Ricki Lake, Jenny McCarthy and The Business of Being Bamboozled

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Ricki Lake wants to do for the Pill what Jenny McCarthy did for vaccines.

Lake, like McCarthy, is a mama-shill.

What’s a mama-shill? A mama-shill is a woman who believes that gestating and giving birth to a human being has magically rendered her qualified to shill on pretty much anything related to reproduction and children. Mama-shills make a business out of bamboozling other mothers. What are her characteristics?

  • Anti-intellectualism? Check.
  • Belief in ludicrous conspiracy theories? Check.
  • Advanced education? Surely you jest?
  • Knowledge of biology, statistics and epidemiology? What are those?

They’re not pro-preventable death; they just want to be free to profit from it.

Mama-shills make up for their profound deficiency in actual knowledge by their reliance on discredited members of the medical profession or self-proclaimed experts who are recognized as experts by no one but themselves. McCarthy venerates Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who was stripped of his medical license for a faulty study attempting to discredit the MMR vaccine in order to pave the way for profiting from his own formulation of the vaccine.

For a forthcoming documentary, Ricki Lake has allied herself with Holly Grigg-Spall, the journalist who wrote the book, Sweetening the Pill. In a devastating deconstruction of the book, Lindsay Beyerstein notes:

…Grigg-Spall makes a series of seemingly contradictory claims about the capitalist-medical-feminist bloc that is supposedly bullying women into taking the pill: 1) The pill is popular because it turns women into emotionally stable and industrious workers who never miss a day of work or bleed on the shop floor and because the economy needs women’s “passivity, anxiety and emotionality.” 2) The pill is the modern-day equivalent of the 19th-century practice of “female castration,” which was used to desexualize women, and the pill is promoted as part of a feminist scheme to make women more alluring and available to men. 3) The pill kills female libido, and the pill fuels the supposed epidemic of sluttiness known as “raunch culture.” Does the pill masculinize, ultrafeminize, or unsex women entirely? Grigg-Spall claims all of the above!

Grigg-Spall isn’t sure what the Pill does, but she’s sure she wants to demonize it. And Ricki Lake is attempting to make a documentary from her book because she wants to demonize the Pill, too, so she can profit from the demonization. Lake employs the same tactics that McCarthy used to create fear of vaccination.

  • Faulty “science.”
  • Disingenuous claims of “merely questioning” established science.
  • Refusing to address or even acknowledge scientific criticsm.
  • Accusing anyone who disagrees of being a Pharma-shill.
  • Banning dissent from websites and Facebook pages promoting the product.

Lake, like McCarthy, is in the business of bamboozling other mothers for attention and profit. All of which would be fine if people didn’t die as a result. McCarthy created an empire of books, organizations, articles and appearances built on a lie that killed children. She grossly exaggerated the dangers of vaccines and grossly minimized the much greater dangers of vaccine preventable diseases for fun and profit. As a result vaccine preventable diseases (such as pertussis, measles and even diphtheria) that were effectively eradicated have made a comeback and children have died. McCarthy is still shilling unrepentantly.

Ricki Lake, following Grigg-Spall, is grossly exaggerating the dangers of the Pill while grossly minimizing the much greater dangers of unwanted pregnancy and untreated conditions like endometriosis and polycystic ovary disease for attention and profit. Like all Mama-shills, she camouflages her ruthless business sense under the guise of “educating” other mothers.

McCarthy is not anti-vaccine; she just want to be free to question vaccines. Lake is not anti-Pill; she just wants to be free to question it. They’re not pro-preventable death; they just want to be free to profit from it.

Ricki Lake wants to do for the Pill what Jenny McCarthy did for vaccines … and we all know how well that turned out.

  • CarrieT

    I’ve gestated and birthed a bunch of kids, and have been amazed at the types of questions I get, as if somehow a bunch of medical knowledge has magically appeared in my brain. I don’t get asked much anymore, because my stock answers have always been, “I dunno — call your obstetrician” or “I dunno — call your pediatrician.” I’m also a dog trainer and the same thing happens in that world — because I can help people train or modify complicated behaviors in their dog, surely I must be able to give them veterinary advice, too. Um, no.

  • Why has no journalist capitalized on these two? Ambushing either of these two would be great television.

    • Roadstergal

      I nominate Jimmy Kimmel…

  • Gatita

    Colorado gives teens and women free long-term birth control, pregnancy and abortion rates plunge by 40%. Who could have predicted that???

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/07/06/science/colorados-push-against-teenage-pregnancies-is-a-startling-success.html

    Women’s health advocates contend that long-acting birth control is giving American women more say over when — and with whom — they have children.

    Colorado’s program…was the real-world version of a research study in St. Louis…that came to the same conclusion: Women overwhelmingly chose the long-acting methods, and pregnancy and abortion rates plunged.

    • Roadstergal

      I hope you’re not holding your breath waiting for anti-abortion campaigners to start throwing money at programs to make free LARC available to all young women.

    • fiftyfifty1

      But, but, but how will the sluts be punished if they don’t get pregnant?!

  • Cobalt

    This is an interesting way to go about protesting.

    http://prolifeantiwoman.com/

    I think she’ll get a lot of publicity, but no actual donations. So does she.

    • Azuran

      Huh, that is indeed interesting,
      Yet, this is internet, weirder things have happened, if it get’s viral, she could easily get all the money (or all the hate).

      • Cobalt

        So far just hate. Pro-life responses so far have boiled down to “we don’t trust you enough to send a penny, even if it prevents an abortion” and “a real mom would give us the baby for free”.

        • Mattie

          The former is a reasonable fear, although easily prevented by using a non-flexible funding option on a crowd-funding site. The latter is interesting in that it proves unequivocally that the pro-life people do not give two hoots about the life of the child, just the life of the foetus.

          • Cobalt

            “The latter is interesting in that it proves unequivocally that the pro-life people do not give two hoots about the life of the child, just the life of the foetus.”

            I think this is her whole point, and I think she’s right.

        • Azuran

          Well, technically, I expect that a ‘real mom’ (or at least, their own idea of a ‘real mom’) would not be planning to get an abortion in the first place.

          And beside, she made it clear that the money would be going to the baby itself, so, technically, she is giving it away for free
          … actually, she’s giving it away with a bonus 1 million dollars to pay for it’s tuition and stuff.

    • Mattie

      HA yes, get them to put their money where their mouth is

  • Gatita

    SB 277 passed and today there were antivaxx protests across California. Andrew Wakefield slithered out from under his rock to attend the one in Santa Monica. I’m so sick of these people. Stop polluting my state with your bullshit!

    • Liz Leyden

      In related news, the death of a Washington state woman a few months ago has been attributed to measles. It’s America’s first measles death since 2003. Thanks, Jenny!

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/07/02/the-u-s-just-recorded-its-first-confirmed-measles-death-in-12-years/

      • Gatita

        She was on immunosuppressive drugs and caught it during a visit to a medical facility. Textbook case of the failure of herd immunity.

        • fiftyfifty1

          Not a failure of herd immunity. A failure to create a viable herd due to selfishness and ignorance. So sad.

        • Mattie

          but why should anti-vaxxers care that a poor woman is dead when their precious baby might get an owwie on their arm from the jab 😐

          • fiftyfifty1

            And even more important than the baby getting an owwie would be having to give up the status of being a speshul smart mama who isn’t a sheeple.

      • Cobalt

        First official death (which means all procedural t’s were crossed and i’s dotted). There have been other deaths that didn’t get verified according to those strict procedures.

