Birth Control Myths [Infographic]

There are so many myths and old wives tales surrounding sex and birth control that it is impossible to know where they all started. You have probably heard that you cannot get pregnant during your period or while you are breast feeding. Although these statements are said all the time, they are not true, which is why South Avenue Women’s Services has created the infographic below.

South Avenue Women’s Services has compiled a list of the top 12 birth control myths we hear, as well as the facts behind them, providing you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions regarding your health and body.

birth control myths infographic

Clinics Struggle to Meet Demand for Long-Term Birth Control

Driven by fears that a Trump presidency will make it harder to access contraceptive options, women across the country have begun flocking to reproductive health centers to get birth control before President Obama’s term ends. Long-acting options such as IUDs have seen a particularly significant spike in demand since last month’s election. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are required to cover birth control without charging copays. If Donald Trump follows through on his promise to repeal Obama’s signature healthcare bill, however, free birth control could become a thing of the past in 2017.

Now, with demand for long-acting contraception soaring, budgetary restrictions are making it hard for some clinics to meet the needs of their patients. Although the Planned Parenthood Federation of American has received a record number of donations and volunteer offers in the weeks following the election, other reproductive health organizations have not been so lucky.

The Wyoming Health Council, for example, which manages 15 publicly-funded family planning centers throughout the state, hadn’t seen any donations as of November 23. Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood operates just one clinic in Wyoming. This leaves a huge burden on smaller state-run organizations like the Wyoming Health Council.

In other states where budgets are already tight, the surge in demand has been especially difficult to keep up with. While clinics in these states typically keep a few IUDs in stock at any given time, they simply can’t afford to keep much more than that on hand for long periods of time. A brief spike in demand might be manageable with budget reallocations, but if the trend continues it could spell bigger problems for family planning clinics in the coming months and years.

“Our demand for IUDs has about doubled, but we don’t know if that’s a short term spike or not,” said Kate Brogan, vice president of public affairs for Maine Family Planning in an interview with NPR. “I think it would take a more consistent increase for it to begin to be an issue.”

For now, clinics are coping successfully with the increased demand for contraceptives. But if the Affordable Care Act is repealed or Title X funding is cut in 2017, budgetary restrictions at regional family planning clinics could become a far more pressing issue.

“If we lost Title X funding—oh, gosh, given the history of Title X battles in congress, I think that’s a real question,” said Brogan in her interview. “Right now we have over 50 clinics. There’s no way we’d be able to maintain that without Title X.”

With public funding for family planning clinics in jeopardy, it’s more important than ever for private citizens to support their regional healthcare organizations with donations and volunteer efforts. Every little bit helps. Together, we can protect the future of women’s healthcare in America.

Abortion Myths [Infographic]

The biggest fear that women have when it comes to abortion is that the procedure is not safe, which is just not true. More than 99.75% of abortions performed in the United States do not cause major medical problems, making them as statistically risky as a colonoscopy.

Abortion can be a controversial subject, which unfortunately means that there is a lot of uncertainty – and many myths – surrounding the procedure. In our latest infographic, South Avenue Women’s Services discusses eight of the most common abortion myths we have heard, providing you with the knowledge needed to make an informed decision about your health and future.

For more information, please call our Rochester, New York office at 585-271-3850.

abortion myths infographic

13 Facts About Your Period That Everyone Should Know [Infographic]

Did you know that the average woman uses nearly 11,000 tampons in her lifetime? Or that your period can change the sound of your voice?

There are so many unique and interesting things to learn about the female body and the way that our menstrual cycles affect us. Whether you are looking to learn more about your body, are trying to teach your daughter more about her period, or are just looking to study the beauty that is being a woman, South Avenue Women’s Services has uncovered some interesting facts that you may not yet know about your period.

Check out the infographic below to learn more, and don’t forget to share these 13 facts with the women in your life!

period facts infographic

Types of Birth Control [Infographic]

When it comes to choosing a form of birth control, there are many different types to consider and a multitude of factors that will affect the decision you make. From prescription options like oral contraceptives, patches and IUDs to over-the-counter options like condoms and contraceptive sponges, the choice can seem a bit overwhelming.

