Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sen. Wendy Davis at the Annual CHOICES event!

We recently had the pleasure of hearing Texas Senator Wendy Davis address the state of women’s health in the south at our annual CHOICES gala. As you probably know Sen. Davis filibustered an omnibus anti-choice bill, incredibly, for 13 hours; however she explained that she did not do it alone, instead she was able to put herself in other women’s shoes- so to speak.
“Appropriately and beautifully it was not me that successfully carried that filibuster past the midnight deadline. It was the thousands of people, women and men, who were there who had their own personal experiences that they wanted to share.”

At PPCO we believe that, similarly, our success and the success of our patients is based on the collaboration of many. Our staff, our volunteers, our board, our donors, our patients, our sexual education students all work seamlessly together to create a better and brighter future for this community that we all care about so much. We know this community is strong and by simply providing access to tools like quality affordable healthcare, including contraceptives and abortion, that our patients can forge their own paths to achieve whatever they want in life.

Here in Oklahoma, however, politicians and anti-choice organizations continually chip away at access to these simple tools for success. In the last few years alone we have taken several legislative hits which have taken a serious toll, but do not be fooled about the intent of these tactics.

“When we hear politicians [in Washington] talking about trying to close down that access to reproductive autonomy we all understand that not only are they talking about taking health care away from women, they’re talking about taking away that opportunity for that better tomorrow, their opportunity for economic vibrancy, because lacking the means to manage their fertility means lacking the means to manage their lives, it is just that simple.” 

We frequently hear about the shrinking access to women’s healthcare, but Sen. Davis truly showed us the human fall-out caused by these political ploys. She asked us to stand in our sisters shoes to see the very real damage that has been done to women’s advancement in this country, and specifically in our southern region. The hurdles are many and the solutions may feel impossible, but Sen. Davis told us exactly where to start. By supporting our sisters.

“What might happen if we as women woke up to the reality that we are only as strong as the opportunities that are available to each of our sisters? If we fought alongside each other regardless of political perspective or station in life, understanding our shared stake in women’s advancement, if working women celebrated our sisters who have chosen a stay-at-home path, if our stay-at-home moms cheered on the women who are putting those cracks into the glass ceiling, if we tried to view things through each others perspectives, if we figuratively tried on each others shoes.”

Oklahoma- let us take her words to heart! Stand with your Okie sisters and brothers who use Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma. #StandWithPP 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Oral Arguments Against Admitting Privileges for Oklahoma Abortion Clinics

Today the Center for Reproductive Rights began their defense of Dr. and Mrs. Burns’ Abortion Surgery Center. They have challenged a law, passed by the Oklahoma Legislature in 2014, that would require all abortion providers to have patient admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. Burns, one of only two abortion providers in the state, has been unable to obtain privileges at any of the 16 qualifying hospitals within 30 miles of his office, with many hospitals even refusing to process his application, according to the complaint. 

Dr. Burns, a practicing abortion provider for over 40 years, has not had a need to admit a single patient to a hospital throughout the entirety of his career. To be clear, in the event that a woman requires hospitalization after an abortion (an event that happens at just about the same rate that people are hospitalized for dental care) she would not be denied care based on the abortion clinic’s admitting privilege status. In fact, the rarity of patient admissions is part of the reason Dr. Burns struggles to obtain the privilege, as hospitals frequently require a ‘patient minimum’ to
award admitting privileges.

enforcement of this law is on hold, while the legal challenge is heard so the Burns’ are still able to serve women in Oklahoma.

 ***UPDATE: Judge Andrews said he needed answers to several
questions about the issue before he was willing to rule.
 The hearing was rescheduled for Feb. 16, 2016***

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Oklahoma Criminalizes Procedure for Second-Trimester Abortions and Miscarriage Management

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) signed a bill into law this week that criminalizes a medical procedure used during second-trimester abortions and for miscarriage management.

The laws ban the dilation and evacuation (D and E) procedure, which is commonly used in second trimester abortion care. The procedure is a method of abortion during which a physician will dilate a woman’s cervix and remove the fetus using forceps, clamps, or other instruments. During the procedure, the fetus is usually removed in parts. Prior to 14 weeks’ gestation, abortions are usually performed using suction aspiration, but after 14 weeks the D and E procedure must be used, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

This is yet another stitch in the rich tapestry of Oklahoma politicians undermining medical judgment. In the last several years, Oklahoma politicians have given protection to doctors that lie to pregnantpatients to prevent them from seeking abortions, required counseling withnon-medically accurate language for women seeking abortions, and restricted minor’saccess to contraception.

Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma cares. No matter what. So we will be here to help you find the resources you need if Oklahoma’s dangerous and deeply biased abortion laws affect you. It is very unfortunate, however, that this law will threaten the health of women seeking second-trimester abortions, as well as women suffering miscarriages.

Who Can Contract an STI?

