Tag Archives: contraception

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

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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

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Women with children have more abortions than anyone else, and by an increasingly wide margin. So why is the topic taboo? (Slate Double X)
  • If you couldn’t tell from recent events, in America, women’s lives are expendable. (The Hill)
  • GOP presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, is a staunch opponent of birth control and asserts that contraception is a “license to do things.” “Things” that have absolutely nothing to do with him and are none of his damn business, but that’s of no consequence to him you see. In any case, this idiotic statement confirms that Ricky doesn’t want you women having a license to “do things” in the privacy of your own bedrooms that won’t lead to serious consequences like pregnancy! Why should you have that kind of freedom? Where do you think you are, America??? (RH Reality Check)
  • In other, “Rick Santorum likes to speak out of his rectum” news, the birth control adversary recently argued that Republicans should work to lessen single motherhood in order to score political points against their Democratic rivals. You see, single mothers who run households, in Ricky’s opinion, have “a desire for government,” and thus, often vote Democrat. So let’s see if we have this straight: This dunce wants to lessen single motherhood and eliminate birth control because it gives women a “license to do things”? Mmmkay then. How exactly would you lessen single motherhood if you took away birth control? Don’t these goals wildly contradict one another? This guy is in no danger of being recruited by MENSA anytime soon, is he? (Feministing)
  • Planned Parenthood’s stellar leader Cecile Richards opines on how parents are falling short with the “sex talk.” (Time)
  • Can Herman Cain Be Pro-Life but Pro-Choice? Sorry Mr. Pizza Godfather, but no. (Slate Double X)
  • What is Mitt Romney’s real stance on women’s health? Due to his incessant flip-flopping, your guess is as good as ours. (Planned Parenthood)
  • Ten questions for anti-choice candidates who want to make abortion illegal. The first being, how much hard time should a woman do for terminating a pregnancy? I’d like to see if we could get an answer to that humdinger at the next GOP debate. (Ms. Magazine)
  • Medical science FTW: A vaginal gel developed to reduce a woman’s risk of infection with the AIDS virus also cuts the risk of contracting genital herpes! (NYT)

Expanding Options for Male Contraception

Condoms are the only contraceptive device that does double duty in preventing pregnancy and STI transmission. But will men’s birth-control options expand?

Condoms are the only contraceptive device that does double duty in preventing pregnancy and STI transmission. But will men’s birth-control options expand?

Many have wondered why there is not a male equivalent to the Pill. The short answer to this question is that the release of one egg is easier to prevent than the flow of millions of sperm. The longer answer to that question includes a litany of failures in the search for such technology. Currently, however, there are some interesting developments in male birth control.

The condom, of course, is the only birth-control method to do double duty in reducing risk for both pregnancy and STI transmission, but many heterosexually active males would like more options than the tried-and-true rubber, and their female partners, despite having expanded contraceptive options – including the Pill, the patch, and the IUD – might prefer for the men in their lives to help shoulder the birth-control burden.

One method under investigation is ultrasound, a technology that has been around for quite some time. Though scientists have been aware of its contraceptive potential since at least the 1970s, most studies have been conducted on nonhuman animals (though human trials could be on the horizon). Ultrasound involves the application of high-frequency sound waves to animal tissue, which can absorb the sound waves’ energy as heat. The possibility for ultrasound’s use for contraception operates on the idea that briefly heating the testes, which in mammals are normally kept a few degrees below core body temperature, can halt sperm production, leading to temporary infertility for about six months. Additionally, ultrasound could affect cells’ absorption rates of ions, which itself could create an environment unfavorable to spermatogenesis. Its extremely localized effects on animal tissues make ultrasound an attractive candidate for research.

One small study conducted on five dogs applied ultrasound to the canine testicles three times over a period of a few days. The researchers compared sperm count before the procedure to two weeks after the procedure. After the ultrasound treatments none of the canine sperm samples contained sperm. Side effects included tender testicles that had been reduced in volume. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Wanna Know What It Really Takes to Get an Abortion? As you may have guessed, you have to wake up pretty early in the mornin’ and jump through many a hoop. (Third Wave Foundation)
  • North Carolina GOP Overrides Veto, Axes Planned Parenthood Funding (Huff Po)
  • Memo to the Administration: You Can’t Be Pro-Choice Unless You Support Equal Access (RH Reality Check)
  • We often complain about our status and rights as women in the United States, but after reading about the five most dangerous countries to live in, as a woman, it makes our struggles seem less than insurmountable in comparison. (Alaska Dispatch)
  • Alabama governor signs ban on abortion after 20 weeks. (Reuters)
  • Next month, an independent panel of experts at the Institute of Medicine will decide whether contraception is a women’s preventive health service that should be covered by all new health insurance plans and provided without co-pays. (Care2)
  • Anti-choice zealot extraordinaire, Rick Santorum, says “all abortion doctors should be ‘criminally charged.’” I don’t know what this dunce thinks they should be charged with … providing a service that’s been perfectly legal for almost 40 years? (Florida Independent)
  • AIDS infection rate remains epidemic in our nation’s capital. (WaPo)
  • Check out Medscape’s informative article on considering the failure rate of contraceptive methods before choosing which one is best for you. (Medscape)

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Woman Sues Over Ex-Boyfriend’s Heinous Miscarriage Billboard. Ugh. (Jezebel)
  • Apparently, Americans are sick and freaking tired of Congress’s obsession with restricting abortion. Nice sentiment but they should have thought about that before electing these clowns into office. (Politico)
  • Abortion “showdown” could cost Indiana $4.3 billion. And it’s a “showdown” they ain’t gonna win anyway. So move on already Hoosier State. (AP)
  • Ohio Lawmakers Vote to Ban Abortions at Publicly Funded Clinics, Hospitals. No word yet on whether there will be exceptions based on the life and health of the mother but if you remember the debacle at St. Joseph’s in Phoenix a while back, it’s probably safe to assume there won’t be any exceptions. (RH Reality Check)
  • Ovarian cancer screening doesn’t actually save lives? Someone should probably alert the medical field about that. (MSNBC)
  • Remember those anti-choice billboards targeting blacks stating “The Most Dangerous Place For an African American Is The Womb”? Well, now Latinos are the target. Wonder if white women will be next? Something tells me no. (The Daily Caller)
  • The Pill does not cause weight gain. However, food, in large quantities without adequate exercise, does. (EurekAlert)
  • The CDC estimates that 20% of people infected with HIV don’t know it and one-third are diagnosed so late in the course of their infection that they develop AIDS within one year. This is why it’s so important to be tested regularly! (USA Today)
  • When in Doubt About Sexual Health, Teens Turn to Google. Not their parents, Google! (Huff Po)