Hot News Stories (7/29/15)

CNN (Washington, DC)
Anti-choice Senators seek to completely defund Planned Parenthood. Hoping to gain some Democratic support, some Republicans are proposing defunding Planned Parenthood but filtering those funds into different women’s health organizations that do not provide abortions.

The Hill (Washington, DC)
In a poll conducted by Planned Parenthood they found that 63% of Americans oppose the federal defunding of Planned Parenthood clinics and services.

The Chicago Tribune (Hinsdale, IL)

A women’s reproductive health care facility in Illinois unexpectedly closed and now leaves the surrounding area with only limited access to preventive family planning services.

South Carolina Updates Sex Education Curriculum

Over the course of the past year, Republicans have stepped up the fight for increased access to reproductive health and family planning services.

A prime example is the upgrade to South Carolina’s 27-year-old sex-education curriculum. This initiative was first introduced by South Carolina Republican State Representative B.R. Skelton in hopes to “decrease teen pregnancies a little bit and decrease STDs a little bit.”  Not only is this important because it will provide South Carolina teens with medically accurate, updated, modern, and helpful information that can help them make smart choices and know all of their options, but it also represents a bipartisan effort towards advancing reproductive health access. Other Republican Representatives that support this bill include South Carolina state Representative Jenny Horne and Representative K.R. Crawford.

We see additional advocacy for reproductive rights by Republican legislators in Massachusetts with Governor Charlie Baker’s initiative to allocate $300,000 of the 2016 Massachusetts budget to be used to provide contraceptive services to the women of Massachusetts. The funds provided by this initiative, the Women’s Preventative Health Reserve, will go towards providing women birth control coverage if their employers do not provide the coverage mandated by the Affordable Care Act. This provides increased access for women who might not otherwise be able to afford birth control and, in the long run, will prove to be fiscally beneficial for Massachusetts: It is estimated that for every public dollar spent on providing contraceptive care, over $7 dollars is saved in Medicaid expenses that would result from unintended pregnancies.

Finally, in Oregon, an initiative first introduced by a Republican Representative Knute Buehler, has officially passed and will soon allow pharmacists to provide a prescription for birth control rather than requiring women to see a clinician first. This saves women time and money they would have spent getting to, from, and at the clinic and broadens access as a whole. As a physician himself, Buehler understands the medical aspects of the birth control debate. He told The Oregonian, “It just seemed unreasonable that [pharmacists] can’t dispense preventative contraception.” Other Republicans that support Over-the-Counter contraception include: Senator Thom Tillis, Senator Ed Gillespie, Senator Mike McFadden, Governor Bobby Jindal, and Representative Cory Gardner.

These three Republican-led initiatives not only increase access to reproductive health care and services to women but they are also fiscally beneficial and ensure personal freedom and rights.

Hot News Stories (7.28.15)

The Hill (Washington, DC)
Planned Parenthood confirmed Monday that anti-abortion hackers have attempted to infiltrate the organization, potentially exposing sensitive data on their employees.

Oklahoma News (Oklahoma City, OK)
The anti-choice Oklahoma Republican Party chairman wants to immediately outlaw abortion in Oklahoma and is asking the governor to call a special session to do it.

New York Times (New York, NY)
Videos released by an anti-choice group during the last two weeks have drawn attention to a little-known practice: the buying, selling and research use of fetal tissue acquired from abortion clinics. The dispute has raised questions about who the buyers and sellers are, what fetal tissue is used for and what the law

CDC: Lower rate of teen sexual activity and higher rate of contraception use

A new report by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) has revealed statistics showing a decrease in teen sexual activity as well as an increase in contraceptive use between this generation of teens and last. The study focused on teens ages 15 to 19 between 2011 and 2013. Compared to 1988, the teen sexual activity rate has decreased by 22 and 14 percent, respectively, to males and females. The decrease in sexual activity corresponds with the steady decline in teen pregnancy over the course of the last 25 years.
A main component, experts are saying, to the decrease in sexual activity has come from an increase in sex education and awareness. Laura Lindberg, of the Guttmacher Institute, cites the HIV epidemic as a spark to the decrease in sexual activity by starting more open discussions about sex. Discussing sex and its consequences became a more normalized and necessary and people couldn’t shy away from it because of the consequences of not making smart choices. As a result, kids were exposed to sex-ed much earlier in their lives and the exposure has led to smarter choices.
Another statistic involved in the CDC’s study was focused on the increase in contraceptive use, especially emergency contraception. As of 2013 age restrictions on purchasing emergency contraceptives were eliminated. Before then, anyone under 18 could not purchase pills such as Plan B. In addition to age limits, as of recently, clinician prescriptions were also eliminated as requirements to purchase emergency contraception which ultimately increased access to sexually active teens. When looking at the statistics, in 2002 only about 8% of teens were using emergency contraceptives. Fast-forward to 2013 and statistics show nearly 22% of teens using emergency contraception. In terms of contraceptives as a whole, “By 2013 9% of female teens used some type of birth control for the first time they had sex, while 84% of male teens used a birth control method- most often a condom- the first time they had sex.”
The increase in contraceptive use and decrease in sexual activity truly demonstrate the positive power of sex-ed, awareness, and preventative measures. One component of birth control that experts and doctors don’t have much on yet are Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) that are as long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). LARCs have the highest success rate of all contraceptives (less than 1% failure) but many women don’t have the proper information on them to take advantage of them. In the coming years IUD’s are likely to becoming prominent players in the contraceptive and family planning community through increased education and awareness on their use and availability.

Hot New Stories (7/24/15)

Seattle News (Seattle, WA)
Washington state can require pharmacies to dispense Plan B or other emergency contraceptives, a federal appeals court said in an unanimous decision Thursday in a long-running lawsuit brought by pharmacists who claim they have religious objections to providing the drugs.

Politico (Washington, DC)
At least eight Republican-led states are starting investigations or trying to stop funding Planned Parenthood — and they may be able to get results more easily than the outraged Republicans in Congress or on the GOP presidential campaign trail.

Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Roughly a week after its loss before an appeals court in Denver, a group of nuns who objected to Obamacare’s birth-control mandate have taken their case to the Supreme Court.


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