing a trial of labor option because they could not accommodate the necessary conditions. 40 percent of US hospitals ban VBAC altogether, according to RH Reality Check. The panel emphasized the importance of ensuring the "immediate availability" of surgical and anesthesia personnel prior to a vaginal birth for a woman who has had a previous c-section, said RH Reality Check.
USA Today reporter Rita Rubin presented true stories of families who have protested VBAC bans to the panel, RH Reality Check reported. Other audience members presented the argument to the NIH panel that mothers must have the right to choose their birthing method. However, as Susan Jenkins, legal counsel for The Big Push For Midwives, told RH Reality Check, "the panel refused to take a position on whether a pregnant woman has the same constitutional right to informed refusal as any other adult in the U.S. This is unconscionable and I wonder what this administration's take is on an HHS panel questioning whether pregnant women are entitled to the full benefits of U.S. citizenship in regard to patient autonomy."
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .