1. Medicare provides penis pumps at a cost of $360 a piece, which has never been debated once. Not once. Never.

  2. The tenderloin
    Boring, actual name: Ultra-Sensitive Reconstituted Collagen Condom
    Developer: Mark McGlothlin at Apex Medical Technologies, San Diego

    Innovation: McGlothlin decided that the best way to make a condom that feels like a second skin is to reinvent the leather condom, in this case using collagen fibers from bovine tendons. Yes, it’s a cow condom.

    Meet the 11 condoms of the future selected by Bill Gates


  3. 100%

    The increase in glaucoma risk after just 3 years of using birth control pills.

    Why women should seriously consider looking beyond the pill


  4. [Excessive pregnancies] are an outrage on humanity, and husbands are principally to blame.

    The only reference to birth control in The Ladies’ Guide to Health (1888)

    How birth control became everybody’s business


  5. 800,000 women in the U.K. use a birth control called Implanon. It’s a match stick-sized device that is placed under the skin in a fat layer of the upper arm. It’s designed to release hormones that stop ovulation, preventing conception for up to five years. It’s a fairly simple procedure, and the implant can be taken out at any time. But it must be put in, and taken out, by a doctor. 

    But hundreds of British women who were using an implant nevertheless wound up pregnant last year and — after visiting doctors to have the implants removed — discovered that the implants were nowhere to be found. 

    The birth control that’s getting lost in women’s bodies


  6. The quest for an easy-to-use male birth control alternative to the condom appears to be forging ahead. In the new issue of the journal Cell, scientists are optimistic about a new pill that temporarily stops the production of sperm — without any damaging side effects. Also, it appears to be 100 percent reversible. Sound too good to be true?

    (Source: theweek.com)


  7. It’s only fair that men share the responsibility of using a hormone-based birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Now, new research has brought that possibility just a littler bit closer to reality. A study by researchers at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center shows that a sperm-inhibiting gel has been shown to significantly reduce men’s reproductive abilities, thereby lowering the risk of impregnation.

    The gel, which would likely be applied using a patch, uses two types of hormones: sperm-inhibiting testosterone and a synthetic chemical called progestin, which amplifies testosterone’s ability to turn off reproductive hormones. The two have been used together before in pill, implant, and shot form, but progestin was shown to have side effects like acne breakouts and fluctuations in cholesterol level, says Thomas H. Maugh II at the Los Angeles Times. In this study, researchers used a progestin synthetic called Nestorone, which supposedly doesn’t cause any such side effects.

    But how effective is this potential birth control for men?

    (Source: theweek.com)


  8. A big sore point in the Catholic Church’s high-profile pushback against the Obama administration making most employers’ health insurance plans provide copay-free birth control is the idea that Catholic hospitals, universities, and charities will be forced to support (directly or indirectly) “abortifacients” or “abortion-inducing drugs” — which refers to the morning-after pill, primarily Plan B.

    But anti-abortion advocates are wrong about what the morning-after pill does — as are abortion-rights proponents, the National Institutes of Health, the Mayo Clinic, and Plan B’s label — according to a new examination of the research by The New York Times.

    So what, in fact, does the morning-after pill do? And can science neuter the controversy surrounding Plan B? 


  9. On Monday, 43 Catholic organizations filed 12 federal lawsuits seeking to overturn the Obama administration’s recent mandate that most employer-provided health insurance cover birth control and sterilization. The biggest surprise was the participation of the University of Notre Dame, one of America’s top Catholic colleges. 

    What’s this mega-lawsuit about? Here, a brief guide:

    Who exactly is participating in the lawsuit?
    Along with Notre Dame, parties to the 12 suits include 13 dioceses — among them the archdioceses of New York, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis — Catholic University, the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and several Catholic schools and local Catholic Charities branches. Notable groups sitting the suit out are the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which tells Commonweal that its “concerns are addressed in the lawsuits that were filed,” and the Catholic Health Association (CHA), which is still in negotiations with the Obama administration. 

    And what is the fight over?
    There are at least two issues that have the Catholic institutions up in arms. First: Catholic hospitals, schools, and charities will have to include copay-free birth control in their health insurance offerings, in violation of the church’s (widely ignored) ban on contraception. The U.S. Catholic bishops rejected the Obama compromise — insurance will pay for the birth control, not the institutions — because some groups self-insure, and the rest still have to “facilitate” activities they see as “intrinsically immoral.” The second issue is the Obama administration’s decision to treat Catholic institutions separately than parishes and dioceses, which are exempt from the mandate. 

    What do the plaintiffs want?
    The coordinated lawsuits ask federal courts to say that the contraception rules violate religious institutions’ First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion, as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But some of the universities and all of the dioceses are already exempt, says Grant Gallicho at Commonweal. Why “sue now over a mandate that won’t affect them and won’t go into effect for another 15 months”? Obviously, says Elizabeth Scalia at Patheos, “they understand that, ‘exempt’ or not, ‘accommodated’ or not, the government is fundamentally overstepping its bounds with this mandate.” This is about “religious freedom,” and “that matters. A whole lot.”

    Why file suit now?
    Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York says “time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now.” That’s “nonsense,” says Commonweal's Gallicho. The hospitals and charities and universities have until August 2013 — “why sue before exhausting all other options?” Sadly, it seems that “many bishops seem to want this fight,” says E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post. It’s “looking more and more like a direct intervention in this fall’s elections,” with Obama being unfairly painted as “an enemy of religious freedom.”

