Please Follow Us to Our New Home on the Internet!

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has moved this blog. Its new home on the Internet is now
blog.advocatesaz.org
Please join us there!

Abstinence-Only Education Gives Birth to Arizona’s High Teen Pregnancy Rate

Arizona has an especially high teen-pregnancy rate. Arizona also promotes abstinence-only education in its public schools.

Arizona has an especially high teen-pregnancy rate. Arizona also promotes abstinence-only education in its public schools.

Arizona is known for a lot of things. The Grand Canyon, our universities, beautiful sunsets.

And, oh yeah, our truly awful teen pregnancy rate.

Ranked against the other 49 states, Arizona’s teen-pregnancy rate has been in the top 5 for years. And while you probably won’t see that little factoid emblazoned on a license plate anytime soon, teen pregnancy still has a significant impact on Arizona residents.


Abstinence-only education teaches that the only sure way to prevent pregnancy and STIs is to abstain from sex, which is true. It is also not very helpful to the 70 percent of teenagers who have had intercourse by age 19.


As of 2009, Arizona had the fifth highest teen birth rate in the United States. This trend is on the rise — as of 2006 the rate had increased by 6.5 percent. In 2009, 12,537 teenagers became pregnant. Of those pregnancies, 10,952 resulted in live births. While the majority of those women were either 18 or 19, that’s still about 3,500 girls under the age of 17 giving birth, a number that varies every year but generally stays in the 4000s. Continue reading

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona Needs YOU at the Capitol Tomorrow Morning!

Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 15, legislative committees in the House and the Senate will hear three bills that cut family planning funding to low-income Arizonans, restrict women’s access to abortion care, and force doctors to promote crisis pregnancy centers. We need Planned Parenthood supporters and/or patients who are willing to testify, and also people willing to be in the gallery wearing their pink T-shirts if you are not comfortable testifying. Can you be there? These committee hearings will be going on all morning until at least noon, so even if you can come for an hour, your support is needed and much appreciated!!

Below are short breakdowns of the bills, and the times and locations of the committee hearings. Please email for further information or to RSVP. We will provide you with the materials to be able to testify.

1.       House Bill 2838 bans abortions at 20 weeks or more, even if there is a lethal fetal anomaly. While supporters of this bill claim HB2838 will protect women and keep them safe, we know the real reason for this bill: to prevent women from accessing abortion care altogether and continue to take away our right to choose what is right for us and our own futures. This bill is being heard at 8:15 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, February 15, at the House of Representatives.

2.       House Bill 2800 will have a devastating effect on women’s health care in Arizona.  This bill effectively prohibits Planned Parenthood from providing family planning services including life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, and basic health care via AHCCCS and Title X.  Research has shown that 78 percent of Arizonans support public funding for family planning services. For every $1 the state invests in family planning programs for low-income women Arizona taxpayers save $4 in Medicaid costs associated with unintended pregnancies. Arizona can’t afford to lose this funding that our friends and neighbors rely on to plan their futures! This bill is being heard at 8:15 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, February 15, at the House of Representatives.

3.       Senate Bill 1494 does not focus on the safety of women, or keep their best interests at heart. Instead of focusing on the real concerns of Arizonans — jobs and the economy — our lawmakers are pushing a bill that would force doctors to provide ideological misinformation to patients. Senate Bill 1494 would force doctors to tell a woman that the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being and offer crisis pregnancy centers as a safe and credible alternative to abortion care. CPCs are unlicensed, unaccredited, and unregulated. In fact, numerous studies have shown that crisis pregnancy centers give women false, ideologically driven information. In the Waxman Report, a study commissioned by Congress, investigators found that 87 percent of crisis pregnancy centers contacted by investigators gave false or misleading information about abortion. This bill is being heard at 9 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, February 15, at the Senate.

Over 90 Percent of What Planned Parenthood Does: Part 2, Condoms

packets of individual condoms

Welcome to the second installment of “Over 90 Percent of What Planned Parenthood Does.” In this series we will highlight Planned Parenthood’s diverse array of services — the ones Jon Kyl doesn’t know about.

It’s National Condom Week! So it’s only fitting that the second installment of our “Over 90 Percent” series honors the humble condom, that mainstay of anyone’s safer-sex arsenal. By providing a barrier between body parts and reducing skin-to-skin contact, condoms dramatically decrease risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection (STI). On top of all of that, their use during heterosexual intercourse can keep sperm from entering the vagina, making them essential components in family planning. Condoms can be used in a wide variety of sexual activities — they can be worn on penises or put onto sex toys, and with a couple of scissor snips they can be converted into dental dams. They are inexpensive and widely available without the need for a prescription. If you need to replenish your condom supply, or if you’re using them for the first time, you can walk into any Planned Parenthood health center to pick them up.


Learning how to use condoms correctly will maximize their effectiveness. Are you aware of the finer points of condom use?