Depending on your lifestyle, beliefs and plans for the future, a different method may work best for you than will for the next woman. This makes it extremely important for each of us to know our options so that we can make an educated, informed decision.

Not sure where to begin when researching your contraceptive options? Get started with the infographic below!

Consider the factors at the top as you read about each of your options, and please contact South Avenue Women’s Services at 585-271-3850 with any questions you may have.

types of birth control infographic

Federal Judge Blocks Abortion Restrictions in Alabama

In spite of the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade has guaranteed American women the right to an abortion for over 40 years, some states continue to try to pass restrictive legislation designed to make it harder for women to seek safe abortions. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court blocked a series of laws in Texas, Louisiana and Missouri that forced family planning clinics to close by requiring doctors who performed abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. As a result of these laws, women in Missouri traveled an average of 100 miles round trip to reach the state’s only Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis.

Now, a federal judge has blocked two more laws in Alabama that place different kinds of restrictions on abortion clinics. The first law prohibits clinics from being within 2,000 feet of K-8 public schools. The second law bans a procedure used to induce abortions in the second trimester. In his ruling, Judge Myron Thompson noted that the laws could force clinics in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa to close, and put an undue—and potentially dangerous—burden on women seeking abortions. He also noted that “This burden would become particularly devastating for low-income women” who would need to take long trips to get to one of Alabama’s three remaining clinics.

In light of these concerns, Judge Thompson issued a preliminary injunction and ruled that the laws were likely to be found unconstitutional. The laws, which were signed in May, were set to go into effect on August 1. Thanks to Thompson’s ruling, however, the clinics in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa will remain open, and women in Alabama will continue to be able to access to safe abortions.

Experts Recommend Expanding Women’s Healthcare Coverage

In 2012 the Institute of Medicine (IoM) – now known as the National Academy of Medicine – compiled a list of eight recommended preventative healthcare services that insurance providers should provide for women without requiring them to pay money out of pocket. These services included routine STD screenings, breastfeeding support and supplies, FDA-approved methods of contraception and treatments for domestic violence and gestational diabetes. Today, most healthcare plans are required to cover these services without charging copays.

When the IoM published its recommendations, it also advised that the list should be updated at least every five years to keep in step with the current scientific knowledge. Now, the group has drafted a second updated list which adds a number of other preventative healthcare services to its list of services that should be covered free of charge.

Foremost among these services are regular breast cancer screenings. Under the new guidelines, women age 40 an older would be eligible for free mammograms every one to two years. Follow-up tests and procedures such as biopsies would also be covered if a mammogram were to uncover evidence of cancer growth.

In fact, the new list recommends that a wide variety of follow-up procedures should be covered without copays as well. This way, if a preventative healthcare service were to uncover a potentially serious health issue, women wouldn’t be forced to pay for additional testing out of pocket. The list also recommends covering contraception methods for men such as condoms and vasectomies. This would allow women and their male partners to take more complete control of their contraceptive options, without having to worry about expensive insurance fees.

The group is expected to submit its final recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services by December 1, 2016. If the proposed changes are adopted by the end of the year, they would go into effect for most insurance plans in 2018.

United Nations Urges Countries to Repeal Anti-Abortion Laws

Here in the United States, we’re fortunate that a woman’s right to an abortion has been protected by the Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade for over four decades. In other countries like Poland and Northern Ireland, however, women can still face stiff prison sentences for seeking abortions. As a result, women in these countries are sometimes forced to travel hundreds of miles into other countries to receive abortions. In other cases, women turn to dangerous clandestine methods of abortion instead.

Now, the United Nations is calling on countries all over the world to repeal restrictive abortion legislation in an effort to protect the lives of their female citizens.

The UN Human Rights Council estimates that unsafe abortions claim the lives of roughly 50,000 women every year. Most of these dangerous procedures occur in places where abortion is criminalized by law. Rather than reducing abortion rates, this type of restrictive legislation merely forces women to undergo dangerous methods of abortion in secret. In fact, the UN notes that countries where abortion is legal and contraceptives are readily available have some of the lowest abortion rates in the world. Unfortunately, restrictive abortion laws still affect approximately 40 percent of the world’s population.

