Policy Brief: Reproductive and Sexual Health

Policy Brief: Reproductive and Sexual Health

Grand Canyon University: NRS-427VN

Policy Brief: Reproductive and Sexual Health

Sexual and reproductive health is an issue for all Americans at some time in their lives. Visits for sexual and reproductive health are often the gateway for patients into the healthcare system. Services are provided for pregnancy prevention, STD treatment and prevention, and prenatal care. They also serve as screening visits for domestic violence, substance abuse and cancer, among other health issues (“Reproductive and Sexual Health,” 2018). The American Public Health Association “believes access to the full range of reproductive health services is a fundamental right and integral to the health and well-being of individual women and to the broader public health” (American Public Health Association, 2018). A significant issue in relation to reproductive and sexual health is the lack of accessibility to basic medical care by many Americans. Many problems related to reproductive and sexual health are highly preventable. Lack of access to preventive care is unacceptable in America in 2018.

Reproductive and sexual health care affects women on a national level. One article suggests that in rural areas, the issue is not a lack of access, but a lack of importance placed on reproductive health care (Chuang et al., 2012). They found that in rural communities, there is a lack of education regarding sexual and reproductive health and therefor a greater acceptance of unplanned pregnancies and large families. Education regarding reproductive and sexual health is just as importance as access to care. Without education, people will fail to utilize the care that is available to them.

Planned Parenthood (PP) is a major player when it comes to reproductive and sexual health. PP offers many services that are affordable and comprehensive, such as STD screening, gynecological exams and care, education and contraception. Planned parenthood is available for teens who have nowhere to go, for patients with no insurance and little money, and many other vulnerable populations. Currently, the federal government is working to decrease, and possibly eliminate, federal funding for PP. This is a dangerous move, as it will leave millions of Americans, specifically those who are uninsured and living with limited means, without access to reproductive and sexual health services. This will lead to more unwanted pregnancies, a higher rate of STD’s, higher rates of “back-alley abortions,” to name a few dangerous outcomes (Silver & Kapadia, 2017).

Planned Parenthood is blamed for supporting abortion and spending government money on abortion. The fact is that less that 5% of funding is spent on abortions, safe, medically sound abortions. “The Congressional Budget Office (2015) has estimated that the cost of eliminating Planned Parenthood’s federal discretionary funding (a mere $60 million of its total annual federal appropriation of $450 million) would increase costs to the U.S. government by $130 million from 2016 to 2025” (Bradley-Springer, 2015, p. 371). Research and data must be taken into account by the Federal entities who are working to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. Health care workers must step forward and fight for funding to continue. The effects of eliminating Planned Parenthood could be catastrophic in terms of unwanted pregnancies and the rates of STD’s, including HIV, climbing to record highs.

In conclusion, Planned Parenthood funding is essential to the face of reproductive and sexual health care in America. Planned Parenthood helped 2.4 million people in the US in 2016 alone. Theses numbers cannot be ignored. Education is proved to patients regarding sexual health, pregnancy prevention, LGBT counseling, and countless other topics. Planned Parenthood also provides men’s health services, including cancer screening, fertility and sexual dysfunctions treatment. Planned Parenthood is so much more than abortions. It is a safe place for a scared teenager to go for help, whether it’s the morning after pill or education about safe sex, including contraceptives. The resulting cost of cutting Planned Parenthood would be much greater than the cost of funding it, not only financially but also physically and emotionally for the millions of patients who rely on PP services.

References

American Public Health Association. (2018). https://www.apha.org/topics-and-issues/reproductive-and-sexual-health

Bradley-Springer, L. (2015, July-August). Standing up for Planned Parenthood. Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, 21(4), 371. https://doi.org/https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1016/j.jana.2015.10.008

Chuang, C. H., Hwang, S. W., McCall-Hosenfeld, J. S., Rosenwasser, L., Hillemeier, M. M., & Weisman, C. S. (2012, June 1). Primary care physicians’ perceptions of barriers to preventive reproductive health care in rural communities []. Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health, 44(2), 78-83. https://doi.org/10.1363/4407812

Reproductive and sexual health. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/leading-health-indicators/2020-lhi-topics/Reproductive-and-Sexual-Health

Silver, D., & Kapadia, F. (2017, July). Planned Parenthood is health care, and health care must defend it: A call to action. American Journal of Public Health, 107(7), 1040-1041. https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.2105/AJPH.2017.303867