      • Box of Salt

        More details (e.g., links to reports during the outbreak) from WA residents can be found in the comments over at RI:

        http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/07/03/how-they-view-us-a-woman-dies-of-measles-and-antivaccinationists-think-its-a-conspiracy/

  • Mishimoo

    Ahahahah yes, but I had to! *giggles*

  • yentavegan

    And now for a brief detour into paranoia land….Where ,( as in what country) manufactures the ingredients for hormonal birth control pills? Is it at all possible that if a nation wanted to take down the USA all it need do is tamper with our medication manufacturing? You do realize there is growing community fear of the unknown evil of technology. Coupled with distrust that the Powerful Corporations have our best interest at heart. One small ingredient tinkered with any the USA folds like a house of cards.

    • Who?

      Well assuming this were a real thing, which it isn’t*, only youngish women take the pill anyway, and since (a very few, unfortunately) women of post-menopausal age, and men have most of the money and the power, I wouldn’t worry about it.

      *it’s like saying there is a giant conspiracy about vax, or cancer treatment-too hard to organise, too hard to keep quiet.

      • yentavegan

        Thank you for talking me down from the ledge. So many years spent immersed in the woo I still suffer flash backs.

      • Nick Sanders

        Also, a quick Google search leads me to believe there are far too many brands for such a tactic to have any chance of working.

        • Who?

          But didn’t you know they are all one giant hydra?

          Seriously, Nick, you need to keep up with paranoia world. Though you’ll need a shower-sometimes high pressure-afterwards.

    • fiftyfifty1

      I get the sense that for you it isn’t such a brief detour?

      ETA: sound scary and not much fun.

    • Trixie

      Yes, they’re in cahoots with high school guidance counselors.

    • Medwife

      Maybe look into counseling. Seriously.

    • guest

      Your tinfoil hat fell off.

      • Gozi

        Maybe we can suggest those tinfoil hats to Ricki Lake as an alternative to that evil, evil pill.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Well, in the right physical location, I suppose they’d be somewhat effective. I mean, tin foil is certainly impermeable, and it’s hard to get to the point of penetration if the penetratee is laughing so hard she can’t breathe…

        • DelphiniumFalcon

          Can’t do that. It’s made of the ebil aluminums, the most diabolically poisonous of all metals!!!!111

          • Box of Salt

            Um. Sorry. I do call often call it “tinfoil” too, but Sn is and entirely different element that Al.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYW50F42ss8

          • Box of Salt

            ^ “Sn is an”
            Where’s my proofreader?

    • Linden

      There is growing communitiy fear because of celebrity fearmongers, who are fearmongers to remain celebrities.
      There is fear because of dropping standards in science education.
      There is fear because of journalists failing to understand science; not doing their jobs; echoing illiterate idiots and snake-oil salesmen in the name of a false “both sides” narative that has no merit; manufacturing controversy where none exists.
      There is a very *legitimate* fear because consumer standards are not being upheld, as government agencies become more toothless.
      So you can come out of paranoia land by educating yourself and others, voting for people who want to implement science based policies and ignoring celebrities until they crawl back under their respective rocks.

      • yentavegan

        Yes,you have hit the nail on the head. That is part of what feeds the distrust. We don’t understand science and the media manipulates our ignorance.

      • Gozi

        Dropping standards in science education? I was appalled when my son’s science lab was turned into a keyboarding class.

      • DelphiniumFalcon

        Dropping standards in public education science classes in the US is why I keep this pic on standby.

    • Allie

      Excellent devious plan. I will have to detract some points from your supervillain score because the pill would be a poor choice for this plan. It only targets less than half the population.
      If a terrorist group would poison the ingredients for OTC tylenol or ibuprofen they would affect many more people of both genders.
      So while this may be a valid concern I fail to see why it would be specific to the birth control pill. I’m getting the impression that you are dragging all kinds of side arguments into this discussion because you don’t approve of women having control of their fertility but are unwilling to come out and say so.

      • Who?

        To be entirely fair to Y I don’t think she’s exhibited any unwillingness to come out and say it, though like other supporters of non-hormonal birth control she is a little coy about when, in what circumstances and by whom it should be used.

        • allie

          “Non-hormonal birth control”.
          What does that mean, exactly? Barrier methods only?
          Surely you don’t mean this “natural family planning” sharade. That has a typical failure rate of 24%. That’s not birtn control, that’s Russian roulette

      • yentavegan

        WHAT? I fully support everyone’s choice to use the kind of birth control that suits their needs! I thought I was the paranoid one!

        • Tiffany Aching

          ” I fully support everyone’s choice to use the kind of birth control that suits their needs!”

          Well, not your daughters’, at least. Nor any teenage girl.

    • Cobalt

      The manufacturers would have to be in on the plan, you couldn’t swap out materials without them knowing about it (not to mention hundreds or thousands of employees). Now, would a major manufacturer throw away a billion dollar business for the sake of a political squabble? Killing or maiming a few hundred million customers is very bad for business (drugs aren’t manufactured for specific destinations, it would have a global impact).

    • RMY

      I’d worry more about herbal supplements made from ingredients abroad vs chemicals. I worked in Quality Control for the lab that made some for a large brand, we received barrels of plant matter from China and the only tests we ran were for bacterial contamination. Not to make sure the plants were what the label said they were (no DNA tests were done, no pesticide tests).

      Basically all ascorbic acid is manufactured in China, but I don’t worry about that as there are easier tests to assess its purity and contamination.

    • SporkParade

      According to the box, my current hormonal birth control pills are manufactured in the Netherlands. The pills I took pre-motherhood were manufactured in Israel.

  • Well if people do not become pregnant (because they’re on the pill) – they have no reason to watch “The Business of Being Born”.

  • baileylamb

    I wonder if she is being paid by any group…

    • Megan

      I know it is being funded partially by a kickstarter campaign. My Kindsra app that I use to track my cycles has been encouraging people to donate. Ugh. Of course they are a FAM app so I guess I see why they’re pushing the movie.

  • yentavegan

    Aside from the hormonal benefits women with menstrual issues receive from the Pill and strictly from a contraceptive point of view, tell me why the Pill is better than the diaphragm? Please be a woman who has used both, so you can speak from experience.

    • Cobalt

      Routine, for one. The pill you just take everyday at the same time. That is a big concern for me, I do better when I can incorporate stuff into a predictable and boring routine. Diaphrams have all the planning issues of condoms, plus fitting and maintainence, minus STD protection. And putting it in and taking it out is more work than it’s worth for me with alternatives available. I never got the hang of menstrual cups either.

      • yentavegan

        I relied exclusively on the daiphragm to control conception. I never found it to be an intrusion and I liked not having my hormone cycle messed with.

        • just me

          Wel, then that’s fine for you. It’s good that you had choices.

        • Mattie

          good for YOU (caps for emphasis not yelling) the whole point is that each individual woman should get to pick her own contraception to use in/on her own body, and everyone else should butt out (except in rare instances a sexual partner where certain contraceptives could cause problems due to an allergy or other reason).

          • yentavegan

            Latex allergies right?

          • Mattie

            That was what sprang to mind immediately, although irritation caused by spermicide or couples where one partner is HIV positive could also mean that one form of contraception is preferable to another, and something the couple would decide together…but generally it’s the woman’s body and the woman’s choice.

          • Cobalt

            IUD strings can be unpleasant for a male partner in some pairings. It’s uncommon, but possible.

