Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Pride in Reykjavík. Photo: Dave

    I’m thrilled to start this edition of the rundown off with stellar news! On Wednesday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination against transgender people. It also held that employers may not use the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to justify discrimination against LGBTQ workers. (Slate)

  • It is beyond disheartening to witness what the Trump administration is doing to erode women’s access to affordable contraception. (NYT)
  • And it’s even more disheartening considering the positive outcome birth control has on women’s economic fortunes. Particularly women of color: 65 percent of black female and 64 percent of Latina small-business owners surveyed by Small Business Majority say that access to birth control, and the freedom to decide if and when to have children, has impacted their bottom lines as business owners. (Forbes)
  • The FDA continues to receive negative reports on the implanted birth control device Essure. It is so important for women to research and discuss all potential risks (for any medication or medical device) with their doctors. (Reuters)
  • A Trump-nominated judge has participated in a number of dangerous anti-choice panels, including one where she supported a doctor who claims “that women who take contraceptive pills are more likely to die violent deaths.” HA! WHAT?!? Oh, and she also left anti-abortion speeches she gave off her Senate disclosure form. (Vice)
  • Mississippi is trying to ban all abortions after 15 weeks. Which is the epitome of stupid, because courts across the country have ruled over and over that states cannot restrict abortion prior to fetal viability. But hey, since when do forced-birth advocates care about repeating their failures again and again? (CBS News)
  • The U.N. has advised that the teen pregnancy rate in Latin America, as well as the Caribbean, is “unacceptably high.” (Thompson Reuters)
  • Do birth control pills cause depression? Science says no. (Time)
  • Love this piece about the orgasm gap in heterosexual encounters and how it goes unaddressed in the realm of sex ed! (The Conversation)
  • Texas and the Catholic Church continue to be problematic as hell. Two lesbian college professors married to each other were told they could not foster a refugee child through Catholic Charities of Fort Worth because they did not “mirror a holy family,” according to a lawsuit filed in federal court on Tuesday. How can these entities purport to be pro-life when they stand in opposition of two seemingly good, earnest people trying to save a child’s life? (Fort Worth Star)
  • We are taking the midterm elections very seriously around here! Planned Parenthood is doing everything in our power to kick the GOP’s heinie/culo/derrière this November. (Slate)

Mike Pence’s America

mike-penceSince the election of Donald Trump in November, countless people have reveled in the hope that perhaps some obscure constitutional gambit or criminal indictment would take place preventing him from taking office on January 20.

Mike Pence’s legislative record stands in opposition to his self-proclaimed reverence for life.

The sentiment is understandable to those of us who abhor this man and all that he stands for, but such a scenario would present an awful alternative in the form of Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who would take Trump’s place in the Oval Office as our new president.

While Trump has spoken about his frightening and detestable political views, he has no legislative record to back them up. Former congressman and current Indiana governor, Mike Pence, however, has a lengthy one.

And it is positively horrifying. Continue reading

Let’s Talk Contraception: How Effective Is My Birth Control?

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 62 percent of women of child-bearing age (roughly 15 to 44 years of age) currently use a contraceptive method. Most contraceptive users are married and on average would like to have two children. This means that a woman might be using a contraceptive method for more than 30 years.

Studies have calculated that if a sexually active woman is not using any contraceptive method, over the course of a year she has an 85 percent chance of becoming pregnant. Using contraceptives greatly decreases this chance, but there are still some possibilities that her contraceptive method could fail to prevent pregnancy.

To maximize your contraception’s effectiveness, use it as correctly and consistently as possible.

When choosing a contraceptive method, you might want to use the safest and most reliable method available. How likely is it that your choice could fail? With the many types of birth control at your disposal, how do you know which is most effective? And why, with even the most effective contraception around, do women still have unintended pregnancies?

If we rank birth control methods according to most effective to the least effective, how do they compare? How is effectiveness measured?  Continue reading

A New Campaign for Back to School

Oftentimes, when we think about back-to-school campaigns, what first comes to mind are the countless promotions on things like school supplies, clothing, backpacks, and laptops. All the essentials you need to start the year off on the right foot.

Rarer are the promotions around health, let alone, gasp, sexual health. But the facts are in. Young people are having sex. By 12th grade, more than 59 percent of high school seniors in Arizona report having sexual intercourse.

Meanwhile, comprehensive sexuality education isn’t a state-mandated requirement for Arizona’s schools, and Arizona teens are more likely to become pregnant than most teens across the United States. Given this information, it isn’t entirely surprising that more than three-quarters of teens, ages 15 to 17, say they need more information about birth control, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections.

This year, do more than find the best bargains on backpacks or laptops to prepare your teen for school. Take some time to share information and resources with your teen about sexual health and healthy relationships so they can be ready for what the school year might bring.

And you don’t have to go it alone! Planned Parenthood Arizona is here to help by offering a back to school promotion of its own as part of the Be Healthy, Be Safe, Be You! campaign.

Teens, along with their parents, can visit their local Planned Parenthood health center to meet with expert health care providers and get more information about sexual health as well as learn about different birth control options in order to find a method that’s right for them. The best part? Planned Parenthood Arizona is offering a $50 savings — waiving the price of the visit to 300 teens — when they purchase their first three packs of pills or Depo shot.

