Health

Chelsea Clinton on the link between democracy and women’s health

TExperts say the midterm elections should be a referendum on inflation. They predicted a massive red wave, with Republicans flooding the Senate and House. That didn’t happen — and for Chelsea Clinton, that just showed the gap between their admissions and the reality for voters.

For many Americans, “protecting a woman’s basic human right and freedom of choice as well as our democracy were the most important considerations when casting their vote,” Clinton said on a panel on abortion care at Tuesday’s STAT summit. “I would like to note that there is, of course, a link between supporting our democracy and ensuring that women can participate fully in the civic and social life of our country.”

Kristyn Brandi, a New Jersey obstetrician, has vivid memories of the day the Dobbs decision came. She received texts and calls from other abortion care providers across the country. “One minute they were providing care and suddenly they had to stop,” she said. Even in her own state, she said, she often gets calls from patients asking if abortion is legal. “There’s just mass confusion, even in places where there are no restrictions,” she said.

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That confusion — and the changing landscape of healthcare — comes in the midst of a maternal mortality crisis. “In the United States today, you’re about 50% more likely to die in childbirth than your mother,” said Neel Shah, chief medical officer of Maven Clinic, a telemedicine company focused on women’s and family health. decision would undoubtedly make those embarrassing statistics even worse.

He said that corporate America does not like being on the cutting edge on issues that they believe are politically divisive, such as abortion, but that they are deeply concerned about pressure from their employees. That’s why many started approaching Maven about the possibility of adding abortion care to benefit packages. For example, they began providing a travel allowance for those who had to seek care elsewhere. “Before Dobbs, it took an average of about 30 minutes to drive to a place where abortion care could be provided,” he said. “Now it’s an average of 100 minutes, and in some places it’s much longer than that.”

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Those distances widen as physicians begin to move out of states with restrictions on abortion care, the panelists said. As Brandi explained, she’s an ob-gyn, meaning she provides abortion care, as well as a host of other important medical services, and leaving her community would create a wider, ever-expanding maternity care desert in this country. . “It’s really heartbreaking to have the skills, to have the knowledge and not be able to provide the care that you know is best for the person in front of you,” Brandi said.

She is especially concerned about interns. The residency matching system gives you no choice: once you join a program, you have to do your residency there. “A lot of people are hesitant … to rank places in the South,” she said, because they’re afraid they won’t be able to get the training they need.

“While I hate it being fought in the political arena, that’s where we need to fight this battle,” said Clinton, who described herself as a churchgoer American who doesn’t want her own religious beliefs forced on others. “Until we codify abortion rights at the federal level, abortion will be on the ballot paper in every election,” she said. That means showing up to vote only for the president and representatives in the house and senate, but for your local sheriff, your county commissioner.

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