Live Vasectomy: Australian Addition

American doctor Doug Stein is on a mission that makes men lay their balls on the line, literally. Dr. Stein is trying to encourage men to do their part to lower global population rates and lower the impact humans have on the world. Dr. Stein is trying to save the world two balls at a time.

Sixteen Australian men agreed to get their vasectomies on stage in front of an audience. The reason they did this was to help raise awareness about vasectomies. Many men believe myths about vasectomies: that it will make your voice higher, it will make you less of a man, ext. Stein is challenging these ideas by performing them live; this shows the ease, simplicity and painlessness of a modern day vasectomy. Stein is travelling the world performing vasectomies and making a documentary about this.

He believes that the world is suffering from over population, and that this is taking a toll on the planet. I think vasectomies for Mother Earth is great, but I like one thing he said much more then the tree hugger angle:

…meaning that we would actually make a sacrifice, that women make all the time.

On top of wanting to save the environment and cure poverty through vasectomies, Stein also wants men to step up to the plate. He talks about men taking responsibility, taking the burden of birth control off women, and making a sacrifice that is usually placed on women (hysterectomies are more common, but also more invasive, have a longer recovery time, and a greater chance of complications).

I think it is good that men can have greater control over birth control. As I have said before, it is more socially acceptable for men to have sex, so why aren’t men taking charge of their reproductive capacities?

If I were a man I would be fighting for my reproductive rights for the creation of and access to more then just vasectomies.

For more information on Dr. Stein check out this article: http://ww2.nationalpost.com/m/wp/blog.html?b=life.nationalpost.com/2013/10/18/florida-vasectomy-doctor-tapes-live-operation-in-australia-as-part-of-crusade-to-lower-global-population

The Morning After Pill Only Effective On Some

Shocking news has arrived that the morning after pill otherwise known as Plan B or Emergency Contraception (EC) is not effective on many women. The reasoning for this is weight. According to studies done by a European company called Norlevo, that produces EC, the pill is not effective on women over 176 pounds and is less effective on women over 165 pounds.

The reason this is so shocking is that many women are over those two weights. This is due to the hormone levonorgestrel, which will loose it’s effectiveness. Levonorgestrel is used in all EC in Canada and used in almost all EC around the world. Mother Jones who broke the news of this story first, found this information on the weight of women in America:

Data for the years 2007 to 2010 show the average weight of American women 20 years and older is 166.2 pounds—greater than the weight at which emergency contraceptive pills that use levonorgestrel begin to lose their effectiveness. The average weight of non-Hispanic black women aged 20 to 39 is 186 pounds, well above the weight at which these pills are completely ineffective. A CDC survey published in February found that 5.8 million American women used emergency contraceptive pills from 2006 to 2010.

This means that the average woman in the United States is unlikely to be able to use EC effectively. Access to EC and other reproductive technologies that work is vitally important for women. Women need the ability to prevent pregnancy as part of their reproductive rights.

According to one source the average weight of the Canadian woman is 153 pounds but according to Macleans magazine the average is 155 pounds, just on the border of being able to use effective EC. But with average Canadians of all weights having sex at least once a week there are bound to be some mistakes.

With 65% of 18-19 year olds and 29% of 15-17 year olds being sexually active and about 35% of Canadians aged 15-24 not using condoms and having unprotected sex, there is most defiantly a need for effective EC. If you do not use protection you can get pregnant, but when something goes wrong with protection EC has always been a way for Canadian women to prevent pregnancy. Although I have been unable to find statistics on how often EC is used in Canada it is still used, and it shouldn’t matter if one or a thousand women use it every year it should always be effective.

Many women who use EC are scared, they are using EC because they had unprotected sex, which rarely happens on purpose. These women are trying to take control of their bodies and prevent an unwanted pregnancy. If the pill they take doesn’t tell them it wont work they will not be able to prevent pregnancy in other ways and may end up with an unwanted pregnancy and/or an unwanted abortion.

If EC is not going to be effective on all women it needs to be labeled so women will be better able to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy. Norlevo sells EC in many European and Asian countries and has no set timeline on when they will change the labelling of their product to display this new information or even if they will display it in non European companies at all. American companies, such as the producer of Pan B One Step (sold in Canada and the US), have not commented on whether they will be changing their labelling or if they will be doing any tests on their own products to asses effectiveness based on weight.

