Tag Archives: birth control

An Inspiring Legacy of Giving

Hester Fassel (in orange) with Planned Parenthood volunteers

Planned Parenthood Arizona recently dedicated the lobby of their administrative headquarters in Tucson in honor of two of their longtime supporters, Dr. Hester and Raymond Fassel. I was lucky enough to meet up with Hester to ask her about her relationship with Planned Parenthood. And I have to say, Hester Fassel is one inspiring lady!

Mrs. Fassel was born in a suburb of Chicago, but she grew up in Northern Indiana. Hester became a Professor of Zoology at Iowa State University, and her husband Ray was a publisher at ISU Press. The two of them relocated to Tucson in 1987, after abandoning their initial plan to retire in Spain. They picked Tucson because it had a similar geography and climate to Spain, and the transition from Iowa to Arizona was fairly seamless.

The Fassels’ relationship with Planned Parenthood started when they lived in Iowa. Hester served on the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood, but the Fassels were also donors. Hester explains that she got involved with Planned Parenthood because “I feel very strongly about their work. I believe that every child should be wanted.” Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • If you hadn’t noticed, the fight for control over women’s bodies is more contentious than ever. (NYT)
  • In taking a dig at Romney’s health care mandate in Massachusetts, our soon-to-be fellow Arizona resident Sarah Palin claims she doesn’t care for “any level of government telling us what to do” with regard to health mandates. That’s actually really funny coming from someone who wants the government to legislate what happens inside my uterus. (MSNBC)
  • Craptacular “Personhood” bills have far reaching consequences that, if passed, mean the terrorists have won. The terrorists who want to force you to give birth, that is. (Jezebel)
  • What’s good for the goose: The Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services tells Indiana that if they go through with their sinister plan to defund Planned Parenthood, THEY will lose all federal funding for their Medicaid program. Sorry, Indiana — #YouGotServed (Politico)
  • The Foxx Amendment: Without Providers There Is No Choice (RH Reality Check)
  • Radical new birth control for men that’s 100% effective? COME ON WITH IT ALREADY! (Wired)
  • Controversial AIDS cure continues to spur hope (MSNBC)
  • The Feds continue to put the smackdown on those who dare to violate the FACE Act — ’cause after all, they are ♪”Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law”♪ (Denver Post)

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Brace yourself for this piece of shocking news: Abortion Rises Among Low-Income Women, Falls In Other Groups. In other words, people who generally can’t afford or gain access to affordable contraception also can’t afford to have children — so they aren’t. (Guttmacher)
  • Ignorant Legislator Says Women Should Plan For Post-Rape Abortion, Since “I Have A Spare Tire.” Equating keeping a spare tire with preparing for the possibility of impregnation by rape = logic and sensitivity FAIL of titanic proportions. (Jezebel)
  • Illinois Sex Ed Law Requiring Teachers to Talk Contraception Passes Senate (Huff Po)
  • Totally ignoring the fact that sometimes, abortions are life-saving procedures, the House approved an amendment that defunds medical schools that teach abortion. (Daily Kos)
  • For instance, abortion saved this woman’s life. Read her story. (Salon)
  • Get pregnant in the military as a result of a rape and need an abortion? Military health insurance doesn’t cover abortion, even in cases of rape. (AP)
  • Planned Parenthood and the ACLU: Takin’ no prisoners in South Dakota. (RH Reality Check)
  • Some wingnut in Wisconsin (with a gun!!!!) had big plans to “lay out abortionists because they are killing babies” at a Madison Planned Parenthood (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

IUDs: We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

Remember the Dalkon Shield? Use the phrase “Dalkon Shield” and you conjure up all kinds of horror stories regarding the intrauterine device (IUD). Times have changed, and so has the IUD.

There are two types of IUDs available now, and both are considered very safe to use. Both IUDs are small, T-shaped, flexible plastic devices with threads at the end that are inserted into the uterus through the cervix by a health care professional.

The Mirena IUD is a hormonal device and the Paragard is a copper IUD. The Mirena IUD releases a small amount of progestin, which thickens cervical mucus, on a regular schedule and works by preventing sperm from joining an egg. This device is considered 99.8% effective in preventing pregnancy.

The copper IUD (Paragard) contains no hormones and also works by preventing sperm from joining an egg. Paragard is soft, flexible plastic, with copper wrapped around the ends of the T bar and the base of the T. This device is considered 99.2% effective. Continue reading

Exploring the Intersections of Faith and Reproductive Rights

Recently, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona co-hosted a workshop with Catholics for Choice, where we explored the intersections of faith and reproductive rights. Marissa Valeri, a Senior Associate in CFC’s Domestic Program, gave workshop attendees an overview of Catholic beliefs as they relate to abortion and birth control, and encouraged the audience to think about how their own religious background has influenced their views on abortion.

One of the points that really resonated with me is that Catholics believe that their individual conscience should be the ultimate guide to what is right, and what is wrong. If someone’s conscience tells them that something is morally right, they should follow their intuition, even if it contradicts a teaching from the Vatican.

I grew up in the Mormon Church. Mormons share a similar belief that everyone will be judged for their own lives and not be held accountable for something someone else does. Mormons also believe in personal revelation from God. I personally believe that if a woman prays about the decision to obtain an abortion and she feels that it is the right decision, no one is in a position to call her decision into question – not even her bishop.