          • Mattie

            Thanks 🙂 IMO contraception is an important part of a relationship, and decisions should be at least talked about (it takes two to make a baby, and it shouldn’t be just one person’s job to prevent one) but honestly I’m an asexual virgin who has no plans to sleep with anyone anytime soon, I am not the most experienced in this area haha

          • Sarah

            I don’t think you need to have had or intend to have sex to understand that!

          • Mattie

            Thanks, I don’t either but a few people seem to treat you like a baby who knows nothing when they find out you’re still a virgin lol

          • Roadstergal

            I always started with condoms when having sex with a new male partner – because of both backup BC and STDs. I would honestly be very wary of a potential new male partner who didn’t proactively bring up condoms when sexytimes started looking like an option, because of just that…

            If it felt like things were getting serious, we talked about alternatives. 🙂 I always took care of my own BC, though, from the oral options I’ve used to the implant. Because I’m the one who has to deal with the consequences when it all comes down to it, and also because I love the effects hormonal BC has on me.

          • Mattie

            Yeh, I’m talking that kind of discussion not the Christian Grey style ‘you will go on the pill, and I will choose the doctor and the pill’ creepy controlling command lol

          • Roadstergal

            Wow, that’s crazy. That’s like, red flag, run awaaaay.

          • Mattie

            the whole of that book is red flag run away, it’s gross that it’s so popular 🙁

          • Roadstergal

            As a big fan of both fanfic and BDSM, I HATE that book.

          • Inmara

            That has been my feelings too – every reasonable man should offer a condom if getting to an intercourse with a new partner (that tells a lot about his past experiences too – much lower chances to get an STD). I have had PIV sex with very few men, and ironically my husband was the one most opposed to condoms, but I insisted and he had to accept my choice (otherwise he wouldn’t be my husband, obviously).
            Therefore I wonder about references to casually prescribing the pill to teen girls as a first choice of BC – OK, it’s extra safety regarding unwanted pregnancies, but how do you convince them that they still have to use condoms with new partners to avoid STDs? I don’t know what is taught in sex ed nowadays in my country, but about 15-20 years ago the drill was “condoms while you’re “exploring”, hormonal BC when you’re in long-term relationship with reliable partner”.

          • Azuran

            My sex ed, over 10 years ago, made full mention of basically all possible STDs, their prevalence, how you got them and their short and long term consequences as well as how to prevent them. It was made very clear with every single contraception method how effective it was at preventing both pregnancy and STDs.
            I believe the best course is quality education. Chances are, teenagers are going to have sex whether you want them to or not, better make sure they know what they are doing.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “Therefore I wonder about references to casually prescribing the pill to teen girls as a first choice of BC ”

            Yeah, it’s total bunk. This idea that doctors “throw pills” at girls or casually prescribe them. It’s so offensive.

            The truth is that many teens are bad at condom use. They forget to bring them. They decide not to use them “this once”. They try to roll them on the wrong way. They nick them with their nails and later they break. The guy ejaculates quickly but is too embarrassed to tell the girl and so keeps going, but then loses his erection and the sperm filled condom slips off inside her. They have unprotected intercourse “just a little” and plan to put them on later but then get carried away….oh the many, many ways teens get condoms wrong!

            So having another method IN ADDITION to the condom is very important. The pill can be a fine choice for a teen that is mature enough to remember (or who has a mother mature enough to remind her). For other teens, LARCs are better. But we keep stressing the condoms for infection protection. Do teens always continue to use them? No they don’t. But the majority of teens I see are already not using condoms consistently, and this is before they are on any other method.

          • Roadstergal

            Yeah, no doc ever ‘threw a pill’ at me. Even when I wasn’t sexually active and was using the pill for period pain, they still reminded me with every refill that the pill doesn’t protect against STDs, and that I should still use barrier methods in the event I did become sexually active.

          • FormerPhysicist

            Lack of condoms with LARCs or the pill may lead to STDs. But that’s still better than an STD plus an unwanted pregnancy.

          • Roadstergal

            ” but I insisted”

            Heh – I hate to say it, but I would never have sex with a man if I had to insist on a condom. I’m not sure I’d have sex with a man if he wasn’t the one to bring up the condom in the first place, really. Condoms provide some protection against STDs, but they’re not perfect, and if a guy generally doesn’t use them with other partners, he’s increasing his own risk of catching something – and that increases the risk to me.

            “but about 15-20 years ago the drill was “condoms while you’re “exploring”, hormonal BC when you’re in long-term relationship with reliable partner”.”

            I never got that – early ’90s sex ed for me. They gave a succinct rundown of the plusses and minuses of each method, rather than dictating when to use each one. Hormonal + condom stood out as the right way to go for me. Also my note to 5050 below.

            I also remember a LOT of PSAs for condoms in the late ’80s-early ’90s – AIDS was still a really fresh and scary thing.

          • Sarah

            Happened to my friend!

          • Megan

            My husband felt them once or twice but usually they didn’t bother him too much. When I inserted IUDs for patients I would always advise them that if their partnER was having discomfort from the strings to come in and I could try to trim them a bit shorter. Usually this fixed it. Obviously there’s a limit how short you can cut the strings without endangering your ability to remove the IUD in the future but it usually worked.

          • Mishimoo

            I have a mild latex allergy, which means that we were very grateful when the non-latex condoms became readily available. Nothing is less conducive to sexy times than than feeling like someone is sandblasting my vagina and vulva.

        • Inmara

          So that was your choice, as my choice always has been condom (which many people find weird in long-term relationships and marriage). Yet, I fully acknowledge that for many women (I would say that even for majority) pill is what works better, and they are happy with their choice.

        • Sarah

          Which is great, but some of us don’t do so well with inserting things, and find that considerably more intrusive than having cycles messed with.

        • Zen

          And I think the pill is the bee’s knees. To each her own. And that’s all there is to say about it.

        • OBPI Mama

          Did you use spermicide with it? I’m curious as I don’t use hormonal birth control and am not comfortable with having copper in my body and so I was thinking about being fitted for a diaphragm as my husband and I get tired of condoms… I just had our 5th baby 2 months ago and want to lose another 20lbs before I get fitted for it so I don’t have to get refitted quickly again. Anyway, I don’t love the idea of spermicide, but if it’s a necessity….

          • Cobalt

            Well, how upset would you be if you got pregnant? It’s better than nothing without spermicide, but you lose quite a bit of effectiveness.

          • Azuran

            I think the are other kind of IUD beside copper ones (but they might be hormonal, I’m not sure)
            I used condoms and spermicide during the few months before I got on the pill. I found it more or less messy and unsexy. It adds a step before sex so it kinda breaks the mood a little.
            You could possibly do a mix of condom/calendar method, perhaps only adding spermicide in your fertile period.
            If you don’t want more kids, you could slowly approach the subject of vasectomy with your husband.

          • the wingless one

            i use the condom+calendar method and it works well for us (so far anyway!). it’s not exactly our first choice but i have an autoimmune disorder and the research seems to go back and forth between safe or not safe to take BCPs with lupus, so I figure the safest thing to do is just stay off them.

          • Cobalt

            I find condoms to be less messy, at least in the sense that the mess is majority his to deal with. It’s a one sided benefit, but one I appreciate.

          • Azuran

            I meant spermicide is messy. I also kinda like condoms as well because, like you said, it makes the ‘mess’ mainly my boyfriends problem. But my boyfriend doesn’t share the feeling.