One thing that women who are over 165 pounds can do to prevent an unwanted pregnancy is use an IUD as a form of emergency contraception. There are both hormonal and non hormonal IUDs available. The problem with IUD is it is not as easily accessible as EC and is invasive. A doctor must insert the IUD into your body. IUD’s can also be costly, especially in the US, but IUD can be left in after being used as a form of emergency contraception. IUD is also a form of birth control, and can stay affective at preventing pregnancy for 3-10 years depending on the form used.

Yes, Abortion is part of Reproductive Rights

New Jersey Republican Christopher Smith seems to think that he can trip up Hillary Clinton by asking if “reproductive health” “reproductive services” or “reproductive rights” includes abortion. Her response is perfect:

Not only does she go in the opposite direction of many anti-choice people by first saying that she respects his opinion and how he advocates for it passionately (I have never heard an anti-choice person say the same thing to a pro-choice person). Hillary also very clearly explains that she thinks access to family planning, reproductive rights and abortion are necessary for women and for women’s healthcare.

She is right. Women need access to family planning and abortions because, as shown in the stories of her own personal experience, abortions are going to happen if they are legal or not. There is no reason a woman should have to fight for her life after a botched abortion because reproductive healthcare should be available to all women no matter what country they live in. This is not a single issue, reproductive rights and access to reproductive healthcare is a problem in every country in the world, and this needs to change.

We need more women, and men, like Hillary out there fighting for the reproductive rights of everyone.

The Pro-Voice Project: A Documentary

The Pro-Voice Project: A Documentary is “a film about the human stories and shades of gray hidden in our black and white abortion debate”. I believe this is an important project. It is a way to get out of the politics and controversy of abortion debates and just tell it as it is, without any interference. It is important for women to tell their stories. Story telling has always been an important way of healing and communication in women’s issues and movements throughout history. One of the best ways you can learn about something and truly understand it is when you hear true personal stories.

These women are very brave; not everyone would want to talk about abortion, especially not in a documentary. I think they are doing an amazing thing by creating this film. This film will be very helpful, and teach a lot of people the real facts about women who get an abortion.

But, the film is not done being made. Although parts of the it have been filmed already, there is still more that needs to be done. They plain on going to Texas and New Jersey and will need funding to get there. The funding will be used to afford filming, among other things. Making movies isn’t cheap and this is an important movie that needs to be made.

If you would like to help please check out there Kickstarter page. There is also a lot more information and a great video about the film on the page, if you just want more information on it.

I really hope they reach there goal and the film can be made:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rebekahf/the-pro-voice-project-a-documentary

Missouri Women Losing Rights

“To the Missouri State Senate, women aren’t people. They aren’t American citizens. Pharmacists in Missouri can refuse to sell them birth control pills. It’s about belief. If your pharmacist believes you, a woman, shouldn’t be using birth control, he can refuse to sell you the drugs. It’s about his belief. He has a right in Missouri, according to the Senate, to see to it that you behave as he thinks you should. This is what it means to be a woman in America today? We’re back to this?” -Anne Rice

Women in Missouri are not being treated like real people who deserve rights, freedoms, and access to medical care. The Missouri senate has passed legislation, called HB 457, that will allow pharmacists not only the right to deny women* from accessing their birth control -even if prescribed by a doctor- but to also stop stocking birth control and emergency contraception (EC)in their stores. This law is in line with many laws currently taking shape in the United States. The republicans seem very determined to undermine everything feminists and suffragists  have fought for: they want women to have no reproductive rights and they are using religion as a mask to hide their misogyny. The law is meant to protect pharmacists from having to give out medicine that does not fit their religious beliefs, which greatly effects women. This law is misogynist because it is a law that has been created to harm women’s health.

HB 457 is harmful to all women but is detrimental to rape victims and rural women in particular.  Rape victims may not have access to or be provided with the medical care they would need to prevent an unwanted pregnancy caused by rape. Despite what Missouri Republican Todd Akin believes women need reproductive technology in every case of rape:

“”First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” -Todd Akin

I know there are many misconceptions about rape in the Republican party but Republicans being idiots is not a good enough reason for women to have to suffer. Women who are raped and are denied EC will be forced to suffer even further than they already have, and will be more likely to need access to an abortion in the future.

