A Republican lawmaker in Colorado wants to block funding for a program that helps provide IUDs to low-income women because he believes that the long-acting contraception is actually an “abortifacient” that prevents “a small child from implanting” in the uterus.

The program, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Awareness, is among the reasons that the state recently saved $23 million in Medicaid expenses. The department also projected that, if extended with a $5 million investment, making IUDs available to low-income women seeking birth control could save an additional $40 million in healthcare costs.

We talked to a couple of experts about IUDs.

Lawmaker Worries About Impact Of Poor Single Moms’ Kids On ‘Us As Taxpayers’

An Arkansas state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would give single mothers on Medicaid an incentive to get surgical contraception so they can take “a little bit of a breather to think about their life decisions that are affecting us as taxpayers.”
But all women in Arkansas, whether single, married, mothers, or childless, may be interested in having the cost covered. Instead, Hammer’s focus on poor, single mothers is reminiscent of other attempts to limit poor women’s fertility. The government has an ugly history when it comes to this: the Nixon administration pushed to fund the sterilizations of mostly low-income women of color, many of which were done involuntarily. That practice is not ancient history. Between 2005 and 2013, California’s prison system administered more than 39 tubal ligations without the prisoners’ full consent.

Happy Fact Friday Followers!

The New England Journal of Medicine released a new study on the use of long-acting, reversible contraception (LARC) methods among teenage girls and women aged 15 to 19 years old.

“This study shows that the IUD and implant help reduce teen pregnancy,” said Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president of external medical affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “These methods are great birth control options for women who want the best possible pregnancy prevention and aren’t yet ready to start a family. IUDs and implants are safe for most women, including adolescents and women who have not yet had children…”

At Planned Parenthood, we offer every woman the full range of contraceptive options — including the IUD and the implant — and complete information to help her make an informed decision about which method is best for her. IUDs and implants have extremely low failure rates — less than one percent — which rival the rates seen with permanent birth control. And unlike permanent birth control, your ability to get pregnant returns quickly once the device is removed.

Long-acting reversible contraception doesn’t require women to remember to do something every day to prevent pregnancy, like taking the pill — or just before intercourse, or once a month, or even every three months, like other methods.

One important thing to remember for people of all ages is that these methods don’t protect you from sexually transmitted diseases, so using condoms in addition to another form of birth control is the best way to prevent both pregnancy and STDs.

Planned Parenthood wants all young people to have the information and resources they need to prevent unintended pregnancy, meet their life goals, and start their families when the time is right for them. We hope this study helps raise awareness about the safety and efficacy of IUDs and implants among women of all ages, and especially among young women.

Liletta, an IUD just approved by the FDA, is being marketed in the United States through a unique partnership between manufacturers who hope to bring the device to more people at a lower cost. However, it is still unclear whether those savings will be felt by all women.

How have I not heard about this IUD before?! Apparently it’s been legal in Europe for a while. Anyone tried it? It lasts for 3 years like Skyla and is less expensive than any other IUD, which is a big draw, especially if you have no insurance or not really good insurance.

Can you use an IUD if you’ve never been pregnant?

Someone asked us…

Can you explain more about IUD? I know they’re designed for women who already had children, which can make them hurt for women who use them but have no children. Is there some equivalent option, or IUD for childless women?

IUDs are actually safe for most, whether or not you’ve had children. When IUDs first hit the market, they were only recommended for people who’d already given birth.

But since then, it’s been shown that IUDs are completely safe regardless of whether or not someone has given birth, and they’re actually highly recommended for almost anyone who doesn’t want to get pregnant anytime soon since they can last for years, require very little effort, and are extremely effective.

When I was a full time college student working three jobs to support the glamorous lifestyle of myself and a very cute but very needy three-legged cat, I could barely remember to eat breakfast, much less take a pill every day. That’s why birth control methods like the IUD are so great.

Don’t forget that IUDs won’t protect against STDs, so always use a condom as well.

