Thursday, April 30, 2009

Do You Have a Clinic Near You?

Have you ever wandered around your neighborhood or flipped through the yellow pages, wondering where the closest place to get STD tested was?

I have for sure -- especially when I'd just moved to the City and had to wait two months for an appointment with my OBGYN.

Well Planned Parenthood launched a pretty cool tool this month, a clinic finder that works anywhere in the country! So even if you're away from home and have a scare, you can find a clinic nearby. Check it out -- it's super easy. You just type in your zip code!

So, did you get tested yet this week? What was it like? Were you scared? Where did you go to get tested?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Where is the pop culture?

Last week at the fabulous Words of Choice performance, an audience member was speaking about his time as a TV writer, and how difficult it was to even mention the word abortion in a script.

And that got me thinking -- why is it so rare to see stories about abortion (unless they're cautionary tales that is) in mainstream pop culture?

Penny Lane, the creator of the great documentary The Abortion Diaries has a wonderful resource up on her site: a timeline of when abortion has been mentioned in pop culture. And it's pretty rare! Or at least pretty rare when the character considering an abortion doesn't a) change her mind or b) have something horrible and life-threatening happen to her.

For me, it's a no-brainer that there's so much stigma attached to the issue when we can't even talk about it in the mainstream media. But what do you think? Why are networks so afraid of presenting the procedure when it doesn't have dire consequences?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mobile Health!

Ever wondered how Planned Parenthood reaches so many people? Well this month, it's been by taking to the streets!

Above is a picture of our mobile medical unit, which all throughout the month of April has been administering walk-in STD testing all throughout the city. You may have seen the inside already but if you haven't, they're basically a big clinic inside of an oversize RV. Check them out the next time you see them on the street!

So how many of you have been tested so far? Do you know how at risk you are for STDs? If you haven't been tested, go do it already!

Monday, April 27, 2009


The Onion's take on the Emergency Contraception ruling.

Get Yourself Tested!

Checkout PPNYC's latest radio ad -- running all this week! And don't forget, get yourself tested!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Como Hacer Un Bebe

Thanks to Jo, comes this cute video on "how to make a baby." (note, for real information on how to make a baby, check here)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Latest "storm" parody

As many of you know, with New York State set to vote on same-sex marriage this year, I've been eating up all things marriage equality. So when I saw this parody video of the infamous "gathering storm" video, I had to smile.

Funny, no? Have you seen any other parodies that made you smile? And did you see the story about the hilariously unfortunate acronym for the anti-marriage group?

Did you know this photo was staged?

Neither did I, until I read Megan's fascinating piece over at Jezebel on the history of imagery of the human embryo.

The whole thing is a really interesting piece of not only how images can be changed and interpreted differently, but on how our views on abortion and pregnancy have changed as a society. Definitely worth a read.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

17 Year Olds Can Get Emergency Contraception Without a Prescription!

Great news!

Today the FDA announced that they would go along with a Federal Court's ruling that they make emergency contraception available over-the-counter to anyone over age 17.

Which is great news! Especially since, as the Federal Judge originally cited, the FDA decision to only make emergency contraception available over the counter to those 18+ was based on politics, not science. In fact the Judge said:

"These political considerations, delays and implausible justifications for decision-making are not the only evidence of a lack of good faith and reasoned agency decision-making. Indeed, the record is clear that the FDA's course of conduct regarding Plan B departed in significant ways from the agency's normal procedures regarding similar applications to switch a drug from prescription to non-prescription use."

The United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the world, and it's always seemed like a mistake to me to keep teens from having as many tools as possible to prevent unintended pregnancies. Plus, even the FDA's panel of experts admitted that there was no medical reason to put an age restriction on emergency contraception.

But what do you think? Is the ruling a good thing? Did it not go far enough? Should there be an age limit? And have you ever taken emergency contraception? Could you get it over the counter, or did you need a prescription?

How has the economy affected your birth control?

Last night I was talking with a friend of mine who's recently been laid off, and the conversation turned to health care. She's lucky, her job is paying for her health insurance for an additional six months (or until she finds coverage elsewhere), but after that she's on her own. And it got me thinking, how much is the economy affecting all of our choices about birth control and health care?

