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when the rubber meets the road

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    So far, there have been 8 threads posted on this site about birth control, and most of them go back to 2012. If you skim through them, you'll discover a lot of good ideas, so there is no need for me to rehash them at this point.

    The reason that I looked those threads up is that an article appeared in the New York Times this morning that puts a fresh look at the problem.

    As oil prices have declined, the economy in Venezuela has rapidly gone downhill, resulting in widespread poverty.

    One of the casualties of declining income is birth control.

    When Hugo Chavez led the country, birth control was subsidized and widely available - but that is no longer true.

    Around Caracas, the capital, a pack of three condoms costs $4.40 — three times Venezuela’s monthly minimum wage of $1.50.

    Birth control pills cost more than twice as much, roughly $11 a month, while an IUD, or intrauterine device, can cost more than $40 — more than 25 times the minimum wage. And that does not include a doctor’s fee to have the device put in.

    With the cost of contraception so far out of reach, women are increasingly resorting to abortions, which are illegal and, in the worst cases, can cost them their lives.

    María Ferreira, 23, and her husband, Joseph Cordova, 25, carefully plan their sex life around the number of condoms they can afford each month.

    Many women who grew up believing that Mr. Chávez’s political movement, known as Chavismo, would springboard them out of poverty, offering them education and career opportunities, now face the task of raising four, six or 10 children at a time when the basics of family care — food, soap, diapers — arrive intermittently or not at all.

    As Venezuela’s economy — long buoyed by its vast oil reserves — began to tumble in 2014, the result of plummeting crude oil prices and poor financial management, the government’s purchasing power dove.

    By 2015, contraceptives, once free at government hospitals and broadly affordable at private pharmacies, began to disappear. And women who could once plan their futures — thanks to contraception — began to lose control.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/20/world/americas/venezuela-birth-control-women.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

    There is no easy solution to the crisis in Venezuela. At the moment, the only possible ways to help are higher oil prices, a more diversified economy, and better government oversight - and none of those things are likely.

    The United States CAN help - but only in a limited way.

    The Mexico City policy, sometimes referred to by its critics as the global gag rule, is a United States government policy that blocked U.S. federal funding for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provided abortion counseling or referrals, advocated to decriminalize abortion, or expanded abortion services. When in effect, the Mexico City policy is a U.S. government policy that requires foreign non-governmental organizations to certify that they will not "perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning" with non-U.S. funds as a condition for receiving U.S. global family planning assistance and, as of January 23, 2017, any other U.S. global health assistance, including U.S. global HIV (under PEPFAR) and maternal and child health (MCH) assistance.

    The Mexico City policy was first implemented on January 20, 1985 by the second Reagan administration.

    Since that time, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has enforced the policy during all subsequent Republican administrations and has rescinded the policy at the direction of all Democratic administrations.

    After its initial implementation by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1985, the policy was rescinded by Democratic President Bill Clinton in January 1993, re-instituted in January 2001 by Republican President George W. Bush, rescinded in January 2009 by Democratic President Barack Obama, and reinstated in January 2017 when Republican President Donald Trump took office. In an address to the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President, confirmed that President Joe Biden would rescind the policy, as with his Democratic predecessors; the recission occurred later in January 2021.

    Research shows that by reducing funding for family planning organizations which use abortion as one of many methods of family planning, the Mexico City policy has had the inadvertent impact of increasing unintended pregnancies and abortion.

    That last sentence best explains the paradox of Republican thinking. By reducing the number of clinics in a state, in an effort to reduce abortion, MORE abortions become likely due to the reduced availability of birth control. As a reminder, the last time that the number of abortions increased from one year to the next was in 2006, when George W. Bush was president.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico_City_policy