Updated December 31, 2009
Women who were seeking a tubal ligation but did not want to undergo the surgery associated with getting their tubes tied were introduced to a celebrated alternative – as the Essure, non-surgical permanent birth control procedure, was FDA-approved in 2002. This type of hysteroscopic sterilization does not require any incisions and consists of micro-inserts (coil implants) that are inserted into the fallopian tubes.
In May 2009, the Essure procedure received widespread publicity when Trista Sutter, who met and fell in love on with Ryan Sutter on the first season of The Bachelorette, announced that she was planning to undergo the Essure procedure because it was the best fit for her and her lifestyle.
In October 2007, The Lancet published its abortion study where the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization examined global abortion trends from 1995 to 2003. The report revealed that countries with the greatest declines in abortion rates were found to be those where contraception use had significantly increased. Additionally, this study shows that one in five pregnancies, world-wide, ends in abortion, and confirmed that the key in reducing the number of abortions is to increase access to and awareness of birth control.
In November 2001, the FDA approved the Ortho Evra Patch. Since becoming available in April 2002, the patch became a popular birth control option. It is a thin, beige, plastic patch that is stuck to the skin once a week for 3 weeks in a row. Each discreet patch releases ethinyl estradiol and norelgestromin through the skin, into the bloodstream, offering pregnancy protection for 7 days.
The patch has faced some setbacks over the decade. In November 2005, then in September 2006 and again in January 2008, the FDA called for updated labels for the Ortho Evra Patch warning users about the increased risk of developing serious blood clots and exposure to about 60% more total estrogen. Since then, Ortho Evra has been named in over 2,000 lawsuits.
In 2007, Title X received a funding increase. This federal program provides family planning services to low-income people; after years of flat-funding, the program finally saw a budget increase. The $17 million increase was the third largest in 25 years. It's estimated that clinics receiving 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, surviving a proposed amendment to an Appropriations Bill that would have prevented their centers from receiving any more funding under Title X of the Public Health Services Act.
In a 2009 report, the Guttmacher Institute further stressed the importance of publicly funded family planning centers.
This decade welcomed the availability of extended cycle birth control pills. These pills allow you to skip your period or reduce the number of times you get a period. Pill brands like Seasonique (FDA-approved in May 2006) reduce periods to only 4 times a year whereas Lybrel (FDA-approved in May 2007) is the first, and only, oral contraceptive designed to completely eliminate monthly periods. Some wonder if extended cycle pills are safe. Yet these pills have proven to be a viable and attractive option for many as they can improve the quality of life if you suffer from menstrual-related issues and reducing monthly cycles can be a great convenience for busy women.
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