At Planned Parenthood we definitely see a lot of uninsured patients - that's a part of being a safety net provider, and we even have a great program to help people get on public insurance if they qualify for it. An there have been a lot of stories about peoples' birth control decisions being affected by the economy.

But what about you? Have you made any decisions about your health based on the economy? Seen a doctor less? Switched birth control? Gone for a more long term option? Or is your life staying pretty much the same?

Monday, April 20, 2009

What are you doing Thursday night?

Hopefully, you've answered 'Going to see Words of Choice at Judson Memorial Church.'

For those of you who've never seen the theater performance before it's a powerful experience -- described as the "Vagina Monologues" only for reproductive rights. The theater performance tells a dozen stories of women (and men) as they navigate their sexuual and reproductive rights.

This variation of the piece has never before been performed in New York City, and will be in town for one night only. Tickes are limited, so get them while you can!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Good news this morning!

New York's Governor Patterson is supposed to introduce a bill on same-sex marriage today. While I was hoping that Albany will do the courageous thing, I was reminded me of how much I love this video from the courage campaign:

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

(sniff, sniff) What's that? No, I'm not tearing up.....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Amazon admits fault

Update on the saga! Patti Smith, an Amazon spokesperson has called the stripping of sales-rankings on LGBT, feminist and reproductive health books as "an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error." Also, apparently more that 57,310 books were effected!

Yet while they're admitting fault, fixing this error has been a slow process. Thousands of books still have yet to regain their sales rank.

I have two friends, Michelle Goldberg and Jessica Valenti, who had their books stripped of their sales rankings. How about you? Did you notice any favorite books that were affected?

On Language

Jezebel ran a piece about this course at Vassar for men on understanding women's language. The course was canceled after just one class, mainly because it had turned into an offensive lecture reinforcing gender and racial stereotypes.

But it got me thinking. Yesterday we wrote about how navigating certain relationship dynamics can be difficult. But do you feel like you use different language to talk about sex and relationships than your partner does? Do men and women use different vocabulary?
How great is this bracelet? The Family Violence Prevention Fund puts them out, and half of the procedes from the RESPECT! bracelet go towards the great work the Fund is doing to prevent dating abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. I love it (thanks, Joy)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My favorite picture of Obama so far

That was my favorite book when I was a kid. Don't you just love it? (yes, I know this has very little to do with reproductive health, but sometimes we all need a little pick-me-up)

Sugar Daddies and Babies?

How many of you all saw this article in the New York Times Magazine this past weekend, about "Sugar Daddies" and "Sugar Babies"?

I'll admit, I was fascinated and couldn't put it down. But over at Salon, Rebecca Traister rips into it for perpetuating gender stereotypes and feeding into the (false) mainstream media narrative of women desperately falling back on gender roles during a recession.

I agree with Rebecca's hesitation - there do seem to be a lot of stories about increasingly (financially) desperate women in this recession. But on the other hand, I felt like this New York Times piece thoughtfully delved into a fascinating gender dynamic that still exists in many romantic (and not just heterosexual) relationships today.

Any relationship that has an unequal balance of money/age/professional success is going to be tricky to navigate. And there are still many people out there, including some of my dear friends, whose qualifications for the perfect partner include a strict analysis of financial means.

So where does the sugar relationship begin and the "normal" relationship end? The New York Times piece argues that the Sugar Daddy/Baby relationship is the extrapolation of traditional power/financial roles involved in dating. But what do you think? Would a "sugar" relationship ever be ok? Was the piece sensationalizing the issue?

All men all the time?

It's a complaint I've heard many of my single female friends make on a regular basis. "I never meet any men!" they'll say. "There are just no men anywhere!"

Well, my dears, Salon has an interesting piece about how in China, they have the opposite problem.

According to a report released on Friday, gender-specific abortion and the higher value placed on male babies have made the gender imbalance worse, with 32 million more men than women in China.

China has initiated a few campaigns to help reverse the imbalance, but so far nothing seems to be working. The idea that a country has placed such a low value on girls that it's lead to a national problem seems really sad to me. But what do you think? And what do you think a solution might be? Should they reverse their one-child-per-family policy? Or should the government push their public education campaign on the value of girls even more than they already do?

Monday, April 13, 2009

[D]Effective Advertising?

Jezebel alerts us to an interesting German ad campaign - portray sperm as Hitler (or Osama Bin Laden or Mao Zedong).

