contraception | KUOW News and Information

contraception

Updated 4:52 pm

The Trump administration is rolling back the Obama-era requirement that employer-provided health insurance policies cover birth control methods at no cost to women.

According to senior officials with the Department of Health and Human Services, the goal of the new rule is to allow any company or nonprofit group to exclude the coverage for contraception if it has a religious or moral objection.

A crowd of women in pink Planned Parenthood T-shirts surrounded Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday morning as he signed a bill to improve access to birth control.

In the two weeks since the election, Planned Parenthood Federation of America has seen a huge increase in volunteers and donations – over 200,000 donations in a single week. But this surge in support hasn't reached many other reproductive health organizations. And many of these centers are already struggling to meet a spike in demand for long-acting contraception after the election of Donald Trump.

Nurse practitioner Kim Hamm talks in soothing tones to her 14-year-old patient as she inserts a form of long-acting contraception beneath the skin of the girl's upper arm.

"This is the numbing medicine, so you're going to feel me touch you here," she says, taking the teen's arm. "Little stick, one, two three, ouch. And then a little bit of burn."

Teen pregnancy is way down. And a study suggests that the reason is increased, and increasingly effective, use of contraceptives.

From 2007 to 2013, births to teens age 15 to 19 dropped by 36 percent; pregnancies fell by 25 percent from 2007 to 2011, according to federal data.

birth control contraception
Flickr Photo/Raychel Mendez (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/7o4hRZ

People’s medical records and personal information are protected under federal law, but there’s a loophole in the law that allows employers to access information about employees’ health.

You know those wellness programs that employers use to help improve workers’ health?  They hold a wealth of information about employees: their lifestyles, diet, and medication, including birth control. 

She was a mother in rural Ghana. She only wanted four children. But she had seven.

That's a story that Faustina Fynn-Nyame told at the Women Deliver conference this week in Copenhagen, Denmark. Fynn-Nyame works with the reproductive health care nonprofit Marie Stopes International.

"She was let down by the community, the government and us," Fynn-Nyame told the audience. And there are millions of women like this Ghanaian mom, unable to get access to contraception.

Pregnant women worry about all kinds of things. Can I drink alcohol? (No.) Can I take antidepressants? (Maybe.) Can I do the downward dog? (Yes.)

Kevin Stormans, owner of Ralph's Thriftway, is at the heart of a seven-year legal over whether pharmacists can withhold prescriptions for religious reasons. The debate began over whether pharmacists may refuse to dispense the contraception pill Plan B.
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Pharmacists in Washington state must stock emergency contraceptive – even if they believe it goes against their religious beliefs.

A federal appeals court says the pharmacy rule does not infringe on religious freedom.

Oregon will become the first state in the nation to let patients get up to a year's worth of prescription birth control at a time.

Oregon lawmakers will consider a proposal that would allow women to get oral contraceptives and contraceptive patches without a doctor's prescription.

KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Marcie Sillman speaks with Patricia Coffey and Maggie Kilbourne-Brook, both of the Seattle-based global health nonprofit PATH, about the Caya countoured diaphragm, also known as the SILCS diaphragm, which was recently approved by the FDA.

Oregon has implemented a number of ways to measure the success of the health care changes its implemented — from cancer screenings to how well patients are controlling diabetes.

Next year, the metrics will include things like how many sealants dentists put on kids’ teeth to prevent cavities; patient smoking rates; and the rate of contraceptive use among women who don’t want to get pregnant.

Last week, 13 women died in India after undergoing sterilization procedures in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, possibly because of tainted pills administered after the surgery. This tragedy has cast a negative light on sterilization.

In the 1950s, four people — the founder of the birth control movement, a controversial scientist, a Catholic obstetrician and a wealthy feminist — got together to create a revolutionary little pill the world had never seen before.

They were sneaky about what they were doing — skirting the law, lying to women about the tests they performed and fibbing to the public about their motivations.

"Always remember to use protection" is a fairly straightforward message for sexually active teens. But young women have a lot of options when it comes to the types of protection they can choose to use.

Flickr Photo/Mara (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Kirsten Johansen, senior director of clinical operations at Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, about today's recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics that teenage girls who have sex should use intrauterine devices or hormonal implants.

Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Free contraceptive coverage is mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

But in the landmark Hobby Lobby decision last June, the Supreme Court ruled that closely held corporations are exempt from the law if the owners object on religious grounds.