Current Controversies Related to Reproductive Health Policy

Essay by fiutrackUniversity, Master'sA+, April 2002

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In recent years new controversies connected to reproduction health policy have evolved. The first area concerns policies relating to the availability of birth control, including the question of the amount of research being done ad the number of methods currently available. The second are relates to the development of new reproductive technologies, many of which deal with new methods of improving fertility.

Birth Control Research Methods

One major concern with birth control policy today is the insufficient of the number of methods currently available. Some of the methods that were vital in the past have become unavailable, and new methods are only slowly being made accessible in the United States. Some are being kept off the market because of fear that they operate as abortifiacients, while the new methods being authorized are raising questions of availability and appropriateness for all population groups.

One issue is that the amount of research being funded in new birth control devices is decreasing.

Until 1980 at least nine large pharmaceutical companies were carrying on research on contraceptive development, but only one is still doing so. Reasons for the decline in research include negative publicity from the pro-life movement, and fear of legal suits due to complications of new techniques. This fear is not totally uncalled for since several large product liability suits have been won against the manufactures of birth control devices. The decline in private funding of contraceptive research by drug companies has not been balanced by an increase in federal funds. IN fact, the amount of federal funding for research on contraception is very small when compared with other health problems. In fiscal year 1991, the federal government exhausted $750 million to AIDS research and only $20 million for contraceptive research. Research using fetal tissue and fertilized human eggs has been subject...