Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Bill Could Force IRS To Investigate Abortions…the freaking IRS! (Jezebel)
  • Arizona Legislators Pass Paranoid Abortion Bill (Huff Po)
  • Gabrielle Union: Great actress and a Planned Parenthood supporter! (AOL Black Voices)
  • South Dakota’s New Abortion Law Violates Separation of Church and State (Daily Beast)
  • Wave of Anti-Abortion Bills Advance in States (ABC News)
  • Black Women Die Nearly Four Times the Rate of Whites from Pregnancy Complications (Seattle Medium)
  • Sound-Off: ‘I Wish I’d Had Planned Parenthood’ (Essence)
  • Idaho, Kansas and Alabama All Begin 20 Week Abortion Bans (RH Reality Check)

Time to Have the Talk with Your Teen?

parent teen communicationTalking to teens about sex can be intimidating, but it is vitally important for parents to talk to their teenagers in order to empower them to make healthy decisions.

Planned Parenthood Arizona is offering a free Parent & Teen Workshop to give Arizona families the tools they need to have an open and honest family dialogue about sex and sexuality. Workshop participants will have a lively and interactive session, and we will share tips for making responsible, health decision about sex. We will also discuss pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection prevention. And we will share the resources that are available from Planned Parenthood.

The workshop will be on Thursday, March 31, 2011 from 6:00 – 8:30 pm. To RSVP and obtain location information, please contact us via e-mail or by calling 520-784-5825.

STD Awareness: Herpes

Here, individual herpes simplex virions can be seen infecting a host cell. Image obtained from the CDC’s Public Health Image Library.

Here, individual herpes simplex virions can be seen infecting a host cell. Image obtained from the CDC’s Public Health Image Library.

Last year, in my Anatomy & Physiology class, the subject of herpes came up, which launched a few people into mini-tirades laced with judgmental language, describing it as “disgusting” and “gross.” My classmates might have been more sensitive, as statistically speaking, there were probably several people in that very room who were living with herpes. Given that most of my fellow students were pursuing careers in the health-care field, it was especially disheartening. Yet despite being relatively widespread, herpes is often stigmatized and misunderstood.

Herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV), which comes in two strains: HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is most often associated with oral herpes, while HSV-2 is most often associated with genital herpes, though by no means is this association exclusive. For example, HSV-1 can cause genital herpes when the site of infection is the genitals. It is estimated that only 10 to 15 percent of those with herpes exhibit symptoms, and that millions of people unknowingly carry the virus. After infection, the virus enters a latent state in nerve cells, where it will remain for the rest of the host’s life — the same is true for other viruses in the Herpesviridae family, such as the virus that causes chickenpox.

Oral herpes is incredibly common — about 60 to 90 percent of U.S. adults have been infected with HSV-1, and most of them caught it as infants or children through nonsexual transmission. HSV causing oral herpes remains latent in the trigeminal nerve ganglia in the face. Cold sores, which appear on the outer margin of the lips, appear when the virus has been activated and it moves along the pathway of nerves from the ganglia to the surface of the skin. They can be triggered by sunburn, stress, or even menstruation.

Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • When did critical thinking become illegal? Ask Iowa, a magical place where a pregnant woman was jailed for contemplating an abortion. CONTEMPLATING!! (Change.org)
  • Retired Abortion Provider Explains Unsafe Clinics (Jezebel)
  • Home HPV tests ‘could raise cervical screening uptake’ (Int’l Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics)
  • If you look up hypocrite in the dictionary, you’ll probably see the faces of all the legislators trying to pass abortion laws that do precisely what they claim to despise about Obama’s healthcare law (L.A. Times)
  • Crazycakes anti-choicer tries to force his way into exam room of Washington clinic, is sued by feds for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE)  (CBS News)
  • And speaking of crazy…Anti-Choice Forces Adopting In-Your-Face Tactics and the Danger to Women is Real (RH Reality Check)
  • Why “the Gays” Need Planned Parenthood Too (Huff Po)
  • Unconscionable cruelty: Nebraska’s 20 week law meets the real world (UCSF-Advancing New Standards In Reproductive Health)
  • Senate Democrats show united support for Planned Parenthood- and we are SO appreciative! (The Hill)

Margaret Sanger in Tucson: “Daring to Live”

“When the marvel of the spring came to the desert, you saw the cactus and the flowering, saw the brown floor change to delicate pale yellow, stood in awe of nature daring to live without water. You were reminded of the futility of wearing out your life merely providing food and raiment. Like the challenge of death, which so many of the people there were gallantly facing, the desert itself was a challenge.” – Margaret Sanger on Tucson, in her autobiography

Margaret Sanger in 1959, with friend Grace Sternberg, returning to the United States after a trip to New Delhi, Sanger's final overseas trip.

Sanger in 1959, with friend Grace Sternberg, returning to the United States after a trip to New Delhi, Sanger’s final overseas trip.

Margaret Sanger moved to Tucson in the 1930s and soon thereafter decided to live here full time, believing that the warm climate was conducive to good health. During Sanger’s years in Tucson, she latched onto any health fad or other technique she thought might improve her health. She exercised and experimented with various diets, including fasting on juice; eating a combination of yogurt, wheat germ, and honey; taking vitamin E supplements; and eating papayas (which she had shipped from Hawaii) for their alleged “restorative substances.”

In 1949, however, Sanger suffered a heart attack, and her son Stuart, a doctor, injected her with Demerol, a recently introduced painkiller not considered addictive at the time. The next year she had a second heart attack, resulting in another long convalescence at the hospital. Her addiction to Demerol intensified; she got Stuart to write prescriptions for her, and would sometimes falsely claim that bottles of the drug had fallen and shattered, which would require further prescriptions to be written. If a nurse refused her demand for Demerol, Sanger would inject it herself. Her son tried to wean her from the drug by collecting empty bottles and filling them with a diluted concentration of the drug, slowly increasing the proportion of water to Demerol until the solution was pure water. This was effective for a while, but eventually Sanger realized she had been duped and endeavored to get her hands back on the drug. She went through other doctors, firing them when they would decrease her dosage, and eventually took to self-administering injections of pure water every 30 minutes. Her addiction, it seemed, was both to the drug itself and the psychological comforts of the injection.  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