Now That 15-Year-Olds Can Access Emergency Contraception, Can We Get Rid of Those Terrible Subway Ads?

After an election season infused with contraception-bashing partisanship, on Tuesday the FDA lowered the age at which a person can access Plan B One-Step to 15. The federal government had required that women under 17 years-old obtain a prescription for emergency contraception, but in early April, a federal judge ordered that the pill be made available over the counter without an age restriction by next week.*

"Research has shown that access to emergency contraceptive products has the potential to further decrease the rate of unintended pregnancies in the United States," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement.

Does this mean we can fully ditch that god-awful ad campaign now? In March, New York City's own teen pregnancy prevention efforts came under fire for a series of subway posters featuring tearful, defeatist babies. "I'm twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen," some read. "Got a good job? I cost thousands of dollars each year," read another.

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These New Teen Pregnancy Ads on the Subway Are Something Else

New York City Department of Social Services
Only Nick Kroll's pet plastic surgery ad for Comedy Central's Kroll Show has this beat.

Today, ads in the same vein as the one seen on the right will pop up on subways everywhere. Their main theme: Fifty percent of teenagers do not understand the seriousness of pregnancy at such an early age. And, as you can see, they're bound to grab any viewer's immediate attention. We guess that's advertising at its core, right?

The campaign is the latest from the NYC Department of Social Services to address the issue of teen pregnancy. It will be followed with a YouTube video series later this month as well as an informational text message program for young adults. In both, the Health Department will attempt to reiterate that message.

The new ads rides off the recent controversy brewing over the city's CATCH program. This initiative (increasingly) places Plan B and birth control in the hands of public school health workers, naturally infuriating the parents of students subject to the in-school contraceptives.

But that story parallels the news that teen pregnancy has dropped more than 27 percent in New York City over the past decade. Although the numbers split drastically by borough and race, Health Commissioner Tom Farley pointed to two reasons for the overall decline: Teenagers are having less sex and using more protection.

And, now, there might be a third: that these ads will scare the living daylights of kids everywhere.

You can check out the whole collection here.


Protection For Some: NYC Teen Pregnancy Down By 27% Over Last Decade

Two things: less sex, more protection.

According to the Daily News, that's the word coming from the New York City Health Department to explain a serious downward trend. In new data released yesterday, the City's youth has undergone a 27 percent drop in pregnancies over the last ten years.

The results have led Health Commissioner Tom Farley to point to his Department's efforts to provide more access to contraceptives (like condoms, Plan B and birth control) in schools - a move that hasn't exactly gone over well with some parents. However, his reasoning is not that more contraceptives directly caused less pregnancies; it's just the impression they give off to students:

"It shows that when you make condoms and contraception available to teens, they don't increase their likelihood of being sexually active. But they get the message that sex is risky," Mr. Farley said. This might explain why sexual activity in high schools has dropped by a quarter as well.

However, not all the statistics provided are reasons to celebrate.

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Birth Control and Antibiotics: A Baby-Making Mix?

You have probably heard this before: The Pill doesn't work if you're on antibiotics.

However, an item we encountered this morning has made us revisit this age-old misnomer.

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Oh Yes! Trojan To Give Away Free Vibrators!

Talk about good vibrations...

Trojan Company, best known for its condoms, is going to give away 10,000 free vibrators from two hot dog carts Wednesday and Thursday.

One of the "Pleasure Carts" is going to be parked in the Meatpacking District, on 14th Street and Tenth Avenue -- while the other will be stationed in the East Village -- on Third Avenue between 12th and 14th Streets.

The company promises to hit all of the city's "hot spots" during the giveaway.

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Free Contraception For All! Obamacare Gets Rid of Co-Pay For Birth Control, and Unsuprisingly Pisses Off The Catholic Church

birth controllin.jpg
Today, for the first time in history, women across the nation will receive contraceptives without cost

Today brings free contraception for all (as long as you're one of the millions insured and you don't work for a Catholic organization), under the Affordable Care Act. Effective today, these provisions cover most major preventive services without a co-pay.

According to data provided by Planned Parenthood, women spend nearly $600 annually on birth control. The organization says that 45 million women are already benefiting from the ACA and that these new provisions will provide 12.8 million women of reproductive age access to insurance coverage.

We spoke to Alice Berger, VP of Health Care Planning at Planned Parenthood NYC, to find out more about how these provisions will impact the women of New York City.

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A Contraceptive Calamity in Colorado

Next Wednesday, against the Obama administration's will, a political firestorm will be unleashed: the provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that forces businesses to pay for employees' contraceptives without a co-pay goes into effect. You may remember this little ticking time bomb at the beginning of the fiscal year; it had the Catholic Church up in arms, forcing the Obama administration to enforce an exclusionary rule that allowed religious establishments to opt out of the provision.

Well, yesterday, one of those angry businesses with a Catholic flair to it took the provision to court... and won (kinda). Hercules Industries, the plaintiff in the case known as Hercules v. Sebelius, argued that the provision infringed upon the business's right to freely exercise their religious beliefs. The exclusionary rule mentioned above only allows establishments that primarily serve members of their faith a one-year break but Hercules, an air conditioning company owned by siblings who are against birth control, doesn't fall under that category. We wonder why.

The U.S. District Court for Colorado ordered a three-month injunction to the business, halting the provision from taking effect next week. Instead, the court will revisit the law in its legal format; in other words, an enormous headache for the folks behind Obamacare.
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Does John Boehner Want Republicans To Abandon The Birth Control Debate?

House Speaker John Boehner, perhaps realizing that half of the electorate has ladyparts, seems to want his fellow Republican party members to quit kvetching about birth control -- especially in light of that whole November election thing.

As you might remember, the White House's mandate that insurers cover birth control goes into effect next week, prompting many a religious conservative to develop a painful case of pantyknots, with some directly challenging the Obama Administration policy in court.

Boehner, as Talking Points Memo notes, has a "message" for his conservative colleagues: do not follow suit!

Rather, he wants them to abandon the most politically problematic issues until after the election, and even then, he seems game for taking things easy.

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Hey, Ladies: Religious Groups Still Want To Control Your Vagina (And In Other News, Grass Is Green)

Talk about timing!

Shortly after Centers for Disease Control stats indicated that 37 percent of U.S. births are unintended, a Conservative Christian group is trying to block the White House Policy which makes insurers cover birth control, set to go into effect Aug. 1.

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Oops! 37 Percent of U.S. Births Unintended

In 1982, 37 percent of U.S. births were unintended, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And guess what?

In 2010, 37 percent of U.S. births, the latest year for CDC stats, were ALSO unintended.

Meaning: Public health authorities have kindasortaTOTALLY failed at preventing unintended births.

So what's up?

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