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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.

themidwifeisin’s birth control infographic masterpost!

Birth Control Methods:

More about IUDs:

General Questions about Birth Control:

Barrier Methods:

See all the Top Ten 2014 posts here

Does my weight affect which emergency contraception I can use?

A lot of you asked us:

Is it true that Plan B isn’t effective for women who weigh 176 pounds, and it becomes less effective at 165? What other emergency contraception options are there?

We’re working to make sure that everyone has all of the information they need in order to decide what’s best for them when it comes to emergency contraception. Let’s break down the facts:

What’s emergency contraception (EC)?

Emergency contraception (also called the morning-after pill) is birth control that you can use up to 5 days after unprotected sex (like if you don’t use a condom or forget to take your pills, for example).

There are a few different kinds of emergency contraception:

  • There are two different types of EC pills:
  • Ulipristal acetate, known by the brand name ella
  • You need a prescription from a nurse or doctor to get ella
  • Levonorgestrel pills, including the brands Next Choice One Dose, My Way, and Plan B One-Step
  • Plan B One-Step is available at drugstores over the counter, without a prescription for anyone, regardless of gender or age.
  • The sooner levonorgestrel pills are taken after unprotected sex, the better they work.

Why is Plan B One-Step in the news?

It was recently announced that in Europe, a method of emergency contraception which is identical to Plan B One-Step pills is now going to include information on the label stating that these pills are less effective in people over 165 pounds and may not be effective in people over 175 pounds. This label change was based on analysis of a 2011 study.

I weigh more than 175 pounds. What are my options for EC?

The most effective option for people of any weight is getting a ParaGard IUD inserted by a nurse or doctor. If you’d rather take a pill, you can take ella. Weight can also be a factor for ella effectiveness: If you have a body mass index (BMI) that’s higher than 35, it’s less effective (but still worth a shot if you can’t get an IUD). Click here to learn more about ella.

If the IUD or ella aren’t options for you and you weigh more than 175 pounds, it’s perfectly safe to take Plan B One-Step or Next Choice One Dose–but it may not work for you.

How do I get ella?

You need a prescription from a nurse or doctor to get ella. You can also consult with a doctor through the ella website and get it delivered to you the next day. (You need to have a credit card and be 18 to order it online.)

When it comes to weight and effectiveness of emergency contraception, more study is needed but, until then, if you weigh more than 165 and need EC, ella and the ParaGard IUD are your best bet. If you need EC and have questions about which EC method is best for you, contact your local Planned Parenthood health center.

-Chelsea at Planned Parenthood

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.
I’m a trans man who wants a birth control method that gets rid of my periods and doesn’t contain estrogen. Whatcha got for me?

Someone asked us:

Hi. I’m a trans man, but I can’t afford to go on testosterone yet. My menstrual cycle really bothers me, and I may start having sex with men soon, but the estrogen in birth control pills (and the symptoms that result ‘cuz of that) makes that really, REALLY not an option I want to take. Is there any method of birth control that does not contain estrogen? Preferably one that also gets rid of periods? (Preferably one that’s also likely to be covered by my crappy insurance?)

Believe it or not, you have a lot of options to choose from!

There are quite a few hormonal birth control options that don’t contain estrogen. These “progestin-only” methods include: the implant (Implanon or Nexplanon), hormonal IUDs (Mirena or Skyla), the shot (Depo Provera), and even some kinds of birth control pills.

Many of these methods have been shown to lessen menstrual bleeding – and sometimes even eliminate it (though it’s common to have some spotting, especially for the first few months). Speak with your nurse or doctor to figure out which of these options fits your needs best.

And let’s not forget about the good ol’ condom. Condoms are the only way to protect yourself from STDs as well as pregnancy, so it’s a great idea to use them even if you’re also on another form of birth control.

Under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), most types of birth control are now covered by insurance. Learn more

I hope this helps!

-Mylanie at Planned Parenthood

Yesterday I went to Planned Parenthood to get my Mirena IUD, and I have a feeling I won’t be going anywhere else for my lady parts healthcare! The staff is incredible. The nurse, nurse practitioner, and observing med student were fantastic. I was really anxious, because I’d read stories about horribly painful IUD insertions, so I asked if someone could hold my hand. The nurse that did my vitals came in and held my hand and talked to me about my day. There were uncomfortable parts to it but she just kept letting me squeeze my hand and reminded me to breathe. And in 5 minutes it was over. And now I have worry free birth control for 5 years. Holla! 

I’ve always been impressed with P.P. the 3 times I’ve been. They were there when I initially wanted birth control at 17, again when I went in for my IUD consult, and they were there when I was getting my IUD. I have not actually gotten to sit down with an GYN for more than 10 minutes to discuss my contraceptive options, but I got to spend almost 45 minutes with an NP during my consult. 

Love that place! 

I’d really like to say that Planned Parenthood is an amazing organization providing really important services and resources to women here in America. The staff was friendly and knowledgable, I was treated like a human being, the nurse practitioner was awesome and talked me through the entire process of getting the IUD placed. I’m not going anywhere else for my reproductive care again because you could tell the people there were passionate about this instead of in it for the money, which I felt was the case for my other gyno. So two thumbs up for Planned Parenthood of Illinois!

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.