Asked by Anonymous Anonymous

It's been over 72 hours since the "incident" happened.... Would the plan B pill still be helpful? I'm only 17 so the clinic is out of the question since my parents have no idea and they wouldn't allow me to do anything but have the baby (if that happens to be what's going on). I'm taking the at home test tomorrow but if it's positive can the pill still help or is there anything else I could do?

How long has it been since you’ve last had sex?

Emergency Contraception is most effective when taken within 72 hours, as you know, but it can be taken with some degree of effectiveness for up to five days after unprotected sex. It’s difficult to say when the effectiveness of EC begins to wane as it varies depending on individual biological factors, but if it’s been less than a week, you may want to consider trying it. Home pregnancy tests are effective if taken AFTER your first missed period. If you have not missed your period yet, the test will be ineffective. 


Abortion Regulation Trial Concludes

Unless a federal judge blocks implementation of Texas’ new sweeping abortion regulations, 13 clinics across Texas – including Planned Parenthood in Austin – would as of Tuesday be unable to provide women with safe and legal abortion care.

The new regulations, contained in House Bill 2, passed this summer during a special-called legislative session, would quickly leave more than 22,000 women without any meaningful access to care, Janet Crepps, a lawyer for the Center for Reproductive Rightsargued in federal court Wednesday morning.

Crepps represents Whole Woman’s Health, which has five clinics across Texas – three of which would close on Oct. 29, the date the regulations at issue are slated to take effect. In addition, clinics in Fort Worth, San Antonio, Harlingen, Mc Allen, Waco, and Killeen will shutter their operations, Crepps told federal district Judge Lee Yeakel, who is presiding over a trial challenging the new regulations. The impact of the challenged provisions “could not be more stark,” Crepps argued.

At specific issue in this lawsuit – filed by abortion providers (including WWH and Planned Parenthood) and the ACLU – are a requirement that abortion doctors obtain hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of each facility where they perform the procedure, and a mandate that doctors follow an older protocol for administering pharmaceutical abortion.

At the close of court this morning, Yeakel said he will issue a ruling in the case “as quickly as I can,” and that he recognizes “the clock is ticking.” Yeakel must decide if the controversial provisions represent a constitutional restriction to abortion based on a compelling state interest to do so, or whether they violate due process and equal protection provisions by creating an undue burden on women seeking access to legally protected care.

In testimony presented over two days this week, doctors and providers said the hospital privileges provision is not necessary (women experiencing complications would be told to go to the nearest hospital emergency department and not to travel to whatever facility is close to where they obtained abortion care), and that at least 13 clinics will close if that provision takes effect on Tuesday because those clinics have not been able to obtain privileges for their doctors within the specified distance, and have not been successful in recruiting other, already privileged physicians to take over the work. According to testimony from UT professor Joe Potter, a demographer and principle researcher on the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, which is tracking the impact of legislation restricting access to family planning and abortion in Texas, the expected clinic closures will leave more than 22,800 women without access to the care they need, testimony Crepps cited in her hour-long closing arguments.

Closing the state’s defense, Deputy Solicitor General Andy Oldham argued that the providers and doctors suing for relief have failed at carrying the “crushing [legal] burden” of proving that the provisions would actually have the impact the plaintiffs are asserting. Because they’re challenging the law before it takes effect, and asking the judge to nullify it – a “facial” challenge to its legality – the providers carry the burden of showing that “every application” of the provisions would be unconstitutional: Just because some doctors don’t like the medication abortion provision doesn’t do that; arguing that the admitting-privilege provision would prohibit doctors for practicing abortion doesn’t do that; and arguing that it’s simply “bad public policy” doesn’t get there either, Oldham argued. In the first instance, that’s a question “for the FDA,” in the second, “that’s a call for the hospitals,” and in the third, “that’s a call for the Legislature,” he said.

He said the state has not only an interest in protecting the safety of women via both provisions, but also an interest in protecting fetal life – for example, the second of a two-drug abortion-inducing cocktail has been known to cause birth defects in fetuses, he argued (presumably those that weren’t properly aborted and then are carried to term). And that alone “is sufficient” to create a compelling state interest in regulating pharmaceutical abortion.

Yeakel asked Crepps how he should weigh the state’s assertion that the provisions were enacted to protect its interest in “fetal life.” U.S. Supreme Court precedent allows for state-imposed restrictions on abortion based on that “legitimate and substantial interest,” he noted. Crepps said that in balancing those two interests, Yeakel should consider whether either of the two provisions at issue in this case have any connection to that stated desire; the answer, she said, is that they do not. The state must assert a “permissible connection” between its stated interest and the provisions beyond a simple desire “to make abortion less accessible.”

Take, for example, the argument about birth defects related to medication abortion; in that instance those defects could occur regardless how the medication is administered, she said, but it would not be legal to outlaw all medication abortion.