Kind of creepy, right? What do you think? Would this ad make you want to use a condom?

Amazon Fail: Update

Thanks to Salon for pointing us to Dear Jane who's unraveled a little bit of this mystery:
"At the suggestion of someone I looked up the category meta data provided by the publisher to Amazon. I looked up over 40 books that had been deranked and filtered out of search engines. It appears that all the content that was filtered out had either 'gay', 'lesbian', 'transgender', 'erotic' or 'sex' metadata categories. Playboy Centerfold books were categorized as 'nude' and 'erotic photography', both categories that apparently weren’t included in the filter. According to one source, the category metadata is filled in part by the publisher and in part by Amazon.

The question is then who implemented the policy of marking GLBT books as adult and who knew of the implementation? What kind of supervisory person signed off on it?"

What's going on with

Happy Monday everyone!

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. I know mine was great, well mostly. Until I read this disturbing piece of news about

Apparently the book retailer has been stripping the sales ranking off of gay, lesbian and feminist books. For those of you who don't know, a book's sales ranking is what determines if it comes up first or last when you search for a particular subject matter or title. So a book with no sales ranking will come up last, if at all.

The reasons why have been somewhat indecipherable - some sales reps have called it just a glitch while other authors are being told it's because their material was deemed too "adult."

Yet Jezebel points out the interesting contradiction in the "adult" classification. Vibrators and anal plugs have retained their sales ranking, but Ellen DeGeneres' biography was deemed inappropriate. Likewise, books on Coming out, Jessica Valenti's Full Frontal Feminism, and as I learned from Facebook last night the only very recently released but superb Means of Reproduction by Michelle Goldberg have been stripped of their sales rank, but books on "curing" homosexuality, Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds and
The Professional Bachelor Dating Guide: How To Exploit Her Inner Psycho get to keep their sales rankings.

There is a petition up at Care2 that you can sign, and Twitter has added an #amazonfail hashtag to keep track of books which have lost their sales ranking. Or you can just view the Amazon Fail tagged items on itself.

I know I'll be following this story diligently all week, but for now what do you think? On the one hand, it seems like turned super conservative on us. Maybe this is this the new form of censorship? But on the other, the list is so random that it can almost seem arbitrary. Maybe it is a glitch? Or is there a third answer? What do you think? (and sign the petition!)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Prom Sex Tips!

Some of you might know this already, but I am in love with the Midwest Teen Sex Show. I grew up in New York City, so never really had either the Midwest experience or the whole Prom thing. But their videos are consistently both hilarious and really informative. Anything that teaches you accurate information about sex while making you crack up is always good in my book, and this Prom Instructional is no exception.

What do you guys think? Did you go to your prom? Did you like it? Was there pressure to have sex?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Jesus battles the Pope over condoms

I'm loving this video! Thanks to Free Williamsburg for the link.

Sexting: Update

After this last post, a reader directed me to this great article by Violet Blue over at SF Gate which asks: when teens make their own porn, who's being exploited?

What do you think? Can taking nude photos of yourself be healthy or harmful? When I was fifteen there was barely an internet, and I know I'm glad to know that the dumb mistakes I made back then won't be broadcast for all the world to see, but that's no longer the case. Have you ever had something you regret broadcast over the internet?

Teenage Sexuality: How do you teach without the shame?

Do you remember a while back, a few high school girls in Pennsylvania got in trouble for sending semi-nude photos of themselves to friends via cell phone?

The atrocity wasn't that they got in trouble - a school restricting that kind of behavior among students I could maybe understand. It was that the police decided to charge all those involved with trafficking in child pornography.

Now, in a twist, a U.S. District Judge has now issued a restraining order against the original prosecutor, saying his actions went to far.

It's so rare you see a federal judge doing something that actually seems to really protect young girls without shaming them for exploring sexuality, that I consider this District Judge a hero. But it got me thinking, how should the girls parents and authorities responded in the first place? It's natural for teenagers to want to experiment, and the local police forces' strong reaction was definitely creepy. But sending nude or semi-nude pictures of yourself can be really risky. You never know whose hands they'll end up in, and once they've made it online there's no taking them down - readily googleable for any future employer to find.

So what do you think? How should the teens' parents and teachers dealt with this issue?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hilarious! Onion Saves the Day Again.