Women living in rural areas will suffer because they will not have the option to find a new pharmacist, if they are denied reproductive technology from the one they have. In many small towns there is only one pharmacist, and towns are spread out. In this case women who do not have the ability to travel to a different town for a pharmacist will no longer have access to the reproductive technology they need for their health.

I agree with Anne Rice when she said  “We’re back to this?”, because these laws are taking us back in time. Is it the republicans goal to have the same reproductive rights as “third world” countries like Chile where an 11 year old rape victim was forced to carry a child? Do they want the country to revert in laws for women to the point where women are no longer considered people? Because that is where they are headed. This is the backlash people; and it’s just the beginning. With rights being taken back one by one and new laws full of red tape for women to access their healthcare it’s only a matter of time before women have no reproductive rights at all. With the rate of unintended pregnancy in teens rising in the US it just doesn’t make sense that they would be creating even more laws to prevent women from reproductive technology.

Women need every kind of reproductive technology available to them at all times,  and the opinions of a pharmacist should not prevent them from having the health care they need. One person should not have the right to control the lives of others. Women need to be able to live their lives as they choose and to have the medical care they need in order to do so. The only way for true equality is for all people to have rights over their own bodies, and that means reproductive rights for everyone.

*in this article women refers manly to cis-gendered women but also to any person who would need access to birth control, EC and reproductive technology

New: Birthcontrol for Men

I don’t know about you but birth control is a pain in my butt and I know other women feel the same. I’ve never really understood why there wasn’t a birth control for men. Our society is very accepting of men’s sexuality (well cisgender heterosexual anyway) so it only makes sense that there would be a male form of birth control. If women have to worry about being a slut if they have sex once than why are there so many options for female birth control and so few for men? I understand that women are the ones who get pregnant but men don’t always want to be parents either. Men complain about abortion and pregnancy and how they have no say in the matter; while if you want to avoid your girlfriend/wife/random hookup from getting pregnant and determining if you are going to become a father or not than use birth control for yourself.

I here men who blame their girlfriends/wives/etc. for getting pregnant because the responsibility of not getting pregnant is on the woman. A woman is always at fault for an unplanned pregnancy even though it takes two. With a male birth control available men can have control over their own reproductive rights that they did not have before, women will feel -a little- less pressure and blame if an unplanned pregnancy happens, there will be less chance of a pregnancy if both partners are on birth control and woman who cannot be on birth control for medical or economic reasons can have their male partners be on birth control instead. This seems like a win-win situation to me.

Right now the male birth control called RISUG (reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance) is still in the trial stages in India but has been 100% affective with no side affects. RISUG works by having a doctor inject a substance that is a nontoxic polymer that forms a coating on the inside of the vas. As sperm flow past, they are chemically incapacitated, rendering them unable to fertilize an egg. This form of birth control is the creation of Sujoy Guha who has spent over 30 years working on this project. In 2010 they were in late phase III clinical trials and were expecting the product to be available by 2012 in India but the process has been slowed. Red tape and a lack of corporate sponsors has prevented it from being sold world wide. No pharmasuidcal company wants it because it will cost less and be more affective than female birth control. Big business doesn’t like it because they wont make near as much money off of it as they already do off of female birth control which is very costly. Hopefully it will become available.

For more information on this breakthrough in reproductive technology try:

This 2012 Biotech article:

http://biotechbinge.com/biotechnology/2012/11/new-birth-control-method-for-men-risug-is-one-shot-100-effective/

This  2010 wired article on RISUG:

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/04/ff_vasectomy/all/1

Wikipedia always has somewhat reliable information as well:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reversible_inhibition_of_sperm_under_guidance

 

Plan B is Right Where is Belongs

Most of the time my posts are about women dying because they do not have access to abortions, or the dangerous side affects of some birth controls, but today we have a happy story to report.

Plan B emergency contraceptive is now available on the shelves of drug stores right where it should be. Earlier I wrote about the age restrictions that the USA had on Plan B and how this was causing accessibility problems for those who need it. But now the pill is widely available in the USA with no age restrictions.

Here are some pictures of Plan B on the shelves where they belong taken by the followers of Planned Parenthood and The Center of Reproductive Rights:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151744113928872.1073741825.73528878871&type=1

It is great to see accessibility growing. It is great to see that now women in the USA will have more options when it comes to reproductive rights. Now all we need to do is make Plan B and contraceptives free to everyone.