Record teen pregnancy low rate due to increased contraceptive use

Teenage_lovers Reuters HealthDay reported on November 30, 2006 that according to an article in the online issue of the American Journal of Public Health on November 30, 2006, the reason that the teen pregnancy rate has dropped to record lows is because teens are using contraceptives in increasing numbers.

--The number of American teenage girls who are becoming pregnant has dropped dramatically since 1990, and researchers say an increase in the use of condoms among teens may be the reason why.

The finding suggests that teens are increasingly turning to contraception as a means of avoiding early pregnancy, even as conservative groups point to abstinence as the only sure means of doing so.

"It is remarkable that teens are becoming better contraceptors even as there are efforts afoot to reduce the information and skill-building that they receive about contraception," said Freya L. Sonenstein, a professor and director of the Center for Adolescent Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

She was not involved in the study, which was conducted by researchers at Columbia University and the Alan Guttmacher Institute, both in New York City. Their report is published in the Nov. 30 online issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

To read the HealthDay report click here.


Teen birth rate in U.S. at all time low. Birth rate to unmarried moms is up

According to a press release from the Center For Disease Control on November 21, 2006, the teenage birth rate in the United States dropped to an all time low in 2005. The biggest drop was in black teenagers.

The teen birth rate in the United States fell to its lowest level ever in 2005, according to the latest birth statistics for the nation, released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

.....The decline in teen childbearing was especially pronounced for non-Hispanic black teens ages 15-17 - the birth rate for this group fell 6 percent in 2005 compared to 2004 and 59 percent since 1991. In total, there were 421,123 births to females under age 20 in 2005.

"The decline in teenage childbearing has been documented across all race and ethnic populations, but most impressive has been the decline in these rates for non-Hispanic black teenagers," said Brady Hamilton, a researcher at CDC's National Center for Health Statistics and lead author of the report.

Interestingly, while the teen birth rate is down, the births to unmarried females 15 - 44 in the United States is up.

There was another increase in unmarried childbearing in 2005. The number of births to unmarried mothers of all ages rose 4 percent from 1.47 million in 2004 to 1.52 million in 2005; while the rate increased to 47.6 births per 1,000 unmarried females aged 15-44 in 2005, up from 46.1 in 2004.

Link: CDC - Media Relations - Press Release - November 13, 2006.


Breeding Christian Warriors: The QuiverFull movement

Quiverfull_1

Kathryn Joyce has an interesting article in the November 27, 2006 issue of The Nation magazine about the fundamentalist Christian Nationalist movement called Quiverfull which promotes large families and sees it as a woman's duty to breed as many children as possible for the Christian War against what they perceive as an ungodly world.

Quiverfull parents try to have upwards of six children. They home-school their families, attend fundamentalist churches and follow biblical guidelines of male headship--"Father knows best"--and female submissiveness. They refuse any attempt to regulate pregnancy. Quiverfull began with the publication of Rick and Jan Hess's 1989 book, A Full Quiver: Family Planning and the Lordship of Christ, which argues that God, as the "Great Physician" and sole "Birth Controller," opens and closes the womb on a case-by-case basis. Women's attempts to control their own bodies--the Lord's temple--are a seizure of divine power.

To read the article click on the link below.

Link: 'Arrows for the War'.


Government censured on family planning policies

Reuters reported on November 17, 2006 that the GAO, the Government Accountability Office, questions whether the Republican driven family planning policies and programs work. There is no evidence that abstinence based programs work. They are religiously and ideologically driven and are not science based.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A congressional report has criticized the Bush administration for failing to check if federally funded abstinence-only programs actually work to curb teen sex. ADVERTISEMENT Advocacy groups joined the criticism, and also attacked the appointment of a top family planning official who they say opposes any use of contraceptives. The advocates said both developments showed the government of President George W. Bush was determined to impose a deeply conservative Christian agenda onto federal programs. The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said the Health and Human Services Department was funding controversial abstinence-only programs without checking to see whether they reduced teen pregnancy rates.

Much of the Bush administration's policies and programs have been religiously driven. Science and evidence based programs and policies have been shunted aside in favor of ideology. This has been a government moving towards fascism not towards democracy. Hopefully, the democratic takeover of the congress will help restore rationality to our national policies and programs.

Link: Government censured on family planning policies - Yahoo! News.


Emergency Kindness provides emergency contraception to women where local barriers exist.

Emergency_kindness

This is what it has come to in parts of this country where the Christian Taliban has taken over and emergency contraception is not available. I am embarassed to say that this happens not in some Southern backwater, but right here in New York State where we pride ourselves on being well educated and well informed. However, in the Mohawk Valley section of New York State at a Rite Aide pharmacy in Gloversville and a CVS pharmacy in Saratoga Springs women have been refused Plan B by pharmacists according to an article in the Saratogan on 09/21/06.

'This is not the abortion bill. It is not RU-486. They are very different. The EC prevents pregnancy,' said Heller, who provides medical care and supervision to 50,000 patients a year in the 12 counties covered by the organization.

The two pharmacies refusing to refill prescriptions are Rite Aid in Gloversville and CVS in Saratoga Springs.

'EC prevents pregnancy. So when the pharmacist said the woman was being irresponsible and should suffer the consequences, I felt it was my job to pursue this,' said Heller. 'Saying someone should 'suffer the consequences' is a personal opinion -- not a medical one,' he said.