There are tons of contraceptive options for people with uteruses, from pills to IUDs, but condoms are one of the few options that people with penises have — although there is exciting research being done on expanding these options. If you are heterosexually active and capable of getting someone pregnant, using condoms consistently and correctly will allow you to take control of your reproductive future. In a given year, 2 out of 100 females whose male partners use condoms will become pregnant if they always use condoms correctly — with imperfect use, this number increases to 18 out of 100. Combining condom use with other birth control methods, like diaphragms, birth control pills, or IUDs, will dramatically boost the efficacy of your contraception. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • President Obama, ever the pacifist, is kowtowing to the demands of Catholic bishops who care more about their dogma than the health and livelihoods of women. (MSNBC)
  • Planned Parenthood is OK with the president making the concession though — whatever it takes to ensure women have access to birth control, we’re on board! (ABC News)
  • Speaking of birth control, you can credit the drop in teen pregnancy and abortions to it. (WebMD)
  • The Arizona Legislature (with the help of the Center for Arizona Policy) is coming out with guns blazing against choice this year. Again. (Tucson Citizen)
  • Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini notes the hypocrisy of our legislature’s seemingly immense care and concern for fetuses while lacking the same for actual born children. (AZ Central)
  • Planned Parenthood: Prioritizing the health and safety of black women. (HuffPo)
  • Rather than, say, creating jobs and passing legislation that will resuscitate the current economy, Congress seems to be solely focused on taking down reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood. (The Hill)
  • Just what we don’t need — the Old Boys’ Club dictating “wisdom” on contraceptive coverage. (RH Reality Check)
  • Students at a Pennsylvania college can now access emergency contraception via a vending machine! (CNN)

Taking Birth Control Pills Properly

Failure to take birth control pills properly can cause a lot of anxiety, and even lead to pregnancy. Follow the manufacturer's directions for best results.

Failure to take birth control pills properly can cause a lot of anxiety, and even lead to pregnancy. For best results, follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Oral contraceptives (also known as birth control pills or BCPs) are used to prevent pregnancy. Taken properly, they are about 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. They are even more effective when used in combination with other birth-control methods, such as condoms.

There are many different brands of birth control pills. Most contain a combination of the two female hormones estrogen and progesterone, but there are some BCPs that only contain progesterone. These different brands may need to be taken in slightly different ways and may have different benefits and risks, but whichever type you use, it’s very important to take them properly to get the most benefit.


You cannot take a birth control pill only when you remember to or just after you’ve had a sexual encounter — they must be taken daily.


First of all, it’s important to know which oral contraceptive you are taking. These pills usually come in packs of 21, 28, or 91 tablets and need to be taken daily.

  • Packs of 21: Take one pill each day until all 21 are gone, then don’t take a pill for seven days – this is when you should have your period. After seven days off, start a new pack of 21 pills.
  • Packs of 28: Take one pill each day, and when you finish with the pack start a new pack the next day. Sometimes these packs have pills with different colors that contain different doses of the hormones or inactive ingredients, vitamins, or minerals. They must be taken in order.
  • Packs of 91: The 91-tablet pack is larger and may contain three trays – take one pill each day until all 91 pills have been taken and then start the new pack of 91 pills the next day. Continue reading

STI Awareness: “Can I Get an STD from Oral Sex?”

As tools to reduce risk for STI transmission, dental dams are not to be ignored.

As tools to reduce risk for STI transmission, dental dams are not to be ignored.

Many consider oral sex to be a safer form of sexual activity compared to vaginal or anal intercourse. For this reason, they might put less emphasis on the use of latex barriers, such as dental dams and condoms, during oral sex. Unfortunately, this idea is misguided and can lead to the transmission of preventable infections.

It is generally true that oral sex presents less of a risk for contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – but this risk is not trivial, especially when people are under the impression that they don’t need to use barrier methods during oral sex. Most sexually transmitted infections can be passed along by oral sex, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis B, herpes (which can be transmitted back and forth from the mouth, as cold sores, to the genital region, as genital herpes), human papillomavirus (HPV), and HIV. Even pubic lice can be transferred from the genital region to eyelashes and eyebrows! Additionally, intestinal parasites are more likely to be transmitted via oral sex than through vaginal sex. A microscopic amount of fecal matter containing parasites can be infectious, and can be unknowingly ingested when present on genitals.


Seventy percent of adolescents who reported engaging in oral sex had never used a barrier to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections during oral sex.


Some bacterial STIs, such as gonorrhea and syphilis, can do permanent damage if not treated in time. Furthermore, gonorrhea of the throat is much more difficult to treat than gonorrhea in the genital or rectal areas. And some viral STIs can’t be cured (such as herpes and HIV), while others can cause chronic infections that have been linked to cancer (such as hepatitis, which is associated with liver cancer, and HPV, which is associated with throat cancer as well as cervical cancer and anal cancer). Continue reading