Getting tested annually for sexually transmitted infections is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy sex life. While it’s certainly possible to maintain a safe and healthy sex life (via consistent, proper condom use), STIs still happen. One in two sexually active people under 25 years of age will contract an STI. 

Q: Who can contract an STI? 

 A: Absolutely anyone! 

 Just like most things regarding sex there’s a lot of misinformation out there about STIs. You don’t have to be “dirty” or “promiscuous” to contract an STI, it happens to lots of people. So get tested regularly, wear condoms and talk openly with your partner about the last time you both got tested. Through April the Peace of Mind STI testing package is discounted so call Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma at (405) 528-2157 to set up an appointment.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Gonorrhea, Ya'll!

There are 300,000 newscases of gonorrhea reported each year! Like chlamydia, gonorrhea can cause PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) in women and urethritis and epididymitis (causing pain and swelling in the testis) in men. An infant passing through the birth canal of an infected mother may contract gonococcal conjunctivitis, and infection in the eyes that can cause blindness if untreated.

Quite frequently this STI shows no symptoms at all, however when someone has gonorrhea they could experience several symptoms. In Males the first symptoms are due to urethritis, which causes urinary discomfort and a thick, yellowish white or yellowish green discharge from the penis. Up to half of males have very minor symptoms or none at all, which is why it is important to get tested regularly. Most females with gonorrhea often experience pain with urination, increase in vaginal discharge, and severe menstrual cramps. Gonorrhea can also infect the throat or rectum of people who engage in oral or anal sex.

Gonorrhea is treatablevia antibiotics, and preventable via consistent, proper condom use (so wrap it up, ya’ll!). Gonorrhea is detectable through samples of urine, cervical, urethral, throat, or rectal fluids may be collected, so the test is simply and fast.

If you are sexual active and are having any of the following symptoms come into any of our Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma locations to receive the Peace of Mind Package, which tests for 8 STD’s. Hurry and call (405)528-2157 to set up your appointment today before the end of April. #GetYourselfTested #GYT 

Monday, April 13, 2015

HIV and AIDS: Know Your Status

Talking about your HIV and AIDS risk can be scary if you don’t know the facts. Which condition is which and how do you know if you’re at risk? We recommend keeping it simple by always using protection and getting tested annually, but you may be at higher risk if you fall into any of the following categories:

If you engage in unprotected (without a condom) anal, vaginal or oral sex. The HIV virus is spread through the exchange of body fluids so if you have engaged in sex (penetration or oral) without using barriers like condoms or dental dams you could be at risk.

If you have used intravenous drugs. Again, HIV is spread through body fluid, so sharing needles with other individuals increases your risk for the virus.
Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, account for the majority of new infections despite making up only 2% of the population. Many different risk factors contribute to this high statistic.

Normally those infected with HIV show no symptoms for several years, which is why regular testing is so important. When symptoms do begin to show, they generally include slight fever, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches and weight loss. HIV is only classified as an AIDS infection in its most severe stages. Ultimately the immune system is severely damaged, which has the most devastating impact on individuals‘ health.

Though there are no cures for HIV or AIDS, many treatment options are available for patients, as well as their partners including strict condom or oral barrieruse, antiretroviral therapy, and many different medications that help protect your immune system.

The only sure ways to protect yourself and your partner from the HIV and AIDS viruses is to get tested every year and always use condoms or dental dams. Through the month of April, Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma is offering a discounted STI testing package, as well as Safer Sex Kits to those who get tested! So book an appointment by calling
(405) 528-2157 ASAP! 

Chlamydia: The “Silent Infection”

One of the most common and prevalent bacterial STD’s in the United States is Chlamydia. Both men and women are susceptible to Chlamydia, but as with most STD’s women carry a greater burden due to possible complications and consequences of the disease. If women go untreated, Chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, increase the risk for infertility, and ectopic pregnancy. Chlamydia can also lead to infertility in men although it is less common, along with inflammation of the urethra and epididymitis, which is inflammation of sperm-carrying ducts.

When infected with Chlamydia a person may experience a few symptoms or none at all. Men can experience symptoms such as painful urination, a slight watery discharge from the penis, and sometimes pain around the testicles. Women may notice increase in vaginal discharge, burning with urination, pain or bleeding with intercourse, and lower abdominal pain. It is important to note that the most common symptom of Chlamydia is no symptom at all, so just because you are not experiencing genital pain does not mean you do not have an STI.

Chlamydia is diagnosed through a laboratory test of a urine sample or a small amount of fluid from the urethra, cervix, rectum, or vagina. Chlamydia is completely treatable by antibiotics. It is never a good idea to go untested if you are sexually active and especially if you are having any of the symptoms above. Give yourself some peace of mind about being STD free by scheduling an appointment at any of our four Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma locations during the month a April to receive the “Peace of Mind Package,” which test for 8 STD’s, and provides a “safe sex kit” for better protection in the future.  Call (405) 528-2157 to set up your appointment today. #GetYourselfTested