Health information is provided by the new edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves and other trusted resources.
What You Need to Know
Questions to ask when calling for an appointment — including medical and financial issues, clinical procedures, and state laws concerning age requirements and waiting periods.
To learn more about the current status of specific laws and policies where you live, visit Guttmacher.org/statecenter.
Introduction to Birth Control
The advent of the Pill and other birth control methods has enabled women around the world to complete their education, pursue their dreams, and create more egalitarian relationships. But there are many reasons — including shame about sex, laws and medical practices, and public school policies — that limit the distribution of accurate information and services.
To learn about the full range of contraceptive options, and for help in determining which method (or methods) best fit your life, visit Bedsider, an online birth control support network provided by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
Explains the two types of emergency contraceptive pills, how to use them, and their effectiveness. Also covers how to use the ParaGard IUD as an emergency contraceptive.
The New York Times published an important story in June 2012 explaining that EC pills work by delaying ovulation, and some pills also thicken cervical mucus so sperm have trouble swimming. Studies do not show that EC works by preventing fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb.
For information on where to get emergency contraception now, call the EC Hotline (1-800-584-9911) or visit not-2-late.com, which includes a locator search for emergency contraception worldwide.
Remember: Emergency contraception pills are available without prescription for women and men 17 and older. Ask your pharmacist for Plan B One-Step, Next Choice or Levonorgestrel Tablets.
Find a Reproductive Health Clinic
Family planning and health clinics such as Planned Parenthood that are funded by Title X (a federal funding program) offer a broad range of services, including birth control, pregnancy tests and abortions, as well as routine physical exams, education on health promotion and disease
prevention, breast and pelvic exams, and STI prevention and testing.
Activism & Politics of Women’s Health
A Brief History of Birth Control
From about 3000 BC to the present!
History of Abortion in the United States
Abortion was practiced legally in the United States until about 1880, by which time most states had banned it except to save the life of the woman. Anti-abortion legislation was part of a backlash against the growing movements for suffrage and birth control—an effort to control women and confine them to a traditional childbearing role.
Read more about steps to make illegal abortion safer, including the work of the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion and the Abortion Counseling Service of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union (code name: Jane), and organizing efforts to change the law.
The Current Politics of Reproductive Rights
Owing to the combination of well-funded and sometimes violent opposition and a diffuse political defense, the issue of abortion has become increasingly stigmatized over the past several decades. As a result, women’s health has become a hot-button issue. This section looks at U.S. policy during the Obama administration and ongoing threats to women’s health.
Working for Reproductive Health & Justice
In recent years, women of color and their allies have organized a reproductive justice movement that examines how issues of race and class affect women’s abilities to exercise their reproductive rights. Many organizations and networks are now taking part. Meet two groups making a difference: SisterSong and National Advocates for Pregnant Women.