Birth Center Lowers Health Costs; Male Child Mania

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersThe District of Columbia’s only independent birthing center substantially reduced rates of Caesarean sections and preterm deliveries, saving the health-care system more than $800,000 a year, the Washington Post reported Dec. 21. Ruth Watson Lubic, founder and chair of the Family Birthing Center, presented the financial projections this fall.The nonprofit Family Birthing Center of the Washington County Health System provides gynecological and obstetrical services, as well as parenting advice to women and general health services to children. In addition to these services, an increasing number of prenatal patients are choosing to deliver in its birthing rooms. The remaining pregnant women give birth at Washington Hospital Center, accompanied by one of the center’s seven midwives.According to preliminary 2006 numbers, the staff seems likely to celebrate a record number of newborns, which exceeds the 153 births last year, as well as the greatest percentage of births delivered away from the hospital. Through mid-October, less than 5 percent of those infants had arrived before 37 weeks and only 2 percent were considered low birth weight.

Breast Cancer Drops; Women Lack Birthing Care

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersBreast cancer rates in the United States dropped by 7 percent from 2002 to 2003, possibly as a result of millions of women who discontinued hormone replacement therapy, the Associated Press reported Dec. 15. The analysis was reported at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.Breast cancer cases dropped most among women 50 and older, the age group taking hormones. In 2003, there were only 124 cases per 100,000 women, the biggest decline in the breast cancer rate since the 1970s. That year, nearly 200,000 cases of breast cancer had been expected, but about 14,000 fewer women actually were diagnosed with the disease.The decline in the number of women taking hormone replacement therapy came just after publication of the Women’s Health Initiative trial in 2002, which revealed that health risks among recipients were elevated, especially for breast cancer and stroke.”This is big news,” said Dr. Jay Brooks of the Ochsner Health System, in Baton Rouge, La.

Hyde Amendment Attacked; So Are Women Across Globe

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersThe National Network of Abortion Funds, a Boston-based coalition of over 100 community-based groups in 42 states that helps low-income women pay for abortions, launched on Oct. 4 the “Hyde-30 Years is Enough! Campaign.” The campaign is raising money to help women that are unable to receive abortion coverage under the Hyde Amendment and is calling for expanded public funding of abortion, comprehensive health care for all and support for low-income women to care for their families.Since 1976, federal Medicaid has paid for less than 1 percent of abortions. In 1976, the Hyde Amendment, named for Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde, was passed, prohibiting federal Medicaid dollars from being used to pay for abortion, except in cases of rape, incest and danger to the life of the woman.

Breast Cancer Strategies; Domestic Abuse Unnoticed

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and instead of touting the wide array of commercial products that claim to raise funds for breast cancer, many organizations around the country have initiated campaigns to make breast cancer treatment and detection more affordable and to fund new technology and research for breast cancer patients. Of U.S. girls born today, 13.2 percent will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.