Tag Archives: contraceptives

Will Trumpcare Jack Up Your Reproductive Health?

As SuzyKnew! predicted, Trump moved fast to mess up women’s health. While the American Health Care Act  (AHCA) – a.k.a. Trumpcare – is “Obamacare Lite” in that it keeps a lot of the contraceptive coverage ObamaCare provided for insurance plans people get at work (probably because it’s not so easy to get rid of), the bill calls for some deep, cruel and politically-motivated cuts in women’s health. Note: unlike some web sites, SuzyKnew! is all about contraceptive choice, and although we may feature some methods more than others, we believe every Sista’ must chose for herself which method and product is best for her.

So, will the AHCA before congress jack up Sistas’ reproductive health? For access to contraceptives, it depends. How do you cover the cost of your contraception? Through the healthcare insurance you get at work? At a Planned Parenthood clinic or through Medicaid?

If you get your contraception from an employer-based insurance plan and your employer has more than 50 employees, more than likely, you don’t have anything to worry about. No hurry on that IUD insertion you’ve been thinking about. But, if you work for a small employer you might lose your healthcare coverage. It is expected that the Congressional Budget Office will announce that it expects 15 million people to lose coverage under the AHCA because TrumpCare won’t require as many employers to cover their workers.

TrumpCare won’t continue the Medicaid expansion after 2020 – which many believe gave us the gains made in reproductive health, including the lowest number of abortions in decades and fewer teen pregnancies. Of the more than 19 million women on Medicaid, 70 percent of them are of reproductive age.  Medicaid covers 72 million low-income Americans of which 19% are Black and 31% are Hispanic.  According to Guttmacher Institute, a leading research and policy organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States and globally, three-quarters of all public dollars for family planning come from Medicaid and half of all births in the U.S. are covered by Medicaid, including two-thirds of all unplanned births.

Cruelly, but not surprising, the bill would defund Planned Parenthood for a year.  This means Planned Parenthood would not be able to be reimbursed by the federal government for women who pay using Medicaid. This would mean, the organization would lose around $530 million or 40 percent of its budget jeopardizing the group’s ability to keep many of its 650 clinics around the country open. The clinics that remain open will more than likely offer services at higher prices. So, not only will this version of the AHCA significantly reduce women of color’s access to contraceptives but also services for diabetes and cholesterol testing, vaccinations, breast exams, pap smears, STD testing, and of course abortions, which are not paid for using federal dollars. As women of color are more likely to get uterine and breast cancer this reduced access to preventive reproductive health services is especially threatening.

If you get your contraceptives from an individual plan instead of one from work, it may be difficult to find a low-cost plan that covers contraceptives or abortion.  The current AHCA plan will allow insurance companies to offer bare-bones coverage covering only medical catastrophes but not contraceptives or pregnancy like Obamacare. Before, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, only 12% of plans found on the individual market covered maternity care. So, having a baby will be a lot more expensive under Trump – perhaps cost prohibitive for many. And, avoiding pregnancy will also be more expensive, if you rely on Planned Parenthood or an individual plan.

Using health savings accounts (HSAs) and tax credits, Republicans will prevent tax credits from being used to purchase any insurance plan that offers abortion coverage.  Effectively, this would mean women earning less than $75,000 a year will not have have insurance with abortion coverage  since there is an economic disincentive to spend more on a plan with such coverage. Insurers who want to participate in Trumpcare exchange will have to drop abortion from their coverage, including in states in which abortion coverage in state exchange plans has previously been allowed.

Many predict there will be more unintended pregnancies and women may try to self-abort with reduced access to abortion. Would there be a rise in uterine and breast cancers?

Yes, the AHCA will jack up your reproductive health. And, if you rely on Planned Parenthood for your reproductive and other health services, go get your IUD or implant insertion while you can and while you’re there get a breast exam and pap smear.

And, while the AHCA is only a bill, call your congress representatives to voice your concern. Don’t let Trumpcare become law and do untold damage downtown.


Shouldn’t Your Contraceptive Make You Feel Beautiful?

2015 is coming up. Does your contraceptive make you feel beautiful? If not, why not? I mean menstruation can be a bear. Why should your contraceptive make you feel miserable, too?

We know “the pill” can clear up acne. Make your periods more regular. That will make a Sista’ feel beautiful, right? But, the pill can also cause you to gain weight and make your breasts swell up so bad you look like a chocolate Dolly Parton. And, we don’t have to mention the risks of the pill if you’re over 35 years old and a heavy smoker. Can you say: walking stroke?

According to the CDC, 30% of US women will try FIVE – yes, you heard me right FIVE – contraceptive methods.  Obviously, finding a contraceptive that is effective and makes you feel good is a challenge for a lot of ladies out there. Some women think menstruation and child bearing are supposed to be painful as a part of being a woman –  and using some pharmaceutical to interrupt this, just isn’t right.

But, many women in the US – as well as in the Caribbean and Africa – are interested in finding a contraceptive that has fewer side effects. Many want a non-hormonal option. SuzyKnew! hears that. We have posts by Sistas’ using natural birth control or FAM. There are posts on IUDs – a method women stay with longer than other methods and offer a non-hormonal, copper T version (which can still have side effects but most don’t last long). And, now we’re advocating for major disruption in birth control. Like – Sistas’ need to take this matter into our own hands and out of the hands of big business and big government.

