- Imagine being 10 years old and pregnant as a result of rape by your stepfather. Imagine being forced to carry that pregnancy to term and give birth — all because your government says so. This is what’s happening to a child in Paraguay. It’d be remiss of me not to mention the fact that pregnancy can be extremely hazardous to this child’s health and can endanger her future fertility, and that girls under the age of 15 are FIVE times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than those over age 20. Again, this child is 10. (Think Progress)
- Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says (correctly) that the religious zealots who don’t believe in abortion are infringing upon the rights of the rest of us. (Jezebel)
- In contrast, two of the candidates from the Republican side, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, want support allowing employers to fire their employees based on birth control usage, terminating a pregnancy, and other private decisions that have have less than nothing to do with an employee’s job performance. (MSNBC)
- Meanwhile, Oklahoma has become the fourth state to enact a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions. Gov. Mary Fallin said, “This legislation will help women get the information they need before making a decision they can’t take back.” Um, don’t they already have the information??? That they’re pregnant and no longer wish to be???!! (WaPo)
- A prolific chlamydia outbreak at a Texas high school that only teaches abstinence? Who would’ve ever thunk it? (Slate XX Factor)
- Dr. Keith Ablow, a medical blowhard of the Republican persuasion who practically lives on Fox News, thinks men should be able to “veto” a woman’s abortion. Because why should the final decision on that belong to a woman? It’s not like pregnancy is in any way “risky” or could have life-long effects on her health or life in general. He hates that women have “all the control” … over what happens with their bodies and health and lives and all that petty nonsense. Boo friggity hoo. I’ll tell ya what, Ablow, the day an embryo can be transferred from a woman’s body to a man’s to carry to term, I’ll be on board with men having a say. Mmmkay? (Raw Story)
- Dr. Ablow’s commentary was mostly in reference to the shenanigans of Nick Loeb, the ex-fiance of Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara, and the brouhaha over frozen embryos created during their relationship. Sofia is not interested in those embryos becoming people since she broke up with Nick, so Nick went on an epic faux pro-life shaming rant/tantrum that disgusted most people with any common sense or critical thinking skills. (RH Reality Check)
- One writer illustrates why it’s important to be pro-abortion in addition to being pro-choice. (Salon)
The following post comes to us via Jon Brown, a journalism student, aspiring voice actor, and current Planned Parenthood Arizona intern. As he tells us, “I joined the fight against STDs because it is a war that we should not have to fight.”
Unlike my female friends, who I have overheard discussing the safety and health of their sex lives, men seem to avoid conversations like that. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent studies on some of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis) show that while female rates for these STDs either remained the same or declined, men’s infection rates increased, especially with syphilis. Men made up 91 percent of all reported primary and secondary syphilis cases reported during the study.
Don’t stick your head in the sand: Get yourself tested!
Though women are at higher risk of contracting STDs due to their anatomy, their infection rates are dropping while men’s are rising. So what is causing the increase in male STD incidence, and what can we do to fix it?
One of the possible issues is that, on average, women see the doctor more often than men. Young people are notorious for not getting their annual checkups with their primary care physicians since they are usually healthy. That, combined with the lack of gender-specific male doctors, really leaves no incentive for men to go to the doctor. Continue reading
From creepy crawly pubic lice, which can be seen with a magnifying glass, to minuscule human papillomaviruses, which can be seen with some of the most expensive microscopes in the world, there are many tiny pathogens that we can acquire through sexual contact. And, despite their diminutive sizes, some of them work in complicated ways, or tell stories about our origins that would blow you away. Let’s learn some amazing facts about three sexually transmitted bugs!
Pubic lice: tiny insects that live in pubic hair
Fans of Charles Darwin might like learning about pubic lice, which offer clues about human evolution. While other apes’ bodies are habitat to only one species of louse, human bodies can host three different types of louse: head lice and the closely related body lice, as well as the distantly related pubic lice.
It is thought that when early humans lost their body hair, human lice followed this receding hairline and migrated to their heads to become head lice. At a later date, the gorilla louse colonized early humans’ pubic regions. Since pubic lice can be transmitted by infested bedding, one idea is that an early human caught pubic lice by sleeping in a burrow that had been recently vacated by a lice-ridden gorilla — no sexual contact required.
By examining the number of differences in the genetic codes of the modern gorilla louse and the human pubic louse, we can place their divergence into two separate species at about 3 million years ago, suggesting that our human ancestors lost their body hair at around that time.
A quite frankly weird fact about pubic lice involves the method their young use to hatch from their eggs — by releasing so much gas that the increase in air pressure causes them to burst from their shell. So there’s that. Continue reading
Condoms. You know you should use them to protect against sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies, but somehow the thought of possibly reducing pleasure for that protection may stop a lot of people from using condoms as often as they should.
Originally made from animal skins or intestines, condoms have been used for centuries. Not much about them has changed for hundreds of years. The old one-size-rubber-fits-all mentality, however, is a thing of the past. The sheer variety of new condoms on the market can take your sexual enjoyment to a new level, while still keeping you protected.
Condoms can be flavored, colored, or textured. They can glow in the dark or vibrate, or be vegan or custom fitted. Above all, they protect against STDs and pregnancies.
