The Guttmacher Institute has updated its report on the need for contraceptive services at both the national and state levels in 2008. While the number of women of childbearing age has remained steady, the number of women seeking contraceptive services has risen 6 percent since 2000. That's mirrored in the rise in the number of women who need publicly funded reproductive services. A lot of it is driven by a rise in the need among women of color. Publicly funded clinics helped avoid more than 400,000 abortions and about the same number of unplanned births.
On Monday, The New York Times's Fixes column dived into the results of conditional cash-transfer programs, which have been instituted in 40 countries and give direct payments to low-income families if they meet certain conditions, like keeping their children in school. The amounts are low: In Brazil, poor families get about $13 a month for each child. But for extremely poor families, that $13 makes a lot of difference, and the money both helps ameliorate the effects of poverty while trying to break the cycle by encouraging children to stay in school longer and be healthier.
Low-income New Yorkers spent half a million dollars at farmer's markets last year according to the City Council, which, under the leadership of Speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has invested city money for more of the machines that process food stamps at markets across the city. As the Daily News points out, that's about twice the number of food stamps spent at farmer's markets in 2009.
Over at Feministe, Jillgoes to town on Ross Douthat's latest New York Times column, about what he calls "The Unborn Paradox." That is, there are women who experience unwanted pregnancies, and infertile couples who want babies, and wouldn't it be nice if we could meet in the middle somewhere on this?
ViaWonk Room, The Hill reports that Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinichthinks Republican challenges to the health-care reform law could actually result in a more progressive, single-payer system. That could also be the result of any successful challenges to the individual mandate, of course. It might turn out that the government can force insurance companies to stop denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and stop cherry-picking the healthiest clients, but can't force individuals to participate while healthy to prevent adverse selection.