There was a mixed bag of birth control news in 2007. I offer you my "Top 10" list of significant contraception events (both positive and negative) in this 2007 year-in-review of birth control news (in no particular order):
Lybrel Photo (c) NBC 2007
- the 365-day a year birth control pill was approved for use by the FDA on May 22, 2007 as the first, and only, oral contraceptive
that is also designed to eliminate women's monthly periods. In August 2007, Lybrel hit the shelves, and women now have the ability to say no more periods!
2. Conscientious Clauses - Approved in Washington State
Emergency Contraception Photo © 2007 Dawn Stacey licensed to About.com, Inc
Pharmacists in the state of Washington received permission to reject prescriptions for emergency contraception
. A federal judge (appointed by President Bush) suspended Washington’s requirement for all pharmacists to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception. Also known as ”refuse and refer,” this ruling allows a pharmacist to refuse to fill a woman's prescription as long as he/she refers the woman to another pharmacy; thus, now pharmacists have the opportunity to make it take longer for a women to fill this prescription. Given that effectiveness is contingent on how soon a woman can take Plan B
, a pharmacist’s refusal to dispense it can minimize the drug’s effectiveness and make pregnancy more likely.
3. World Contraception Day
Mischa Barton World Contraception Day Photo courtesy of Your-Life.com
The first-ever World Contraception Day
took place - Hollywood actress Mischa Barton presented the launch of World Contraception Day: the first-ever international awareness campaign with the goal of reducing the high levels of unintended pregnancy that occur every year
4. Drastic Results Across College Campuses
Birth Control College Crisis Photo © 2007 Dawn Stacey licensed to About.com, Inc
Birth control costs on college campuses skyrocketed due to Federal Deficit Reduction Act
of 2005 signed into law by Bush in 2006. The DRA put a limit on the price exemptions that allowed college health centers to offer discounted birth control prices. These centers finally felt the wrath of this bill in 2007 when many ran out of their reduced-rate stock and were forced to increase prices to cover the new inflated costs.
5. The Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization Abortion Study
Abortion Protest Photo Courtesy of Jana Birchum/Getty Images
The abortion study
reported in October 2007 in The Lancet
- revealed that countries with the greatest declines in abortion rates were found to be those where contraception use has significantly increased. Additionally, this study shows that one in five pregnancies ends in abortion
, and confirmed that the key in reducing the number of abortions is to increase access to and awareness of birth control.
6. Funding for Family Planning Services (at last)
Access to Birth Control Photo Courtesy of Keith Brofsky/Getty Images
Title X received a funding increase (finally) - Title X is the federal program designed to provide family planning services to low-income people; after years of flat-funding, this program finally saw a slight budget increase. The $17 million dollar increase was the third largest in 25 years. It is estimated that clinics that receive Title X support prevented almost 20 million unintended pregnancies
(9 million of which would have ended in abortion).
Also, Planned Parenthood had a close call in Congress as the organization survived a proposed amendment to an Appropriations Bill which would have prevented the health centers of Planned Parenthood from receiving any more funding under Title X of the Public Health Services Act.
7. Definitive Research Studies Confirm Abstinence-Only Sex Education DO NOT Work
Sex Ed Photo © 2007 Dawn Stacey licensed to About.com, Inc
A national study by Mathematica Policy Research concluded that abstinence-only sex education doesn't keep teens from having sex; and if they choose to have sex, these programs do not affect the likelihood that teens will use a condom
Also in 2007, Dr. Douglas Kirby, a leading researcher in adolescent health, released a study investigating both abstinence-only and full sex education programs. Results showed the only programs that resulted in delayed sexual onset were comprehensive sex ed programs (those that discuss both abstinence and contraception). The study states "there does not exist any strong evidence that any abstinence program delays the initiation of sex, hastens the return to abstinence, or reduces the number of sexual partners."
8. Support the Emergency Contraception Education Act
Plan B © 2007 Dawn Stacey licensed to About.com, Inc.
The Emergency Contraception Education Act
was introduced to the House of Representatives Rep. Louise Slaughter in August 2007. If approved, this bill will direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop and disseminate information about emergency contraception to health-care providers (including recommendations on how to use of EC
) and to create and publicize information on EC to the American public. Find out how to support this important act.
9. The 2008 Presidential Campaigns Begin...
"Vote" Photo Courtesy of Microsoft Online
We are warned about the quiet campaign against birth control
that is sweeping the nation. It seem to me that birth control and abortion both represent different ways of achieving the same
goal: the prevention of unwanted babies.
So, it appears that 2008 is going to be an influential election year; who we elect as our next president will have a huge effect on funding and policies impacting birth control access, newer and more effective contraceptive research, accurate sex education, and abortion rights. This is a vital time to be informed about our nation's politics and to be active in choosing the right person to protect our rights. Know your voting options.
10. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Teen Pregnancy Report
Teen Pregnancy Photo Courtesy of Geoff Manasse/Getty Images
2007 saw the teen pregnancy rate rise
for first time in 14 years. Also, the New York Times
reported that, due to more accurate tracking systems, it appears that there are now significantly more newly infected people with HIV
in the US (new estimates may reach almost 50% higher than previously thought).
And with that list, let's hope that 2008 brings more successes to the birth control battles and debates. Hopefully, between a new President and increased awareness and technology, people of all ages will have greater access and information about birth control. I hope that you enjoyed my 2007 year-in-review. And to think, 16 year-old Jamie Lynn Spear’s pregnancy
didn't make the cut (hope you’re okay with that ☺).