Disclaimer: I am not a professional! If you want to find a professional sex educator please look at my "Resources" page. If you have any questions, feel free to ask on my ask site: FYsexeducationquestions, though check out my FAQ first!
Anti-Choice Legislature in Arkansas and what it means to you.
By now you may have heard that Arkansas is receiving an onslaught of proposed bills and new laws that limit people’s reproductive choices. These are just a few of those laws and bills:
* New Law, currently in affect: a ban on abortion after 20 weeks except in cases of rape, incest, or in saving the parent’s life
* New Law, not yet in affect: a ban on abortion after 12 weeks except in the cases of rape, incest, or in saving the parent’s life.
* New Bill (SB1157): Amending the law regarding consent to abortion. Although we don’t know what it all entails yet this usually requires you to look at an ultrasound or have a doctor describe an ultrasound before an abortion is preformed. If the pregnancy is early enough this may require a transvaginal ultrasound.
* New Bill (SB913): This requires that you take both doses of the abortion pill in the clinic with the doctor there. Usually you take one in clinic and take the other at home as you have to wait 3 days before taking the other pill. This would really affect people who had to travel to get the procedure done. This also allows the “father” and “maternal grandparents” to sue the doctor.
* New Bill ( HB276): Amending the law regarding waiting periods for abortions. Again, we don’t know the details but this would largely affect those who had to travel or those close to the cut off date.
* New Bill (HB1098): this changes the definition of child under the child maltreatment act to from the time a fetal heartbeat can be detected to 18 years of age. That means that if a doctor thinks that a pregnant person is somehow abusing the fetus they could file a report.
* New Bill (SB913): this bans telemed abortions, abortions where the doctor is not physically in the room when the abortion pill is administered, but watches remotely and offers virtual counseling.
* New Bill (HB1899): Would allow doctors and pharmacists to refuse you birth control based on their moral beliefs
* New Bill (SB818): Would defund Planned Parenthood
Now what does this all mean to people in Arkansas? This could mean that one or more of the Planned Parenthood clinics would have to shut down or reduce programs which could leave people without affordable birth control, STI testing, genital infection testing, infection treatment, wellness exams, prenatal care, post natal care, free condoms, pregnancy tests, the morning after pill, and the abortion pill. If they try to get an abortion or self abort they could possibly be charged with child abuse. They would only be able to get the abortion pill if they are able to go to the clinic twice in 4 days. They would only be able to get a surgical abortion before 12 weeks. This also means that if the parent’s life isn’t in immediate danger they may be forced to carry a dead or non-viable fetus to term which can cause several health problems and be incredibly traumatic.
What does that mean to you? If any or all of these bills are made into laws this sets a precedence. If your state or wherever you live sees Arkansas accomplish all this they may want to start passing other laws. Right now North Dakota Senate just passed a 6-week abortion ban bill. Now many of you may be pointing out that many of these laws are unconstitutional and do go against federal law. This is true, a state Judge in Idaho just struck down a 20-week abortion ban as unconstitutional. However, they are planning to appeal this and take it all the way to the Supreme Court. Not only is this a time and money consuming procedure if Arkansas were to do this, but also until this happens some of these laws are already in affect or going into affect. Also, these people want to take it to the Supreme Court so that they can call into question Roe vs. Wade and try to get it overturned. That’s the main thing, they want abortion to be illegal on a federal level. This is scary considering 20 states have laws that restrict abortion.
Now, what can you do about this? If you live in Arkansas, or any state for that matter, there are a few things you can do.
1. Educate yourself. Look into what your local laws are, and what the bills are that are coming up. Really look into what they say. Educate yourself on what abortion is, what it does, and why it is used. There are a lot of myths out there, so I’m going to be spreading some posts around to help you.
2. Talk about it. To everyone! Reblog posts or make posts on social networking sites, talk about it in school or at work. Tell people what’s going on and what they can do.
3. Write to newspapers and magazines. Write to as many groups as you can to tell them where you stand. Not only does your voice get heard, it encourages others to speak up as well
4. Call or email your local government. Many people have websites you can comment on, or emails and numbers available. Research who your local representatives are and tell them how you feel.
5. Make petitions, fliers, and protest. Make a petition on line or on paper and get signatures of people who support your cause. Take the information you learned about and make pamphlets or fliers to spread around town and educate others. Many places are holding protests, in Arkansas we’re having one at the Capitol (in Little Rock) March 23rd at 3:00). You are welcome to come show your support even if you don’t live here and maybe it’ll help you figure out what you need to do for your state. If you do live in Arkansas, if you can please go! It’s very important.
6. Vote. I know a lot of people say voting doesn’t matter, but this is a great example to show it does. Vote for people who aren’t going to do this to you. Research who is voting for these awful bills and spread the word so people know not to vote for them. I’ll be making a post of all of the politicians involved in these bills later.
