Monday, June 25, 2018
Health

How are abortions counted?

According to China's health ministry, 336 million abortions have been performed since the country instituted its one-child policy in 1971. How do researchers count abortions?

In countries where it's legal, they ask health care providers to document each abortion. Often, government health agencies ask (or, in China's case, require) abortion providers to submit information to a central agency about each abortion performed. China's abortion data has vacillated from year to year, which indicates that the country's official data may not be reliable. Health care providers and regional governments may have incentives to overreport or underreport abortions. Since prefectures must demonstrate their adherence to China's one-child policy, they may overreport abortion numbers. Unmarried women may be underrepresented in China's official numbers. Private-sector abortions, which are illegal but on the rise, are absent from governmental tallies.

More-reliable abortion data is available for other countries where abortion is legal. In some European countries, abortion providers are required by law to report abortions, or they must report abortions in order to be paid for the procedure by a governmental health care provider. (Private-sector abortions may still be left out of such tallies.) In some Northern European countries, where abortion is less stigmatized than it is in other areas of the world, abortion reports include information about the woman's age, gestational stage, type of procedure and type of facility where the abortion took place.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collects data from every state government's health agency (plus separate agencies in New York City and Washington, D.C.). In most states, facilities where abortions are performed are required to report abortions to state agencies, although state agencies aren't required to report their numbers to the CDC. The CDC encourages agencies to ask abortion providers for the woman's age, gestational stage, race, ethnicity, abortion type, the woman's marital status and the woman's previous abortions and births, but not every state collects all this information, and some states (California, Delaware, Maryland, and New Hampshire) don't report abortions to the CDC at all. A nonprofit called the Guttmacher Institute, however, approaches every known abortion facility nationwide to collect more-complete data. Guttmacher researchers first send questionnaires to abortion facilities, then they follow up with phone calls; the Guttmacher Institute also takes governmental tallies into consideration. According to the most recent Guttmacher report on American abortion incidence, 1.21 million abortions were performed in 2008.

In countries where abortion is illegal or heavily stigmatized, tallying abortions is much trickier. One common method of counting illegal abortions is to examine hospital reports of women admitted due to complications following an illegal abortion and supplement that data by surveying local reproductive health experts for their estimates of the number of illegal abortions performed. (Of course, not all abortion complications are reported as such in countries where abortions are illegal. Some abortion complications are reported as miscarriages, and the fact that it's difficult to distinguish between symptoms of mifepristone-induced abortion and miscarriage make this method even more challenging.) Other methods include surveying illegal abortion providers about the number of abortions they perform and surveying women about their personal reproductive history. Statistical methods can also be helpful; one researcher has used information on contraception availability and overall fertility to create mathematical models that predict abortion rates in areas where abortions are illegal.

Comments
ScART program empowers people to explore their scars and express their feelings through art

ScART program empowers people to explore their scars and express their feelings through art

ST. PETERSBURGShyly, 8-year-old Annabelle Brassfield climbed atop a stool in front of a blank easel, grabbed a brush she named Scarlet and prepared to paint her scars. After three open heart surgeries for a severe congenital heart defect, she’s left ...
Published: 06/22/18
Enjoy Israeli Couscous, Swiss Chard and Peppers warm or at room temperature

Enjoy Israeli Couscous, Swiss Chard and Peppers warm or at room temperature

By Katie WorkmanIsraeli or Mediterranean couscous are tiny balls of toasted semolina pasta that plump up when cooked into toothsome, slightly less tiny balls of pasta. They make a great base for a side or salad. You can make the couscous according to...
Published: 06/22/18
‘BE AWARE’: Pasco mom posts to Facebook after son’s caterpillar sting leads to ER trip

‘BE AWARE’: Pasco mom posts to Facebook after son’s caterpillar sting leads to ER trip

ZEPHYRHILLS — The Pergolas’ Saturday morning volunteer work started like most, at a farm cleaning the property and trimming trees. Andrea Pergola, 38, stood on the driveway of the property when she heard her 15-year-old son Logan scream. At first, sh...
Published: 06/20/18
Moffitt receives $1 million donation from Richard Gonzmart

Moffitt receives $1 million donation from Richard Gonzmart

TAMPA — Runners gathered for the Gonzmart’s Father’s Day Walk and Jog where they raise money to help aid in Moffitt Cancer Center’s fight against prostate cancer. This year the event raised $110,000, but Moffitt had another surprise in store.Andrea G...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

GENEVA — Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health Organization says they now should be on guard for a danger in the real world: spending too much time playing. In its latest revision to a disease class...
Published: 06/19/18
Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

The extensive government trial was intended to settle an age-old question about alcohol and diet: Does a daily cocktail or beer really protect against heart attacks and stroke?To find out, the National Institutes of Health gave scientists $100 millio...
Published: 06/16/18
More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults are taking prescription drugs, including hormones for contraception, blood pressure medications and medicines for heartburn, that carry a potential risk of depression, according to a study published in the Journal...
Published: 06/12/18
It’s time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

It’s time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

Courtney Bilyeu was running toward the murky water alongside a few military officers when it happened.She was an accountant for the U.S. Navy at the time. And on her way to take a swim with some coworkers in a California beach, she saw blood. The wat...
Published: 06/12/18
It’s important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

It’s important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

The next time you head to the drugstore to buy sunscreen, don’t forget to pick up some sunglasses, too. That’s because both products work to protect your body from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays.Wearing sunglasses for protection should not be re...
Updated one month ago
In St. Pete, kidney patients gather for science and solidarity

In St. Pete, kidney patients gather for science and solidarity

ST. PETERSBURG — Kidney disease doesn’t discriminate.The crowd of more than 200 patients who gathered at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort range in age from teenagers to seniors. They are of different ethnicities and come from all over the...
Updated one month ago