Egypt’s provisional military government is causing consternation in light of stories of 18 women who were stripped, beaten and administered “virginity tests” during a protest in Cairo. See Women’s eNews.
Lynsey Addario, newly released from captivity in Libya, explains why it’s important that wars are covered by female photographers as well as men. See New York Times.
A 14-year-old girl in Bangladesh is raped and subsequently killed for being an “adulteress.” See Jezebel.
Starting today, women and girls as young as 13 in Wales can get the morning-after pill free without a prescription from pharmacies. See AP.
Rapes of women in India highlight a clash between “old” and “new” India. See New York Times.
Happy Back Up Your Birth Control day of action!! Today marks the 10th anniversary of the campaign, which aims to raise awareness of and expand access to Emergency Contraception (EC).
Before I began expounding on why you should back up your birth control, let me first address a couple of misconceptions about EC. First and foremost, THIS IS NOT THE ABORTION PILL. EC does not interfere with established pregnancies. Rather, it helps prevent pregnancy if taken up to 120 hours after birth control failure or unprotected sex (the sooner the better, of course).
Second, it is not dangerous or harmful to your health. As Planned Parenthood explains,
Emergency contraception is safe. Even though it’s made of the same hormone as the birth control pill, the morning-after pill does not have the same risks as taking the pill or other hormonal birth control methods continuously. That’s because the hormone in the morning-after pill is not in your body as long as it is with ongoing birth control.
Millions of women have used emergency contraception. It has been used for more than 30 years. There have been no reports of serious complications.
So, why back up your birth control with EC? Simply put, because accidents happen. You can be responsible and use a condom and suddenly find yourself on the receiving end of a “holy shit, the condom broke!” moment. Which, trust me, is no fun. It’s my personal version of hell.
And you know what? Even if you choose not to use birth control and engage in unprotected sex, it’s still your right to obtain EC. (Although there are plenty of folks out there who would love to judge and accordingly dispense EC only to “responsible” women whose birth control failed — or not at all, for that matter.)
And lest we not forget, rape also happens. Unwanted, unprotected sex happens every single day and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of EC than a rape victim.
The bottom line here is that you can’t control your destiny without control over your fertility. I firmly believe that the ability to choose if and when to become a parent is one of the most determining factors in one’s future success. So back up your birth control, ladies! EC is a friend, not a foe
To learn more about EC, go here. And for a chuckle, check out EC e-cards!
Today I stumbled upon a Feminists for Choice article regarding the FDA‘s dilly-dallying around with Plan B, otherwise known as emergency contraception (EC), and had to bring it to your attention.
EC has been available — behind pharmacy counters with proof of ID — to those 18+ since 2006, and to those 17+ since 2009. Nonetheless, it remains inaccessible for many. For example, women must approach the pharmacist and request EC; should the pharmacist’s religious beliefs conflict with providing Plan B, s/he may refuse to hand it over, under the protection of conscience clauses.
Price is another hurdle. In 2007, I led NOW-NYC’s Reproductive Rights Action Committee in a city-wide survey of pharmacies, which found prices as high as $50 for one dose of EC. While $50 may be a drop in the bucket for some, it means choosing between a week’s worth of meals and avoiding pregnancy for others.
More recently, Teva, the maker of Plan B One-Step, has pushed to make EC available over the counter for women of all ages. While this is certainly a step in the right direction, it highlights just how much the FDA has dicked around with Plan B.
In a nutshell:
- It took the FDA from 2001 to 2006 to finally allow the sale of Plan B. We have Bush and his anti-choice cronies to thank for that. Which brings me to point 2:
- The FDA allowed politics to trump science for too long. According to the article, “it turns out that the Bush White House had been consulted during the decision-making process – one high-level FDA official even told colleagues that he was afraid he’d lose his job if he approved Plan B for over-the-counter status”
- The FDA has failed to take action on a court mandate ordering Plan B to have true over-the-counter status.
I encourage you to read the full article, which is written by a legal fellow with the Center for Reproductive Rights. The bottom line is that ONCE AGAIN women’s reproductive health is being played with and this needs to end. Politics should never trump science.