May 01, 2013
FDA Announces It Will Make Plan B Available OTC to Women 15 and Older
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: FDA approves 'morning-after pill' for women 15 and up, by Sam Baker:
The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that the contraceptive known as Plan B should be available without a prescription for all women 15 and older.
The move is sure to stir controversy among social conservatives, some of whom view Plan B as a form of abortion. Unlike other forms of birth control, Plan B is intended for use after sex, rather than before. . . .
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: FDA pressed to go further on Plan B, by Sam Baker:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is under pressure from political activists — and some doctors — to remove all age restrictions on the over-the-counter sale of Plan B.
The FDA made waves Tuesday by allowing the sale of Plan B without a prescription to women 15 and older. Its previous policy had restricted the drug to patients 17 and older.
Women's-health advocates said the move from 17 to 15 was a good first step, but doesn't go far enough. . . .
RH Reality Check: Administration Again Fails on Over-the-Counter Emergency Contraception, by Jodi Jacobson:
Today, in a proposal that can best be described as adding insult to injury, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved making emergency contraception (EC) available over-the-counter for teens and women ages 15 and up. This convoluted proposal from the Obama administration comes despite a court order in early April by U.S. District Court Judge Edward R. Korman to make EC available over-the-counter to all ages within 30 days of his decision. It comes from an administration which pledged to make science the cornerstone of public policy and instead has consistently flouted a wealth of accumulated evidence on emergency contraception. It also comes after several studies showing that current policy requiring prescriptions for some groups and not others has confused so many pharmacists that access to EC has been denied to many who were in fact legally eligible to obtain it quickly. In practice, the new policy will almost certainly perpetuate, not resolve, that confusion. . . .
The Nation: Hey, FDA: Drop the Plan B Restriction, by Jessica Valenti:
Yesterday, the FDA announced that it will make Plan B—also known as emergency contraception (EC) or the morning after pill—available over the counter to women older than 15 years old who can prove their age. This decision comes less than a week before the end of a thirty-day deadline imposed by a federal judge mandating EC be available without a prescription to women of all ages. So despite the FDA’s announcement, the Obama administration still needs to appeal the judge’s decision or request a stay by Monday. . . .
February 27, 2013
Studies Confirm Emergency Contraception Does Not Cause Abortion
NPR: Morning-After Pills Don't Cause Abortion, Studies Say, by Julie Rovner:
The most heated part of the fight between the Obama administration and religious groups over new rules that require most health plans to cover contraception actually has nothing to do with birth control. It has to do with abortion.
Specifically, do emergency contraceptives interfere with a fertilized egg and cause what some consider to be abortion? . . .
February 16, 2013
Restrictions on Telemedical Abortions: Five Facts to Remember
ThinkProgress: Five Facts to Remember as Anti-Choice Activists Launch Attack Against 'Webcam Abortions', by Tara Culp-Ressler:
Abortion opponents have rushed to introduce a slew of new abortion restrictions in the 2013 legislative session, attacking reproductive rights from all angles. But it’s not just about restricting access to existing medical procedures. Anti-choice activists are also looking ahead to the future, attempting to prevent medical technology from advancing to better accommodate women’s reproductive care. . . .
January 27, 2013
Medical Groups Encourage Screening for Reproductive Coercion
Medical News Today: Reproductive Coercion Common in Abusive Relationships, by Kelly Fitzgerald:
Adolescent girls and women should now be screened for reproductive coercion, a form of abuse that occurs when male partners sabotage their contraception intentionally.
This form of abuse, known as reproductive coercion, can manifest in several ways, such as deliberately giving a partner a sexually transmitted disease (STIs), forcing a partner to have an undesired abortion or pregnancy, or seizing control of a woman's contraceptive pills. . . .
December 28, 2012
Stem Cell Research Produces Small But Steady Gains
The Atlantic: 2013: Year of the Stem Cell, by Lindsay Abrams:
Researchers have already safely injected stem cells into patients with neurodegenerative diseases and spinal cord injuries -- and they've seen the potential to vastly improve lives.
