Category Archives: Birth Control

EC — Over the Counter, For You & Me

Good news!

Yesterday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order denying the federal government’s request to stay a U.S. District Court judge’s decision to make emergency contraception(EC) available over the counter, without age restrictions. 

What this means for you and me — our sisters, daughters, friends, etc… — is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has to comply with a previous court order and allow emergency contraception such as Plan B to be sold on store shelves, just like aspirin and other over-the-counter medications.

Why is this such good news?
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Teen Pregnancy — How Does the U.S. Measure Up?

Last week, as we began our celebration of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, I noted that the U.S. has experienced dramatic decreases in teen pregnancy rates over the past decades. While this is an excellent trend, our teens still lag far behind their peers in other countries.

Take a look for yourself: the U.S. has much higher teen birth rates than other western,
industrialized countries and it doesn’t stop there– teen pregnancy and abortion rates are also much higher in the U.S.

On average, U.S. teens initiate sexual activity around the same age and are no more sexuality active than teens in other countries.

So, what are we, in the U.S. doing wrong?

Or to put a more positive spin on the question, what are other countries doing right? Continue reading

Be Noisy!

This week’s blog post is guest-written by a family planning supporter who shares this message she sent to everyone on her personal email list. It’s an important call to action that I hope you will share with your friends and family — most especially the young women in your life.



Hello All,

The hardest part of this coming election, for me, is the probability that we will, if more social conservatives are elected, lose much of our right to reproductive choice in this country.

I’m not sure that enough of us are thinking about this: access to contraception, birth control, family planning, sex education, reproductive health, abortion rights… and what it was like before Roe vs Wade in 1973, when it was hard for the young, the unmarried, the poor, the rural, even married people … to get contraceptive help, much less have an abortion if needed. Abortions were dangerous and hidden, whether you were not married, or already had enough children, or had a life that didn’t work with children, where a child would not be supported, or had decided not to have children at all.

Whatever your reason, you were trapped, in a situation that would affect the rest of your life and a society that would not help you.

I am afraid that many young women don’t realize how serious this threat is, that the far right has been chipping away at family planning with hostile legislation in many states, and succeeding in making it harder get contraceptives, and more and more difficult to have a safe early abortion.

Many men think it is none of their business, or not as important as the other heavy issues we are dealing with. But access to contraception, and safe abortion if that fails, is crucial to quality of life for women, the children they have, the men that care about them, their families and communities.

It matters to the whole country, in health and savings, in education and ability to earn a living, in people being better able to take care of themselves.

Please be noisy about this issue before the election, and pass this message on to whoever you can. Don’t let us lose our family planning clinics and access to reproductive choice.

Thank you,
Beedy

Where’s the Controversy in Saving Lives?

This week, On the Front Lines offers readers an international perspective on family planning.

On Wednesday, July 11th, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.K. Department for International Development hosted the London Summit on Family Planning, with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.N. Population Fund.

The Summit’s main objectives are to renew global commitments to family planning, make preventive reproductive health initiatives a top priority, increase access to contraceptives and diminish barriers to family planning services for women and girls in the world’s poorest countries. Continue reading

Hurray for Guys who Take Responsibility!

Today we’re doing a follow-up to last week’s post about emergency contraception(EC).

An astute reader of On the Front Lines kindly pointed out that our description of how EC works doesn’t jibe with a recent NY Times article about scientific evidence that suggests EC doesn’t prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. When I followed up with our Senior Vice President of Program Services, here’s what I learned. Continue reading

Tackling Teen Pregnancy in Rockland Maine

Author’s Note: From time to time, On the Front Lines features an FPA program. This week — the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative in Rockland.

Like many Maine communities, Rockland has a teen pregnancy rate higher than the state average. However, while several towns have seen their teen pregnancy rates decrease sharply in the past decade, Rockland is one of the few towns whose rate has remained consistently high — at more than double the state average.

Enter Keegan Ross.

A recent graduate of Rockland District High School, Keegan is a natural leader — he served as Senior Class President and Student Senate Treasurer. Even as a busy senior, Keegan still felt a need to take on another role — to increase awareness about his hometown’s high teen pregnancy rate.

Together with the Student Senate and School Nurse, Ilmi Carter, Keegan organized and spearheaded a week-long project to bring teen pregnancy prevention awareness and education to his fellow students.The awareness week included lunchtime education sessions, an after-school screening of the movie Juno followed by a discussion about teen pregnancy, and a student survey.

Over 300 students completed the survey and the results are really interesting. Sixty-six percent of students say they feel comfortable talking with their parents about sexual health issues. And 77% of students say there is a need for family planning services at their school.

Keegan’s project at Rockland District High School is just one part of a much bigger story. Continue reading

Paying for Birth Control — What’s Your Story?

Have you heard the good news? Beginning August 1, 2012, the full range of birth control methods will be available to tens of millions of U.S. women with no co-pays or deductibles.

How wonderful is that?!

Along with several other preventive services for women, the new guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services require health insurance plans to cover contraception and contraceptive counseling. This marks true progress — viewing birth control as preventive health care and making sure women have access to services that impact their health and the health of their families.

This is good news.

But what’s even better is that Maine happens to be more than a decade ahead of Washington, D.C. on this one. In 1999, the Maine Legislature passed what is known as an Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraception Coverage (EPICC) law. This law basically says that any insurance company doing business in Maine, that offers a prescription benefit, has to include contraception coverage.

Go Maine!

This is all terrific news for women with health insurance coverage. But what about the millions of women and teens who don’t have any form of health insurance?  Women like Rachel Fey, who wrote about it in this  Pregnant Pause blog post.

Rachel’s story is not unique Continue reading

“The Hormonal Imperative” and Sexuality Education

I just read a wonderful article about teen sexual health, written by former U.S. Surgeon General, Jocelyn Elders.  In the piece, Dr. Elders discusses adolescent development and makes a case for universal access to contraceptive care for teens and age-appropriate, comprehensive sexuality education for children of all ages.

Early in the article, Dr. Elders makes a bold statement.  She says, “efforts to prevent teens from having sex have been largely unsuccessful in stemming sexual activity because teenagers have a hormonal imperative to explore their sexuality.” (emphasis mine)

Whoa! I’ve never heard anyone put it quite so bluntly — hormonal imperative indeed.  But Dr. Elders doesn’t stop there; she continues her no-nonsense lesson in adolescent development with the following comments.

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