Another thing that stood out for me was that even the Pope doesn’t know when life begins, or when the body receives a soul. If the Pope is the right hand of God and he doesn’t even know the answer to this question, I doubt that the debate will ever be settled. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Craptastic Kansas “Mega Bill” Would Deny Non-Profit Status to Abortion Providers (Feministing)
  • Newsflash America- Planned Parenthood Isn’t Making Your Daughter Promiscuous! (The Stir)
  • Check out this informative piece on the fight for federal funding of Title X (MSNBC)
  • Even though it’s been deemed “The Morning After Pill”, EC works the day before too! (Time)
  • Texas teens stormed their State Capitol this past Tuesday demanding medically accurate, fully comprehensive Sex Ed (Reuters)
  • Canadian magazine wonders “After decades of research, why is there still no contraceptive pill for men?” (This Magazine)
  • Texas lawmakers approve bills requiring ultrasound before abortion (CNN)
  • The mom whose young daughters face ended up on a race-bating anti-choice billboard in NYC wants an apology from the group responsible for the ad (and rightfully so!). But for some reason, I have a hunch that no apology cometh. (WSJ)
  • Prepare to be stunned: A new report found “solid evidence that anti-abortion legislation has an impact on the childbearing decisions of women.” Who would have ever guessed that??? (US News)

Women’s History Month: Thank Goodness for The Pill!

How could we discuss Women’s History Month on a Planned Parenthood blog and not bring up the history of The Pill?

Oral contraception was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1960.  The FDA approval of the birth control pill enabled a radical shift in the United States – the proof being that over 12 million women currently use The Pill as their preferred method of birth control.  The New York Times has advocated that birth control should be available for over-the-counter distribution. Loretta Lynn even wrote a song about how awesome The Pill is. All of this is for the pure and simple reason that birth control gives women control over their reproductive destiny.  It enables them to determine when, and if, they become pregnant.  And it has increased women’s access to both higher education and the paid labor force. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • British OB/GYN’s say women should be told the truth about abortion- It’s actually safer than childbirth. (Jezebel)
  • Read up on how defunding Planned Parenthood will hurt women (Learn Vest)
  • By the way, Pence’s attack on Planned Parenthood? #DumbestThingEver (USA Today)
  • Oh my. They’re letting a “fetus” tesify in support of an Ohio anti-abortion bill, cause you know, they can TALK now. In related news, no women and girls get to testify because their voices, opinions, rights, and body autonomy pale in comparison to the rights of the fetus inside THEIR body. (Care2.com)
  • Check out these powerful reader letters to the New York Times on the suffering in store if Congress cuts funding for family planning (NYT)
  • Here’s a novel idea: To Slash the Abortion Rate, Dole Out Birth-Control Pills a Year at a Time! (Preferably at no cost!) (Time)
  • Republican says Republicans wrong about Planned Parenthood (Trib Live News)
  • Honesty wins for a change in the war on choice: The New York City Council approved legislation that will regulate the deceptive practices of “crisis pregnancy centers” in the city! (CRR)

Who Controls Your Birth Control?

On the day after Valentine’s Day, the National Domestic Violence Hotline released a report about disturbing behavior that may be displayed by many abusive partners. According to the New York Times, the hotline collected stories of abusers sabotaging their partners’ contraception, whether by hiding their birth control pills, poking holes in condoms, or refusing to use condoms altogether:

[A]bout a quarter [of respondents] said yes to one or more of these three questions: “Has your partner or ex ever told you not to use any birth control?” “Has your partner or ex-partner ever tried to force or pressure you to become pregnant?” “Has your partner or ex ever made you have sex without a condom so that you would get pregnant?”

One in six answered yes to the question “Has your partner or ex-partner ever taken off the condom during sex so that you would get pregnant?”

The survey was not part of a scientific study. The respondents were not made up of a representative cross-section of the general population, but rather were a self-selected group, already in abusive relationships and willing to talk about their experiences. From the data released by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, it is impossible to tell how widespread such forms of abuse are in society as a whole. Despite this, the data collected do point to a disturbing way that intimate partner violence can manifest itself. It is important to recognize interference with one’s birth control — and therefore one’s bodily integrity — as abusive behavior.  Continue reading

Condoms, Caps and Dams . . . Barrier Methods for Everyone!

February is a time full of candy kisses, love, and romance. It’s a time for couples to express their love for each other with chocolate, flowers, diamonds, and yes . . . lots of sex. It’s no wonder then that February is also National Condom Month.

Barrier methods are great forms of birth control because they don’t have the same side effects as hormonal birth control. They function by keeping the sperm from ever coming in contact with the egg, preventing fertilization of the egg. Some also protect against sexually transmitted infections (STI’s).

Male Condoms
Condoms are one of the most common and widely used of all the birth control methods and the only one that can protect against STI’s. They are generally made from latex or animal membranes, such as sheep skin. The material is shaped like a penis, with an opening on one end in which the penis can be inserted. This should be done prior to any intercourse, oral or anal sex, to prevent pregnancy. The condom will then collect any semen from the penis, thus avoiding pregnancy. Latex condoms also provide a barrier between body fluids to prevent contact with STIs.

Aside from a lack of side effects, condoms are a great form of birth control for several reasons. They are cheap and easily accessible, come in a variety of options to enhance pleasure (flavored, shaped, texture, etc.), may delay premature ejaculation, and can be used with virtually any other birth control to enhance the effectiveness of pregnancy prevention. Condoms are available at almost any pharmacy, most grocery stores, and at Planned Parenthood and other health/family clinics. Planned Parenthood also services condom vending machines in the Tucson area, which has condoms available for $0.50 at various locations. The cost can vary, but generally runs about $1 per condom; at some clinics and educational programs, condoms may be available at little or no cost. Continue reading