Someone asked us:
Question: What does birth control do to a girl’s body to make her not get pregnant?
Anybody else ever get the feeling that hormonal birth control (like the pill) is nothing less than pharmacy-dispensed magic? You take a pill every day, and voila: you don’t get pregnant. I totally remember feeling like that when I first used it. And while that was kind of cool, understanding the specifics of how birth control pills work made me feel more confident about using it and more aware of what was up with my body.
So how does hormonal birth control work? Different methods work in slightly different ways, but the basic gist is the same: hormones in the pill (or the shot, the ring, the patch, or any other kind of hormonal birth control) keep a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs — ovulation. No egg = no pregnancy. The hormones can also prevent pregnancy by thickening the cervical mucus, which can block sperm and keep it from joining with an egg.
More of a visual learner? We absolutely love this animated graphic from the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals.
Some kinds of hormonal birth control — including the ring, the patch, and most pills —use a combination of the hormones estrogen and progestin. Others use just progestin. A health care provider can talk with you about your body and your life, to help you figure out what kind of hormonal birth control might work best for you.
-Alex at PPFA
That animated graphic is pretty cool
Here’s a checklist for your well-woman visit. Take care of yourself during Women’s Health Week … and all year!
Anonymous asked you:I don’t keep up with this blog as much as I probably should, so this might have already been asked or noted, but I was just curious…. With the fight for contraceptives going on every day, shouldn’t Griswold v. Connecticut be cited? (Connecticut law outlawed contraceptives, Supreme Court invalidated it on the grounds that it violated your right to marital privacy) It just seems silly that anyone would try to say that it’s wrong, seeing as the Supreme Court already ruled it constitutional.I went to the expert on this one. Jessica Pieklo, my friend and a brilliant lawyer/teacher/writer, said this:In short, yes Griswold answered the question of whether or not the states can criminalize contraception by holding that a married woman has the right to discuss family planning, and be prescribed contraception accordingly, as part of an overall right to privacy — this is how Griswold builds for Roe.
So, the short answer is yes, everyone who is reasonable including some anti-choicers thinks this is settled. Except the 10thers and the Operation Rescue crew who view Griswold as wrongly decided the same way you and I view Dred Scott as wrongly decided. So there’s that issue.
But the rub here is that the personhood push, for example, doesn’t talk about contraception and Griswold doesn’t talk about personhood and the language in the bills are really tricky here—see Missouri for a good example and why Oklahoma’s failed. So anti-choicers see an opening where one doesn’t exist but where Scalia, Alito, Thomas and Kennedy are most certainly willing to go, and where John Roberts would likely follow.
I don’t want to erase anyone, but I also am tired of being attacked by trans* advocates(somehow, never by trans* people themselves) to be more inclusive. I don’t feel like cis women and trans* women should be considered the “same” for (mostly) political reasons. Although we identify with the same “gender”(however useful that even is), we have radically different life experiences and I think it’s a little weird to lump us all together. For me, it’s important to recognize trans* people as an individual group that overlaps with my personal fight as a cis woman for rights, but is not necessarily fighting for everything I am, nor I them. It’s not just a war on cis women or a war on trans* women, it’s a war on everyone who is not a straight, white male, but just because we have the same enemies doesn’t mean we have all the same motivations and goals.
I hope that helps explain my position a little more.
Thanks for your response and clarification. I agree that we shouldn’t be treating cis-women and trans* women the same. Having a reproductive justice movement or a feminist movement that includes trans* issues should not be about lumping all of us together or considering all of us the same. Most times though “inclusion” does lead to lumping everyone together and erasing differences in order to keep the focus on middle class white hetero cis-women. The erasing of our differences is a big reason that so many think this is a war on cis-women and politicians are only thinking of cis-women when they do this stupid crap. Wealthy white cis-women’s voices are privileged in our movement and in the media. If we have failed to make our movement one that truly incorporates and takes seriously trans* issues then then why would politicians or the media ever address them?
And let’s get real here, most of the attacks by right-wing politicians aren’t really directed at weatlhy hetero cis-women. Defunding Planned Parenthood, prohibiting government funding of contraception and abortion, opposing reauthorization of VAWA are clearly aimed at poor people, people of color, LGBT communities, and undocumented immigrants. Personally, I’m not ok telling all of these groups that they just don’t fit in with my personal fight for my reproductive rights as a white cis-woman so they’re on their own. Coalition building is key in pressuring these idiots to stop this crap. It’s also incredibly important for pressuring them to enact policies and legislation that adequately address reproductive health, domestic violence, equal pay, etc. And of course in order to do that we must keep the differences visible so that we don’t end up with policies and legislation that only address concerns of a particular segment of our movement. And it’s not only important politically, but it’s also the only way to build a more just society.