So I wrote to all Arkansas Senators, and this is one of the responses I got
I love the thinly veiled contempt he holds for my words. Can you spread this around so Arkansas residents know how unwilling to communicate about legislation that affects them he is?
Yeah, I got a similarly disappointing response (BY THE SAME SENATOR!) right after Beebe’s Veto of the 20 week bill:
Basically Senator Clark not only thinks it’s okay to make light of the fact that abortion is sometimes the only viable option for people with chronic conditions but also thinks that his constituents want him to vote this way and that “the most vocal are women”. I’d like to see these vocal constituents, as the only ones I know of are urging him not to vote this way.
*Edit: Since my screencap is so small and I can’t get it to be any clearer this is what was said:
1.) Most of the fatal fetal anomalies like skeletal displasias, malformed diaphragms, Edward’s syndrome, Anencephaly, and Patau’s syndrome are detected after 20 weeks. Forcing women to carry nonviable fetuses to term is cruel psychological trauma for women who have to tell well-meaning people in the bank and supermarket that the baby is not viable and yet she must carry it to term. Can you imagine having this conversation everyday around your town? Can you imagine your children or your daughters-in-law being forced to have this conversation with well-meaning strangers? It is an undue burden.
2.) The bill will be challenged in court since it is patently unconstitutional, which will be an astronomical cost for Arkansans, as Governor Beebe pointed out yesterday. In a climate where fiscal responsibility is an important consideration, this is an undue cost for Arkansas taxpayers.
3.) While you may personally disagree with the medical practice, women who get abortions at 20 weeks or beyond really want their children but the medical complications threaten the fetus or the mother.
Everyone wants to reduce the number of abortions in the state but we do that with comprehensive sex education and contraception. The data is clear that more stringent abortion legislation leads to an increase in the number of abortions and those abortions are extremely unsafe.
Thank you for your time and for serving all of the people in the state.
1. The bill was amended to take into account the very issues you brought up.
2. There is every reason based on recent court decisions to believe the bill is constitutional The Attorney General budget will be the same with or without this bill.
3. Was answered in #1
4. My constituents sent me here to vote for this bill. The most vocal are women.
5. I agree with them.
What Birth Control Would be Best For Me?
What are you looking for in a birth control method?
- Sterilization, a permanent procedure with less than 1% chance of pregnancy
- The IUD, either copper or hormonal. Lasts for several years, as effective as sterilization
- The Implant. Lasts for several years, just as effective as sterilization
- Long Term
- Sterilization, permanent
- The copper IUD, 12 years
- Hormonal IUD, 5 years
- The Implant, 3 years
- The Shot, 3 months
- Hassle free, simple
- Sterilization, one procedure with some recovery
- The IUD, one procedure every few years with very little recovery
- The Implant, one procedure every few years with very little recovery
- The shot, one procedure every 3 months, some pain at site of the shot
- The nuva ring, insert the ring once a month into your vagina
- the patch, put the patch on your skin once a week
- the pill, take one pill every day
- internal condom, spermicide, sponge, insert into vagina before sex.
- No prescription
- the withdrawal technique
- fertility awareness
- the pill and other forms of birth control*
*in some countries
- No hormones
- The copper IUD
- sponge, diaphragm, cervical cap
- the withdrawal technique
- fertility awareness
- breast feeding
- withdrawal technique, free
- fertility awareness, free
- condoms, free at clinics about $1/each
- breast feeding, free
- spermicide $8/package
- sponge, $9-15/package of 3
- cervical cap, $60-75 (reusable until breaks)
- diaphragm, $15-75 (reusable until breaks)
- the pill, $15-50/mo
- the patch, $15-80/mo
- the ring, $15-80/mo
- the shot, $35-100/3mo
- the implant, $400-800/3yrs
- IUD, $500-1,000/6-12 yrs
*may be able to get some for free depending on your insurance, where you live, or government programs
- Regulate periods
- the combination pill, tends to make periods lighter, can be used to skip periods
- progestin only mini pill, more effective at regulating periods but can’t be used to skip periods although it may cease your periods
- nuva ring, tends to make periods lighter, can be used to skip periods
- the patch, tends to make periods lighter, can be used to skip periods
- the shot, gets rid of periods altogether but can make them worse the first few months
- the implant, tends to make periods lighter, may cease periods altogether
- the hormonal IUD, tends to make periods lighter, may cease periods altogether
- Acne treatment
- Some brands of the pill, usually combination pills.
- Also protects against STIs
- The Condom
(let me know if anything should be added to the list)
The Pregnancy Scare: A Guide
Step 1. Did you have sexual conduct in which there was a chance of pregnancy?
- If a penis touched your vulva or went into your vagina with or without without a condom, yes. Go to step 2
- If a penis came in contact with your vulva through at least one layer of clothing, no. Rejoice that you’re not pregnant!