The UN didn’t pull any punches in their report, arguing that “restrictive legislation which denies access to safe abortion is one of the most damaging ways of instrumentalizing women’s bodies and a grave violation of women’s human rights.”

They also noted that the consequences of these laws are severe, potentially costing tens of thousands of women their lives each year. In light of the overwhelming evidence that criminalizing abortion does more harm than good, the UN is urging countries to revise their legislation and provide women with access to safe methods of abortion.

“The possibility of accessing safe abortion remains essential,” wrote the human rights experts in their report. “Unwanted pregnancies cannot be totally prevented since no contraceptive method is 100 percent effective, and women may be exposed to sexual violence.”

It’s time for state legislatures to stop making policies based on antiquated dogmas, and recognize that anti-abortion laws pose a very real threat to the health and well-being of women. Hopefully with the backing of the United Nations Human Rights Council, lawmakers who advocate for abortion rights in places like Poland will finally be able to make headway towards the repeal of these dangerous, misguided laws.

Progesterone Could Help Relieve Effects of Influenza

The fall is the beginning of the flu season, and for many people, the flu may not seem like an immediate threat. But this highly-contagious virus can make even the strongest of us sick for many days, and cause even more serious complications for the young and the elderly, not to mention people with compromised immune systems.

Luckily, according to Medical Daily, scientists may have discovered a new way to fend off flu symptoms. Progesterone, which is a hormone found in most hormone-based birth control, can actually help promote lung healing and reduce lung inflammation in patients who are affected by a flu virus.

Mice that were infected with influenza and also had progesterone implants showed less inflammation in the lungs and better lung function than mice without the implants, according to the study done by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland. The increased progesterone levels allowed the mice to produce proteins that helped to heal the damaged lining in the lungs quicker.

Researchers and scientists believe that this effect could apply to humans as well. Women who are taking hormone-based birth control may be better able to combat the effects of the flu, like damage to the lining in the lungs, due to the higher levels of progesterone present in the body. While there aren’t many studies being done on this particular subject just yet, Johns Hopkins researchers hope to spend more time and resources examining the positive impacts of hormone-based contraceptives on the human body in the future.

If the studies prove promising, this could provide women with one more reason to add hormone-based birth control to their health regimens. For more information about contraception, or any of the other services and procedures we offer at South Avenue Women’s Services, give us a call or contact us online today.

Birth Control Use Linked to Drop in Ovarian Cancer Deaths

There’s plenty of conflicting information out there today about birth control, and not all of it is advice worth listening to. Amid all of these confusing stories and myths, though, comes an interesting and well-documented study that links oral contraceptive use to a drop in the number of deaths caused by ovarian cancer.

According to The Guardian, academics in Italy have concluded that there’s a positive correlation between the increased use of birth control pills and a decline in deaths caused by ovarian cancer in recent years. A decline in long-term hormone replacement therapy, which has been largely replaced with birth control use to combat symptoms of menopause, also seems to be a factor.

The general consensus seems to be that the past ten years has been a game changer for birth control. More people have access, more people are taking it regularly, and more people are talking about it. Apparently, the increasingly widespread usage of oral contraceptives has had more positive results than just a reduction in unplanned pregnancies.

In the European Union, deaths from ovarian cancer fell about 10 percent overall between 2002 and 2012, according to the Italian study. That’s the average for all 28 countries in the EU. Scientists and researchers involved in the study believe that the widespread availability of birth control is what led to the drop in deaths, which fell by as much as 24 percent in countries like Sweden. Variances in the percentage decreases between countries are likely caused by differences in insurance, ease of access, and a few other factors, but overall the statistics definitely show a promising pattern.

Women who were most directly affected fell in the 20 to 49 age range, though older women have also experienced lower rates of death caused by ovarian cancer in recent years. Now, the scientists and researchers involved in the study hope to continue their work to pinpoint exactly why an increase in birth control use has had this effect.

Want to learn more about contraception, or any of the other procedures and services we offer at South Avenue Women’s Services? Contact us online, or give us call today for more information!