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Routine Pelvic Exams are Unnecessary

The American College of Physicians admitted Monday that pelvic exams are not a useful screening tool for healthy women, and can even be harmful. Although these exams are often still required for hormonal contraception, there is no medical reason to do so, and pelvics are often a significant barrier to birth control access. They are not an effective way to diagnose ovarian cancer either, and urinalysis is a better way to detect STIs. The American College of Obstetricans and Gynecologists disagreed, but acknowledged that the case for pelvic exams "lacks data." Pelvic exams are so anxiety-inducing, uncomfortable, or painful that they can even cause some people to avoid medical care altogether, yet both clinicians and patients are so resistant to change that it's likely millions of women will continue to be screened despite the lack of evidence of benefit.
posted by Violet Hour on Jul 1, 2014 - 96 comments

Contraception is my business

This morning, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, two cases where private corporations have challenged the Affordable Care Act's contraception coverage mandate. Previously, and previously [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Mar 25, 2014 - 161 comments

Like a plastic bag with the erotic appeal of a jellyfish

The future of sex? Once derided as being like a plastic bag with the erotic appeal of a jellyfish, the female condom is being reinvented as the next big thing in safe sex. (via).
posted by adamvasco on Mar 24, 2014 - 53 comments

La Voz del Pueblo/Voice of the People

More than 12,000 Catholics from five continents answered questions in a massive survey commissioned by Univision and conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International. Topics covered included all the issues most likely to generate lively discussion among Catholics all over the world. Here's how they responded. [more inside]
posted by 2N2222 on Feb 12, 2014 - 15 comments

Is the Contraceptive NuvaRing Killing Thousands?

"Danger in the Ring." According to Karen, a doctor in the emergency room asked her over the phone: “Was your daughter using birth control?” Karen said, “Yes, NuvaRing.” He removed the device and said, “I thought so, because she’s having a pulmonary embolism.” [more inside]
posted by blue suede stockings on Dec 28, 2013 - 103 comments

The government “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of re

Yesterday, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear two challenges to the Affordable Care Act's mandate that women's contraception must be covered. The cases, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, ask the Court to focus on whether the pregnancy-related care coverage can be enforced against profit-making companies — or their individual owners — when the coverage contradicts privately held religious beliefs. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 27, 2013 - 214 comments

Abortion in America

The Geography of Abortion Access - Forty years ago Tuesday, the Supreme Court ushered in legal abortion for American women when it decided in Roe v. Wade. Today, states—particularly in the South and Midwest—are eroding that right by legislating hundreds of provisions intended to impede access with burdensome obstacles. To understand more fully the complex state of access to abortion services in America, The Daily Beast identified and confirmed the location of the country’s remaining 724 clinics and calculated the distance from every part of the country to its closest clinic. (more)
posted by Artw on Jan 24, 2013 - 26 comments

To remain true to its faith...

Hobby Lobby, a craft store with 525 U.S. locations, has announced that it will defy a federal mandate to provide health coverage for all employees that includes emergency contraceptive coverage, and will pay a fine of $1.3 million every day. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Dec 28, 2012 - 389 comments

the Contraceptive Choice Project finds that free birth control access significantly cuts abortion rates

Free birth control cuts abortion rate dramatically, study finds: "When more than 9,000 women ages 14 to 45 in the St. Louis area were given no-cost contraception for three years, abortion rates dropped from two-thirds to three-quarters lower than the national rate." [more inside]
posted by flex on Oct 5, 2012 - 72 comments

"My right to choose? What about my right to choose to not have a choice?"

