birth control

The Food and Drug Administration took a big-tent approach earlier this month when it approved two new forms of birth control that seek to prevent pregnancy in very different ways.

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The condom, the pill and now, the smartphone?

Natural Cycles, a mobile fertility app, this month became the first ever digital contraceptive device to win FDA marketing approval. 

COURTESY OF BAYER HEALTHCARE

The maker of a permanent contraceptive implant subject to thousands of injury reports and repeated safety restrictions by regulators said Friday that it will stop selling the device in the U.S., the only country where it remains available.

At some point, you or a woman you know has likely looked through a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves. The book was revolutionary when it was first published in the early 1970s. It taught women about their own anatomy and sexuality at a time when talking frankly about sex was considered — well, unladylike.

Rachel Ralph works long hours at an accounting firm in Oakland, Calif., and coordinates much of her life via the apps on her phone.

So when she first heard several months ago that she could order her usual brand of birth control pills via an app and have them delivered to her doorstep in a day or two, it seemed perfect. She was working 12-hour days.

"Food was delivered; dinner was often delivered," Ralph says. "Anything I could get sent to my house with little effort — the better."

States Extend Medicaid For Birth Control, Cutting Costs

Mar 22, 2018
Anna Gorman/KHN

The Trump administration is weighing whether to allow Texas to receive millions of federal Medicaid dollars for its family planning program, which bars abortion providers.

It's long been known that hormonal contraception, like any medicine, carries some risks. But doctors and women have hoped that the newer generations of low-dose contraceptive pills, IUDs and implants eliminated the breast cancer risk of earlier, higher-dose formulations.

Now a big study from Denmark suggests the elevated risk of getting breast cancer — while still very small for women in their teens, 20s and 30s – holds true for these low-dose methods, too.

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Two national advocacy groups filed a federal lawsuit in Indiana on Tuesday challenging a rule change by President Donald Trump's administration allowing more employers to opt out of no-cost birth control for workers.

The Trump administration has made a number of changes to health policy in the past two weeks, raising questions about how consumers will be affected. Will the new rules for birth control coverage affect access to an intrauterine device? Might an association health plan help bring down costs for workers at small businesses? And if you're healthy, doesn't a short-term health plan that is cheaper than marketplace coverage make sense? Here are some answers to those questions.

Few people were surprised last week when the Trump administration issued a rule to make it easier for some religious employers to opt out of offering no-cost prescription birth control to their female employees under the Affordable Care Act.

Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

The Trump administration's new birth control rule is raising questions among some doctors and researchers, who say it overlooks known benefits of contraception while selectively citing data that raise doubts about effectiveness and safety.

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.

In Texas, women with limited access to abortions are traveling across the border to find a drug that will induce miscarriages. In Mississippi, anti-abortion groups are opening crisis pregnancy centers across from abortion clinics to persuade women to keep their babies. And one company offers permanent birth control through the insertion of a simple device – that’s ended up causing health complications for thousands of women. This week, we look into pregnancy and the ways people try to prevent it, end it and save it.

If you're failing less, then you're succeeding more, right? That's exactly what appears to be happening with birth control in the United States, according to a new study released by the Guttmacher Institute.

When Zika Hits, A Push For Birth Control And Abortion?

May 12, 2016
Eric Gay/Associated Press / Associated Press Photo

There's little doubt: Zika is coming to the continental United States, bringing frightening birth defects — and, most likely, newly urgent discussions about abortion and contraception.

Supreme Court Takes Up Birth Control Access — Again

Mar 24, 2016
Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press / Associated Press Photo

On the sixth anniversary of the enactment of the federal Affordable Care Act, the law was back before a seemingly divided Supreme Court Wednesday.

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.)

Will Pharmacists Prescribing The Pill Increase Access?

Dec 22, 2015
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California and Oregon have passed laws allowing women to bypass their doctors and get birth control prescribed by a pharmacist. Many doctors say this is safe, but others argue that these measures don’t go far enough in ensuring women have access to these contraceptives and would prefer birth control pills be offered over the counter.

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The Supreme Court is wading into its fourth dispute over President Barack Obama's 5-year-old health care overhaul.

Contraceptive Implant Under Microscope

Sep 24, 2015
COURTESY OF BAYER HEALTHCARE

Kim Hudak was a young mother who was done having children when she volunteered for a clinical trial to an experimental birth control implant designed to make her sterile without tube tying surgery.

Women In Combat Zones Can Face Difficulty Getting Some Contraceptives

Aug 11, 2015
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Next year, the military will officially lift restrictions on women in combat, the end of a process that may open up as many as 245,000 jobs that have been off limits to women. But women who deploy overseas may continue to face obstacles in another area that can have a critical impact on their military experience: contraception.

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The number of abortions performed in Florida dropped by 10 percent between 2010 and 2014, but the decrease is less than in other Republican-led states that have more aggressive restrictions on the procedure.

Roughly 72,100 abortions were performed in Florida in 2014, a 9.7 percent dip from about 79,900 in 2010, according to state health records. The number of abortion clinics has remained steady at about 70 during the time period.

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A judge in Florida has clarified the steps organizations must take to get exemptions to the birth control mandate required under the Affordable Care Act.

The federal judge in Fort Myers on Tuesday granted an injunction to the Christian and Missionary Alliance Foundation, allowing them to stop paying for contraception in their plan.

Tom Beckwith, a Largo small-business owner, welcomed the news that he would not have to pay for his employees’ access to certain products that he thinks cause abortions. But Arlene Davidson, state policy director for a Jewish women’s group, viewed the news as a major defeat for women.  

The Food and Drug Administration says it is reviewing whether the maker of the most widely used emergency contraceptive pill needs to change its label in light of new evidence that it doesn't work to prevent pregnancy in overweight or obese women.

The Obama administration is moving to end a long-running controversy over making no-cost birth control available under the federal health law.

Women of all ages will soon be able to buy emergency contraceptives over the counter without a prescription, now that the Obama administration has decided to stop fighting a judge's order to make the drugs more easily available.

But better access to emergency contraception doesn't necessarily reduce rates of unintended pregnancy, research has found. Why that's so remains unclear, although researchers have some ideas.

The administration's actions this week on emergency contraception have left many women's health groups sputtering with anger.

But what really has some of the President Obama's usual allies irritated is the fact that the moves are in direct contrast to speeches he made in just the past week.

One of the more popular provisions of the federal health law requires that women be given much freer access to prescription methods of birth control. That includes not only the pill, but implants and IUDs as well.

But what happens if there are not enough doctors to prescribe those contraceptives?

That's exactly what worries some reproductive health advocates, as efforts are underway to rewrite rules governing the training of the nation's family doctors.

Starting at 2 p.m. in Tallahassee on Monday, the House and Senate Committees on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will meet in joint session to hear from experts on health-insurance exchanges. That session is scheduled for Web-streaming over The Florida Channel.