County follows states lead in womens health needs
California leads the nation in its efforts to help women reduce unplanned pregnancies and gain access to contraception, according to new research, and health and education providers in Nevada and Placer counties are on the bandwagon. A study released this week by the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute found that, unlike other states, there is at least one family planning clinic in every county in California, giving the state a total of 821 public clinics to serve more than 1 million women. In 2001, California spent $124 per woman in need of contraceptive services compared with the national rate of $79 per woman. Nevada Countys approximate annual budget for family planning education and the countys two community clinics is $550,000, said Dr. Brent Packer, community health officer for the county. A full three-quarters of that goes toward Truckees community heath clinic at the Joseph Government Center, he said.The Truckee clinic assists roughly 1,200 women and teens each year, with health and family planning services, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, and pregnancy testing, free or low-cost contraception, and educational programs in the schools, Packer said. Placer County is projecting that it will be spending around $275,000 this year on family planning services, said Anita Yoder, Placer County information officer. That money goes toward programs and services at Placer Countys four community clinics, one of which is in Kings Beach, in addition to two dental clinics.
Roughly half of the 6 million pregnancies in the United States each year are unintended and result in about 1.3 million abortions, according to the Guttmacher report.In teen pregnancies, most teens are pregnant again or having their second child before their first baby is 15 months old, said Cindy Maciel, director of Truckees Sierra Teen Education & Parenting Program. I probably have the most comprehensive sex education (program), and none of the students that have completed our program have had a repeat pregnancy. Overall, California leads the nation in addressing unplanned pregnancies. The state has the most effective laws and policies promoting the use of contraception, resulting in a nearly 40 percent decline in teen pregnancy, the study found. The state also remains liberal in its views regarding a womans right to choose. I think that California is doing a good job minors have access, said Debbi Spohr-Carlson, a counselor at both Alder Creek Middle School and Sierra High School. Senate Bill No. 644, which was approved by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in September 2005, prohibits a licensed health care provider from denying a patient prescription drugs or devices on the basis of the providers ethical, moral or religious beliefs.An exception can be made if the provider notifies his or her employer of the objection and it can be reasonably accommodated. The patient must be given a referral to another provider and must be able to receive timely access to the prescription.Proposition 73, the measure on the November 2005 that would have amended California’s constitution to require that parents be notified before the termination of a minors pregnancy, did not pass. A majority of Californias voters 53 percent voted against Schwarzeneggers proposal, though it passed by 56 percent in Nevada County.
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