Indeed, witnesses this week noted that the older protocol, which appears on the drug’s label, requires a higher dose of the drugs, and carries a greater risk of complications – including infections – than does the newer, “off-label” protocol developed through years of “evidence-based medicine.” That updated protocol, which has been the subject of several large-scale studies, has become the norm. The fact that the Food and Drug Administration has not relabeled the drug (a process that has to be manufacturer driven and is costly) says nothing about whether the agency disapproves of the updated protocol, Crepps pointed out.

If not the FDA, then who decides “when the medical advance is sufficient” to impact a case such as this, and who decides how many physicians following a certain protocol are enough to qualify as an advance in medicine, Yeakel asked.

Crepps may not have been able to answer that specifically, but she said that by mandating that doctors follow the older and medically riskier protocol, the “state of Texas [has] interceded in the normal [process] of medical advancement,” she said. And “it now bears the burden of showing that’s necessary.”

Oldham, however, argued that it is the plaintiffs that carry the burden of proving the restrictions would be harmful or leave women without meaningful access to care, and they haven’t done so. Although the evidence before Yeakel includes testimony and written declarations from clinic operators attesting that they will shut their doors next week because of the restrictions, and includes the demographic extrapolations compiled by Potter, neither is enough to go on to prove their case, he argued.

"Is it the position of the state…that there is no proof to support the allegations made by providers" that at least 13 clinics will close and that more than 22,000 women will lose care, Yeakel asked.

Yes, Oldham said; just because the plaintiffs have “repeated” those assertions does not make them so.

"So, after the 29th it’ll be business as usual?" Yeakel followed up.

"I don’t pretend that I can see the future," Oldham said. "So what will happen on Tuesday, I don’t know, but they haven’t proved it to the court."

In rebuttal, Crepps said she was “surprised” to hear Oldham’s argument that appeared to stop just short of “calling our witnesses dishonest” about what they say will happen next week if the law is not blocked.

She suggested that Oldham’s assertion is just a “backdoor way of arguing” that the plaintiffs, instead of suing now and making a facial challenge before the law takes effect, should have to wait until after the law’s effects are felt, and “that we would have to wait for the disastrous consequences…before we can [seek] any Constitutional relief.”

There is little doubt that whoever loses will appeal the decision to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals – and potentially to the U.S. Supreme Court – a reality Yeakel noted several times during the trial in asking the lawyers to keep their arguments focused specifically on whether the Texas provisions are legal under the high court’s precedent. Similar provisions have been successfully challenged in a number of states – including in Oklahoma, where an appeal based on a medication abortion provision is pending before the Supreme Court. Hospital admitting privilege provisions have been enacted – and blocked – in Mississippi, Alabama, Wisconsin, and North Dakota.

How to Speak on Reproductive Justice


I recently attended a workshop hosted by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland on how to speak about reproductive justice as an advocate. The first part of that workshop focused on what exactly constitutes reproductive justice and that it’s so much more than the availability of abortions. The second part was actually talking about abortion. The workshop is based on the information gathered by Planned Parenthood in a study that took several years on attitudes towards abortion and how language affects it. Following the layout of the workshop, the first part of this post will cover various aspects of reproductive justice and the second will cover how to speak on reproductive justice.

What is included under the term “Reproductive Justice”?

  • Safe and legal abortions available to all who need
  • Affordable and available birth control and contraceptive options
  • Affordable and available health care (pap smears, mammograms etc.)
  • Affordable and Available resources to help under-privileged families
  • No forced sterilizations
  • Comprehensive sex education
  • Affordable and Available sterilization options
  • Adoption regulations (no child taken from healthy family, no child without a home)
  • Adoption options available for any who want to adopt
  • No genital mutilation
  • Affordable and available transition options for Trans* folk
  • Forced pregnancy or forced abortion
  • And much more

It’s important that we look at the intersections of oppression. All oppressed groups based on race, orientation, gender identity, intersex conditions, ability, financial status, designated sex are oppressed in this category and we need to look at how their general oppression affects this. Certain racial, orientation, gender identity, ability, and intersex conditions are sterilized against their will. Health options are limited for people of certain financial status, ability, condition, orientation, or gender identity. Comprehensive sex education is even more difficult to find when you’re not straight, cis gender, dyadic, able-bodied, and neurotypical. People of certain orientations or gender identities may be unable to adopt. Children of certain abilities, races, gender identity, or orientation may be more unlikely to be adopted. Many children of different races are taken away from their countries, communities, and loving families in amoral adoption practices. 

Try to think of other ways that someone may be oppressed as it relates to reproductive health.


How to speak on Reproductive Justice

The Planned Parenthood website Not In Her Shoes, although gendering and not inclusive to trans* people is a good resource to check out what information and statistics they have gathered in their studies.