Republicans, Get In My Vagina! - Kate Beckinsale, Judy Greer, and Andrea Savage spread the message that one thing women really want in their vaginas is the government.
posted by quin on May 9, 2012 - 55 comments

Stag Party

The GOP’s woman problem is that it has a serious problem with women. Frank Rich on George Stephanopoulos's unanswered question, how the Republicans have shifted to being the party of misogyny since the 70s, and why Mitt Romney would be just as bad as Rick Santorum.
posted by Artw on Mar 27, 2012 - 160 comments

the handmaid's tale was optimistic

Dahlia Lithwick: This week, the Virginia state Legislature passed a bill that would require women to have an ultrasound before they may have an abortion. Because the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced. Since a proposed amendment to the bill—a provision that would have had the patient consent to this bodily intrusion or allowed the physician to opt not to do the vaginal ultrasound—failed on 64-34 vote, the law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under state law. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Feb 16, 2012 - 331 comments

Rise and Fall of a Condom Empire

Julius Fromm, a “quintessential ‘entrepreneurial proletariat’”, and a modest man with minimal education, sought a career alternative to making cigarettes and began taking evening classes in rubber chemistry around 1912. Julius Fromm then hit upon the idea of making condoms. The early condoms from the eighteenth century were generally made of animal intestines, and were used primarily by wealthy men – like Giacomo Casanova, who referred to them as “English riding coats” . . .
The Great Rubber Robbery: How Julius Fromm’s Condom Empire Fell to the Nazis. via 3 quarks daily
posted by Rumple on Nov 9, 2011 - 2 comments

"Personhood" laws and reproductive rights

45 years ago yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled in Griswold v. Connecticut that birth control (for married women) was legal and that the US Constitution guaranteed privacy to women seeking reproductive services. That privacy ruling was instrumental in subsequent cases [pdf]regarding the legality of birth control and pregnancy termination. And while many states are pushing through new termination restrictions; some states are now pushing through "Personhood" laws that grant constitutional rights to zygotes and fetuses. These laws ban abortion without exception, ban certain forms of birth control, ban in-vitro fertilization, and forbid the treatment of pregnancy complications such as ectopic pregnancies. The legislations are being marketed by a "Conceived by Rape" bus tour. [more inside]
posted by dejah420 on Jun 9, 2011 - 121 comments

“I’d gladly put my balls on the chopping block for the benefit of mankind.”

The Revolutionary New Birth Control Method for Men. Link NSFW. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 31, 2011 - 106 comments

family planning, old school

Antique contraception & protection from the disease - (NSFW) male & female methodologies of birth control from antiquity to the 1900s in pictures and text (Translated from Russian) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Mar 12, 2011 - 19 comments

my secret healthcare superpower is invulnerability to other people’s cognitive dissonance.

Hello! I am a person who is training to become an abortion provider. As you can imagine, it is really fucking weird to be one of me, especially lately!
posted by emjaybee on Mar 4, 2011 - 190 comments

Do bears still shit in the woods?

The Pope approves the use of condoms
posted by Artw on Nov 20, 2010 - 180 comments

Happy You-Don't-Have-To-Be-A-Mother's Day

"There's no such thing as the Car or the Shoe or the Laundry Soap. But everyone knows the Pill, whose FDA approval 50 years ago rearranged the furniture of human relations in ways that we've argued about ever since." Time Magazine's cover article this month chronicles fifty years of reliable oral contraceptives. [more inside]
posted by Kadin2048 on May 7, 2010 - 30 comments

"The so-called Victorian conception of women's sexuality was more that of an ideology seeking to be established than the prevalent view or practice of even middle-class women."

"Some enjoyed sex but worried that they shouldn't. One slept apart from her husband 'to avoid temptation of too frequent intercourse.' " Standford Magazine on the accidental discovery of an unpublished sex survey of American women made 55 years before Kinsey . (via)
posted by The Whelk on Mar 31, 2010 - 50 comments

Virgin is not a dirty word.

The Evolution of Birth Control.
posted by gman on Oct 29, 2009 - 39 comments

contraception riles up pro life NRLC

William Saletan has been writing about abortion for a while. In Slate he recently discussed the Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion, and Supporting Parents Act, and some hard line pro-life groups resistance to this bill. Doug Johnson, the National Right to Life Commitee's legislative director responds stating that the bill is a "prop in a political charade" to "provide camouflage for pro-abortion politicians". Saletan tears holes in Johnson's stated objections, calling out the NRLF's unstated objection to contraception.
posted by garlic on Aug 3, 2009 - 260 comments

Moral turpitude

As reported in the Guardian the US has cut funding for condoms in Marie Stopes' African clinics. In 2007 MSI provided 129 million male and female condoms. Since 2001 with the Mexico City Policy commonly known as " The Global Gag" The Bush administration has blocked birth control access at every turn. It has tried to redefine Contraception as Abortion. [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Oct 6, 2008 - 38 comments

Natural Contraception in the Ancient World?