I love the Onion. And after the depressing news that the Pope was still claiming that condoms can give you AIDS in Africa, well this piece is just perfect.

Breaking: MTV VJ Gets Tested for STDs on Camera!

As some of you may have already heard, this month is Get Yourself Tested Month (or GYT09). Which means that Planned Parenthood has partnered with the Kaiser Family Foundation and MTV to remind all of you how important it is to get tested for STDs on a regular basis!

It's been pretty exciting so far, especially because we get to do cool things like have an MTV VJ come in and get tested for STDs on camera.

Watch the video! Doesn't he make it look easy? I even got to meet Carlos, and he was very sweet. And yes, he really did go through the whole exam and get tested for everything.

What about you? When was the last time you were tested for STDs? Do you think you'd be brave enough to do it on camera?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

When was the last time you were tested for STDs?

Whether you lost your health insurance or are just plain lazy, you may have been putting off getting STD tested lately. But do you know how much of a risk you're facing?

Now you can! As a part of Get Yourself Tested month, Planned Parenthood has made it simple to do a quick assessment of what STDs you might be at risk for via an online quiz. Of course you should all be getting tested on a regular basis anyway - it's just common sense.

What about you guys? When was the last time you were tested? Do you get nervous before you go?

Who would you rather take the pill, you or your boyfriend?

Any of our readers who've actually been on the birth control pill can tell you: the burden of remembering to take your daily dose can sometimes be exhausting. Although thanks to Obama it'll soon be a bit less expensive, you still have to always worry about bringing your pill pack with you, taking it at the same time everyday and worrying what to do if you miss one. And if you're going on vacation around the time you're switching to a new pill pack, well the pharmacy can make the hassle of getting your pills in advance a nightmare.

Yet now, as Marie Claire UK is reporting (via the wonderful Emily at RH Reality Check), there may be a new pill for men in the works!

The good feminist in me knows that I should be excited: Finally! Equity in birth control! But instead it just makes me nervous. How would I know for sure that he was really taking it? Could I really trust a boyfriend to be more responsible than I am? And how long would it be until we were sure that there are no harmful side effects for the men taking it?

So I'm curious what you think. Is this a great new advancement that's been too long in the coming? Will you run out to try it right away? Or would you prefer to be the one in charge of your daily birth control regimen?

Birth Control Pills as Drugs?

Via feministing, a teenager in Virginia was suspended for taking her birth control pills at school. The school's authorities are claiming it's a case of worrying about liability, but I can't help but wonder if they would have made the same choice had she been caught taking anti-depressants or ADD medicine. Especially when I read this:

During two weeks of watching television game shows and trying to keep up with homework online, the Fairfax teen, an honor student and lettered athlete, had time to study the handbook closely. If she had been caught high on LSD, heroin or another illegal drug, she found, she would have been suspended for five days. Taking her prescribed birth-control pill on campus drew the same punishment as bringing a gun to school would have.

What do you think? A case of misdirected overly-cautious administrators? Or did they target birth control directly?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Abortion Ads? reports that the UK might start airing ads for pregnancy services, including abortion, on TV.

On the one hand, why not? On the other hand, I can see how this might make people uncomfortable. So I'd love to hear from our readers -- what do you think? Should the UK allow ads for abortion services on TV? Should the US?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

To Do: Support Clinic Access on your lunch hour

Sick of eating lunch at your desk? Well, PPNYC has something pretty special going on tomorrow during your lunch hour: the City Council is voting on (and approving we hope!) the Clinic Access Bill an important piece of legislation that will help protect our reproductive health care clinics as well as our patients.

That's right even in 2009, patients and staff at reproductive health care centers deal with harassment and intimidation by protesters outside. This bill will help make sure that doesn't happen -- removing a barrier to health care at a time when people are already struggle to get access to care. Doesn't that sound like a good reason to come down to City Hall and celebrate its passage?

So, if you're so inclined, don your Planned Parenthood T Shirt and come on down to City Hall to show your support. We'll be gathering there at 1:30pm. Hope to see you there!

Gossip Girl's Dan Humphrey a Supporter of Planned Parenthood?

Said Gossip Girl's Dan Humphrey in this Monday's episode:
? "All I did was carry the chili and stop a few teenagers from having unprotected sex."

At least he has his priorities straight.