And if we did take the matter into our own hands, wouldn’t we make something that would make us feel beautiful? Something that would manage that “time of the month” and allow us to avoid pregnancy (and get pregnant) when we wanted to. SuzyKnew! writers – like Lillian Ogbogoh and supporters like Abiola Abrams – promote female empowerment and link confidence with feeling beautiful. Why shouldn’t you?

In 2015, make a vow to find a contraceptive method that makes you feel beautiful – or join the SuzyKnew! movement to discover a new one.

Surprise! The Contraceptive Method That Is Increasingly Popular Among US Women

When you think of your options regarding contraception you usually think of the pill – whether its the new one that let’s you go period-free or a more traditional one –  condoms and maybe the IUD and injectables.

And when you think of new contraceptive trends you may think of the patch or ring.  So, you probably wouldn’t guess the method that is increasingly popular among women in the United States is actually emergency contraception.  Also, known as “the morning after pill” and by brand names like Plan B, Postinor 1 and 2, and NorLevo, emergency contraception (EC) is taken up to 3 days after unprotected sex for maximum effectiveness.

EC was introduced in the States in the late 1990’s and at the time only 1 percent of women said they had ever tried them. Today, more than 11% of American women report having ever used the method.  This is triple the proportion of women who said they had used EC in the early 2000’s.

Introduced as an option to be used when contraception fails (read broken condom) or after unprotected sex (read the throes of passion got the best of you), most women report they have used EC only once or twice.  Women between 20 – 24 years are the most likely to have used EC; almost one in 4 women report using EC. For the full article click here. For more on emergency contraceptive by SuzyKnew go here.

The increasing popularity of the method may be a  result of improved access. You can get EC at a pharmacy without a prescription if you’re 17 years old. Also, advertising in women’s magazines, social media, etc may put this method increasingly in women’s hands.

Whatever the reason, it’s good to see women exploring their choices when it comes to contraception.

What Do the US and Nigeria Have In Common Regarding Contraception?


What do the US and Nigeria have in common regarding contraception? Both countries are now providing contraceptives for women for free. In August 2011, SuzyKnew told you about an interim law in the US requiring health plans to cover the costs of women’s contraceptives.  The fact that insurance companies had been paying for Pfizer’s high cost Viagra® for more than a decade for men to have more and better sex but not covering the costs of women’s contraceptives (even inexpensive generics) had long been a major bone of contention for US women. American women were all for men having more sex. But, they wanted to get financial support – like the gentlemen – to protect their health and finances from more babies, the natural consequence of men’s improved access to sex-enhancing drugs. In January 2012, this law became final, effectively allowing women to better manage their personal finances by giving them financial support to prevent pregnancy.

In the same vein, concerned about its economy, Nigeria has become more serious about addressing its spiraling population growth, the consequence of a lot of sex. Last year, the world’s 6th most populous country, passed a new law providing contraceptives for free. For 20 years, the Nigerian government had recommended that people have smaller families. But, the new law provides the financial support to help make this a reality. It requires states to distribute contraceptives to local governments and the public sector health centers for free. Nigeria, like other African countries, is hoping that a more serious effort to reduce population growth will improve economic growth as well as women’s health.

As SuzyKnew always says…to improve women’s health, you must address women’s pleasure…

ASK AN OBGYN: Is There a More Effective “Morning-After” Method?


Dear SuzyKnew Obgyn:

Besides Plan B (also called the morning-after pill), is there any other way to prevent pregnancy if you’ve had unprotected sex?




Dear LaVinia,

Thank you for your question.  Yes, there are other ways to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex.  One that has been successfully used for over 35 years is the intrauterine device (IUD).  Inserted within 5 days of unprotected sex, the IUD can reduce the incidence of pregnancy by 99%.

A study published May 5 online in the journal Human Reproduction, reviewing over 35 years of data in 6 countries on the use of  IUD’s as an emergency contraceptive, indicates that IUDs are actually more effective than the morning-after pill. Although getting an IUD inserted requires a doctor’s visit and more upfront money  than the morning-after pill, which only requires a trip to the pharmacy and a few dollars or pounds, the IUD – a long-term method – is a lot more cost-effective in the long run. This means, if leave an IUD inserted (IUDs can remain in place for more than 8 years), it will only cost you pennies per pleasure session!

While many providers in the US (unlike in the UK) may not mention this discreet medical device as an emergency contraceptive or “morning after” option , take it upon yourself to ask your health care provider to discuss using an IUD for EC the next time the occasion arises.

P.S.  To protect yourself from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, you’ll still need condoms with an IUD until you both have a recent HIV test. Keep it safe, ladies!


ASK AN OBGYN is not meant to be a substitute for your doctor or health care provider. Contact your provider with any health issues you may have.

US Health Plans Must Cover Contraceptives



Ladies, you all know Viagra has long been covered by health care insurance plans in the US.  That hasn’t been true for contraceptives. Well, finally, we ladies have our day.  Called the Affordable Care Act, all new health insurance plans must cover women’s preventive services such as well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, domestic violence screening, and contraception without charging a co-payment, co-insurance, or a deductible. Take a look at the press release from the US Dept of Health and Human Services, which came out August 1, 2011.