Silphium was the wonder plant of the ancient world. Originally identified by Greek colonists in North Africa, the plant - a species of Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) - grew only in a dimunitive area near the coast and could not be cultivated. Silphium was popular as a spice for cooking, but its notoriety stems from its alleged medicinal qualities, particularly its use as an herbal contraceptive (the "I love you" heart symbol may have originated from the shape of silphium's seed pods and its use in sex). So valuable was Silphium that it became an important component of the ancient world's economy and appears on coins. It's also among the first species recorded (by Pliny the Elder) as going extinct, probably by grazing sheep or uncontrolled harvesting. Or is it?
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Dec 7, 2006 - 21 comments

I will provide emergency contraception to any woman who requests it, no questions asked, in complete privacy, free of cost.

Emergency Kindness -- a new network dedicated to providing emergency contraception for women in need. Members ("Janes") promise to have some Plan B on hand to immediately send to women in need, whether they were denied by their local doctor or pharmacy or couldn't get to one.
posted by amberglow on Oct 22, 2006 - 60 comments

In Connecticut, it shouldn't take more than a short ride to get to another hospital - Joe Lieberman

Folks, the condom broke Friday night and I searched all weekend for someone who could prescribe me EC. It is now Monday and I have to report that I have been unable to find anyone who will write me a fucking prescription for EC. None of the hospitals in the surrounding counties would write it for me. I stopped my search at about 100 miles from my home because my telephone book wouldn't take me out any further than that.

I have been asked about my sexual practices. Whether I'm 'monogamous' or 'in a relationship' if I'm married, if I have kids, how many kids I have, if I was raped or 'traumatized' but there wasn’t' ONE question about my health. Not one. The few places that said that they had a doctor who would occasionally write prescriptions for EC told me that I had to ask for that doctor specifically and then they proceeded to tell me that I would be 'interviewed' to see if I meet that doctors 'criteria' and then they proceeded to ask me all the above questions before telling me that I should 'try anyway' and I 'might be able to talk him into it'.

posted by orthogonality on Sep 22, 2006 - 190 comments

Oh the Roomanity!

Some form of PZP may save Australia's capital from a kangaroo invasion. The plan is not without risks, but the main alternative is culling the herd.
posted by owhydididoit on Sep 11, 2006 - 33 comments

Minimizing embryo death through proper contraception

The rhythm method kills more embryos than condoms. Some proponents of the pro-life movement argue against morning after pills, IUDs, and contraceptive pills on grounds of a concern for causing embryonic death. What has gone unnoticed, however, is that the pro-life line of argumentation can be extended to the rhythm method of contraception as well. Given certain plausible empirical assumptions, the rhythm method may well be responsible for a much higher number of embryonic deaths than some other contraceptive techniques.
posted by caddis on Jul 18, 2006 - 88 comments

Political Science & Promiscuity

"The mind-set that invites a couple to use contraception is an anti-child mind-set," she told me. "So when a baby is conceived accidentally, the couple already have this negative attitude toward the child. Therefore seeking an abortion is a natural outcome. We oppose all forms of contraception." Don't even mention the mind-set behind a vaccine for HPV.
posted by missbossy on May 9, 2006 - 1194 comments

we menstruate too often

What the co-inventor of the Pill didn't know about menstruation can endanger women's health: "The passion and urgency that animated the birth-control debates of the sixties are now a memory. John Rock still matters, though, for the simple reason that in the course of reconciling his church and his work he made an error. It was not a deliberate error. It became manifest only after his death, and through scientific advances he could not have anticipated. But because that mistake shaped the way he thought about the Pill--about what it was, and how it worked, and most of all what it meant--and because John Rock was one of those responsible for the way the Pill came into the world, his error has colored the way people have thought about contraception ever since."
posted by heatherann on Sep 20, 2005 - 54 comments