- If a penis came in contact with your vulva through one layer of lace or other porous material that is soaking wet, maybe. Go to step 2c.
- If there was no to very little vaginal entry and no ejaculation, maybe. Go to step 2c.
- If there was visible ejaculate on a hand or toy that touched your vulva or vagina, yes. Go to step 2
- If there was no visible ejaculate on anything that came in contact with your vulva/vagina, no. Rejoice that you’re not pregnant!
- If there’s a chance semen dripped to your vulva from anal or manual sex, maybe. Go to step 2c
Step 2. Were you using a method of birth control or contraceptive? If so which? Were you using it perfectly? Here is your APPROXIMATE percentage chance of pregnancy.
- I had a oophorectomy and hysterectomy: No you can’t get pregnant.
- I just had one ovary removed: yes you can get pregnant
- I had a hysterectomy without a oophorectomy: you could get an ectopic pregnancy and will need surgery to remove it if you do
- I’ve been sterilized through tubal ligation or vasectomy/ am using an IUD or Implant: There is less than a one percent chance of pregnancy
- I’m using breastfeeding perfectly, my baby only drinks my milk, I will stop after 6 weeks or if I start menstruating, I feed my baby every 4 hours during the day and every 6 hours at night: 1% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using breastfeeding but not perfectly: 9% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using the depo shot, I get it every 3 months: 1% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using the depo shot, but I sometimes get it late: 9% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using the pill, I take it at the same time every day and I make sure none of my medications, vitamins or herbals interfere: 1% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using the pill, but I sometimes forget to take it and I don’t check my medicines: 9% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using the ring, I never take it out except to change it on the same day every week and I make sure none of my medications interfere with it: 1% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using the ring, I sometimes take it out or it falls out or forget to put it in the right time or I haven’t checked my medications: 9% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using the patch, I never take it off except to change it on the same day every week and I make sure none of my medications interfere with it: 1% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using the patch, I sometimes take it off or it falls off or I forget to put it on the right time or I haven’t checked my medications: 9% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using a diaphragm, I make sure to put it in before genitals touch, I only use the one that was fitted for me, it stays in place 6 hours after intercourse, I make sure to reapply spermicide every time I have sex, I don’t use oil based lubes and I make sure to clean it with warm water, mild soap and I air dry it, I replace it if it cracks or looks damaged or every 2 years and I make sure to insert it correctly, I check it from time to time: 6% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using the diaphragm and sometimes put it in too late or too early, or in other ways don’t use it perfectly: 15-24% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using a condom, I check the expiration date and only use packages that don’t look damaged, I keep it in a cool dry area, I check the air bubble, I make sure to put it on correctly and right side out, I put it on before genitals touch, take it off after ejaculation and use one new condom every time genitals are touching, I make sure there’s enough lubrication and not to use oil based lubes, I check it from time to time to make sure it’s still intact: 2-3% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using a condom, I don’t check the expiration date, I use wrinkled packages that have been in my car, pocket or wallet, I don’t check the condom, I don’t know how to put a condom on, I use two condoms at a time, I keep going after ejaculation, I don’t use a new condom every time, I reuse condoms, I don’t make sure it’s lubricated, I use oil based lubes, or I don’t check it: 15-24% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using the sponge, I wet it and make sure to insert it correctly, I use a new one every time, and I check to make sure it hasn’t moved: 6% effective
- I’m using the sponge, I don’t use it perfectly: 15-24% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using the cervical cap, I check it from time to time, I make sure it stays in place for 6 hours after intercourse, I use more spermicide every time I have sex, I don’t share, I insert it correctly and get a new one if there’s any damage or after two years: 6% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using the cervical cap, but not correctly: 15-24% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using the withdrawal method, I make sure that I pull out well before ejaculation and never ejaculate near the vulva, and I make sure that I’ve urinated at least once and it’s been several hours since my last ejaculation so that sperm isn’t present: 15% chance of pregnancy
- I’m using the withdrawal method incorrectly: 24% chance of pregnancy
- I use spermicide by itself, I am sure to follow the directions on the package of the form I’m using, I check the expiration date, I’m sure to insert it enough time for it to be effective and use it every time I have sex: 18% chance of pregnancy
- I use spermicide by itself, I don’t look at the directions or expiration date and otherwise don’t use it perfectly: 25% chance of pregnancy
- I use fertility awareness methods, make sure to take ovulation tests with cervical fluid and temperature tests so that I know when I’m ovulating and follow my cycle for several months to be sure, my cycle is very regular: 9% chance of pregnancy
- I use fertility awareness methods, I’m irregular or I use just a calender method and count days without knowing for sure when I am ovulating or my cycle changes: 25% chance of pregnancy
- I use multiple methods: depending on the methods percentages that you’ve seen you can get an idea for the effectiveness
Step 2b. If you were not using protection did ejaculate actually reach your vulva?