Call to make an appointment — 602-277-PLAN (7526) in the Phoenix area, 520-408-PLAN (7526) in the Tucson area, or toll-free 855-207-PLAN (7526) from elsewhere in Arizona.

At the end of the day, no matter what time of year it is, each and every parent should consider the importance of proactive, ongoing, open communication around sexual health with their teen. It’s simple; the best thing we as a community can do for teens is provide them with the tools and resources to become responsible and confident adults.

Want to learn more about the campaign, get the details on the special August promotion, and find tip sheets for starting the conversation with your teen (or your parent)? Find it all here at

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

Human papillomavirus. Image: University of Arizona

Human papillomavirus. Image: University of Arizona

  • Even though AZ state law requires an emphasis on abstinence, students in Tempe are getting a new, more comprehensive sex-ed curriculum. (AZ Central)
  • So, no reason for alarm or anything, but everyone has HPV. Pretty much. Almost. (NBC News)
  • Americans are just as polarized as ever on the issue of abortion. And, as you’d imagine, men are more likely to rate themselves as “pro-life.” (Gallup)
  • But perhaps pollsters are asking the wrong questions on this issue. (Think Progress)
  • When it comes to the issue of choice, President Obama’s federal judicial nominee, Michael Boggs, is not fit to sit on the bench. (RH Reality Check)
  • The NYPD is finally going to stop seizing condoms from sex workers. (Slate)
  • Apparently switching birth control pills can affect your satisfaction between the sheets! (Time)
  • Wendy Davis has been dubbed Abortion Barbie by the anti-choice crowd. They even made offensive little posters with her depicted as a pregnant, nude doll. Stay classy, y’all! (HuffPo)
  • Thing I know from personal experience: Getting permanent birth control is not easy when you’re a young woman. (Chicago Tribune)

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

Emily Letts

Emily Letts

  • Arizona (which has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the United States) doesn’t require its students to take sex ed, and thus over 75 percent of students in Tucson aren’t taking it. This is not good! (AZ Daily Star)
  • Arizona religious zealot and crackpot Pastor Steven Anderson says birth control has turned women into “whores” and stated, “Not only does birth control do damage to women, it hurts their body if they’re using the pills. And it also affects their character, causing them to be an idle, tattler, gossip, turning aside after Satan.” Whoa, man! Obviously this concerns me, so I perused the little info packet that’s included with my birth control pills and these do not seem to appear in the side effects. Hmm. Someone must not be telling the truth. WONDER WHO? (Raw Story)
  • As you may have heard, Emily Letts set off a firestorm when she allowed her abortion procedure to be videotaped. As expected, the portion of the population that believes women should be forced to give birth under any and every circumstance is infuriated that she doesn’t seem completely ashamed by her choice and chose to share it rather than hide it. (NBC News)
  • How much did the Affordable Care Act save women on the cost of birth control in 2013? $483 million! Yay, thanks President Obama! #HighFive (Think Progress)
  • Between 2008 and 2011, the national abortion rate declined by 13 percent. (San Diego Free Press)
  • NARAL is kicking ass and taking names in the fight against “crisis pregnancy centers” lying to women via Yahoo and Google ads. (The Hill)
  • Senate Republicans are going after more abortion legislation. Act surprised, y’all. (Politico)
  • Astute, profoundly reasonable thinker, Sarah Palin, opines that having a grandkid could change Hillary Clinton’s views on abortion. Yeah … I guess we’ll just ignore the fact that Hillary GAVE BIRTH TO HER OWN BABY 34 years ago and is still pro-choice. (CBS News)
  • As I’ve mentioned before, having babies can sometimes make women even more strident in their pro-choice views. Here’s one woman’s story: (RH Reality Check)

Over 90 Percent of What Planned Parenthood Does, Part 21: Contraception

World Contraception DayWelcome to the latest installment of “Over 90 Percent of What Planned Parenthood Does,” a series on Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona’s blog that highlights Planned Parenthood’s diverse array of services — the ones Jon Kyl never knew about.

Birth control is about so much more than just one type of pill. First of all, there are dozens of varieties of the Pill, and beyond that even more types of contraception! With so many options available, you’re bound to find the birth control option that’s right for you, and Planned Parenthood can help you find it.

Birth Control Pills: The Pill is probably the first thing people think of when they think of birth control, and it’s no wonder: Since its introduction in 1960, it has become an iconic symbol of women’s liberation. Taken at the same time every day, the Pill is an incredibly effective form of birth control that works by suppressing ovulation. And there are many different types, from those that are specially designed to reduce the number of periods you have in a year, to progestin-only mini-pills, from name brand pills to generic pills, and more!

Vaginal Ring: Not everyone likes taking a daily pill; some people are naturally forgetful, while others have hectic schedules that don’t make it easy to dedicate a time of the day to pill-taking. That’s where contraceptives like NuvaRing come in: This flexible ring is inserted into the vagina, where it releases a low dose of daily hormones. Leave it in for three weeks, remove it for a week, and then start the cycle anew with a new ring!

Birth Control Patch: Ring not your thing? Maybe a patch is where it’s at. It works a lot like the ring, only instead of inserting it into your vagina, you pop the patch out of its wrapper and stick it to your skin, where it stays in place for a full week, releasing hormones all the while. Continue reading