It starts with the words “Pro-Choice” and “Pro-Life”. I have definitely seen in my discussion on reproductive justice  and the abortion issue that many people I would identify as pro-choice, those who support keeping abortion legal, don’t identify as such and this can create problems. Instead of sticking to these outdated (and in the case of pro-life, plain incorrect) labels that cause people to have an immediate negative response, Planned Parenthood suggests that we say we are pro reproductive justice, and that we want abortions to be legal and safe. The number of people who say abortion should remain legal and safe are much higher than those who would identify as pro-choice, by changing our language we open up our community to more people and gather more supporters. Two Thirds of American Voters want abortion to remain legal, whereas nearly one third of voters do not identify as either pro-choice or pro-life. By using this language we are excluding one third of our supporters.

Another thing that they found was that although people aren’t really comfortable talking about abortion, they do support it as a personal decision. People respond favorably to statements like, “Abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision for a person, and I don’t believe you can make that decision for someone else.”, “A person should have accurate information about all of their options. Information should support a person, help them make a decision for themselves, and enable them to take care of their health and well-being.”, and “Information should not be provided with the intent of coercing, shaming, or judging a person.” These are good to bring up when we talk about legal limits being put on abortion. 

Another thing that they found that surprised me is that it works well if you don’t describe possible situations. Something I and many people who talk about reproductive justice is to try to talk about different situations a person may come from who needs abortion. We think that this helps show the diversity of people who need abortions, and show that it could be anyone. In reality, what the find is that what we think are good reasons for an abortion may not be someone else’s. They may have a direct negative emotional response that closes their ears off to what you are saying. What the research showed was that 79% of likely american voters found this simple statement convincing, “We’re not in their shoes. It’s just not that simple.” It is important to recognize that anyone of any background may someday need or want an abortion, but it is better and less judgmental to just state that everyone’s situation is different. 

It’s also important, Planned Parenthood found, to avoid using language like “unintended pregnancy”, “unplanned pregnancy”, and “unwanted pregnancy”. When talking about abortion, more people responded more favorably when just using the word abortion, ending a pregnancy, or a safe and legal procedure, when talking about abortion. When talking about the goal to reduce “unintended pregnancy” with birth control or sex education it’s okay to use that word, but not unplanned and especially not unwanted. Many unintended pregnancies are wanted, I’ve definitely had friends that were “accidents” that their parents wanted very much. People also tend to not respond to the concept that you have to plan a pregnancy, so unintended works best. “Safe and Legal” is also what more people responded to as a good goal. “Safe, Legal, and on demand” may turn off people who may consider themselves more pro-life, while “Safe, Legal, and rare” may turn off people who consider themselves more pro-choice. 

Something that really hit me in a strong way was this statement that was used in the workshop, “People don’t turn to politicians for advice about mammograms, prenatal care, or cancer treatments. Politicians should not be involved in a person’s personal medical decisions.” This is the bottom line, a person should be making this decision with her doctor, her loved ones, and her own faith. Politicians are not medical experts and have no place in discussing a medical procedure. 

For me there were a couple of things I’d like to touch on when talking about language and reproductive justice. For me a lot of this issue comes down to consent. Consent to medical procedures, consent to having children, and yes consent to sex. It’s also about having the education and ability to have informed consent.

It’s also important for me to remain inclusive to trans* people while also acknowledging the sexism in legislation that restricts reproductive rights. Like we touched on earlier, a lot of restrictions come down to the intention of oppressing certain groups. To keep people from thriving as much as others, whether that means refusing gender transition, making them care for a child instead of going to college, never finding a family, or to never be able to have a child. A lot of this does stem from sexism, and it is important to realize it even though more than just women are affected. You can use inclusive language that acknowledges more than just women get abortions or need birth control while still being conscious of the fact that regulations are being used in an attempt to control and oppress women.

What are your thoughts? How will this help you frame the way you think and speak about reproductive justice and justice in general? 



The single most important legislative priority of the Republican party in the era of Obama is a legislative priority that is illegal everywhere in this country. That is not stopping them.

—Rachel Maddow on unconstitutional abortion ban legislation. via

Federal judge blocks ND abortion law

via Planned Parenthood Action

The 4 Worst New Anti-Abortion Laws…in the Past 3 Weeks

Plenary:Women Lead - Opportunities and Challenges - on

Women Deliver Conference 2013

Plenary: Women Lead- Opportunities and Challenges 

This panel includes Tarja Halonen, Former President of Finland and the first President of Finland who was a woman; Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America; Chelsea Clinton, Board Member of the Clinton Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative, and Clinton Health Access; and Yakin Ertürk, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and Professor of the Department of Sociology at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara; with Ghida Fakhry, journalist and broadcaster for Al Jazeera, as moderator.