Policy & Practice


ACOG Objects to Immigrant Mandate

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has joined a coalition opposing the requirement that young women immigrating to the United States receive the human papillomavirus vaccine. Last summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established the requirement for women aged 11–26 years who are seeking permanent U.S. residence or entry to the country. The mandate was part of a routine update of CDC's list of required vaccinations for immigrants. The agency added the HPV vaccine on the basis of the 2007 recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that the HPV vaccine be administered to all young women in the United States. In a letter to the CDC, ACOG and more than 100 women's rights and public health groups said that, unlike other infectious diseases on the list, HPV does not pose an immediate threat to public health. The requirement that women seeking to come to the United States receive the HPV vaccine also creates an “unfair financial barrier,” the groups wrote, since the three-dose series costs at least $360. The groups urged the CDC to remove the HPV vaccine from the list and to reexamine the process for adding new vaccination requirements for immigrants.

Trouble for Octuplets' Physician?

The Center for Genetics and Society, a public interest group that focuses on the “responsible” use of genetic and reproductive technology, is taking to task the professional organizations that set guidelines for assisted reproduction. In the wake of news that the octuplets born recently in California to single mother Nadya Suleman were conceived through in vitro fertilization, the center has called on the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and its affiliated organization, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, to revoke the membership of the fertility specialist who performed the in vitro procedure. The Los Angeles Times identified Dr. Michael Kamrava of Beverly Hills as the physician who performed this and previous fertility treatments on Ms. Suleman. “While most fertility practices are responsible, some routinely and openly violate ASRM and SART guidelines in a number of areas,” Marcy Darnovsky, Ph.D., associate executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society, said in a statement. Dr. R. Dale McClure, ASRM president, recently issued a statement saying that the group has concerns about the octuplet pregnancy and that it is pleased that the California Medical Board is investigating the matter. ASRM officials have contacted the physician involved, Dr. McClure said, but they need to gather more information before taking action.

NYC Facebook Page on Condoms

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is stepping up its efforts to get city residents to use condoms. Officials at the health department recently set up a page on the social-networking Web site Facebook to tell people where they can obtain free condoms and to provide facts about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. The Facebook page, which was rolled out just in time for Valentine's Day, allows visitors to send an “e-condom”—a page of information about HIV and condoms—to their friends. The online effort is only the latest condom-awareness campaign from the New York City health department. In 2007, New York launched the country's first city-branded condom, which the health department distributes at clinics, clubs, salons, and other venues.

Resolved: Health Care for Women

A new congressional resolution calls for passage of health care reform legislation within 18 months and for the bill to directly address the health care needs of women. The Health Care for Women Resolution, which was introduced in the House and Senate last month, calls on Congress to create and pass legislation that would promote primary and preventive care including family planning. “Women are the gatekeepers of their families' health,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the Senate sponsor of the legislation, said in a statement. “If we are serious about keeping children and families healthy, we must focus more attention on keeping women healthy.” The resolution was introduced in the House by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), cochair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues. The two lawmakers introduced the resolution last summer, but it never reached either the House or Senate floor.

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