contraception and birth control


Abortion rates hit historic lows, according to new report

  • Once again, statistics suggest that abortion rates drop as access to contraception improves.
  • New data from the Guttmacher Institute show abortion rates are at their lowest point since 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision, NPR reported Tuesday. 
  • The report shows that in 2014, 14.6 abortions were performed for every 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. 
  • That’s down from when abortion became legal in 1973, when the rate was 16.3 abortions for every 1,000 women.
  • Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards chalked up the dip to readily available contraception.
  • “It shows that we’re finally doing a better job of helping women get access to birth control that’s affordable and that’s high-quality,” Richards told NPR. Read more

Injected male contraceptives are now 96% effective. But since 6.25% of men had side effects like “depression, muscle pain, mood swings, acne and changes to the libido,” drug trials have been halted. (Read the article here.)

Weird. Of the roughly 50% of young cis-women who take the pill, many (way more than 6.25%) experience the same. damn. side effects. And, surprise, they’re expected to. For the past 50+ years, women have been taking on these burdens to have heteroSEXual relations that don’t involve pregnancy.

In other words, grow up, guys. If you have a penis and it produces viable sperm, it’s time to step up to the contraceptive plate. Do your part, or don’t expect your female partners to do theirs.

A birth control gel for men proved effective in preventing pregnancy — for monkeys

  • When tested on monkeys, Vasalgel — a long-lasting reversible contraceptive for men — proved entirely effective.
  • Vasalgel is a polymer gel that blocks sperm from swimming through the vas deferens, and may be effective for more than 10 years.
  • It doesn’t prevent ejaculation, but instead acts as a sort of sieve, separating sperm from seminal fluid.
  • In strictly scientific terms, it makes the male subject shoot blanks for as long as the gel remains in place. Read more

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Are birth control sponges safe?

Someone asked us:

Are birth control sponges (the ones that are inserted that use water to activate spermicide) safe? When I read about them it said to go to a doctor if you can’t get them out or they break apart. Is this a real issue? Are they recommended?

The birth control sponge is totally safe for most people. You put the sponge in your vagina before penis-in-vagina sex to prevent pregnancy. It covers your cervix and has spermicide to stop sperm from reaching an egg.

Putting the sponge in and taking it out is similar to using a tampon. Each sponge has a fabric loop attached to it to make it easier to pull out. You may have trouble removing your sponge every once in awhile; if you have a hard time getting to the sponge, squat and bear down (push with your vaginal muscles like you’re going to the bathroom) while reaching for it. You can grab the sponge itself and pull it out if you can’t find the fabric loop.

The vagina has an end (where your cervix is), so the sponge can’t get “lost” inside your vagina or move to other parts of your body. And it’s extremely rare for a person to not be able to get their sponge out or for it to break apart. But yes, if this does happen, visit a nurse or doctor right away. If part or all of it is left in your vagina for a long time, it can lead to infection.

Want even more protection from pregnancy? Use the sponge plus a condom. Bonus: condoms also prevent the spread of STDs.

Last pro-tip? The birth control sponge is really easy to get at the drugstore, but it’s not the most effective method. Other birth control options like condoms, the IUD, implant, shot, pill, patch, and ring are all more effective methods.

-Mylanie at PPFA
Trump's Top HHS Pick Thinks ‘There’s Not One’ Woman Who Can’t Afford Contraception - Rewire
If he were to become secretary of health and human services, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) could lead the charge in rolling back the ACA’s birth control benefit, which requires employer-sponsored health insurance plans to cover contraception as preventive care at no cost to the consumer.

Wow, how many women does he know?

Reblog if you’ve ever had trouble accessing birth control.
These 30 Tweets Prove Why Access To Birth Control Is So Important
Contrary to what some might believe, birth control isn't just a method of contraception. Don't get us wrong — preventing unplanned pregnancies is a big reason why many people use birth control (and it's an important one). But that's not birth control's only role in people's lives. After all,

Originally posted by plannedparenthood
Access to Most Effective Birth Control Could Save $12 Billion a Year: Study
In recent decades the U.S. has seen a drop in the rate of unintended pregnancies, thanks in part to women using more effective and long-acting…
By Alexandra Sifferlin

“The Child Trends researchers used those findings to simulate what would happen if all American women had the same access to highly effective contraceptives. They found if women used the most effective forms of contraception there would be a 64% drop in unintended pregnancies, a 63% drop in unintended births, a 67% drops in abortions, and a savings of $12 billion a year in public health care costs.”

