204667 Rights Matter: Lessons from President Obama's First 100 Days on Contraceptives and Family Planning

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dhrubajyoti Bhattacharya, JD, MPH, LLM , Department of Medical Humanities, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL
Background:

In early 2009, Americans witnessed the withdrawal of the Mexico City Policy, reintroduction of the Prevention First Act (PFA), and a stimulus act devoting funds to a myriad of health initiatives. All of this coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)a treaty that the U.S. has never ratified. Since CEDAW assures equal access to family planning services and pregnancy related care, passing the PFA would arguably complement the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, and arguably bring the U.S. in compliance with the treaty. This project explores whether recent governmental initiatives have enhanced or impeded efforts to pass the PFA and ratify CEDAW.

Methodology:

I assessed whether pronouncements by President Barack Obama and the Congress as relates to family planning, against the backdrop of the WIC program, comport with the legal requirements of CEDAW.

Results:

Promoting access to contraceptives to impoverished women abroad, but failing to extend the Medicaid Family Planning Option (while funding other programs) reflects a prioritization that does not satisfy the needs of America's marginalized populations.

Recommendations:

Adopt transparent standards for allocating resources for family planning and pregnancy-related services, and afford priority to marginalized populations.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the session, participants will be able to (1) identify the potential conflicts between policy and compliance with international norms related to reproductive health, and (2) recognize how prioritizing the unmet needs of marginalized populations would enhance compliance and facilitate access to services.

Learning Objectives:
(1) Identify the potential conflicts between policy and compliance with international norms related to reproductive health, and (2) Recognize how prioritizing the unmet needs of marginalized populations would enhance compliance and facilitate access to services.

Keywords: Advocacy, Reproductive Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My primary area of research is in the intersection of law and policy as relates to women's health and sexuality, and particularly reproductive health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.