Since I know you’re curious, behold, my cat:

-Kellie at Planned Parenthood


With this project, I ended up taking a long route to get back to where I started.  The original plan was to shoot these contraceptives the way I shoot most objects: objectively. But once I got started, I worried that they were too minimal, too objective, too unopinionated.  I started thinking that maybe I needed to make some sort of statement - it’s birth control, after all - there must be SOMETHING to get angry about, right?  So I tried getting angry about these MALE CREATED OBJECTS.  I shot for a few days in a style that’s completely not me with a vision that was completely not mine and at the end of shooting, I had a collection of dark statements that were completely misaligned with my actual feelings on birth control.  

I’m not pissed about birth control.  At all.  I’m not pissed that women can get pregnant and men can’t.  I’m not pissed that the responsibility falls on us to control when and where we get pregnant.  I’m pretty pleased about that control, actually.  I’m pretty pleased about how many options we have and how safely we can get our hands on them.  

So, after six shooting sessions, I went back into the studio and shot these objects the way I had originally intended.  As objects.  Just straight up.  

Not mad at all.

PS: Thanks a whole bunch to Planned Parenthood LA for making this possible and for letting me hold on to the sex ed training kit longer than planned.  I promise I’ll return it asap.

anonymous asked:

I really hate getting my period. Everything about it. I heard that many birth control options make periods light--some even making periods disappear completely. My question is, is it safe to completely stop having your period? I know it's a natural bodily function, but I don't plan on having kids now or in the future so I'm not really worried about it affecting my fertility.

Yes!  It’s perfectly healthy.

Let me explain:  During your normal menstrual cycle, you have estrogen telling your uterine lining to build up, up, up.  Then, you have progesterone telling your uterine lining to shed.  Some people have PCOS or other hormonal dysfunctions where the estrogen tells the uterine lining to build up but there’s no progesterone to tell it to shed.  In that situation the uterine lining will keep building up with nothing keeping it fresh or keeping it from accidentally becoming cancerous.  That’s what we’re worried about in this situation - the un-moderated uterine lining becoming a space where cancer cells can proliferate uncontrollably.

However, birth control uses those hormones to trick the body into doing certain things.  For example, a consistant low dose of progesterone stops you from building up a uterine lining in the first place.  That means that when you’re using the mini-pill, Nexplanon, Depo shot, Mirena, or Skyla IUD, you’re not even building up a uterine lining at all, making it so that there’s nothing to shed during your period, so no period bleeding.  Yay!

You don’t have to worry about cancer with those birth control options, because there’s no unmediated proliferating happening to begin with.

And the beautiful thing?  None of them affect your fertility at all.

So how to you stop getting a period?

  • Take your birth control pills continuously - that means skip the placebo or “sugar” pill.  Take only the pills with hormones
  • Use your nuvaring for 4 weeks straight and then switch to another without a “period” week
  • Get a Mirena or Skyla IUD
  • Cross your fingers and get a Nexplanon or use Depo
Is It Okay To Use Birth Control To Stop My Period?

Someone asked us

How do you guys feel about using birth control to stop periods altogether? Is it something you guys recommend/ are willing to help your patients with?

Hey hey, what do we say?  Stopping periods with birth control is A-OK!  

Tons of people, including a few of us on the Planned Parenthood tumblr team, use birth control to lessen or stop menstrual bleeding. Sometimes periods cause severe health problems (like anemia or painful cramps), and others simply don’t want to bleed every month. Either way, it’s totally fine to use hormonal birth control to regulate or eliminate your period.

Bothersome periods are a legitimate health issue. As long as you and your doctor agree that your chosen birth control method is safe for you, there’s no “wrong” reason to use it.

Birth control methods that have been known to reduce menstrual flow or stop periods are hormonal IUDs (Mirena and Skyla), the implant (Implanon or Nexplanon), the shot (Depo Provera), and certain types of birth control pills. Sometimes these methods cause spotting or irregular bleeding at first, but it usually evens out over time. And some people stop bleeding altogether after a while.

Lots of people also use the pill or ring continuously (without the period/placebo week) to stop their periods. This isn’t something you can do with the patch though. If you want to do this, talk with your doctor or nurse about whether it makes sense for you.

You can use our handy quiz to explore all your birth control options and figure out what’s best for you. And, of course, your friendly Planned Parenthood health center can give you more info and set you up with your method of choice.

-Kendall at Planned Parenthood