Our board member Dr. Willie Parker said:
Twice a month I travel from my home in Birmingham, Alabama, to the last clinic in Mississippi that provides abortions, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization. There I am one of only two obstetrician/gynecologists in the entire state who provides this critical reproductive health care. I am also a plaintiff in an ongoing lawsuit aimed at keeping this clinic open.
I have spent over two years fighting on behalf of this clinic. And the organization that trained me and guides me in this work is Physicians for Reproductive Health. I ask you to please join me in supporting them with a contribution for #GivingTuesday at a challenging time for women’s reproductive rights.
By contributing to this vibrant, sophisticated, and remarkably effective organization on #GivingTuesday, you are helping to ensure that more physicians have the skills and support they need to advocate for all patients… because without doctor-advocates like me, this care will not be available anywhere.
You can play a meaningful role this #GivingTuesday. It's easy: You encourage your friends and loved ones to support Physicians by sharing our Facebook and Twitter updates on #GivingTuesday and by letting them know how they can donate this holiday season. Or, craft your own Facebook or Twitter messages telling people why you give to us! Whatever you decide, we are grateful for your support. Thank you.
LARC Awareness Week is November 16–22, 2014. Our Reproductive Health Advocacy Fellow Dr. Kathleen Morrell discusses why long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) are a great option for teens.
Over the summer, two sisters who were heading off to college came to my clinic. These two bright, talented, and determined young women were determined to get as much as they could out of the next four years. And they’re counting on their athletic scholarships for their college careers. They don’t want unintended pregnancy to stand in the way of their dreams. This is why they both requested intrauterine devices (IUDs) that day.
I see a lot of young women in my office for the same reason. Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC), like IUDs and the implant, are a great option for teens who don’t want to worry about pregnancy. LARCs are the most effective reversible birth control methods we have, and as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology have noted, they are appropriate for teens.
IUDs are the most popular method of birth control used by family planning practitioners, which speaks to their safety and efficacy. Most women are excellent IUD candidates, regardless of age or whether they’ve had children or not. And depending on what IUD option they choose, they don’t need to worry about birth control for three, five, or ten years.
Despite all this, there is still a great deal of misinformation out there about IUDs in particular. Sometimes a patient will say that she’s interested in getting an IUD but that a friend told her that they were dangerous, or that she heard only women who have had kids can use them. I always explain what I know to be true: IUDs are safe and effective and appropriate for women of all ages.
The implant (Nexplanon®) is also popular with my younger patients. In one large contraceptive study, over 40% of those under 18 chose the implant. Smaller than a matchstick, it is discreet and hidden under the skin of the inner arm. It is an easy two-minute insertion that feels like getting a shot and doesn’t require a pelvic exam. It has the lowest failure rate of any form of contraception — 0.05% — and works for three years.
I want all my teen patients to leave my office with the birth control method that is right for them, which is why we discuss all the options available. If you are a health care practitioner looking to learn more about LARC and teens, here are some great resources:
- The NYC IUD Taskforce offers resource pages that are valuable for providers everywhere on Adolescents and IUDs, IUD as EC, and same-day insertion.
- Physicians for Reproductive Health and NYPATH co-sponsored a webinar for health care providers titled “Adolescents and LARC: Fact, Fiction, and First Line Contraception,” which can be accessed via this link.
- If you would like to learn more about copper IUDs as emergency contraception, download our emergency contraception practitioner’s guide.