The Pregnancy Scare: A Guide

Step 1. Did you have sexual conduct in which there was a chance of pregnancy?

  • If a penis touched your vulva or went into your vagina with or without without a condom, yes. Go to step 2
  • If a penis came in contact with your vulva through at least one layer of clothing, no. Rejoice that you’re not pregnant!
  • If a penis came in contact with your vulva through one layer of lace or other porous material that is soaking wet, maybe. Go to step 2c.
  • If there was no to very little vaginal entry and no ejaculation, probably not. Go to step 2c.
  • If there was visible ejaculate on a hand or toy that touched your vulva or vagina, yes. Go to step 2
  • If there was no visible ejaculate on anything that came in contact with your vulva/vagina, no. Rejoice that you’re not pregnant!
  • If there’s a chance semen dripped to your vulva from anal or manual sex, maybe. Go to step 2c

Step 2. Were you using a method of birth control or contraceptive? If so which? Were you using it perfectly? Here is your APPROXIMATE percentage chance of pregnancy.

  • I had a oophorectomy and hysterectomy: No you can’t get pregnant.
  • I just had one ovary removed: yes you can get pregnant
  • I had a hysterectomy without a oophorectomy: you could get an ectopic pregnancy and will need surgery to remove it if you do.
  • I’ve been sterilized through tubal ligation or vasectomy/ am using an IUD or Implant: There is less than a one percent chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using breastfeeding perfectly, my baby only drinks my milk, I will stop after 6 weeks or if I start menstruating, I feed my baby every 4 hours during the day and every 6 hours at night: 1% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using breastfeeding but not perfectly: 9% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using the depo shot, I get it every 3 months: 1% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using the depo shot, but I sometimes get it late: 9% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using the pill, I take it at the same time every day and I make sure none of my medications, vitamins or herbals interfere: 1% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using the pill, but I sometimes forget to take it and I don’t check my medicines: 9% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using the ring, I never take it out except to change it on the same day every month or leave it off for the week long hormone free period and I put a new one in when I’m supposed to and I make sure none of my medications interfere with it: 1% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using the ring, I sometimes take it out or it falls out or forget to put it in the right time or I haven’t checked my medications: 9% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using the patch, I never take it off except to change it on the same day every week or except to leave it off for the week long hormone free week and put a new one on when I’m supposed to and I make sure none of my medications interfere with it: 1% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using the patch, I sometimes take it off or it falls off or I forget to put it on the right time or I haven’t checked my medications: 9% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using a diaphragm, I make sure to put it in before genitals touch, I only use the one that was fitted for me, it stays in place 6 hours after intercourse, I make sure to reapply spermicide every time I have sex, I don’t use oil based lubes and I make sure to clean it with warm water, mild soap and I air dry it, I replace it if it cracks or looks damaged or every 2 years and I make sure to insert it correctly, I check it from time to time: 6% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using the diaphragm and sometimes put it in too late or too early, or in other ways don’t use it perfectly: 15-24% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using a condom, I check the expiration date and only use packages that don’t look damaged, I keep it in a cool dry area, I check the air bubble, I make sure to put it on correctly and right side out, I put it on before genitals touch, take it off after ejaculation and use one new condom every time genitals are touching, I make sure there’s enough lubrication and not to use oil based lubes, I check it from time to time to make sure it’s still intact: 2-3% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using a condom, I don’t check the expiration date, I use wrinkled packages that have been in my car, pocket or wallet, I don’t check the condom, I don’t know how to put a condom on, I use two condoms at a time, I keep going after ejaculation, I don’t use a new condom every time, I reuse condoms, I don’t make sure it’s lubricated, I use oil based lubes, or I don’t check it: 15-24% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using the sponge, I wet it and make sure to insert it correctly, I use a new one every time, and I check to make sure it hasn’t moved: 6% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using the sponge, I don’t use it perfectly: 15-24% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using the cervical cap, I check it from time to time, I make sure it stays in place for 6 hours after intercourse, I use more spermicide every time I have sex, I don’t share, I insert it correctly and get a new one if there’s any damage or after two years: 6% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using the cervical cap, but not correctly: 15-24% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using the withdrawal method, I make sure that I pull out well before ejaculation and never ejaculate near the vulva, and I make sure that I’ve urinated at least once and it’s been several hours since my last ejaculation so that sperm isn’t present: 15% chance of pregnancy
  • I’m using the withdrawal method incorrectly: 24% chance of pregnancy
  • I use spermicide by itself, I am sure to follow the directions on the package of the form I’m using, I check the expiration date, I’m sure to insert it enough time for it to be effective and use it every time I have sex: 18% chance of pregnancy
  • I use spermicide by itself, I don’t look at the directions or expiration date and otherwise don’t use it perfectly: 25% chance of pregnancy
  • I use fertility awareness methods, make sure to take ovulation tests with cervical fluid and temperature tests so that I know when I’m ovulating and follow my cycle for several months to be sure, my cycle is very regular: 9% chance of pregnancy
  • I use fertility awareness methods, I’m irregular or I use just a calender method and count days without knowing for sure when I am ovulating or my cycle changes: 25% chance of pregnancy
  • I use multiple methods: depending on the methods percentages that you’ve seen you can get an idea for the effectiveness