Condoms now come in an assortment of styles, sizes, flavors, colors, and textures. They can be lubricated or non-lubricated and even made to custom fit. Whatever your pleasure, there is probably a condom for you and your partner that will protect your health and enhance your experience. What to choose? Let’s look at some of the options available today.
Most condoms are made of latex. These are probably the least expensive and they also protect really well against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy. For those with an allergy to latex, there are polyurethane or polyisoprene condoms. Continue reading
Welcome to the latest installment of “Over 90 Percent of What Planned Parenthood Does,” a series on Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona’s blog that highlights Planned Parenthood’s diverse array of services — the ones Jon Kyl never knew about.
Few moments in life are as important and complex as when a woman makes the decision of whether and when to have children. There are many considerations to take into account when planning to conceive, many of which can affect not only the baby, but the mother as well.
Preconception counseling, a service of Planned Parenthood Arizona, can provide those who wish to conceive with valuable information about their own health, suggestions about how to best manage their wellness for pregnancy, and education about a range of outcomes (including the possibility of miscarriage). Preconception counseling can assist you in creating an environment focused on optimal health for both you and your future child.
These counseling services include:
- targeted medical history with focus on teratogenic exposures, ethnic background, and family history
- social history with focus on risk factors for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), tobacco, alcohol, and street drug use
- history of chronic illnesses
- physical exam
- labs as indicated (STDs, diabetes screening, etc.)
- genetic counseling referrals as indicated
- immunization review
- folic acid utilization
- review of current medications and possible hazardous exposures
The above list might seem long and detailed, but upon closer examination, you might not know what all of these things mean. What are teratogenic exposures? What does folic acid have to do with a healthy pregnancy? Let’s look at some of these topics in more depth. Continue reading
- After abandoning earlier plans to push through a 20-week federal abortion ban because President Obama threatened to veto the hell out of it, Republicans in the House pushed through some bullhooey banning federal funding of abortion yesterday. (Reuters)
- Unfortunately, many states already have laws in place banning abortion at 20 weeks, and more are sure to follow. (NPR)
- Weird scenario … You find out you’re pregnant and give birth to a 10-lb. kid an hour later. Ahh! Talk about an American Horror Story! (USA Today)
- A new health and wellness center specifically for members of the LGBTQ community has opened in Tucson. The very first of its kind in Arizona! (Tucson Weekly)
- Are “hookup apps” the cause of rising STD rates among gay men? (HuffPo)
- Hormonal birth control may be increasing women’s risk for a rare brain tumor. (Luckily that risk is small.) (Medical Daily)
- Black women are making themselves heard on the topic of abortion access. (Think Progress)
- And with black women being four times more likely to die during childbirth than white women, it’s high time our voices are elevated. (Think Progress)
- With his birthday just passing, it’s important to remember that Martin Luther King Jr. was a champion of birth control. (HuffPo)
- An Arizona abortion provider speaks about the changing political landscape and how it’s affected her practice and its patients. (WaPo)
- Oh gawd. Someone decided to give men a platform (’cause they don’t have enough of those already) to speak out about their “abortion regrets.” In particular, not engaging aggressively enough in reproductive coercion to force the women they got pregnant to continue their unwanted pregnancies. I could seriously vomit reading this tripe. (RH Reality Check)
- Good news and bad news. Let’s start with the good: If you’re a fetus in Alabama, you have a legal right to a state-paid attorney to “protect your rights”! Even though you can’t, like … communicate your wishes to the attorney, or think coherent thoughts even. It doesn’t matter! You get a lawyer on the state’s dime! Now the bad news: If you’ve had the misfortune of being born already, you don’t have the right to an attorney paid for by the state. Sorry. Your protection ends once you leave the womb, pal. (Jezebel)
The following guest post was written by Catherine Crook, who is a senior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and interning at Planned Parenthood Arizona in the communications and marketing department.
New Year’s Eve is one of the most anticipated, libidinous party nights. In celebration of relinquishing the past and vows to new beginnings, people all over the world clink glasses and exchange affection when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.
In the United States, about half of all pregnancies are unintended, and each year there are 20 million new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). By age 24 close to 50 percent of sexually active young people will get an STD. Adding alcohol to the mix doesn’t make things any better; individuals are seven times more likely to have unprotected sex when they are under the influence of alcohol.
As the largest provider of sexual health care in Arizona, we want to help you make healthy choices this New Year’s Eve by reminding you to Party Prepared — whether that means carrying a condom or designating a driver.
This New Year’s Eve, Planned Parenthood is distributing 15,000 free condoms to local bars, restaurants, and clubs throughout Arizona. So, if you are going out this New Year’s Eve, stop by one of our campaign partners. You can find the full list here.
Condoms are not the only way to Party Prepared. Another way to make sure you are off to the best start in the New Year is to have emergency contraception on hand. Condoms can break, and sometimes, even with the best of intentions, they can be forgotten.
One party can change your life forever, so let’s make New Year’s Eve a night you never want to forget! Start 2015 healthy, safe, and ready for new beginnings.
We wish you a safe, happy holiday season!
P.S. If you need a primer on how to put a condom on correctly, we have you covered. Check out this video.