          • OBPI Mama

            My husband says he’s going to get a vasectomy in the late fall (less busy season for him), but we’ll see. He’s more done than I am… he’s tired of seeing me heal from C-sections/go through pregnancy… he hates seeing pain, but that’s just life sometimes though. I’m fine with whatever he decides, honestly. I look at my 5th and think, “Maybe I could do this again in a few years…” but I’m content also. This is the first C-section I’ve had incision trouble with though. We don’t use any hormonal forms of birth control because of a personal conviction (totally understand not all feel the same and that’s fine for them), so I’m trying to figure this out to either give me some spacing between babies or to hold off on pregnancy until the husband gets took care of. I would need to take a class on the calendar method…

          • Medwife

            There is a new diaphragm available that sounds much improved over the old one. Much less sensitive to fitting, apparently. I wouldn’t recommend using a diaphragm without spermicide- it sends failure rate way up.

            http://buycaya.com/caya-single-size-diaphragms.html

          • fiftyfifty1

            The Caya. I’m hopeful about it. I think it’s possible that with more women starting to use menstrual cups that this might cross over into more interest in diaphragms, especially with this new better design. But I think the deal breaker is still the spermicide. Oral sex is so much more a part of a typical sexual encounter than it was in the 1950s when diaphragms had their heyday. I find the 24/7 diaphragm leave-in clean-once-daily-in-the-shower technique to also have potential for the right women. It eliminates the spontaneity problem. Women who do it don’t use spermicide. The lack of spermicide decreases the effectiveness rate, but apparently it improves compliance so much that the drop in effectiveness is more than off-set.

          • yentavegan

            no. I did not use a spermicide.

        • Trixie

          I have a violent, itching, painful, inflamed reaction to spermicide, and after the pain subsides, it triggers a horrible yeast infection that requires Diflucan. Which, actually, is a pretty effective way to not get pregnant.

          • Who?

            Contraception method: serious yeast infection.

            That’s extreme!

          • OBPI Mama

            That made me laugh! My open C-section incision has been great birth control for the last 2 months. It’s almost closed now so that’s why I’m starting to think of all this…

          • Medwife

            Yikes! Sorry to hear about your healing troubles.

    • just me

      Well, I would imagine using the diaphragm is much more of a hassle vs. popping a pill. You have to inspect it for holes, insert it, etc. Neither was my contraceptive of choice but I don’t have a problem with others’ use.

      In college Our Bodies Ourselves was all the rage and the one takeaway I remember was that IUDs = bad bc there were a lot of pid infections back then–weren’t they even banned for a while? Kinda strange to see IUDs making a comeback. Personally I would find an iud too intrusive, but to each their own.

      • One brand of IUD was banned — the Dalkon Shield. Today’s IUDs are much more advanced, better tolerated, and more efficient. They also have to be replaced every three years, and it’s not cheap.
        I’ve used a diaphragm, and taken the Pill. The latter was fine, although I did find the hormones did cause me some problems, especially in the beginning. A diaphragm needs to be fitted properly [and refitted after each childbirth], it must be used properly [some women never find insertion easy or comfortable], it must be used with a spermicide, and it must ALWAYS be used [ah, the dates when you wondered whether to put it in your purse or not…]. Even so, it is slightly less effective than the Pill [assuming the Pill is being taken properly]

        In the smorgasbord of contraceptive options, the diaphragm has its place, just as the IUD and the Pill and other options do.

        • Alcharisi

          The copper IUD, Paragard, is good for at least ten years, and Mirena, one of two options for a hormonal IUD, is usually good for five.

          • KL

            Yes! And here in Canada Paragard is $70 CAD so compared to hormonal methods ($25 a month) it’s very inexpensive!

        • Liz Leyden

          Skyla, a new (in the US) IUD marketed to women who have not yet had a child, has to be replaced every 3 years. Mirena is good for 5 years, and the Copper T is good for 10-15 years.

          http://www.skyla-us.com/index.php?ecid=skyla:ppc:ggl:brdbrsky:595

      • Guest

        I found IUD great. No problems with strings, no infections, not having to remember anything, no problems when I travelled and changed hour zones, no worries at all. 99-98% effective if you use it during the intended time. I did not get an unwanted pregnancy. I have to admit it was uncomfortable to have it inserted, but 10 minutes of discomfort were worth the years I got without problems.

      • Megan

        I personally LOVED my IUD. It was so liberating. And by the way the problem with the Dalkon shield was the string. Now IUD’s have monofilament threads that arent amenable to bacteria. So the worries of PID are much reduced, especially with good sterile insertion technique.

        I think it’s great that so many options are available so that we can all find one that suits us best.

      • Fallow

        There isn’t anything strange about the IUD making a come-back. They’re extremely convenient on a day to day basis, and extremely effective. Once it’s in, you can stop thinking about birth control. And anyone who’s paying attention knows that the Dalkon Shield was done away with decades upon decades ago, and aren’t relevant to modern IUDs. I will never willingly go back to any other birth control option than an IUD.

        Probably the worst thing about an IUD, is the people who ask me weird questions like, “Uggh, I don’t know, don’t you have to feel for the strings? Ugh, I couldn’t do that. And having something inside me?!? UGGH.” I wouldn’t ever be so rude about their forms of birth control, but IUDs remain fair game for some reason.

        • Ennis Demeter

          The new generation of IUDs are credited with lowering the teen birth rate in Colorado by 40% in just a few years. They are truly s game changer.

          • Who?

            That’s amazing and so heartening. My brain hurts when I think about politicians who don’t like birth control or sex ed, and also don’t agree with abortion. And many of them approve of the death penalty.

            It’s confusing.

        • just me

          I wasn’t criticizing your or anyone’s use. I was saying that when I was in college the message was drilled into our heads that IUDs were unsafe. So to ME, having not given them much thought in the ensuing decades, I personally find it strange that they are now popular and apparently safe. Just making a comment, not insulting anyone’s choice.

          • Inmara

            Where I live, IUDs are still looked upon with some caution and recommended only to women who have had their first child. I have no idea whether it’s based on actual research regarding newest brands of IUDs or it’s a remnant from times when they indeed could impact chances of conception after removal. Anyway, from talking with other women I have an impression that IUDs (especially Mirena) are quite popular, and Mirena has become much cheaper in last years too (my friend inserted it recently, after she got pregnant with FAM and had to undergo 3rd C-section).

      • Jessica

        OMG, I loved Mirena. For the first seven months after having my son I used the mini-pill. I was having a hard time with compliance due to altered sleep schedule, and I was seeing signs of fertility that made me question how effective it really was. I began to avoid sex because I was *THAT* scared of getting pregnant. I had Mirena inserted at seven months postpartum, and it was great.

        My period returned two weeks after I got it, and I had a regular period the entire time I used it. Other than an initial adjustment of the string length, it was just awesome. My husband couldn’t feel it, it made my periods super light, and I never had a panicked moment of “Did I remember to take my pill?” The only concern I have for using it in the future relates to my blood pressure; but I am definitely getting another IUD.

    • Roadstergal

      I’m guessing that the diaphragm would be one of many alternatives for women who don’t tolerate the Pill well. And the Pill would be one of many alternatives for women who don’t like the hassle of the diaphragm, and/or get irritation from the spermicidal jelly (friend of mine).

      I like that there are lots of options. I like that Planned Parenthood’s site goes over them in the style of “Is X right for me?”

      • fiftyfifty1

        And the Planned Parenthood site lays out ALL the options including Abstinence, FAM, and even Yenta’s beloved Heavy Petting (although they call it “Outercourse”).

        • Gozi

          Is light petting an option?

