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.

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:

So, let's say someone gets an IUD. Now they have a few years before it has to get replaced. What if, during that time, something happened, and now they can no longer get to someone to take it out (anything from the apocalypse [nuclear, zombie, otherwise] to moving somewhere too far away, to not being able to afford a visit, etc.) What happens? Will they have any major issues? Will they just have permanent BC? Will any pregnancy result in complications?

So let’s say that everything is cool, it’s 2022 and we’re having a great time in the future so you decide to go get a copper IUD because you want to have tons of penis-in-vagina sex and not get pregnant.  A month later you’re loving your life, sexing all over the place and just about to walk to work when you see ZOMBIES EVERYWHERE!!!!!

So, the years pass.  Things are scraping by and you’re hunkered down in your fort with a few other annoying but reassuringly human comrades, and you get a crush on the sexy newcomer.  Should you rely on your copper IUD even though it’s way passed the 12 years the IUD is approved for?  You certainly don’t want to raise a baby in this new world.

The consensus, among my midwifery friends, is yeah, probably.  While there’s no research to tell us exactly how long the copper IUD would work for, we can assume that it’ll keep working.  There are permanent IUDs that work exclusively by being a presence inside of the uterus and causing an immune reaction that affects semen to stop it from getting to the egg and prevents implantation.  They’re not used in the US now since the Paragard and the Mirena are both more effective, but that is a thing that happened.  So if you want to avoid pregnancy and the last condoms were definitely used up years ago, you could either practice withdrawal or probably trust your IUD. Probably.  While the Mirena IUD (the hormonal IUD) will probably stop working on the hormonal side of things after 7 years, just having something in your uterus should do it to a certain degree.  If you accidentally get pregnant with the IUD in place there are increased risks of miscarriage and preterm birth.  

But what if you DO want to get pregnant? There’s no doctor on your side of the river since old Dr. Bob got eaten last year…what do you do?  You can take out an IUD on your own pretty easily – it’s not so difficult.  If you have tweezers or any kind of tongs/pliers, sterilize them in fire and then cool them in boiled water.  Once cool & clean, have a friend wash their hands and insert two fingers into your vagina.  Find the IUD strings & try pulling on them with just fingers.  If that’s enough, they should have you cough and pull the IUD out at the sane time.  Voila!  If the strings are too slippery they can use the newly sterilized tweezers/tongs to insert along next to their fingers and grasp the strings.  Cough, pull, done.  If you have any difficulty with this and you REALLY want that baby, it might be time for you to take a convoy across the river to find a new doctor/midwife/nurse (especially since you’re going to be pregnant and in labor sometime soon too).  

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 

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.

FDA Approves New IUD Designed To Be More Affordable

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.

anonymous asked:

I have an IUD (Mirena) and I can't help but get super anxious every month about pregnancy because I don't get my period anymore. I'm considering switching to Paraguard but I don't know if I want to go thru getting a new IUD etc. What else can I do?

Well, you can always buy pregnancy tests in bulk and pee on one once a month.

But friends, don’t forget!  You are LESS LIKELY to become pregnant while using a Mirena IUD than you are if you had your tubes surgically tied.

Think about that.  You are less likely to get pregnant with a Mirena in place than having your fallopian tubes re-heal themselves after having been tied, snipped, and cauterized and then still getting an egg to pass through that scarred mess.

Can you use the NuvaRing with sex toys?

Someone asked us:

I’m ace and have zero interest in partnered sex AND I’d like to never have periods again, for pain reasons. I’m interested in the NuvaRing, but I do use toys, some of them fairly long/skinny. What are the chances of dislodging the ring during toying? If the NuvaRing isn’t a good fit, what other BC that’s take-and-forget-it?

The NuvaRing is totally safe to use with toys. Your chances of pulling the ring out are pretty small (and it’s basically impossible to push it through the cervix), but if you do pull it out of the vagina, it’s ok to have your ring out for up to three hours. Just make sure to wash it off with cool or lukewarm water before you put it back in. So you can even take it out during toy use if you want, and just put it back in after.

As for other low maintenance birth control that can reduce or eliminate your periods, you’ve got a few options. There are two types of hormonal IUDs: Mirena, which lasts for 5 years, and Skyla, which lasts for 3 years. The Nexplanon implant lasts for 3 years and is another choice many people love (including myself!).  About half of people using a hormonal IUD and a third of people using the implant lose their period altogether — many more than with the ring. Talk with your doctor or nurse about the different types of birth control and your needs, so you can decide together what’s best.

Hope this helps!

-Kellie from Planned Parenthood

IUD earrings won by Colorado politicians are made by Etsy seller Virginia Smith.

What’s one of the “most visible political symbols this legislative session” in Colorado? Not American flag lapel pins or pink ribbons, but jewelry in the shape of IUDs. Safe, effective, long-term birth control is so hot right now.

Colorado legislators are wearing IUD earrings and pins to show their support for a statewide family planning program that has covered the cost of contraceptives. IUDs are a super-reliable form of birth control: they can last up to 10 years and don’t require daily action like taking a pill. Just this week, the FDA approved a new IUD for American markets that it’s hoped will be cheaper than current options. But right now when women pay for them out of pocket, IUDs and the doctor’s visit for the insertion can cost up to $1,000. For the past five years, the private-and-publicly funded Colorado Family Planning Initiative has covered the entire cost of IUDs and birth control implants for Colorado residents. The results are staggering: more than 30,000 people have signed up for long-term birth control and the teen birth rate has dropped 40 percent. Rates of abortion among teens have also dropped 35 percent.

