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Women's Health Education Program WHEP Blog: Advocacy

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Growing Fetus

Reproductive Justice on the PA Ballot in 2022

On June 24 2022, the United States Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right for a woman to choose a safe medical procedure that grants reproductive freedom and justice. Reproductive justice is defined as the “human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.” The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision to overrule Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey set back reproductive justice to 1973 in 13 states that passed trigger laws.

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Portrait of confident doctor. -->

The Underrepresentation of Women Physicians in Cardiology

In cardiology, women comprise only 18% of fellows, less than 15% of practicing general cardiologists, and less than 5% of interventional cardiologists. This is a stark difference to the patients they serve, with recent estimates indicating that more than 50% of women in the United States above 40 years old suffer from cardiovascular disease.

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Female doctor and senior patient discuss medical records.

Women in Medicine Month

Being a woman in medicine means different things to different people. For some, it means finding their own niche in a historically male-dominated field. For others, it means providing comfort and care to other women in their most desperate times of need. For most, it means being able to inspire future generations to pursue whatever they dream of, free of the shackles of labels, discouragement and doubt.

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Abstract Background

The Shadow Pandemic: Violence Against Women and Girls

In the shadows of COVID-19, there was another pandemic arising, that unfortunately was masked by the pressing nature of the COVID pandemic. This is now termed the “Shadow Pandemic”: the increasing rates of violence against women and children since the onset of COVID-19 pandemic.

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Reproduction Concept

Restriction on Abortion Care Amplifies Health Disparities and Suffering

Reproductive rights including abortion care have been protected for the last 50 years. However, in June of 2022 the landmark Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The implications of such policy signify that individual states have full authority to regulate abortion policy in any way they deem fit.

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Father working at home but baby interrupting his session.

No Paid Parental Leave for Americans

Paid parental leave is a benefit of employment that almost seems intuitive; it lets parents in the workforce care for themselves and their newborn following delivery, reducing financial insecurity and stress during those times. The United States remains the only industrialized, modernized country that does not have a paid family medical leave program. While the U.S. has implemented the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), this only affords unpaid leave and has strict eligibility requirements, often excluding those most in need, exacerbating existing health disparities.

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Breastfeeding Mother

Debunking MD Misconceptions about Breastfeeding

As an MS4, I thought I was ready to excel in my Women’s Health in the Community: Breastfeeding Elective at St. Christopher’s Center for the Urban Child. It turns out that I had to learn even faster than I usually do. As the trained lactation consultants went through common breastfeeding myths with me that afternoon, I realized that I had believed every single one of them. At another hospital, one without lactation consultants, a doctor might even be counseling their patients wrong. In order for us to counsel our patients correctly, we must first debunk those misconceptions that we hold for ourselves. Here are the biggest ones that have fundamentally changed how I will practice medicine.

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Breastfeeding Mother

Breastfeeding in Public – It’s Up to Mom’s Comfort, Not Yours

Feeding your baby is a natural and wonderful way to not only keep baby healthy and happy, but for you to bond with your newborn. So why has breastfeeding in public become such a large issue?

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Chestfeeding person.

Inclusivity in Chestfeeding

Gender identity is often fluid, and individuals who identify as transmasculine can still have the desire to chestfeed and carry their own child in their uteruses. Birthing parents who do not identify as a woman exist and they may not resonate with terms like "breastfeeding" or "mom." Language is powerful, as it can cause harm people and trigger feelings of gender dysphoria. But on the other hand, it can empower and help people feel more included.

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Reproduction Concept

What Legal Rights Do Pennsylvania Minors Have to Reproductive Care?

As the national landscape of reproductive health care evolves, health care providers must stay abreast of local and state laws, and patients should know what rights they have. Health care providers to minors in Pennsylvania may encounter questions or concerns about what types reproductive of health care their patients can receive confidentially and independently.

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Female doctor and senior patient discuss medical records.

The Impact of Structural Racism on Black Women's Health

Medical and technological advancements over the last century have resulted in substantial improvements in health for people of all genders in the United States. However, Black women continue to have poorer health outcomes and higher mortality rates than other U.S. women. According to Black Demographics, despite being younger (36.1 years) on average than U.S. women overall (39.6 years), Black women have a higher prevalence of acute and chronic health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, stress and pregnancy-related morbidity (Chinn et al. 2021).

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Gynecologist Visit

The Importance of Medicare for All for Women

When discussing health care access, one of the key features of the system that is often overlooked is the coverage of care for those assigned female at birth. First and foremost, women normally should have a separate physician from a primary care provider that addresses complex conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, dyspareunia, breast health and more. These conditions are often chronic, underdiagnosed and therefore undermanaged. Then there are the added obstetrical costs that need to be covered for those who choose to have a child.

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