- Yes, and I took the morning after pill within 24 hours: less than 10% chance of pregnancy
- Yes, and I took the morning after pill within 72 hours: 11% chance of pregnancy
- Yes, and I took the morning after pill 120 hours or more: the chance is reduced but not by much.
- Yes, but I’m sure I’m not ovulating: 25% chance of pregnancy
- No, but it’s been several hours since my partner’s last ejaculation and they urinated before: 15% chance of pregnancy
- No, but I’m not sure if my partner ejaculated recently, or I know my partner did: could be 25% chance or more depending if you’re ovulating soon or currently
Step 3. If you haven’t already and it’s been less than 5 days since risky sexual activity, take emergency contraception This can be found at a doctor’s clinic, Planned Parenthood, Free Clinics, some school health clinics and some pharmacies for over the counter.
Step 4. After 3-4 weeks from the time you had risky sex take a pregnancy test. Even if you had what you thought was your period, if the bleeding was lighter or shorter than usual you should take a pregnancy test just in case. These can be found in most pharmacies and grocery stores.
Step 5. Take pregnancy test. If it was negative, take another in a week just to be sure. If negative again, Congrats you probably aren’t pregnant! If you continue to have missed, lighter, or shorter periods or you develop any symptoms you may want to see a doctor just in case. If it was positive see a doctor and get a test there.
How Are You Raising Your Voice in 2013?
We’re in the second week of 2013, and during the first days of every year we evaluate what took place last year, and develop resolutions or goals for things we want to get, where we want to be, and experiences we want have. In doing this, we focus mostly on ourselves and how we want some aspect of our lives to change for the better.
And that’s totally great! But how are you raising your voice in 2013?
2012 was one of the worst (if not the worst) years in women’s health. While major wins such as the United States Supreme Court ruling the Affordable Care Act as constitutional and the birth control mandate beginning in August were exciting, 2012 had the second-highest number of abortion restrictions ever made at the state-level. Not only that, health disparities also continue to run rampant in low-income communities and communities of color, and the politicizing of women’s bodies shows no signs of slowing down.
While fighting for women and girls (especially women and girls of color) to have access to the services that can improve their health and lives can oftentimes feel discouraging, we shouldn’t feel undaunted. Let’s make 2013 the year where huge strides are made in sexual and reproductive health. Not only when it comes to reproductive justice, but for women and girls’ mental, spiritual, and emotional wellness.
How do you want to raise your voice for women and girls’ health in 2013? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
So very important! You may be hearing in the news or on tumblr about a lot of people who are being arrested and even dying because they are trying to get medical help during pregnancy or searching for an abortion. This is an issue that has always been present in low-income communities and communities of color (you’re much more likely to survive a pregnancy or find a way to get an abortion if you are white or upper to middle income), but now it’s getting more press as it’s happening to more and more people. We need to fight back and make sure everyone gets the medical treatment they deserve.
Huge news as studies have shown that more long lasting forms of birth control are more effective and desired, but that a lot of people are afraid of the side effects and pain associated with IUDs. It’s not being sold yet, but Skyla should appear sometime next month in the United States. It works for up to 3 years and has similar side effects and health risks as other forms of birth control.
This news and the fact that the American College for Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently announced that oral contraceptives should be available over the counter, seems to point that soon in the U.S. we will have a change in the way we distribute oral contraceptives and emergency contraception.
This will do a lot to decrease the amount of unwanted pregnancy, especially in teens and may pave the way for new policies in sex education and family planning.
(gendered language in the articles unfortunately)
Free Birth Control
Does anyone know which brands of the pill or which forms of birth control are free? My doctor keeps prescribing me ones that I have to pay for. I asked for a less expensive or free kind, with our Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance, and when I went to pick it up, it turned out to be $33. No thanks. Help anyone?
For anyone going through this, call your insurance directly. I think I remember hearing something about blue cross blue shield having issues with this, so just call and get the information from them. Every insurance is different and sometimes doctors won’t check.
Substituting the Morning-After Pill with Birth Control Pills
Someone asked us:
I was once told that if you can’t get the morning after pill that taking 5-7 days worth of the daily pill at once can be an acceptable substitute. Is that true?
Some brands of birth control pills can be used as emergency contraception, but not all of them. You can check out this chart to see what brands can be used and how to use them. (As a general rule, progestin-only birth control pills cannot be used as emergency contraception, only combination pills can.)
If you do use your birth control as emergency contraception, you should continue taking the rest of your pill pack as your normally would, but skip the placebo pills — your period week pills. Then continue on normally with the next pack. Your period might be irregular for the next month, but that’s totally normal.
- Nina at Planned Parenthood