Now, legislators are debating a bill that would continue the work of the Family Planning Initiative, directing $5 million in state general funds to cover the cost of long-term contraception. That’s where the IUD jewelry comes into play: lawmakers want to show they’re excited about the plan. IUDs have a troubled history in the United States and though their popularity is growing—about 6.4 percent of women ages 15-44 rely on them—many people still aren’t familiar with the contraceptive.

Keep reading about Colorado lawmakers’ support for IUDs at BitchMedia.org.

I didn’t finish my pill pack. Could I be pregnant?

Someone asked us:

I stopped taking my birth control half way through the pack, I had unprotected sex the last day I took the pill. I haven’t taken my birth control since. Is there a chance I could get pregnant from that night? Or will I be okay since I took my birth control that same night?

In short, yes — there is a chance you could be pregnant. Birth control works in large part by preventing ovulation. Since you didn’t finish your pill pack, it’s possible that your body may have released an egg after you stopped taking the pill. Sperm can hang out in the vagina up to 6 days, so even if you ovulate a few days after sex, it’s still possible for you to get pregnant.

If it’s been less than 5 days since the sex happened, you can take emergency contraception to help prevent pregnancy. If it’s been more than 5 days, you’ll have to wait and see. If your period is late, take a pregnancy test. If the test comes back positive, you can make an appointment to talk to a doctor or nurse about your options.

If you’re having sex and you don’t want to get pregnant, use birth control and condoms so that you’re protected from both pregnancy and STDs. If you have trouble remembering your pill or don’t like having to take it every day, you’ve got lots of choices. Our tumblr team could rave for days about how much we love our IUDs and implants, and you can also try the shot, the patch, or the ring.

We’ve got a pretty awesome quiz that helps you find out what might be the best birth control for you, and we’ve also got some pretty awesome health centers staffed with people who would love to help you find your perfect birth control.

-Kellie at Planned Parenthood

The Rise Of The IUD

The number of U.S. women opting for long-term reversible methods of birth control — a category of highly effective contraceptives that includes intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants — is steadily rising, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These methods are gaining ground among Americans despite political controversy stoked by religious conservatives, who assert they’re comparable to abortion.

For decades, the most common contraception method has been the birth control pill. About 16 percent of sexually active women opted for the pill between 2011 and 2013 , according to the CDC’s latest report. Long-acting birth control, meanwhile, has historically been one of the least popular methods even though it’s actually the most effective reversible option.

But the CDC report suggests that may be slowly changing. When comparing the data from 2006-10 to the new numbers from 2011-13, the rate of women choosing IUDs and implants nearly doubled — jumping from 3.8 percent to 7.2 percent.

YAY! IUD! | Follow ThinkProgress

A new IUD could shatter the monopoly -- and ignorance -- that keeps top-tier contraceptives out of financial reach
By Valerie Tarico

Enter Medicines360, a mission-driven pharmaceutical company with a focus on removing barriers that keep women from getting the best contraceptive choices, including awareness, education and cost. The company spent the past six years working to bring American women an affordable choice. The Liletta IUD, which is comparable in shape and function to the Mirena, will be offered to federally qualified health centers serving low income women for less than one fifth of what they are paying today, and will substantially drop wholesale IUD price for other clinics as well.

With funding from an anonymous foundation, Medicines360 combined a widely used medical device material and contraceptive hormone, and then took Liletta, a 52mg levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system through the research and FDA regulatory process. Their study included more than 1,500 women from age 16 to 45, across the race and weight spectrum, both those who have and have not had babies. At the three year mark, results showed that the IUD was comparably safe and effective across all of these groups. The research is ongoing, and if similar products are any indicator, Liletta probably will be effective for five to seven years.

I love my IUD, and I’m ecstatic that more women are getting more options when it comes to birth control. /Caroline

anonymous asked:

I'm only 23 and I guess you could say I'm lucky because I've had unprotected sex with my partner for a while now and its not like I'm trying to get preg but when I hear preg ppl I think of that. I'm curious if I'm infertile but that's awk to bring up

Unless you are certain that you want to become pregnant and have a baby (who will become a toddler who will become a school-aged child who will become a teenager and then an adult), please consider using birth control.

The thing is, it’s never a good idea to say, “Meh, I guess we’ll just see what happens.”  You’ll feel so much more empowered and involved in your life and experiences if you’re the one making the decision to get there.

To answer your specific question - yes, it’s possible that either you or your partner are not capable of starting a pregnancy (at least without a little help), or that you’ve actually just been literally lucky.  However, trying to get pregnant in order to see if you can is not a good method of figuring that out.  If you actually are interested in trying to get pregnant, check out some of my posts on fertility

Learn about great birth control methods here:

Paragard IUD
Mirena IUD
Skyla IUD
Combined Birth Control Pills
“Mini pill” AKA Progesterone-only Birth Control Pills
Depo Provera AKA “The Shot”
The Implant/Nexplanon/Implanon

And a great comparison chart is here: