FOGSI in collaboration with IMA discuss the changing patterns of contraception
Population control and the need for a proper family planning
An initiative to discuss intricate relationship between family planning and development of the nation
New Delhi, July 12, 2017: Emphasizing the significance of 11th July as World Population Day, 242 societies induced by the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) came together with 3 lakh doctors of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to discuss about the shifting pattern of contraception methods available today. Their motto was to empower people by spreading awareness among them about the varied ways of family planning and thus the development of the nation, as reported by ANI.
Samaj Swasthya, a magazine started by Raghunath Dhondo Karve as early as 1927. In it, he discussed society’s well-being as a consequence of population control. He argued for every women’s control over their own lives through the path of birth control.
According to ‘Vision FP 2020’, a proper family planning can keep at bay 2.39 crore births and 42,000 maternal deaths by 2020. This will, in turn, lead to an even dispersion of hygiene, nutrition and will help to eliminate malnutrition, poverty and deaths by starvation.
Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association and President Heart Care Foundation of India and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA, on this opportunity speaks about the significance of the knowledge that people should have at their disposal about “the varied and effective contraception choices”. Irreversible tubectomy, reversible long-acting spacing methods of contraception such as the intrauterine device among others. He discussed at length about injectable contraceptives. Dr Aggarwal aims towards alleviating myths and misconceptions about contraceptives and also create awareness on safe family planning methods.
India is ranked 2nd in the category of world’s most populated countries with most of the women not being fully educated on contraception usages and importances.
Dr Rishma Dhillon Pai – President and Dr Hrishikesh D Pai – Secretary General, Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) in a joint statement shared, “In 2015, over 7 lakh abortions were recorded, which resulted from unwanted pregnancies – as an outcome of the unmet need for contraceptives”. India is in dire need of family planning services
“Our aim is to keep the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of the Indian population to 2.1. Out of 36 states and Union territories of India, 24 of them have already achieved the TFR of 2.1 or less.” contends SK Sikdar, Deputy Commissioner and HOD, Family planning division of Union Health Ministry.
– prepared by Puja Sinha of NewsGram. Twitter @pujas1994
Several Republican-led state legislatures are advocating for women to gain over-the-counter access to birth control in what they say is an effort to reduce unplanned pregnancies and abortions.
State legislatures in Arkansas and Iowa, for example, are working on legislation that would allow women older than 18 the ability to receive birth control from a pharmacist rather than going first to a doctor for a prescription. The measures are seeing bipartisanship support in those states and come after similar laws have passed in nearly a dozen other states.
Arkansas state Representative Aaron Pilkington, a Republican, said he started working on the bill after seeing “about a 15 percent decrease of teen births” after other states passed similar legislation. Arkansas consistently has one of the highest birth rates among teenagers in the country.
Pilkington said support for the bill “in many ways, it’s very generational. … I find that a lot of younger people and women are really in favor of this, especially mothers.”
According to the Oral Contraceptive (OCs) Over the Counter (OTC) Working Group, a reproductive rights group, more than 100 countries, including Russia, much of South America and countries in Africa, allow access to birth control without a prescription.
Women are required to get a doctor’s prescription to obtain and renew birth control in most of the U.S., much of Europe, Canada and Australia, according to the reproductive rights group.
Pilkington, who identifies as a “pro-life legislator,” said he brought the bill forward partly as an effort to counter unwanted pregnancies and abortions. The bill would require a doctor’s visit about every two years to renew the prescription.
Arkansas has a population of about 3 million people, a third of whom live in rural areas. Pilkington said the bill would likely benefit women who reside in rural areas or those who have moved to new cities and aren’t under a doctor’s care yet.
“A lot of times when they’re on the pill and they run out, they’ve gotta get a doctor’s appointment, and the doctor says, ‘I can’t see you for two months,’” he said. “Some people have to drive an hour and a half to see their PCP (primary care physician) or OB-GYN (obstetrician-gynecologist), so this makes a lot of sense.”
What Pilkington is proposing is not new. In 2012, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorsed the idea of making birth control available without a prescription. Today, at least 11 other states have passed legislation allowing for patients to go directly to the pharmacist, with some caveats.
In October, ahead of a tight midterm race, Iowa Republican Governor Kim Reynolds raised a few eyebrows when she announced she would prioritize over-the-counter access to birth control in her state. Like Pilkington, she cited countering abortion as a main driver behind the proposed legislation. The bill closely models much of the language used in another Republican-sponsored bill In Utah that passed last year with unanimous support.
The planned Iowa legislation comes after the Republican-led state Legislature passed a bill in 2017 that rejected $3 million in federal funds for family-planning centers like Planned Parenthood.
The loss of federal funds forced Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit organization that provides health care and contraception for women, to close four of its 12 clinics in the state.
Since then, Jamie Burch Elliott, public affairs manager of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland in Iowa, said that anecdotal evidence shows that sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies have gone up.
“With family planning, it takes time to see the impacts, so there are long-term studies going on to really study the impact of this,” said Burch Elliott. “Right away, we saw STI (sexually transmitted infections) and STD (sexually transmitted diseases) rates go up, particularly chlamydia and gonorrhea. As far as unintended pregnancy rates, we are hearing that they are rising, although the data is not out yet.”
So far the Iowa legislation has received some pushback, mostly from a few pro-life groups.
The Iowa Right to Life organization has remained neutral on the issue of birth control, but the Iowa Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the bishops of Iowa, and Iowans for LIFE, a nonprofit anti-abortion organization, have come out against the bill, citing concerns that birth control should not be administered without a visit to a physician.
Maggie DeWitte, executive director of Iowans for LIFE, also pointed out that oral contraception can be an “abortifacient [that] sometimes cause abortions,” challenging Reynolds’ motivation for introducing the bill.
On the other hand, Iowa family-planning organizations and Democratic legislators are mostly on board.
“Policywise, I think this is really good,” said Heather Matson, a state representative of a district located just outside the state capital, Des Moines. She appreciated that insurance will still cover birth control, but took issue with the age restriction, saying she would like to see an option for people younger than 18. “Is it exactly the bill that I would have written, if given the opportunity? Not exactly.”
“Policywise, I think this is really good,” said Heather Matson, a state representative of a district located just outside the state capital, Des Moines. She appreciated that insurance will still cover birth control, but took issue with the age restriction, saying she would like to see an option for people younger than 18. “Is it exactly the bill that I would have written, if given the opportunity? Not exactly.” (VOA)