          • Amy

            Not if you want sexual satisfaction 😉

    • Montserrat Blanco

      Hassle of inserting it, with typical use it is less effective than the pill (as condoms are), not possible to combine it with condoms (I used the pill as a back up method in case a condom broke and did not disclose it to all of my partners).

      It depends on the couple and the circumstances.

    • Bombshellrisa

      Diaphragm Has to be refitted with any weight loss/gain of 10 lbs, has to stay in place for awhile after you have sex, spermicide irritates my delicates.
      What is the issue with having your cycle messed with? Is to the idea or an actual issue you feel makes it the wrong choice for you?

      • yentavegan

        as of 9 years ago I stopped having to worry about birth control altogether. But back when I was fertile I was afraid of hormonal birth control. I had no scientific evidence to back up my fears but I had a visceral aversion to chemically altering my cycle.

        • Bombshellrisa

          Fair enough. I wondered because there are a lot of friends I have who are terrified of the same thing.

          • Cobalt

            It’s a common enough fear that for decades pills always had a placebo week to trigger a “period” even though none was required.

        • Who?

          And if you had a cycle you could live with, I get that.

          People like me have a visceral aversion to pain, nausea, fainting and two weeks at a time of heavy bleeding. And that’s without mentioning the effect of being unable to choose between two tins in the supermarket, or park the car. Which I’d think other women would get, even if they don’t experience it.

          And the pill deals with some/all of that.

        • Captain Obvious

          Stress, change in weight, alcohol, some medications, age amongst other things can alter your cycle.

    • Sarah

      You mention the menstrual benefits as though they’re some marginal, passing trifle! But in any case, you do realise some of us find the Pill beneficial for reasons beyond even contraception and menstruation, right? Sadly, the diaphragm does very little for adult acne…

      • Amy

        My cousin was put on the Pill as a non-sexually-active 13-year-old for her acne. It worked wonders.

      • demodocus

        A college roommate was taking birth control because, apparently, if she didn’t her periods would have ceased at a very young age and she hoped to one day carry her a child. (with donated eggs)

        • fiftyfifty1

          Ah, premature ovarian failure.

          • demodocus

            I got the impression it was related to her Turner’s

          • fiftyfifty1

            Ah, she had Turner’s. My cousin’s wife has that. Most women with it don’t get periods. Those that do are typically discovered to have 45X0/46XX mosaicism if they do in depth chromosome analysis. Those with mosaicism may have periods for a few years but usually experience premature ovarian failure and then their periods stop. Egg donation has been so great.

    • baileylamb

      Well I think that’s the point. The learning curve,is such that there aren’t a lot of women (my age) who used booth. Lots of young people who grow up with out sex Ed aren’t comfortable with their body. Slapping the patch (in my case) on, was a lot easier for drunken crazy random hours with my college boyfriend (now husband) then the diaphragm.

    • Branwen

      I have tried quite a few birth control options over the last 6 years. I was on the pill for a while and tried a variety of them. I honestly thought it was making me depressed for a while. But, it turns out I actually have hypothyroidism that was greatly impacting my level of depression. I then was off of birth control for about 9 months and used FAM (fertility awareness method) as well as a diaphragm at first. In all honesty, even though I had the diaphragm fitted, the spermicides whether it was the non-nonoxynol-9 or the most common spermicides which have
      nonoxynol-9 in them, it really messed with my mucous and made it impossible to tell when I was ovulating.

      The last 2 months of using FAM, I had such severe anxiety it felt like I was being choked. It was especially bad the week before I had my period and the week of my period. I felt unstable and crazy and emotional. I have what is called PMDD, premenstrual dysphoric disorder. I finally decided hell, if I feel crazy when I am not on birth control, then I might as well get on it so I don’t have to worry about being pregnant too! Decided to go see a nurse practitioner instead of the normal OBGYN doctor I was seeing, who in all honesty never bothered to read my chart. The nurse practitioner was amazing. She went through my chart and asked if there was a time I felt somewhat normal on birth control. I said the second one, she told me that was YAZ. I couldn’t believe it! I thought that was the one that made me crazy cause I thought that was the first one I was on. But, ortho-tri-cyclin low was the first one and she said she wasn’t surprised it made me cooky and that one has made a lot of women like that.

      I have now been on YAZ for 4 months and after the first week of being back on it, I finally felt like myself. I think more clearly, have not been struggling with anxiety and depression, and overall feel amazing! Sometimes it takes a while to find the birth control that works best for you and your life style. Everyone reacts to birth control differently. Condoms don’t work for my partner and I because he is in the 99th percentile in girth and all condoms are too tight. The IUD gave me terrible cramps, the 4 other birth control pills made me feel unstable, the spermicides made my fluids stringy and weird and made my cervix sensitive, but YAZ has worked wonders for me.

      • Who?

        Yes Yaz has mostly cleared my PMDD. It’s now at the point that I can recognise it for what it is, and manage the few minor symptoms, which are a lot shorter in duration, and less dramatic, than previously.

      • Kelly

        I am so glad that we are having this conversation because two OBGYNs have told me that the pill could not make me feel crazy. I tried two different pills and I think it made my anxiety worse. I was so afraid that I would be a crazy pregnant women but pregnancy did not make me anywhere crazy as I felt on the pill. I now feel better that I was right on how I felt and that non-hormonal birth control will be my best bet. Also, the ortho-tri-cyclin was horrible for me.

        • Cobalt

          Ortho Tri Lo made me feel paranoid and depressed, but not for the first several years I took it. I didn’t have that until I started taking it again after several years off and a few kids. I have a history of anxiety and depression, for whatever reason that particular formulation exacerbated it ten fold.

        • indigosky

          The Pill made me crazy after I got off of it. I had a three week withdrawal where I would just start crying for no reason and having panic attacks and hot flashes. No issues while on it, just getting off of it. And I ended at the end of a pill cycle too.

        • fiftyfifty1

          The issue is really complicated. Controlled studies have repeatedly shown that birth control pills are NOT associated with increased moodiness, anxiety or depression compared to placebo. Moodiness, anxiety and depression are conditions that wax and wane for a whole host of reasons. But the word on the street is that “pills screw up your hormones and make you moody.” So when a woman goes through a period of time where she is struggling with depression or anxiety, understandably the first thing she thinks to blame is her pills. Then she tells more people that “The Pill made me crazy” and thus the rumor spreads even more.

          This puts doctors in a difficult position. If we say “Pills don’t cause moodiness” we are branded as dismissive, defensive or ignorant. But if we go along with a woman, it further endorses the myth. So I try to strike a delicate balance. I say something like “All the studies show that pills do NOT cause moodiness. It’s almost always something else causing the problem. That said, if you really want to try another brand or method, I am glad to prescribe something different. What matters to me is that YOU feel well.”

          It is not infrequent that I will have a women tell me that Brand X made her crazy, but that she tolerates Brand Y. And Brand Y is just the generic for Brand X. Exact same ingredients.

          • Kelly

            That makes sense. There was a lot of things going on that year and I do acknowledge that. The horrible physical side effects did not help what was going on in my personal life.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            I was moody on one birth control pill but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t from the hormones making me crazy so much as the naseua from the pills wouldn’t go away even after six months and being nauseous all the time doesn’t exactly put many people in a good mood lol.

    • indigosky

      Because nothing is less sexy than trying to stick a diaphragm up yourself before sex. I prefer Nexplanon over both because the Pill you have to remember to take daily.

      • yentavegan

        I think the insertion aspect was kind of fore-playful.

        • RMY

          It’s probably similar to how some couples find putting a condom on fun or neutral , others find it kills the spontaneity.