. . . In 1998, when human embryonic stem cells were first isolated, we anticipated a "rush of medical advances," as The New York Times put it. That promise -- along with all of the ensuing controversy -- is still alive, has already become reality in select cases -- for example, with bone marrow transplantations -- and still has plans to live up to all of the expectations that have been set for it.
"The question now," the Times wrote then, "is what use can be made of the potentially awesome power to rejuvenate human cells." After 15 years, there are a lot of people waiting for a miracle, for the day cell-based therapy gives back what's been taken from them.
November 29, 2012
OB-GYNs Announce Support for Sale of Oral Contraceptives Over the Counter
Slate: OB-GYNs Back Over-the-Counter Birth Control, but Hurdles Remain, by Abby Ohlheiser:
The nation's largest group of obstetricians and gynecologists announced yesterday that oral contraceptives are safe to sell without a prescription, a huge boon for advocates of increasing contraceptive accessibility. . . .
American Academy of Pediatrics Supports Increased Access to Plan B for Teens
Feminist Majority Foundation - Feminist Daily News: AAP Advocates Plan B Access for Teens:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released new policy guidelines today in support of increasing access to emergency contraception among teenage girls.
Currently young women under the age of 17 must have a prescription in order to get emergency contraception such as Plan B. This restricts access to young women and girls who can't get a prescription after unprotected sex in time to use emergency contraception effectively or are afraid that a doctor will tell their parents. The new AAP policy encourages that pediatricians write a prescription for young women of reproductive age in advance of any sexual activity, along with educating pediatricians about various emergency contraceptive methods including "off-label" combinations of oral contraceptives. . . .
October 30, 2012
Serious Birth Complications on the Rise for U.S. Women
Reuters: Serious birth complications rising in the U.S., by Amy Norton:
Between 1998 and 2009, the rate of serious complications like heart attack, stroke, severe bleeding and kidney failure during or after childbirth roughly doubled among U.S. women, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). . . .
September 23, 2012
Study Shows More than 2 in 5 U.S. Women Don't Use Contraception
The Huffington Post: Birth Control Study: Over 2 In 5 Women In The United States Don't Use Contraception, by Emma Gray:
Despite the availability of contraception, over two in five women in the United States forgo any form of protection during sex, says a new survey, possibly because they misjudge how likely they are to get pregnant.
The Contraception in America study, conducted by medical communications company Strategic Pharma Solutions and sponsored by pharmaceutical company Teva Women's Health, looked at 1,000 women between the ages of 18 and 49, and also surveyed 100 OB-GYNs and 101 primary care physicians who treat women, reported ScienceDaily. . . .
September 22, 2012
ACOG Recommends IUDs and Implants as Best Contraceptive Methods for Teen Girls
WebMD: Which Birth Control Methods Are Best for Teens?, by Daniel J. DeNoon:
More than 40% of teens are sexually active. Nearly all of them use some kind of birth control. But fewer than 1 in 20 uses the most effective contraceptives. . . .
August 24, 2012
Anti-Choice Doctor Promotes Myths About Rape and Pregnancy
CNN - Anderson Cooper 360: Akin's claims called 'utter hogwash':
Doctors are debunking Rep. Todd Akin's misinformation on rape and pregnancy. Anderson Cooper talks to Dr. David Grimes about those claims and his reaction to Dr. Wilke's false information they are based upon.
See the video here.
August 23, 2012
Experimental Cancer Drug Shows Promise as Male Oral Contraceptive
CBS News – Healthpop.com: Experimental cancer drug makes mice infertile without side effects, scientists claim male birth control discovery, by Ryan Jaslow:
August 03, 2012
Women of Color in U.S. More Likely Than White Women To Die In Childbirth
Reuters: More minority women die in childbirth, by Genevra Pittman:
Minority women in the United States are more likely to die during or soon after childbirth than white women, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Black, Hispanic and Asian women - and a handful of white women not born in the U.S. - accounted for 41 percent of all births nationwide between 1993 and 2006, but for 62 percent of pregnancy-related deaths, researchers found. . . .
