Health Highlights: Aug. 20, 2019

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Planned Parenthood Withdraws From Federal Family Planning Program

Planned Parenthood is withdrawing from the U.S. government’s family planning program.

The group said Monday that it decided to pull out of the program rather than obey a new Trump administration rule that forbids clinics from referring women for abortions, the Associated Press reported.

Planned Parenthood’s health centers across the U.S. will remain open and the group will attempt to replace the loss of federal funding, but many low-income people who rely on the group’s services will “delay or go without” care, according to acting president and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson.

“We will not be bullied into withholding abortion information from our patients,” McGill Johnson said. “Our patients deserve to make their own health care decisions, not to be forced to have Donald Trump or Mike Pence make those decisions for them.”

A lawsuit to overturn the new rule was launched by the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, an umbrella group for family planning clinics, and several states and the American Medical Association have joined the suit as plaintiffs, the AP reported.

The lawsuit was filed with a federal appeals court in San Francisco, but the court has not told the administration that it can’t begin enforcement as planned on Sept. 18. Oral arguments are scheduled the week of Sept. 23.

Abortion rights activists are also urging Congress to overturn the rule, the AP reported.

About 4 million women get services under the family planning program, which distributes $260 million in grants to clinics. Planned Parenthood says it has assisted about 40% of those women, many of them black and Hispanic.


Children Can Make You Happier, But Only After They’ve Left Home: Study

Having children can make you happier, but only when you’re older and if your children have moved out, a new study finds.

Researchers surveyed 55,000 people, 50 and older, in 16 European countries about their mental health and found that the “the positive aspects of parenthood dominate when getting older,” CNN reported.

One of the main reasons for that conclusion is that children offer a form of social support, according to the authors of the study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They noted that social support networks are associated with greater happiness and less loneliness and can provide a cushion against stressful events, CNN reported.

“As stress associated with balancing the competing demands of childcare, work and personal life decreases, once people get older and their children leave (home), the importance of children as caregivers and social contacts might prevail,” study leader Christoph Becker, Heidelberg University, Germany, and colleagues wrote.

The study also found that having children who still live at home can harm older parent’s mental well-being, CNN.