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Thousands of Mississippi Women Now Have Free Access to Preventative Care

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 08 Aug 2012 05:54pm | comments

It is estimated that more than 380 thousand Mississippi women  now have access to free preventative health care  because of the Affordable Care Act. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports how the new law is receiving mixed reaction.

Mississippi ranks high when it comes to incidence of diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases even domestic violence. And while many of these conditions could be avoided or detected early through preventive measures, Carol Penick, Executive Director of the Women's Fund of Mississippi says a number of obstacles including poverty often prohibit women from getting the care they need.

"And when you're living in poverty it's hard to find preventative healthcare services. Transportation is an issue, money is an issue and even knowing where to go to get those services is an issue."

Because of the affordable care act, a wide range of free women's health services are now available such as  mammogram's, and annual wellness checkups. But for Penick two of the most important services include contraception and contraceptive counseling because of the affect she says it could have on the state’s high teen birth rate.

"It's not only a social issue but it is very much an economic issue. So what we have found is that the children of teen moms are far more likely to be teen moms themselves. The boys are far more likely to be incarcerated. They are far more likely to drop out of school and in poor paying jobs."

Members of the Catholic Diocese of Jackson are in opposition to the new law. Mary Woodward, Communications Director, says they oppose any procedure that may lead to abortion or any type of contraception which violates church teachings.

"So we're not saying women should not be able to have any of those things, we're just asking that we as a catholic institution not have to include those in our policies that we write for our employees."

Members of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jackson and  Biloxi have joined catholic organizations across the country suing the US Government over the new healthcare law.  Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.




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