100 Years of Birth Control

The conservatives may not want you to have birth control but that hasn’t stopped us yet. 100 years ago Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger coined the term birth control and women* have been fighting for it ever since. You’d think that by now our society would be able to move beyond “sex, dirty, bad, no” to a sex positive, consent respecting society.

Even before Sanger greater the amazing Planned Parenthood people have been trying to control their reproduction. From acacia gum, crocodile dung, to honey and cabbage humans have been trying to not have children since the beginning of documented history (withdrawal or pull out is even mentioned in the Book of Genesis! That’s the bible people).
We all know that most people like sex, they enjoy having sex, and they don’t always want children; why is birth control such a big deal if we all know this.

Maybe before the 200th anniversary of birth control we will be living in a better society.

*in this time women refers to any person who has the ability to give birth and would want birth control

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Shocking News for Some

You might want to sit down because I have some big news for you: social acceptance and availability of birth control lowers abortion rates. I know it’s crazy, ok no it’s not shocking at all. But conservatives, religious fanatics and anti choice lobbyists are very shocked. Shocked so much that they won’t even believe it’s true.
The Guttmacher Institute released a report that showed when society is more accepting of birth control and abortions the abortion rate lowers. It also shows that having a pro-choice president in power didn’t hurt. Anti-choice groups see this as a win because there are less abortions happening, but this is not the whole story. Not only are abortion rates lower but unintended pregnancies and birth rates are lower. Women are having less abortions because they aren’t getting pregnant.
If people have access to birth control they won’t need to have an abortion because they will not have an unintended pregnancy. It’s a no brainier to me, but try telling that to anti choice conservatives.

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Above: Shows the lowering levels of abortion over the period of five presidents. The red being anti choice and the blue pro choice.

To read more about this try here: http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2014/02/09/sorry-anti-choicers-abortion-stigma-doesnt-lower-abortion-rate/

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

Comical Information on EC

The link I am adding below is a comic about EC or Emergency Contraception. I like the comic as a whole; it is a good way to learn the basics of EC. It explains the difference between EC and the abortion pill and some of the side affects.

The part I disagree with is the way it shows the side effects of EC as being very terrible, when the side effects are actually rare. Many women do not have any side effects at all after taking EC and others have mild side effects. The most common side effects are shown in the comic: nausea and cramping. Different women have different experiences some feel nothing while others are sick for a long time. It is important to be prepared for the worst but chances are if you take EC you will not be in pain or have any side effects for very long. Although the side effects may not be as common as shown it is still not something that should be used as a form of regular birth control- note the same has “emergency” in it for a reason.

I feel overall it is a good comic. I wish it had some information on how to get EC but it is a good way to get people talking about EC.

Check it out:

Emergency Contraception Comic

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

 

23 Women Die from Birth Control

At least twenty three Canadian women are suspected to have died from two of the most popular birth control pills in Canada: Yaz and Yasmin. Both Yaz and Yasmin are made by a company named Bayer. The two brands of birth control are linked to blood clots which can cause death. Women as young as 14 have died from blood clots while on Yaz or Yasmin. Health Canada is researching the birth control pill. Most of the deaths happened very early after taking the pills, one women died a month after starting Yasmin birth control.

Doctors say that there have been over 600 Canadian cases of side affects caused by Yaz and Yasmin. In the United States there have been many class action lawsuits against Bayer due to the side affects of the birth control pills. In Canada a judge has granted a class action lawsuit against the company. Bayer plans on appealing the granting of a class action lawsuit. Bayer says that it stands by its product.

Bayer needs to own up to what they have done. They need to compensate the families and stop making their birth control pills. If I owned a birth control company that caused 23 Canadian women to die and 600 to have adverse side affects I would stop selling my product. Why are they continuing to sell their product after it has hurt and killed women? Do they enjoy harming women? It does not make sense to me in any way. Even if they fix their product so that their are no longer side affects I would never buy their product. Sorry Bayer but it will never work between us.

What ever medicine you take, birth control or otherwise, should be safe and affective. Also be very careful to research side effects and always discus them with your doctor. You can never be too careful when it comes to the medicine you put in your body. If you are on medicine and feel any side effects always contact your doctor. Don’t be afraid to contact them it is their job to keep you healthy and safe.

For more information on the deaths caused by Yaz and Yasmine watch this CBC video posted June 11, 2013: