If you have any questions, feel free to ask on my ask site: http://fyseq.tumblr.com/ask, though check out http://fuckyeahsexeducation.tumblr.com/FAQ!
Welcome to Advanced Sex Ed, Planned Parenthood’s newest Tumblr segment. Put on your smarty pants because we’re kicking things up a notch with some higher-level sexual learnin’.
Birth Control Effectiveness Rates: Perfect-Use vs. Typical-Use.
“Why are there sometimes two different effectiveness rates for birth control? Which is correct?”
One of the questions we get all the time is, “How effective is birth control?” Usually people are looking for one, definitive percentage that tells them exactly how well a certain method prevents pregnancy. But reality is more complicated than that.
Birth control effectiveness is measured two ways: how well it prevents pregnancy when used PERFECTLY every single time, and how well it prevents pregnancy after factoring in human error. These are called “perfect-use rates” and “typical-use rates.”
Let’s look at the birth control pill, for example:
Perfect-use rate: Less than 1 out of 100 people will get pregnant each year if they ALWAYS take the pill every day as directed.
Typical-use rate: About 9 out of 100 people will get pregnant each year if they don’t always take the pill each day as directed.
So the pill is extremely effective if used perfectly, but that old saying, “nobody’s perfect,” also applies to birth control. We sometimes make mistakes or life circumstances foil our perfect-use plans: things like forgetting a pill, losing a pill, not being able to get the next pack on time and barfing can all impact the pill’s effectiveness. Therefore, we have two different rates, and the “real-life” one applies to most of us.
But what’s up with birth control that has only one, very impressive effectiveness rate? (Lookin’ at you, IUDs and implants!) These LARCs — long-acting reversible contraceptives — are virtually impossible to screw up, so they get a perfect-use rate by default: more than 99%, the best there is. More and more people are using LARCs these days because they’re super convenient AND super effective — even the folks on our Planned Parenthood Tumblr Team are huge fans.
Life happens, so typical-use rates are the most true to life. The most common reason birth control fails is because we mess it up. So whatever method you choose, you’ve got to use it as perfectly as possible or it just won’t work as well as it should. Be honest with yourself: if your lifestyle just doesn’t jive with having to think about birth control on a regular basis, consider getting yourself a LARC.
And remember: no method of birth control is 100% effective, even if used perfectly. But you can increase your pregnancy-preventing superpowers by using both birth control and condoms. There’s another really good reason to do this: condoms are the only method of contraception that also protects you from STDs.
-Kendall at Planned Parenthood
Do you have any ideas for making our assault education program more LGBTQ-inclusive?
Someone asked us:
Hi, hi. I’m looking for comprehensive assault education and wondered if you had any pointers? We’re reassessing the assault education program at our university and it’s super heteronormative. any tips? thanks thanks thanks
There are a ton of great resources, and YOU are great for doing this work.
So in terms of background, we know that sexual assault/violence have long gone underreported, unnoticed, or invisible in queer communities because of a combination of stigma, oppression via homophobia and transphobia, and good old-fashioned ignorance.
Yup, it’s still true that some people function under the total myth that domestic violence and sexual assault always involve a male abuser and a female victim. Not only is this just outright wrong, that kind of belief can stop people from getting the care and support they need.
Simply enough, this may mean providing some basic training for staff and volunteers, and doing some updates to print materials. You’ll want to be sure information includes LGBTQ people; the simple act of spelling out the fact that “lesbian gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are sometimes victims of sexual assault and intimate partner violence” can really help queer people feel visible and encouraged to get the help they may need. It’s better to intentionally include LGBTQ language than to use vague language that by default includes everyone.
Providing basic training to staff about what it means to provide a welcoming environment for LGBTQ people includes some important steps:
- Avoid assumptions about the identity of the person seeking help; just ask. “What’s important for us to know about you and your assault in order give you the best care and support?” Open-ended questions like this can help a ton to increase a sense of inclusion and visibly for an all-too-often marginalized group of people.
- On any intake paperwork, be sure to include the option of sexual orientation and gender identity self-identification; this simple act can signal that yes, you know that LGBTQ people exist and may be seeking services and support.
- Help staff and volunteers understand how potential clients might feel a little concerned as they ask for help because sadly, most have at least one pretty awful story about being treated badly by an uninformed care provider.
It’s also a good idea to try and partner with a local LGBTQ group at your school or in your community. So do a little looking to see who’s around and doing good work around LGBTQ issues, and see if you can work on things together!
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center has tons more info on making your assault programs inclusive to LGBTQ students. You can also check out the resources at your local Planned Parenthood. We have amazing community education departments with trained staff, and several of our affiliates have rape crisis and sexual assault programs as well.
And seriously, thank you. You’re doing great, important work in making sure your educating and resource-sharing includes people of various orientations, behaviors and identities, and that matters. It matters a lot. You rule.
- Calvin and Maureen at QueerTips
Hey, we wrote some more for Planned Parenthood Federation! Check it out.
In case you haven’t heard, the U.S. Supreme court has decided that employers can now decide if they want their insurance programs to cover birth control or not. The birth control that places like Hobby Lobby are wanting to not cover are the hormonal IUD which is also the most effective form of pregnancy prevention and used to treat many reproductive issues.
Not only that but they’ve decided that there will no longer be any kind of protection from protesters for patients going to clinics that offer abortion.
If you want to do something about this, call your reps and complain, Join Planned Parenthood’s Campaign against this decision to not cover birth control, pledge to be a clinic defender, or become a clinic escort.
As always, it helps to spread awareness and sex education!
On March 25, lawyers of for-profit corporations will argue at the Supreme Court that employers should be able to deny workers access to birth control. I just put my name on a giant banner that will be displayed at the Court to show the Justices where I stand. Add yours!
How to Speak on Reproductive Justice
I recently attended a workshop hosted by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland on how to speak about reproductive justice as an advocate. The first part of that workshop focused on what exactly constitutes reproductive justice and that it’s so much more than the availability of abortions. The second part was actually talking about abortion. The workshop is based on the information gathered by Planned Parenthood in a study that took several years on attitudes towards abortion and how language affects it. Following the layout of the workshop, the first part of this post will cover various aspects of reproductive justice and the second will cover how to speak on reproductive justice.
What is included under the term “Reproductive Justice”?
- Safe and legal abortions available to all who need
- Affordable and available birth control and contraceptive options
- Affordable and available health care (pap smears, mammograms etc.)
- Affordable and Available resources to help under-privileged families
- No forced sterilizations
- Comprehensive sex education
- Affordable and Available sterilization options
- Adoption regulations (no child taken from healthy family, no child without a home)
- Adoption options available for any who want to adopt
- No genital mutilation
- Affordable and available transition options for Trans* folk
- No forced pregnancy or forced abortion
- And much more
It’s important that we look at the intersections of oppression. All oppressed groups based on race, orientation, gender identity, intersex conditions, ability, financial status, designated sex are oppressed in this category and we need to look at how their general oppression affects this. It’s important we look at the underlining cause of these reproductive oppressions, which is racism, sexism, cisexism, heterosexism, and many more. Certain racial, orientation, gender identity, ability, and intersex conditions are sterilized against their will. Health options are limited for people of certain financial status, ability, condition, orientation, or gender identity. Comprehensive sex education is even more difficult to find when you’re not straight, cis gender, dyadic, able-bodied, and neurotypical. People of certain orientations or gender identities may be unable to adopt. Children of certain abilities, races, gender identity, or orientation may be more unlikely to be adopted. Many children of different races are taken away from their countries, communities, and loving families in amoral adoption practices. This occurs even today in the United States, with Native American children being taken away from their families and adopted off to white adults.
Try to think of other ways that someone may be oppressed as it relates to reproductive health.
How to speak on Reproductive Justice
The Planned Parenthood website Not In Her Shoes, although gendering and not inclusive to trans* people is a good resource to check out what information and statistics they have gathered in their studies.
It starts with the words “Pro-Choice” and “Pro-Life”. I have definitely seen in my discussion on reproductive justice and the abortion issue that many people I would identify as pro-choice, those who support keeping abortion legal, don’t identify as such and this can create problems. Instead of sticking to these outdated (and in the case of pro-life, plain incorrect) labels that cause people to have an immediate negative response, Planned Parenthood suggests that we say we are pro reproductive justice, and that we want abortions to be legal and safe. The number of people who say abortion should remain legal and safe are much higher than those who would identify as pro-choice, by changing our language we open up our community to more people and gather more supporters. Two Thirds of American Voters want abortion to remain legal, whereas nearly one third of voters do not identify as either pro-choice or pro-life. By using this language we are excluding one third of our supporters.