EC consists of a higher concentration of the dosage found in birth control pills, Heller explained.

'The sooner it is taken, the more effective it is. It is 90 to 95 percent effective if taken immediately,' he said. Heller offered that could be used in circumstances of unplanned potential pregnancy including assault, or when a condom breaks.

'This is to reduce abortion and unwanted pregnancy,' Heller said. 'Unplanned pregnancy is huge in this country and abortion is an emotionally difficult thing for the woman. I wouldn't be sad if I never had to do another abortion ever again, but someone has to be there. This is a way to prevent abortion.'

NYCLU filed complaints Aug. 15 against the pharmacists who refused to fill patient prescriptions for refill doses of EC. They were filed on behalf of Heller and PPMH health care providers Claudina Ashelman Owen and Colleen Shaw. All three were recipients of the night's giraffe awards. Owen is a nurse practitioner in Saratoga Springs.

It is interesting that an underground operation, in defiance of the oppression and subjugation of women by the Christian Nationalists, has developed and which calls itself "Emergency Kindness".

Welcome to Emergency Kindness, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing emergency contraception for women in need. Emergency Kindness is run by a team of "Janes" spread throughout the country. EC is hard to get in America due to the widespread practice of doctors and pharmacists refusing to give the pill because it conflicts with their personal beliefs. If you are having trouble procuring EC, we will do everything in our power to get it to you before your 72 hours are up.

For more information click on the link below.

Link: Emergency Kindness.


Abortion does not increase breast cancer risk

Breast_cancer According to a study reported in the October, 2006 issue of the International Journal of Cancer, there is no positive correlation between abortion and breast cancer in women.

Having one spontaneous abortion did not affect the risk of breast cancer and having two or more spontaneous abortions only slightly increased the risk. No evidence of a relationship between one or more induced abortions and breast cancer was found.

"Overall, the findings provide further unbiased evidence of the lack of an adverse effect of induced abortion on breast cancer risk," the team concludes.

Link: MedlinePlus: Abortion does not increase breast cancer risk.


Mentors help teen moms avoid second child

African_american_teen_mentors Reuters reported on October 4, 2006 on a study which appears in the October, 2006 issue of the journal, Pediatrics, which found that providing a mentor to African American teenage first time mothers significantly reduces the birth of a second child.

"Mentoring programs, which connect adolescents with adults for support and advice, have attracted national attention as a strategy to reduce risk behaviors among adolescents," they point out.

The mentors in their program were black, college-educated, young mothers, each of whom had one preschool-age child. By portraying themselves as "big sisters," they took on a supportive role rather than an authoritarian role.

The teen moms and mentors aimed to meet twice a month starting when the first child was born and continuing, if possible, for 12 months. Mentors were trained to follow an established curriculum that touched on everything from sex education to taking care of a baby.

The effectiveness of the mentoring program was evident after only two visits and increased over time, Black and colleagues found.

Having just two or more "big sister" meetings increased the odds of not having a second child more than threefold, they report. Only one mother who had six or more meetings with her mentor had a second infant.

Teens who gave birth to a second child after 24 months reported high-self esteem, positive life events, and were romantically involved and living with the first infant's father.

Link: MedlinePlus: Mentors help teen moms avoid second child.


Menstruation and masturbation should be illegal

Menstruation_is_murder

According to Stuart Coleman at Daily Irreverence, menstruation should be illegal as well as masturbation.

Since there’s just as much “potential” for a single egg to come to term as an externally-fertilized embryo, logically we should ban menstruation as immoral. Women of the earth, lend me your eggs, I mean, ears! Every time you menstruate, you murder a potential child! You must stop this indiscriminant killing! Each egg is precious, it carries with it the potential to make a human, for all it needs is sperm! Indeed, every sperm is sacred, and male masturbation kills thousands of potential children, and should thusly be outlawed!

Go to Stuart's post clicking on the link above and be sure to watch the YouTube video which is amusing and cute.


Do school based health centers lower teen pregnancy rates? Yes

Teen_pregnancy Do school based health centers help reduce teen pregnancy rates. The answer is clearly yes, significantly, in high schools in Denver, Colorado with high percentages of African American students according to a study publiched in the September, 2006 issue of the American Journal Of Public Health

A high adolescent fertility rate (165 births/1000) in 1992 among Black students in Denver high-school areas with school-based health centers declined to a low rate (38/1000) in 1997 that matched the rate of school areas that did not have school-based health centers. Rates declined for both types of areas over the study period, but the rate of decline in the areas with school-based health centers was significantly greater (77% vs 56%).

Link: School-Based Health Centers and the Decline in Black Teen Fertility During the 1990s in Denver, Colorado -- Ricketts and Guernsey 96 (9): 1588 -- American Journal of Public Health.


FDA Approves Over-the-Counter Access for Plan B for Women 18 and Older

Morning_after_pill_1 The U.S. Federal Drug Administration announced in a press release yesterday, August 24, 2006 that it has approved Over The Counter Access for Plan B, the so called "morning after pill" for women 18 and older. Prescription by a physician is still required for women 17 and younger.

Link: FDA Approves Over-the-Counter Access for Plan B for Women 18 and Older--Prescription Remains Required for Those 17 and Under.