IWPR’s Research News Reporter is distributed monthly to highlight informative, innovative, and sometimes controversial research related to women and their families. Each selection includes a short description of the research and either a link to the report or a citation.
NARAL Pro-Choice America
This annual report, the sixteenth in a series, documents current policy issues regarding reproductive rights at the federal and state level. The report provides comprehensive updates on legislative measures introduced and passed around the country in 2006, for example to reverse anti-choice laws, to improve reproductive health research and service access, and to support child bearing. The report combines the legislative updates with data on abortion clinic access published by the Guttmacher Institute to rank the states on the cumulative barriers to reproductive health care faced by women.
Findings from the report include:
The report summarizes key successes from the past year and outlines the work that remains to be done, concluding that advocates and lawmakers must continue to advance legislation that will allow women across the country open access to improved reproductive and health services in the future.
The full report can be found at http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/choice-action-center/in_your_state/who-decides/introduction/who_decides_2007_full.pdf
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Jody Heymann, Alison Earle, and Jeffrey Hayes
The Institute for Health and Social Policy
This report measures work/family policies across 177 countries and discusses the successes and failures of United States family labor policies in a global context. Based on updated and expanded research from the 2004 Work, Family¸ and Equity Index report, this study provides a comparative look at public policies that have been implemented around the world, noting where the United States is succeeding and where it continues to fall behind the rest of the world. Data collected for the study come from a variety of international sources, including NATLEX, an online global database of labor and human-rights legislation maintained by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and numerous country-specific government sources.
Findings from the study include:
The authors enumerate a number of work/family supports the United States could implement to better provide for the health and economic security of working families. These policies include paid parental leave, support for breastfeeding, restrictions on work hours, and paid sick days for illness and family care.
The full report can be found at http://www.mcgill.ca/files/ihsp/WFEIFinal2007.pdf
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Julia B. Isaacs
This report is one in a series of papers written by the Brookings Institution’s Budgeting for National Priorities Project. It compiles and reviews the results of a variety of benefit-cost analyses to make the case for targeted investments that will promote future economic growth by investing in children and youth programs that have had demonstrably positive long-term outcomes. The report identifies four target areas for new government spending: high-quality early childhood education programs; nurse home-visiting programs to promote prenatal care among low-income, first- time mothers and the healthy development of their infants and toddlers; enrichment programs that focus on improving outcomes for children in high-poverty elementary schools; and teen pregnancy prevention programs.
More specifically, the paper proposes:
The report argues that these programs have proven to result in positive child outcomes and long-term social and economic benefits. They have led to government savings through reduced spending on the criminal justice and welfare systems and increased tax revenues from children who are able to find (better) paid work in their adult years. Despite financial constraints and an environment of fiscal austerity, Isaacs concludes that these new investments for children and youth should be a budget priority.
The full article can be found at http://www.brookings.edu/views/papers/200701isaacs.pdf
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Joan Gene Bishop
Maternity Care Coalition
This report examines the state of maternal and child health in Southeastern Pennsylvania, highlighting trends of provider shortages, healthcare inequities, and obstacles for accessing healthcare across the diverse populations of the region. Research is drawn from interviews with hospital administrators, physicians, midwives, nurses, insurers, government officials, academics, and maternal/child health advocates, as well as community dialogues, roundtable discussions, organized focus groups, and publicly available data from city, county and state health departments.
Key findings include:
The author concludes that if actions to reverse these trends are not taken, the lack of appropriate health care and access to services and the disparities in maternal and child health will persist. The report offers policy recommendations for improving healthcare choices and outcomes for childrearing families and the community at large, including improving insurance coverage for unemployed and low-income women to include maternity care and reproductive services more adequately; conducting consistent data collection on maternal and child health policies throughout the region; and promoting work/family supports such as parental leave and flexible work schedules.
The full article is available at http://www.momobile.org/pdf/MCC_Childbirth at a Crossroads.pdf
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