'When I was Garbage' - One Teen Mother's Story

When I was Garbage by Allison Crews at age 17, teen mother advocate and activist. "I had become garbage, worthy only to sit in my isolated desk and cry to myself and throw up in a dirty bathroom stall. I was a pregnant teenage girl."
Allison died recently aged 22. She was active in girl-mom.com, an online and in life support and education network for young mothers.
"To radically accept and defend a woman's right to choose, we must acknowledge the multiple ways that women come to make reproductive choices. By marginalizing teenage mothers, even within the feminist community, we are failing to recognize the realities of countless women and their children."
There's a report of her funeral and a website has been set up to collect memories for Allison's 7 year old son. {Allison's LJ} All of this comes via BitchPhD - her entry is also worth reading. (previous semi-related MeFi)
posted by peacay on Jun 21, 2005 - 50 comments

The Sims 3?

Teenage Mum. A public information film for the gaming generation (embedded Quicktime movie). [via Edge]
posted by davehat on Apr 21, 2005 - 14 comments

Moral boon or immoral boondoggle?

A new Texas bill seeks to give pharmacists the right to object to dispensing emergency contraceptives. The bill was spurred by over a year's worth of debate about an incident in Denton where a rape victim was denied a morning-after pill by a pharmacist at Eckerd's. Supporters say that pharmacists should be able to opt out of dispensing drugs that are used for abortions, but the opposition points out that the bill's definition of emergency contraceptives can be construed to include all birth control. Should pharmacists be allowed to morally object, or is this an anti-birth-control boondoggle?
posted by rush on Apr 12, 2005 - 118 comments

RU-ready for the next 4 years?

Congress plans to reintroduce RU-486 suspension. After only three deaths in an estimated 360,000 uses, the GOP-led Congress plans to reintroduce a bill to "temporarily suspend" sales of RU-486 so it can be more thoroughly investigated. With a maternal death rate in the US of 12 per 100,000, RU-486 is about 13-14 times safer than a full term pregancy. Of course, the solution is simple: suspend all pregnancies for a year so we can more fully evaluate their safety.
posted by u.n. owen on Nov 18, 2004 - 119 comments

Abortions Decreased Under Clinton - Increased Under Bush

Abortions Decreased Under Clinton - Increased Under Bush 52,000 more abortions under Bush than under Clinton, reversing a ten-year trend that had resulted in a 17.4% decline in abortions.
posted by eustacescrubb on Oct 14, 2004 - 44 comments

Should a doctor be able to refuse to help patients?

Conscience Clauses and Health Care --"Yes, we need to respect individual freedom of religion. But at what point does it cross the line of not providing essential medical care? At what point is it malpractice?" she asked. "If someone's beliefs interfere with practicing their profession, perhaps they should do something else." The Protection of Conscience Project feels differently: Protection of Conscience Laws are needed because powerful interests are inclined to force health care workers and others to participate, directly or indirectly, in morally controversial procedures, while NARAL says: ... Many of these clauses go far beyond respecting individuals' beliefs to the point of harming women by not providing them with full information or access to medical treatment. Medicine, not ideology, should determine medical decisions.
posted by amberglow on Sep 17, 2004 - 69 comments

34 Million Friends

34 Million Friends was founded by Lois Abraham and Jane Roberts to gather private contributions for the United Nations Population Fund, and had gathered $1,957,613.31 in gifts and pledges as of July 4. For the third year in a row, the Bush administration is withholding $34 million in aid because of accusations that UNFPA supports China's policy of coercive abortions, despite evidence to the contrary. UNFPA estimates the money could have helped prevent as many as 2 million unwanted pregnancies, 800,000 abortions, 4,700 maternal deaths, and over 77,000 infant deaths.
posted by homunculus on Jul 18, 2004 - 16 comments

Doctors put spotlight on Plan B pill

Doctors put spotlight on Plan B pill The American Medical Association voiced its support for over-the-counter sales of morning-after birth control, saying the Food and Drug Administration was wrong to reject such sales and urging doctors to write advance prescriptions.
posted by Postroad on Jun 17, 2004 - 9 comments

Don't be a fool, vulcanize your tool!

