$55,190 NIH-Funded Study Explores Link Between ‘Discriminatory Public Policies’ and Reproductive Health of Young Lesbians

By Melanie Arter | October 23, 2015 | 11:08am EDT
(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – The National Institutes of Health through its Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has awarded $55,190 to the Children’s Hospital Corporation to “explore the association of discriminatory public policies (e.g., same-sex marriage bans) and the reproductive health of sexual minority girls and women.”

The project titled, “Reproductive Health Disparities and Sexual Orientation in Girls and Women,” began on July 1, 2015 – five days after the U.S. Supreme Court approved gay marriage nationwide.

“Emerging research shows that the health of sexual minorities can be adversely affected by state-level discriminatory laws. This discrimination can occur in states that have failed to enact protections around hate crimes, job discrimination, or same-sex marriage. However, little is known about the association of these types of public policies with reproductive health,” the grant abstract stated.

According to the grant, lesbian and bisexual female youth “are particularly vulnerable to having poor health, especially poor reproductive health” compared to their heterosexual peers.

“This research is vital for understanding how the rapidly shifting policy environment may affect sexual minorities. Empirical evidence is needed to inform new public policy development and public health strategies to improve reproductive health, but few researchers have the training needed to explore such disparities and translate findings into action,” the grant abstract stated.

Researchers aim to: (1) Identify how public policy may be associated with the reproductive health of sexual minority girls and women; (2) Elucidate what adverse reproductive health outcomes may be associated with public policy among sexual minority girls and women and where these reproductive health outcomes occur: and (3) Examine potential reasons why adverse reproductive health outcomes disproportionately burden sexual minority girls and women.”

The three-year project is expected to end on June 30, 2018.

CNSNews.com contacted Brittany Michelle Charlton, project leader for the grant, for comment, but no response was given by press time.

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