LOS ANGELES — Fewer U.S. women ages 15 to 24 are receiving reproductive health care, according to a new study. This includes services such as Pap tests, pregnancy tests, contraception prescriptions, tests for sexually transmitted disease and other gynecological and obstetric care.
Researchers used data from the National Survey of Family Growth, which included 4,421 young women polled in 2002 or between 2006 and 2008. Almost 60 percent of young women had received reproductive health care within the last year, but use has fallen by 8 percent between the two time periods. The declines were seen across all demographic and socioeconomic groups. Overall, however, economically disadvantaged women are the least likely to get care.
Between 1995 and 2002, reproductive health service use by young women had increased, noted the authors, led by Kelli Stidham Hall, of the Office of Population Research at Princeton University. However, several factors may be contributing to the downturn in use, including the decline in public sector clinics serving economically disadvantaged women; increasing unemployment and the corresponding lack of health insurance; updated gynecological health screening guidelines that require fewer Pap tests; and legislation that has increased mandatory parental participation in adolescent sexual and reproductive health care.
The study is published online in the American Journal of Public Health.
Scientists hopeful in fight to stop bat die-off
MONTPELIER, Vt. — Scientists studying the mysterious ailment that has killed millions of bats in an epidemic that is spreading across North America say they are finding small groups of surviving, healthy bats.
The scientists don’t know why, and it’s too soon to say if the surviving colonies found in Vermont, Pennsylvania and elsewhere could eventually repopulate the region. But they are planning to study the survivors in hopes of finding answers.
The scientists are planning to meet next month in Pennsylvania to seek the best ways to learn from the survivors.
Scott Darling of the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife says biologists have found 15 colonies in the western part of the state where bats are surviving and appear to be healthy.
NM woman gives birth in truck during snowstorm
SANTA FE, N.M. — Russell LeFevre learned how to birth a baby in nursing school using clamps, blankets, a suction bulb that clears a baby’s mouth of mucus and other medical supplies.
When his wife’s water broke in the front seat of a truck as it sped down an icy New Mexico highway in a snowstorm Tuesday, LeFevre just had his hands, some jackets and shoelaces.
It was enough.
His wife, Elizabeth, gave birth to a 6-pound, 11-ounce baby girl inside the truck on Old Las Vegas Highway between Canoncito and Santa Fe, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported. The family was well enough to go home to Canoncito on Wednesday.
5 Polish soldiers killed by bomb in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan — A roadside bomb killed five Polish soldiers in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, officials said, marking that country’s largest single troop loss of the 10-year-old war. The Taliban claimed responsibility.
The attack took place in the Rauza district of Ghazni province, south of the capital, Kabul, officials said. The area has seen a surge in insurgent activity this year, and Western military commanders describe it as one of the most dangerous in Afghanistan.
A provincial spokesman, Hazrat Moammad Ghaznawi, said the blast was so powerful it broke the Polish troops’ armored vehicle into several pieces. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed that seven Polish soldiers had been killed, but the group often exaggerates the effectiveness of its attacks.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force did not release any details about the incident or disclose the nationalities of the five who were killed. Polish media quoted the country’s Defense Ministry as confirming they were Poles.
The Polish contingent in Afghanistan numbers nearly 2,600. Taliban fighters sometimes target the smaller countries in the U.S.-led coalition, hoping to drive a wedge between allies. Poland had previously announced plans to begin trimming the size of its force.