          • Cobalt

            I like seeing a condom go on, the feeling of protection and relief from pregnancy is very sexy. YMMV.

          • Roadstergal

            You’re not the only one. The feeling of putting on a condom with a partner was v hot to me (I love to put them on and get a little junk-petting in). With the LTRs, we traded that off for spontaneity and sensation (although, with Kimonos, very little loss of sensation, YMMV).

      • Jessica

        I briefly used NuvaRing, and my then-boyfriend (now husband) hated the way it felt, so I removed it during sex. I found that alone to be enough of a mood killer that I went back on the Pill after a couple of cyles.

      • Medwife

        Yes there is something less sexy. Taking it out afterwards!

      • Liz Leyden

        I had success with the cervical cap, largely because it can be left in for up to 48 hours. Of course, I lost mine during my honeymoon, then found out it had been discontinued. I was about to start nursing school, and did NOT want to get pregnant before graduation, so I got a Mirena IUD. Insertion was painful, the first 6 weeks were rough, and it caused painful ovarian cysts, but I didn’t get pregnant.

    • An Actual Attorney

      Doesn’t fit for every woman, spermicides can be and often are irritating, have to be comfortable sticking your hand in your vagina. Doesn’t fix your period pain. Why are so insistent about the inferiority of the pill?

      • fiftyfifty1

        In addition, diaphragms can press against the neck of the bladder in such a way that it can’t empty 100% and women can get bladder infections and kidney infections. The thought of partially obstructing my urinary tract for hours on end is not at all appealing to me.

        • yentavegan

          i never had that issue with my diaphragm.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Right, and that’s why it was a good method for YOU.

            But you asked about the pros and cons of the pill compared to the diaphragm and I listed one. One potential risk of the diaphragm is urinary obstruction. It is never a risk of the Pill.

            When I counsel women on the potential risks and benefits of a method I have to tell the whole story, not just the experience and opinions of yentavegan.

          • yentavegan

            Was that your experience? I am not trying to be confrontational. I am asking for personal experience. You counsel on the benefits/risks of various forms of birth control, so you obviously have a professional experience. Do you have women coming to you with bladder infections because of the diaphragm?

          • fiftyfifty1

            It’s not my personal experience. I don’t personally use the diaphragm. Why do personal anecdotes matter more to you than actual scientific evidence that has been determined by studying tens of thousands of women?

            But if you must have anecdotes here some are: both my mother and my best friend developed UTIs on the diaphragm. They did not get them otherwise. In addition, one of my siblings is the product of a diaphragm failure.

            This is not a surprise because of every 100 women who rely upon the diaphragm, 12 will get pregnant each year. And that’s WITH spermicide use.

            I don’t see a lot of women with diaphragm-caused UTIs because frankly the diaphragm is so unpopular. Statistically fewer than 1 in 1,000 women find it the best method for them. Most women don’t like the fuss, they don’t find putting it in to be a sexy, they are not comfortable with the fact that they have a greater than 1 in 10 chance EACH YEAR of ending up pregnant, they don’t want the expense of having to go in, get it refitted and buy a new one every time they give birth or their weight goes up or down 10 pounds. Their partners find the taste of the spermicide to be revolting. Most women are unwilling to even give it a try. Of the ones who are, in my experience, many rapidly switch back to a different method. Do I have a couple of older married women who are very devoted to their diaphragms? Yes I do. But even they agree that the method is not for everyone, and they do not push their friends or daughters to follow their example.

          • yentavegan

            Ok. Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I am open to learning. And I am also ok with being shown that my long held personal beliefs don’t jive with scientific fact. MY sphere of influence is small as I have no professional stake in the matter .

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Also kills some of the thrill of spontaneity.

            As an inverse of TV gender stereotypes, I’m always in the mood for sex but my husband’s libido isn’t as revved up as mine. So we go by his because that works great for me. We’re still very active but I could probably be a several times a day girl if that option were presented. We basically have the agreement that the answer from me is always yes when the question is “Sex?” If I don’t want it right then, I have no problems saying no.

            Having to interrupt the fun teasing up time to shove something up there isn’t my idea of a good time. So the pill just works better for our type of sex life.

      • Liz Leyden

        A diaphragm that fits may not fit properly after weight gain, weight loss, or pregnancy.

    • An Actual Attorney

      I forgot, spermicides taste pretty icky.

      • Mishimoo

        You’re not meant to eat it on toast!

        • Roadstergal

          But the tube said it was jelly!

          • “I guess I can get used to the taste of the suppository, but I can’t stand that Kentucky jelly.”

    • Amy

      I’m medically contradicted from taking the Pill (frequent severe migraines and depression), and boy do I miss it. It’s hard to screw up taking a pill every day. If you forget, you can use a condom that night or just wait until the next night. The diaphragm can slip out of place, the spermicide is gooey, and it has a much higher failure rate.

      We currently use a combination of FAM and condoms. Used together, using “typical use” failure rates, they’re almost as effective as the Pill, but with no side effects. But as I said, if the Pill was an option for me, I’d be back on it in a heartbeat.

      • fiftyfifty1

        ” It’s hard to screw up taking a pill every day. If you forget, you can use a condom that night or just wait until the next night.”

        Actually, the pill doesn’t work that way. If you forget a pill you are at some risk of pregnancy for *the next 2 weeks*. Now, you are not at as high of risk of pregnancy as if you were on nothing at all, and you can mitigate the risk somewhat by taking the forgotten pill as soon as you remember (typically doubling up on the pill the next day when you see that yesterday’s pill is still in the pack), but the risk doesn’t go away completely. To be absolutely sure you need a condom for the next 2 weeks.

        The most risky pills to forget are those right at the beginning of the pack. Your body has already been without the pill for 7 days in order to give you the withdrawl bleed that the developers of the pill assumed women would want (and they weren’t entirely wrong at the time I suppose). If you forget pill #1 of the pack, you have now been 8 days without a pill, and if you are a fertile women, you can ovulate. Pill #1 of the pack is also the easiest one for women to forget, as many women skip taking the placebo reminder pills. Or they figure “Well I am due to start back on my pills today, but I’m not planning sex today, so I’ll start the pack tomorrow.” Or they have run out of pill packs and don’t realize it until the evening when they are due to restart, and their pharmacy isn’t open, so they put it off to the next day. Many women don’t even consider having done this as missing a pill. They need to be using a backup method for 2 weeks if they miss pill #1, but they don’t.

        This problem is largely mitigated by taking the pills continuously without a withdrawl bleed. Although even this can be screwed up. Low income/low literacy women in particular can do all sorts of wrong things with the pill. A mistake that I always spend a lot of time warning about is what to do about spotting. Spotting can happen on the pill, especially on a continuous pill. Some women interpret spotting as “by body trying to have a period” and then will not take a pill that day or will take one of the placebo “period week pills” on that day. I spend a LOT of time coaching that you should take the pills, in order, every single day. whether you are bleeding or not, whether you plan sex that day or not. Every. Single. Day.

        • Azuran

          I expect that they kept a ‘bleeding period’ in the first versions of the pills probably more for ‘safety’ than because women wanted to bleed. They probably thought that messing less with the cycle was better. Not true, but, since a good portion on women on the pill are not taking it continuously, it shows that women feel it is better.
          Personally, I like seeing that I’m not pregnant. Many of my friends taking the pill without stopping had pregnancy scare when their period wouldn’t start when they stopped it.

          • Medwife

            I think they knew it wasn’t necessary to have a withdrawal bleed, but that women would want to have something that looked like a normal cycle. More “natural”.

