Tag Archives | Birth Control

From lemon rinds to knitting needles: A visual history of abortion and birth control

Eugene Reznik via Hopes&Fears:

“On Abortion & Contraception History,” the first chapter from photographer Laia Abril’s long-term project On Misogyny, published by Hopes&Fears for the first time, pictures centuries of gadgets meant to delay or terminate the roughly 15 pregnancies that a woman might have “under natural circumstances.”

For most of recorded history, the burden of family planning has been placed on women, and due to restrictive laws founded on religious or demographic agendas, methods were ineffectual, harmful or even deadly. Prohibition, which persists in many countries around the world, drove women to futile rituals and back-alley abortionists. Only over the last 60 years, roughly, have there been safe and effective alternatives, and though the lives and survival rates of women have greatly improved, some continue the fight to limit their accessibility.

Many of the objects pictured here are not what they appear to be—to evade prosecution, the most important requirement for the abortionist was to avoid raising suspicions.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

St. Louis gave teens free birth control, and they now have very low abortion rates


via Vox:

Since 2007, a program in St. Louis has offered teenagers free access to all types of birth control. They can choose pills, intra-uterine devices or any other FDA-approved contraceptive.

These St. Louis teens have had markedly lower pregnancy, abortion and birth rates than the rest of the country, new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows. This is what their pregnancy rates look like, compared to the rest of the United States.

The CHOICE Project, run out of Washington University in St. Louis, advertised the free contraceptives to local teenagers through flyers, doctors’ offices and word-of-month. The program has, so far, provided more than 9,000 teenage women with no-cost contraceptives. Lots of participants in the program choose a long-acting, reversible contraceptive (LARC) that a doctor has to implant.

These types of birth control tend to be the most effective because, once inserted by a doctor, they require no work on the part of the user.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Tightening The ‘Screws’ On Contraception

Many of us have become aware of the illusion of progress that we seem to be mired in.  It has seemed of late that even our most politically stable personal rights have become targets for those who want to take us a couple years back in time when moral authority was dictated by a monolithic religious hierarchy and people lived in fear of being burned at the stake for thinking or behaving differently.  It would be nice to think that something as sensible and useful for public health like contraception would be off limits to these throwback inquisitors, but no.

It’s not just about not getting pregnant, it’s about telling you that your have no right to put your tab A into another person’s slot B unless the two of your are held within the holy confines of marriage.

Let me get personal here, I was a student at a Pentecostal College where a no-intercourse rule was strictly enforced.  … Read the rest

Continue Reading

Santorum’s Backer On Birth Control

Wondering why most people find the 1950s-style social conservatism of the Republican Party incredibly creepy? As the GOP party mounts a national campaign to roll back access to contraception, Foster Friess, a 71-year-old billionaire businessman who is Rick Santorum's biggest financial backer, unveils his jaw-dropping joke prescription for women's (or rather "gals' ") healthcare on MSNBC:
Continue Reading

The Glaring Omissions Of iPhone’s Siri

Apple’s new iPhone 4S has made waves for its voice-commanded virtual assistant, personified as “Siri”. However, users have noticed that Siri seems to have a blackout concerning certain topics — is Apple pandering to the Christian Right? Via Amadi Talks:

The recent illustrations of Siri, the iPhone 4S voice-recognition based assistant, failing to provide information to users about abortion, birth control, help after rape and help with domestic violence has gotten a lot of notice.

Siri can answer a lot of health related questions perfectly well, why shouldn’t we expect it to be able to answer reproductive health related queries too? Why treat reproductive health as a walled-off garden that the general public can’t or shouldn’t be exposed to?


Read the rest

Continue Reading

Texas GOP Representative Declares ‘War On Birth Control’

Wayne Christian - TEXASThe Texas Republican Party is engaged in a far-reaching and sustained “war on birth control”. No, that’s not the teaser from a Planned Parenthood press release — it’s the  pronouncement of (aptly named) state legislator Wayne Christian. Creepiest war ever. Via Think Progress:

When The Texas Tribune asked state Rep. Wayne Christian (R-Nacogdoches), a supporter of the family planning cuts, if this was a war on birth control, he said “yes.”

“Well of course this is a war on birth control and abortions and everything, that’s what family planning is supposed to be about,” Christian said.

While disturbing, Christian’s honesty is a refreshing change from Republicans’ more common defense that cuts to women’s health care will save money. As NPR notes, the state estimates that 300,000 women will lose access to family planning services because of these cuts, resulting in roughly 20,000 additional unplanned births. “Texas already spends $1.3 billion on teen pregnancies — more than any other state.”

Read the rest

Continue Reading

U.S. Approves Free Birth Control For Women

Photo: Ceridwen (CC)

Photo: Ceridwen (CC)

It’s a good time to be a woman. Via Reuters:

U.S. health insurance companies must offer women free birth control and other preventive health care services under Obama administration rules released on Monday, a historic decision supported by family planning groups and opposed by conservative groups.

The rules from the Health and Human Services Department are part of the nation’s healthcare overhaul and largely follow recommendations from an advisory group released last month.

The U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, commissioned by the Obama administration, recommended that all U.S.-approved birth control methods — including the “morning-after pill,” taken shortly after intercourse to stop a pregnancy — be added to the list of preventive health services.

[Continues at Reuters]

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Male Birth Control Pill On The Horizon

Male Birth ControlReports LiveScience via MNN:

Equality for men may be on the horizon — contraceptive equality, that is. For more than a half century, women have been able to pop a pill to prevent pregnancy, but a pharmaceutical alternative has never emerged for men.

Now, research to interfere with the body’s ability to use vitamin A is showing some promise, because, in men, vitamin A is necessary for the production of sperm.

One recent study found that a compound that interferes with the body’s ability to use vitamin A rendered male mice sterile while they were receiving 8- or 16-week courses. But once the mice were taken off the compound, they resumed making sperm. Significantly, the researchers found no side effects, and the testosterone levels of the mice stayed normal, meaning no fluctuations in mousey libido.

“Our mice, they mate quite happily, so that is not something we have interfered with,” said Debra Wolgemuth, one of the study researchers and a professor of genetics and development at Columbia University Medical Center.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Indonesia’s Plant-Based Birth Control Pill for Men

GandarusaWhile the U.S. progress lags, Indonesia readies a male contraception pill. Patrick Winn writes on Global Post:

On the remote Indonesian island of Papua, tribesmen have long noticed the curious effect of a shrub called “gandarusa.”

If you chew its leaves often enough, men say, your wife won’t get pregnant. Indonesian scientists, who have transferred this folk method from the jungle to the lab, claim they can extract the shrub’s active ingredient and mass produce it as an over-the-counter pill.

If they’re right, they will accomplish what Western pharmaceutical giants have researched but failed to deliver for decades: a birth control pill for men.

“With luck, it could be released late this year, but it will probably be sold in stores early next year,” said Sugiri Syarief, the head of Indonesia’s state-run National Family Planning Coordination Board. Researchers began analyzing gandarusa in 1988, Sugiri said. Animal and human trials began in the 1990s and the plant’s effective compound was patented in 2007.

Read the rest
Continue Reading