    Why did Notre Dame join?
    The university’s president, Fr. John Jenkins, gave the same reasons as the other plaintiffs, minus “the vitriol and hyperbole,” says Michael Sean Winters at National Catholic Reporter. He insists this isn’t about contraception, which many faculty and students “have made conscientious decisions to use,” but about “the freedom of a religious organization to live its mission.” It’s also about deftly “playing political football,” says NCR's Ken Briggs. Jenkins is taking steps to “win the cheers of bishops who remain resentful of the university’s awarding of an honorary degree to President Obama in 2009.”

    Will this affect the presidential election?
    It certainly may be “a ‘come to Jesus’ moment for many Catholics,” and could even “cast Catholics off from the Democratic Party for a generation,” says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Not so fast, says Michael O’Brien at MSNBC. The latest Gallup poll has Romney and Obama tied among Catholics, each with 46 percent. Will Romney will try to use the contraception mandate to chip away at Obama’s Catholic supporters? Yes, he’s already trying. But predicting the “Catholic vote” is “a fool’s errand.”

    (Source: theweek.com)


  10. Many women may be putting too much faith in birth control pills and condoms. Nearly half of the women questioned in a new study, published in theAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, thought these methods were better at preventing pregnancy than they really are. Just how far off were they? Here, a look at misconceptions about contraceptives, by the numbers:

    Annual pregnancy rate for women who take birth control pills, but fail to take them every day as directed

    Less than 1
    Annual pregnancy rate for women who take the pill as directed

    18 to 21
    Annual pregnancy rate for women who use condoms

    Percentage of women in the new study who overestimated the effectiveness of the pill and condoms

    Percentage of women using an IUD who have an unplanned pregnancy in a given year

    Percentage who have an unplanned pregnancy within a year despite the use of a contraceptive implant 

    High-end estimate, in percent, of women in the U.S. who use either an IUD or a contraceptive implant, the most effective birth-control methods

    Percentage of the 4,144 St. Louis-area women in the study who said they would have chosen an IUD or implant if they had received adequate counseling on their options

    Rough monthly maximum cost, in dollars, of birth control pills

    Up-front cost, in dollars, of an IUD, which should remain effective for 10 years

    400 to 800
    Cost range, in dollars, for an Implanon contraceptive implant


  11. Planned Parenthood clinics in at least 11 states have noted suspiciously similar walk-ins in recent weeks by young women suggesting they want an abortion only if they are pregnant with a girl. 

    The apparently coordinated series of “hoax visits” has Planned Parenthood bracing for another “propaganda campaign” by anti-abortion activists who selectively edit secretly videotaped visits to “promote misinformation about Planned Parenthood and our services,” spokeswoman Chloe Cooney tells The Huffington Post. 

    Keep reading

  12. Oddly enough, the politicians who most loudly condemn liberal policies as socialist conspiracies are often the ones who try to enact the most repressive tenets of socialism. When it comes to moral ideology, conservatives in this country are even more socialist than liberals. The recent wave of health bills attempting to place limits on a woman’s reproductive freedoms, from proposed mandatory transvaginal ultrasound tests in Virginia to Arizona’s law requiring women to tell their employers that they use birth control, make China’s draconian reproductive policies look humane. As anyone who has lived in a socialist country can testify, the worst thing about socialism is the invasion of privacy, and the best things are governmental policies that benefit everyone, not just the rich and privileged. It is time for conservatives to wise up, and stop badmouthing socialism — because they’re really pointing the finger at themselves.

    Yunte Huang, In defense of socialism

    Keep reading


    Thursday marks the first anniversary of the start of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. National media report that Assad’s forces have cleared rebels from the northwest city of Idlib, but the opposition continues to fight throughout the country. Meanwhile, Britain’s Guardian claims to have accessed Assads’ private emails. They show the leader seeking counsel from Iran on how to handle the uprising, while continuing to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle. According to United Nations estimates, more than 8,000 people, the majority of them civilians, have died in the violence, and nearly 230,000 have been displaced from their homes. 

    An Afghan man has died after stealing a truck on Wednesday and attempting to run over a group of U.S. Marines waiting on a runway for Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s plane. The man, an interpreter at Camp Bastion where the attack took place, was badly burned when the vehicle burst into flames. He died while being treated for his wounds. Panetta has said that he doesn’t think he was the target of the attack. [Washington Post]

    A Virginia jury on Wednesday awarded two families of the victims of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre $4 million each. The families sued the state for wrongful death saying the university failed to inform students early enough that a gunman was on the loose. It is likely the state will appeal the verdict. [CNN]

    Legislators in Arizona have advanced a controversial bill that would make women seeking health insurance coverage for their contraception provide evidence to their employers that they need contraception to treat medical conditions, not merely to prevent pregnancy. The American Civil Liberties Unions says the law could make it legal for employers to fire a woman if it was found she was taking birth control to prevent pregnancy. [Huffington Post]

    President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday hosted British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, at a star-studded state dinner. Guests included George Clooney, Warren Buffet, Apple’s Jonathan Ive, Harvey Weinstein, and Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern. John Legend and Mumford & Sons performed. [CBS News]

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