          • fiftyfifty1

            And sadly, having a “normal” cycle is still important for the subset of teens I see who have mothers who monitor their garbage cans to make them prove that they are using up pads. It’s too bad because otherwise some of them would choose depo or nexplanon which are so much more reliable. But they can’t risk not getting a monthly bleed.

          • FormerPhysicist

            OMG, that’s hideous. I bug my teen a bit about her cycle, but that’s because I don’t bleed (very successful ablation) and I buy her supplies and she’s young.

            By bugging I mean “Tampons and pads are on sale, do you need more?” or “You’re packing for a three-day overnight. Do you need to pack supplies for getting your period? Always pack a few emergency feminine supplies. Even if you don’t need them, your friends might thank you.”

          • fiftyfifty1

            Yes, it is pretty intrusive. It’s not uncommon for mothers to keep an eye on whether a girl is using up pads/tampons, but the ones who actually monitor the garbage can and inspect for blood are really difficult. It seems to be a cultural thing. Only one group that I see does the used product monitoring. This same group also won’t allow tampons.

            Some of the girls, however, have come up with a clever plan. They take the pads, bring them to school, and give them to a friend of theirs who has a mother who doesn’t monitor in this way. The friend uses them, puts them in a plastic bag and gives them back to the girl, and the girl takes them home and puts them in the garbage. Obviously this involves a good and very loyal friend, hats off to these friends!

          • Roadstergal

            Teen girls can be very smart, for sure – good on them. It’s super-suck that the cultural bias takes some great options off of the table. 🙁

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            When my doctor first explained to me about taking the pill continuously when I was an older teen he pointed out something I really hadn’t thought of when I asked if it was healthy to skip periods like that.

            For most of human history women didn’t have nearly as many periods as women today do because they were constantly pregnant or breastfeeding due to lack of reliable birth control in the first place.

            Now that I’m sexually active if I feel something is off and I could possibly be pregnant I just get a test to put my mind at ease. It’s much better than being anemic.

        • KL

          I used NuvaRing but same idea, and this is how I got pregnant with my daughter 🙂 I delayed insertion by a couple of days. Apparently that’s a big no-no.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Yes, that fact is something that I go over again and again with women. A woman who would never think of not using a backup method if she missed 2 pills in the middle of a pack (or left the patch off or NuvaRing out for 2 days) may think nothing of delaying the start of the method for a couple of days at the beginning of the cycle. She will think “how could that matter if I don’t have sex those days?” The irony is that taking those 2 days off at the start is MANY times as risky as missing 2 days in the middle of the cycle.

            Sometimes I will diagnose a woman with an unplanned pregnancy who will swear up and down that she has never missed a single pill. But then when we go over it in detail, she it turns out she HAD delayed the start. I think it’s really important to go over it in this way with a woman, because otherwise she thinks “I’m immune to the pill” when in reality it would have worked for her if she hadn’t made this one mistake.

          • demodocus

            I have a nephew for a similar reason. Apparently, it takes some time to build up in the first place.

        • DelphiniumFalcon

          Even moderately educated early twenty somethings can be pretty stupid with their birth control pills if they tune out everything their doc was saying and just go “Yay! Now I can have sex with my boyfriend when they visit!” As what happened to an ex friend of mine about six or seven years back.

          She had to call me to ask if she could be pregnant or get pregnant due to the timing of her having sex. I was still a virgin but I’d been on birth control a lot longer and got the lecture a million times from the doc and actually listened.

          Turns out she only started taking the pill two weeks before her boyfriend came to visit while in the middle of her cycle instead of right after her period and hedging her bets by being on it at least a month. Thank goodness we were on the phone so she couldn’t see the red mark on my forehead from repeatedly smacking it. So I had to repeat the spiel she should have been listening to at her doctors and tell her to read her pill’s paper insert for her pill’s exact workings to know if she was at risk or not. And to pay attention to her doctor AND pharmacist next time.

        • Pregnant Guest

          I’ve only ever heard 7 days of backup after missing pills (or starting pills midcycle.) Have I been misinformed?

          • fiftyfifty1

            We got taught probably 7 days for most women, but for more very fertile women or for women for whom the pill has decreased effectiveness anyway (women on certain meds or women with obesity) up to 14 days, so tell patients 14 days.

    • Zornorph

      I exist because of a diaphragm that was not inserted properly.

      • yentavegan

        But that turned out to be a wonderful mis-insertion.

        • Fallow

          You’ve kind of missed the point here. A higher failure rate combined with a steeper learning curve, is a bad thing to the majority of users of birth control. They don’t want “wonderful” birth control failures.

          Also, you’re trying to have it both ways. You want the diaphragm to be better than birth control pills, even with the higher failure rate – because it’s “wonderful” when the diaphragm fails.

          There are plenty of people in my extended family who are the results of failed birth control (usually barrier methods). The fact that these people are well-loved, doesn’t mean that it’s okay for birth control to have a poor failure rate/learning curve combo.

    • SuperGDZ

      why is it worse?

    • Box of Salt

      I just want to thank yentavegan for asking this question, and all who replied and contributed to a reasoned, informative discussion.

  • Angharad

    I don’t think Ricki Lake will be as successful as Jenny McCarthy. Many young people haven’t seen or experienced vaccine preventable diseases (I know I personally only have a fuzzy memory of chickenpox as a preschooler). The real risks of the diseases can seem more abstract compared to the tiny but real risks of adverse reactions to vaccines. On the other hand, most women know/have been/can imagine being pregnant so the risks of not using birth control are more easily internalized and accounted for. Of course, some women (maybe even a plurality of women) may choose methods of birth control other than the pill. If it works for them, I don’t consider it any of my business, although I do think using some type of birth control is the responsible choice for women who have sex with men and don’t want to be pregnant.

  • Amy M

    I think its stupid that they use “I just want to freedom to question xxx..” as their platform. Here in the Western world, we already have that freedom, so question away. In fact, question people who actually might have answers, in these cases, doctors. A good doctor would be happy to sit down and explain the pros and cons of taking bcp, or how vaccines work.

    Of course, the next part of their argument is that all doctors are part of a huge conspiracy that does the shadiest things they can think of (just for fun, apparently) AND fools women into spending lots of money. If that were true, who then, should we ask about the pill or vaccines? Aside from the most paranoid conspiracy theorists, most people can figure out that the average celebrity has no medical credentials. So it comes down to avoiding medicine as much as possible, because no doctors or scientists can be trusted, which, when you look at it that way, is clearly ridiculous. At least I hope it is, to most people.

    • Roadstergal

      In Voodoo Histories, David Aaronovich brings up the “Just Asking Questions” strategy as one shared by almost all modern conspiracy theorists.

      In internet-land, I believe it’s now known as JAQing off.

      • Cobalt

        And that creates problems for people who do honestly like to ask questions because they want to learn. The nutters are making it harder for honest questioners to get good, non snarky answers.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Right. I’ve encountered this before at DD’s pediatrician’s office. I am entirely pro-vaccine, and have made that perfectly clear, and yet all I have to do is ask the pediatrician or the nurse administering the shots what the more common side effects are and at what point I should be concerned, and they visibly tense up and start to get almost hostile. No, seriously, I really do want my kid to get the vaccine, I’m *not* giving you a hard time here, but I’ve never done this mom thing before. Is a low-grade fever normal? Redness/swelling at the site? What symptoms should I call you about? Etc.

