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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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

Intersex Rights

I have talked about both cis and trans women and men’s reproductive rights but what about those who do not fit those body types? Many are unaware that intersex people even exist, let alone about their reproductive rights. An intersex person is someone who is born with a mix of ambiguous genitalia, a mix of reproductive capacities, or a difference in chromosomal and genital sex. There are different types of intersex people but I must be clear it is not a choice. People do not identify as intersex they are born intersex, the same way someone is born Italian; it isn’t something you choose to be it is just the way it is.

There are many problems that intersex people face when it comes to their reproductive rights and control over their bodies. They get forced into the body of a man or a women through surgery and this can prevent them from being able to have children, or sexual arousal.

To shed more light on this topic I will send you to a Huffington Post video that has intersex people discussing the new change to German birth certificates where you can choose a third gender option:

To watch this

http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/is-being-intersex-a-third-gender/527167872b8c2a470e000166

Reproductive Knowledge

You can’t have reproductive rights without reproductive knowledge. In the 1960s there was a feminist movement to try and understand the female body; specifically it was a movement to get to know your own body. It is amazing how many women back then, and to this day, do not know their own bodies. I believe that you can’t have control over your body if you don’t know anything about it.

In order to help you know more I am sharing this video that I found through Everyday Feminism but is by Sexplanations about the Vuluva:

I hope you learned something new and that this helps you understand your body and reproductive rights.

Who will make the first male birth control?

 

There are many forms of birth control for women and companies making birth control for women, but when will any form of male birth control (other than the condom) be available to men? Well hopefully it wont be too much longer. Many universities and institutions, from India to Minnesota, have gained ground on the production of male birth control.

In the past I have posted about a possible birth control injection for men called RISUG (reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance). It was created by Sujoy Guha in India, and although it is 100% effective it is getting wrapped in a lot of red tape. There is no need to be too sad over this injection not being on the market, because many other forms of male birth control may be on the way.

The Rockefeller University has been using research on cell death to try and create a male birth control and cure male infertility. I am no biology major but, to the best of my knowledge cell death is when the body purposefully kills its own cells; when sperm is being created it loses a large amount of its size by partial cell death. Sperm needs to loose a lot of it size in order to be fertile. Now that scientists at Rockefeller know more about the way sperm cells are created they can use this information to change the sperm: they can prevent sperm from having partial cell death and render them infertile or in cases of infertility where the sperm are not undergoing cell death they can cause it to happen. This is exciting stuff because knowing how cells are created will not only help in reproductive technologies but also in other areas of medicine such as cancer research.

The scientists at Rockefeller have been pretty busy because they may have a form of birth control on the market -hopefully- soon. In the studies the drug is in the form of a gel but could change forms when it has been further tested. One of the test subjects of this birth control has taken to reddit to share his experience. According to the test subject, and this article by Huffington Post, the only side effect was being horny(er). Considering all the side effects women face when taking birth control (depending on the type and person: abdominal pain, headaches, bloating, mood swings, blood clots, death…shall I go on) this doesn’t seem like a bad side effect at all. Hopefully the studies will end soon and this new drug will enter the market.

The University of Minnesota’s  Gunda Georg, the head of The College of Pharmacy’s Department of Medicinal Chemistry, is working with a team of scientists to develop Gamendazole.  Gamendozole is a birth control pill for men.

Georg said the drug will be a “reversible” alternative to permanent vasectomies because men will be able to take the pill to temporarily minimize fertility and can regain fertility if they stop taking it… She said the drug has to be completely free of side-effects, such as potential sperm damage, before being released onto the market. “This drug has to be absolutely clean,” Georg said, “and that’s a very high hurdle to take.” (source)

Like many birth control creations for men it takes a long time to get on the market; too bad it wasn’t created at the same time as female birth control when no one cared about the side effects and deaths of test subjects or it would be on the market today along side the female birth control, but lets not dwell in the past.

In the future there will be a male form of birth control which will give men more reproductive options then they have every had before, and give couples more ways to prevent pregnancy. Let’s hope someone wins the fight to be the creators of the first male birth control on the market very soon, because we all know it will be in high demand.

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

Move Forward

This is a video from a youtube channel called ReproductiveRight100 that is dedicated to reproductive rights in the United States. This video is trying to hold President Obama accountable to his words. President Obama said he believes in reproductive rights but with the amount of laws being created in the USA to roll back reproductive rights it can be hard to see how Obama is standing up for women’s rights.