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Revised Medicaid policy could reduce unintended pregnancies, save millions in health costs
Date:9/12/2013

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 12, 2013 A revised Medicaid sterilization policy that removes logistical barriers, including a mandatory 30-day waiting period, could potentially honor women's reproductive decisions, reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and save $215 million in public health costs each year, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Their findings, published today in the journal Contraception, support growing evidence for the need to revisit a national policy that disproportionately affects low-income and minority women at high risk for unintended pregnancies.

Female sterilization, commonly called tubal ligation, is a permanent form of birth control performed as a surgical procedure to block a woman's fallopian tubes. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, it is the second-most commonly used contraceptive method in the United States. Each year, about 250,000 women request publicly funded sterilization through Medicaid, yet only 53 percent are able to have their sterilization requests fulfilled. Past research suggests that Medicaid regulations present significant obstacles because they mandate a 30-day waiting period between the time of written consent and the actual procedure and require that a physical copy of the form be present at the time of delivery for women undergoing post-partum sterilization.

"It's become evident that women who request federally funded sterilization are subject to a set of policy barriers that impede their reproductive autonomy," explained Sonya Borrero, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of medicine, Pitt School of Medicine, and lead author of the study. "The implementation of this policy during the 1970s was well-intentioned, erected in response to a history of coercive, non-consensual procedures mostly performed on low-income and minority women. However, there is now a body of evidence that indicates that the policy is not only incapable of servi
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Contact: Andrea Stanford
stanfordac@upmc.edu
412-522-3349
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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