How We Could Be Preventing Unwanted PregnanciesAnd Aren’t
A new medical study indicates that it’s safe for a woman to have an IUD inserted immediately after an abortion or miscarriage. Researchers say it could prevent more than 70,000 unintended pregnancies annually, but there’s a non-medical reason that isn’t happening: The Hyde Amendment.
The study, published in the New England Journal Of Medicine, found no significant risk of tearing or infection to IUD insertion for women whose pregnancies ended between 5 and 12 weeks. Though some women expelled the IUD, it was at a lower rate than those women in the study who waited for a longer period after their pregnancy ended.
But because the Hyde Amendment requires a strict separation between federally-funded family planning services and abortion care, in practice low-income women are forced to make a separate appointment if they want an IUD, an extremely effective form of contraception. Per Reuters’ interview with the study’s lead author, Dr. Paula Bednarek:
The requirement that no federal money be used for abortion services effectively blocks clinics from giving those women any kind of contraceptive on the same day and in the same facility where their abortion is performed, Bednarek told Reuters Health.
The study found that within six months, “more than 90 percent of the women who had immediately gotten their IUD were still using it, versus about three quarters who received a delayed insertion.”
Six out of ten of women who visit federally-funded family planning clinics describe it as their only source of medical care; the circumstances of their lives are often such that a repeat appointment constitutes a burden.