July 04, 2012
Researchers Sequence Fetal Genome Using Mother's Blood
The Wall Street Journal: Breakthrough: Mother's Blood Reveals Fetal DNA, by Amy Dockser Marcus:
Researchers said Wednesday they were able to sequence the entire genome of a fetus using only a blood sample from the mother, an advance in the effort to find non-invasive ways for expectant parents to determine if their babies will be born with genetic conditions.
The findings, from researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine, reflect intense interest in finding fast, relatively inexpensive and accurate ways to predict genetic conditions without the risks associated with currently available tests. . . .
July 01, 2012
Study Suggests Women Who Fear Childbirth Have Longer Labor
TIME: Why Women Who Fear Childbirth Spend More Time in Labor, by Alexandra Sifferlin:
Women who fear childbirth just got something else to worry about: a recent Norwegian study found that women who were scared of giving birth ended up spending more time in labor, about 8 hours versus 6.5 for women who weren’t afraid. . . .
The study also found that mothers who feared childbirth were also more likely than unafraid women to need an emergency C-section (11% versus 7%) or assistance with instruments such as forceps for vaginal delivery (17.0% versus 11%). . . .
June 13, 2012
Study Suggests Birth Control Pills Cause Slightly Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Boston.com: Birth control pills raise risk of heart attacks and strokes, but only slightly, by Deborah Kotz:
A large-scale study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine brings more clarity to the cardiovascular disease risks caused by birth control pills, adding to previous findings from smaller studies.
Some formulations of oral contraceptives, which contain a mix of estrogen and progesterone, can double a woman’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke, according to the new research, but in absolute terms the risk is very low because young women under age 50 rarely have heart attacks or strokes. . . .
June 11, 2012
WHO and CDC Warn Gonorrhea Could Become Uncurable
U.S. News and World Report: World Health Organization warns Gonorrhea Could Join HIV as 'Uncurable', by Jason Koebler:
Both the WHO and the CDC say it's time to "sound the alarm" on the increase in drug-resistant gonorrhea
First, it was the Centers for Disease Control—now, the World Health Organization is warning that Gonorrhea could join herpes and HIV/AIDS as "uncurable" sexually-transmitted diseases.
"We're sitting on the edge of a worldwide crisis," says Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, of WHO's department of reproductive health and research. "There's a general complacency around sexually transmitted infections in general, and this doesn't have the same political or social pressure as HIV. That's because gonorrhea has been so easily curable so far, but in the future, that won't be the case.". . .
May 23, 2012
Long-Lasting Contraceptives More Effective Than Pill at Preventing Pregnancy
The Wall Street Journal: Long-Lasting Birth Control Cuts Pregnancy Rate, by Jennifer Corbett Dooren:
A new study confirms that long-acting forms of contraception such as intrauterine devices and implants are better than birth control pills and patches at preventing pregnancies, giving doctors new ammunition to recommend these methods. . . .
May 17, 2012
Stem-Cell-Based Drug Approved in Canada for Treatment of Graft-Versus-Host Disease
The New York Times: A Stem-Cell-Based Drug Gets Approval in Canada, by Andrew Pollack:
In a boost for the field of regenerative medicine, a small biotechnology company has received regulatory approval in Canada for what it says is the first manufactured drug based on stem cells.
The company, Osiris Therapeutics of Columbia, Md., said Thursday that Canadian regulators had approved its drug Prochymal, to treat children suffering from graft-versus-host disease, a potentially deadly complication of bone marrow transplantation. . . .
May 11, 2012
Contraceptive Patches and Vaginal Rings Pose Greater Risk of Blood Clots Than Pill
Using skin patches or vaginal rings for contraception presents a higher risk of developing serious blood clots than the pill, according to researchers.
A study, published on the BMJ website, followed all women in Denmark for a decade to compare the risks of developing clots.
The authors said women should be aware of the risks with each form of contraception. . . .