Another thing that they found was that although people aren’t really comfortable talking about abortion, they do support it as a personal decision. People respond favorably to statements like, “Abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision for a person, and I don’t believe you can make that decision for someone else.”, “A person should have accurate information about all of their options. Information should support a person, help them make a decision for themselves, and enable them to take care of their health and well-being.”, and “Information should not be provided with the intent of coercing, shaming, or judging a person.” These are good to bring up when we talk about legal limits being put on abortion.
Another thing that they found that surprised me is that it works well if you don’t describe possible situations. Something I and many people who talk about reproductive justice is to try to talk about different situations a person may come from who needs abortion. We think that this helps show the diversity of people who need abortions, and show that it could be anyone. In reality, what the find is that what we think are good reasons for an abortion may not be someone else’s. They may have a direct negative emotional response that closes their ears off to what you are saying. What the research showed was that 79% of likely american voters found this simple statement convincing, “We’re not in their shoes. It’s just not that simple.” It is important to recognize that anyone of any background may someday need or want an abortion, but it is better and less judgmental to just state that everyone’s situation is different.
It’s also important, Planned Parenthood found, to avoid using language like “unintended pregnancy”, “unplanned pregnancy”, and “unwanted pregnancy”. When talking about abortion, more people responded more favorably when just using the word abortion, ending a pregnancy, or a safe and legal procedure, when talking about abortion. When talking about the goal to reduce “unintended pregnancy” with birth control or sex education it’s okay to use that word, but not unplanned and especially not unwanted. Many unintended pregnancies are wanted, I’ve definitely had friends that were “accidents” that their parents wanted very much. People also tend to not respond to the concept that you have to plan a pregnancy, so unintended works best. “Safe and Legal” is also what more people responded to as a good goal. “Safe, Legal, and on demand” may turn off people who may consider themselves more pro-life, while “Safe, Legal, and rare” may turn off people who consider themselves more pro-choice.
Something that really hit me in a strong way was this statement that was used in the workshop, “People don’t turn to politicians for advice about mammograms, prenatal care, or cancer treatments. Politicians should not be involved in a person’s personal medical decisions.” This is the bottom line, a person should be making this decision with her doctor, her loved ones, and her own faith. Politicians are not medical experts and have no place in discussing a medical procedure.
A similar message that I thought was important to address was that of when life begins. What they suggested to say about that is that “Questions about life are deeply personal and it’s not simple. It can be cultural, religious, or scientific. All I know is Politicians are not experts.” Many cultures believe that the baby is alive until it is born, takes it’s first breath, or even for several weeks or month after it is born. Different religions have different definitions of life, and as for science it still depends on the person.
For me there were a couple of things I’d like to touch on when talking about language and reproductive justice. For me a lot of this issue comes down to consent. Consent to medical procedures, consent to having children, and yes consent to sex. It’s also about having the education and ability to have informed consent.
It’s also important for me to remain inclusive to trans* people while also acknowledging the sexism in legislation that restricts reproductive rights. Like we touched on earlier, a lot of restrictions come down to the intention of oppressing certain groups. To keep people from thriving as much as others, whether that means refusing gender transition, making them care for a child instead of going to college, never finding a family, or to never be able to have a child. A lot of this does stem from sexism, and it is important to realize it even though more than just women are affected. You can use inclusive language that acknowledges more than just women get abortions or need birth control while still being conscious of the fact that regulations are being used in an attempt to control and oppress women.
What are your thoughts? How will this help you frame the way you think and speak about reproductive justice and justice in general?
If any of my followers live in the Northwest Arkansas Area, we are going to have a rally at 5pm this coming Monday at the Wilson Park Pavilion in Fayetteville to show our support for the Affordable Care Act.
Planned Parenthood and other health organizations are going to be there to talk about how the ACA can help you. In reproductive rights, it helps make birth control and preventative screenings like Pap Smears and Mammograms more affordable and in many cases free. It also makes it easier for people with pre-existing conditions to get health care and it makes medicaid more available.
Unfortunately there is a lot of myths being spread about the ACA and there is a lot of backlash. This rally is in response to an anti-ACA rally taking place the same day.
Help show our representatives how important the ACA is to us and show up! I’ll see you there!
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.