Step 2b. If you were not using protection did ejaculate actually reach your vulva?

  • Yes, and I took the morning after pill within 24 hours: less than 10% chance of pregnancy
  • Yes, and I took the morning after pill within 72 hours: 11% chance of pregnancy
  • Yes, and I took the morning after pill 120 hours or more: the chance is reduced but not by much.
  • Yes, but I’m sure I’m not ovulating: 25% chance of pregnancy
  • No, but it’s been several hours since my partner’s last ejaculation and they urinated before: 15% chance of pregnancy
  • No, but I’m not sure if my partner ejaculated recently, or I know my partner did: could be 25% chance or more depending if you’re ovulating soon or currently
Step 2c. For instances that are more ambiguous I can’t really give you an exact answer. It’d probably be somewhere below 15%

Step 3. If you haven’t already and it’s been less than 5 days since risky sexual activity, take emergency contraception  This can be found at a doctor’s clinic, Planned Parenthood, Free Clinics, some school health clinics and some pharmacies for over the counter.

Step 4. After 3-4 weeks from the time you had risky sex take a pregnancy test. Even if you had what you thought was your period, if the bleeding was lighter or shorter than usual you should take a pregnancy test just in case. These can be found in most pharmacies and grocery stores.

Step 5. Take pregnancy test. If it was negative, take another in a week just to be sure. If negative again, Congrats you probably aren’t pregnant! If you continue to have missed, lighter, or shorter periods or you develop any symptoms you may want to see a doctor just in case. If it was positive see a doctor and get a test there.

The Pill Survey Results
When do you take the pill?
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The same time every day: 44 people 29%

within the hour every day: 54 people 36%

within two hours every day: 30 people 20%

within three or more hours every day: 23 people 15%

Are you ever really late with your pill or skip your pill?
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never: 31 people 21%

rarely: 77 people 51%

sometimes: 36 people 24%

often: 6 people 4%

always: 1 person 1%

Do you ever take antibiotics or St Johns wort with the pill?
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When I take it I’m sure to use back up the entire time and for a little while after: 31 people 21%

No I don’t take them: 108 people 72%

Yes I do take them and I sometimes back it up: 4 people 3%

Yes I do take them and I never back it up: 8 people 5%

Do you use other contraceptives with the pill? If so, what?
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condoms: 80 people 81%

fertility awareness: 6 people 6%

withdrawal method: 36 people 36%

spermicide: 3 people 3%

cervical caps: 0 people 0%

diaphragms: 0 people 0%

sponges: 0 people 0%

How long have you been on this brand?
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A month or less: 9 People 6% two months: 14 people 9% three months: 5 people 3% four months: 8 people 5% five months to a year: 59 people 39% two years: 32 people 21% three years: 9 people 6% four years: 4 people 3% five years or more: 10 people 7%

Brand you are currently using with Possible side effects

Ortho tri-cyclen lo (10)
  • reduced cramps and acne (2), nausea, lighter/shorter periods, chest pain, headaches at first

Ortho Tricyclen (7)

  • weight gain, mood swings, period shortness, loss of libido (2), regulated periods

Alesse (7)

  • worse cramping/heavier cycle, weight gain for a while, fewer mood swings, reduced menstrual pain/cramping, more mood swings, nausea at the start, breast swelling at the start

Loestrin 24 (6)

  • spotting the first 3 months, weight gain, light periods, mood swings, many at first