Accidental condom inhalation. (pdf)
posted by Wet Spot on Apr 30, 2004 - 17 comments

What if it was his Daughter?

Texas Pharmacist Refuses Emergency Contraception for Rape Victim. Should the pharmacist be punished?
posted by EmoChild on Feb 3, 2004 - 63 comments

Policies that kill?

Starting with this year's State of the Union address, President Bush began a plan to increase aid to Africa, and at the center of that plan is funding to prevent the spread of AIDS and HIV that has reached epidemic proportions on the continent. Critics however, have noted that aid to clinics comes with strings attached. Abstinence is preached first and foremost and condoms are mentioned only as a last resort. This reporter flat out says the policy to curtail the funding and use of condoms in Africa is killing millions.
posted by mathowie on Dec 1, 2003 - 32 comments

The Strange Career of a Disinfectant

The poet Vachel Lindsay committed suicide by drinking it. The Edmonton liquor control board arrested a grocery store owner for selling it. Weirder yet, the American Medical Association once condemned its manufacturer for advertising it as a contraceptive or douche. The bizarre history of Lysol disinfectant.
posted by jonp72 on Apr 16, 2003 - 6 comments

yams yams yams

Yams, yams, yams. Immortalized by Michelle Shocked's song about the Yamboree Queen. (Which I always thought was a joke, stupid me.) It turns out that most yams are really Sweet Potatoes although yam-sweetpotatoes are also different from regular sweet pototes. The confusion is much more widespread than my own Wabash Valley inflicted confusion between mangos and green bell peppers. Yam sweet-potatoes are a good source of fiber, beta carotene and vitamin C if prepared fresh. True Mexican wild yam was used as a raw material for birth control pills and is still claimed to useful for medicinal purposes.
posted by KirkJobSluder on Feb 18, 2003 - 16 comments

women on the pill

The Pill changes women's taste in men. Women on the pill prefer masculine men for marriage and sensitive guys for flings. Women not on the pill prefer the opposite, according to a recent British study. Researchers don't know why but "Where a woman chooses her partner while she is on the pill, and then comes off it to have a child, she may find she is married to the wrong man."
posted by stbalbach on Jan 22, 2003 - 47 comments

drop condoms, not bombs

An undeclared war on latex is apparently being waged by the Bush administration, which is taking all sorts of steps to avoid condoning their use. This is a patently ridiculous stance to take in the face of a global AIDS epidemic, but this interesting essay also raised my eyebrows:

According to figures in a report on condoms by Population Action International, the average man in Botswana gets less than one condom per year from international donors.

Uhhh...doesn't the idea of condoms as a staple of international relief seem a bit strange? Haven't governments around the world devoted any resources to their own public health? Surely donor-nations can't keep everyon else's penises safely sheathed forever.
posted by subpixel on Jan 10, 2003 - 12 comments

The male contraceptive pill

The male contraceptive pill is 100% effective and will be available in 2005. Will you take it? Will men stop using condoms and STDs increase as a result? Can men be trusted to take it every day?
posted by norm29 on Nov 13, 2002 - 66 comments

Walgreen's Pharmacist refuses to fill prescription.

Walgreen's Pharmacist refuses to fill prescription. Do pharmacists have the right to refuse to fill a prescription because of religious beliefs? Should they? Well, they do in Florida.
posted by Stretch on Apr 24, 2002 - 103 comments

New contraception w/o hormones,

New contraception w/o hormones, If it's important enough to hit three science cites in one day, than this could be big....
posted by thekorruptor on Oct 11, 2001 - 12 comments

Teenage myths about contraception

Teenage myths about contraception "Coke douches work and you can use crisp bags as condoms" and "Putting a watch around your penis before sex means the radioactivity of the dial kills off sperm."
Many more....
posted by nonharmful on Jul 17, 2001 - 31 comments

When is contraception not contraception?

When is contraception not contraception? When is RU-486 a contraceptive pill and when is it a birth control pill?
posted by Steven Den Beste on Jun 9, 2001 - 20 comments

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