Sprintec (6)

  • moodiness (2), break out

Tri sprintec (6)

  • weight gain, increased sex drive, emotional

Lo loestrin fe (5)

  • weight gain

Microgestin (5)

  • emotional and worse periods at first

Ocella (4)

  • hunger, acne

Ortho cyclen (4)

  • nausea, spotting

Yasmin (4)

  • breast growth, mild periods, heavy periods, nausea, depression, better complexion

TriNessa (4)

  • weight gain (2), emotional

Ceracette (3)

  • hunger, body acne, stopped periods

Junel (3)

Reclipsen (3)

  • weight gain

Apri  (3)

Don’t know (3)

  • weight gain, depression, spotting

Yaz (3)

  • mild weight gain, nausea, hair loss, faintness

Tricyclin Lo (3)

  • shorter periods, clearer skin, low sex drive, weight gain

Aviane (2)

  • constipation

Marvelon (2)

  •  random long periods, mood swings

Desogen (2)

  • breast reduction, hormones, reduced period, depression, weight gain, libido level stable

Kariva (2)

  • breast tenderness

Lutera (2)

  • nausea at first, decreased libido

Microgynon (2)

  •  weight loss

Camila (generic mini pill) (2)

  • light periods

Mini pill (2)

  • light periods

Lorena (2)

  • mood swings at first

Nortrel (2)

  • weight gain (2), skin issues, swelling

Beyaz (2)

  • loss of sex drive, weight gain

Lo seasonique (2)

  • wonky periods, spotting, moodiness



  • sex is painful


  • mood swings lessoned


  • some spotting


  •  little acne

Triadic “own brand” type pill

  • swollen breasts

Lo Ogesterol

  • occasional spotting


  • little weight gain

Lo Ovrall


  • cramps, PMS headaches, weight gain


  • gained weight at first



  • no libido

Loestrin 25

  • yeast infections/mood swings/chest pain in the beginning, weight gain, anxiety


  • weight gain at first


  • diarrhea on an empty stomach, spotting


  • bloating, better periods




  •  no period




  • weight gain, enlarged breast


  • breast tenderness and growth


  • spotting


  • slight loss of libido




Yaz Generic



  • mood swings

Try any other BC? Reason for switching

Nuva ring

  • Uncomfortable
  • dried out vagina
  • slipped or moved (3)
  • administration
  • reaction to hormones, trouble with sex


  • mood swings

Condoms (8)

  • now committed relationship
  • skin irritation/painful (2)
  • allergies
  • icky

Other forms of BC pill

  • had to change due to money (2)
  • insurance (2)
  • Tried others but love 3 periods a year and low estrogen


  •  break through bleeding and anemia
  • pharmacy switched

Something with an “L”-

  • 2 periods a month


  • sensitive to estrogen
  • very bad


  • too expenisive


  • wanted to have less periods
  • didn’t help cramps
  • too expensive
  • mood swings & nausea/ break through breathing
  • period irregularities
  • too hormonal/ too many side effects
  • very bad


  • Period irregularities


  •  gagged  whenever took it, weight gain, emotional


  • no period
  • 2 ½ month period
  • 3 month period (2)


  • 2 week period
  • too many hormones
  • insurance wouldn’t cover it

Ortho tricyclen

  • had to switch because of side effects
  • Breakouts


  •  irregular bleeding and depression


  • estrogen causing lactation
  • took a break from pills

Tri Sprintec

  • PP didn’t carry it
  • went to generic


  • too expensive
  • too nauseous

Seasonique lo

  • too little hormones

Ortho tricycle lo

  • Depression
  • Didn’t help cramps


  • morning sickness

3 others

  • bad side effects

Other pills

  • They’d stop treating PCOS

Dual hormonal bc pills

  • no libido


  • too hormonal
  • anxiety attacks


  • estrogen too low spotted whole month, too high emotional

Some pill

  • too much estrogen made me sick

Loestrin 24 Fe

  • samples changed at gyno


  • constant spotting

Generic alese

  • sick and hormonal


  • heart palpitations, mood swings


  • headaches


  • became pregnant


  • needed higher dosage

Birth control injection for people with penises prevents pregnancy in new study

An injectable contraceptive — the latest forays into birth control for people with penises — proved highly effective at preventing pregnancies in a new study. Using hormones, researchers were able to suppress sperm levels but still keep it reversible. There were some side effects though.

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