          • Mattie

            See part of me wonders if some (and ok, it’s probably a very very small number) of well-intentioned parents end up on the crazy train because they got hostile responses from doctors/nurses and looked on the internet and found the good doctor Wakefield who gave them ALL the answers =/

          • Cobalt

            I think this is not uncommon. Many people want answers, not just reassurances (that can be perceived as patronizing) and will listen to the person who invests the most time into making them feel answered. Busy doctors don’t have that much time (or even patience) for that kind of educational hand holding.

          • Mattie

            Yeh, I do think that the non-crunchy side needs to make time for that, just so that people can get honest answers and not have to look elsewhere. However, I don’t know how that would work or who would fund it so yeh =/

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I wouldn’t be surprised, especially if that’s coupled with a dismissive attitude. Vaccines and midwifery (the non-CNM variety, that is) are very alike in some ways. The thing about midwifery, and it’s a very powerful thing indeed, is that midwives *do* listen. They may be fifty shades of wrong about all sorts of things, but they’ll listen to an endless stream of questions and are actively engaged in educating their patients, and they can at least put on a façade of humility, or at least basic courtesy. I’ve seen moms on some forums saying “When my OB did, say, a manual placental removal, it really hurt, I was terrified, and he never told me what he was doing or why, and blew me off when I tried to talk to him later, so now I’m seeing a midwife who will give me hour-long appointments.” The OB was almost certainly justified in hurting her the way he did in order to save her life, but had he treated her with a little courtesy, even if only afterwards, she might not have gone to a midwife for the next kid.
            I’m envisioning something at her 6 week checkup like “If I didn’t get the placenta out fast, you would have hemorrhaged even more and I would have had to do an emergency hysterectomy. You might even have died. I’m sorry I was abrupt during the procedure, but I was focused on getting the placenta out as fast as possible. I can imagine that was very frightening, and I’m sorry your baby’s birth was like that, though I am very glad indeed that you and he are doing well now. Do you have any questions about it that I can answer? And here’s a business card for a therapist who specializes in helping you work through that, in case you need it.”
            Of course, at the end of the day adults will make their own decisions, and should, however idiotic they may sometimes be, but a little understanding can go a long way on both sides–that mom in not demonizing the doctor, and the doctor in being willing to spend a few minutes answering questions, validating the mom’s feelings on the subject, and offering practical ways of handling them.

          • Mattie

            Yes! Quite often emergency situations can seem chaotic as things happen very fast and everyone is doing their ’emergency job’ and in that instance there just isn’t time to explain things as well as in a non-emergency situation, but after (sometimes quite a while after) there is a lot to be said for taking time to talk through things with women, and also to discuss options for preventing that in future. I really think that would help women feel more comfortable with their doctors, and the doctors to better understand their clients.

          • Medwife

            My office does 2 week postpartum visits that tend to be very focused on talking through their memories of the birth, positive or negative. It gives us a chance to explain scary things that happen so fast in emergencies.

          • Gozi

            It has really ruined it for parents who truly want to ask our child’s pediatrician questions. When my son was born sick, I went through a complete nightmare simply because I wanted to ask questions about why he needed to be transferred. I had to be able to explain it to my husband who was not present. I just needed information.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Yup. I’m glad that my OB understands that when I ask questions, it’s not to be pushy or to demand anything unreasonable; I just like to know what’s going on with my body, and why we need to do X test, and once he knew me well enough to know I simply like to learn about this stuff and why I need it, he was more than happy to explain, and point me in the direction of other resources that might help me more.

          • Box of Salt

            This information (the answsers to your questions) can also be found on the VIS handouts you should be given at every vaccine visit, as well as on the cdc website:
            http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/current-vis.html

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Yeah, I have *never* gotten those from DD’s pediatrician; I wish they did hand them out. Instead, all we get is a generic “Your child got a vaccine today, they might get fussy, here’s the appropriate Tylenol dosage for their weight” form. It doesn’t even list the immunizations she got; it just says that immunizations are good because they prevent illness. No argument there; I just like to be (oh good grief, now I sound like an antivaxxer–do you know how annoying that is?! :p ) fully informed on what’s going on, and with all the stress of driving to the office/waiting an hour with a crabby toddler/driving almost another hour home/etc I’m unlikely to remember which 3-4 vaccines she got that day and the possible side effects off the top of my head if I only have the nurse list them off really fast, y’know? Having a physical reference would be nice. I have taken to asking for an updated list of her immunizations whenever we go in for a checkup, though, so that in combination with the above link–many thanks!–should do the trick nicely.

          • Box of Salt

            Keeper of the Books “Yeah, I have *never* gotten those from DD’s pediatrician”

            Where do you live? Are you in the US? If so, complain. Handing them out is required by law:
            http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/about/facts-vis.html

            Don’t they give you an immunization record that you’re supposed to bring back each visit to update? Or maybe that’s just my state. But I’m having some WTF moments reading your posts about this because from my consumer perspective you are not describing standard practice for pediatrics.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Yep, I live in the US. Wow. I did *not* know that it was required to hand out that info; since that’s the case, I will most assuredly be bringing it up with the practice next time I see them!
            And no, they don’t give us an immunization card, or at least not for the newborn/toddler stage; perhaps they do it differently for school-aged kids? And DD’s not in daycare, so maybe they don’t see it as important since I don’t have to turn in her records to anyone? I’d still like them, though. I have, in the past, asked them for a printout of her vaccine records, but that inevitably takes 20+ minutes to get, and when you’re wrangling a totally fed-up toddler and have been for an hour and a half at that point, another twenty minutes seems like an eternity…lame, I know.
            Without being hugely specific, this practice’s office is in one of the largest medical centers in the country. I’m generally very positive about them, insane wait-times aside, but it surprises (and rather dismays) me that they aren’t following SOP on this. The only other issue I’ve had with them, oddly enough, is also vaccine-related. They were out of Prevnar at one appointment when DD needed it, so they told me to come back in a couple of weeks for it. Called to make an appointment, they said “We’ll just do it at the next appointment” a couple of months later, which they did. I’m *still* getting minor flack for her “not being up to date on her Prevnar” every time I see the pediatricians, and then I have to explain “well, you were out of it, so she got it a bit later, but she’s had the full series if you just look over the later records…”
            I kind of wonder if their EMR system just isn’t very good, that they can’t see at a glance what she’s had and not had.

          • Pregnant Guest

            We have an immunization card that they initial and date all the vaccines she’s gotten at any given appt, but I’ve never been given an information sheet about any of them. And this is at a really popular NYC peds practice; I have no complaints about them, and I love our pediatrician.

          • Mishimoo

            We have little books with pages for the stickers from each dose that contain the batch number and expiry date of each vaccine. The date they were administered is written next to it along with the address for where they were given.

            It’s a from-birth record book issued at the hospital which contains ongoing measurements and growth charts, neonatal examination results, emergency numbers, immunisation records, checklists, and an explanation that homeopathic ‘immunisation’ doesn’t work. I think its awesome because it makes keeping track of things much easier. Wish you had something like it!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            That is an absolutely brilliant idea. In all seriousness, I think I’m going to go check out Amazon and see if I can find something like it here. It would be *extremely* useful for DD now, and future kids as they come along, to have an exact medical record for all that stuff that doesn’t require calling the doctor’s office/having it faxed/etc, especially if we had to take a kid to the ER at O-dark-hundred and the office is, naturally, closed. I wish US offices would adopt this. Electronic medical records are no doubt awesome, but not especially helpful if you can’t access them for one reason or another.
            I will say that they had a really useful booklet they handed out at the hospital about newborn care: what to expect, suggestions for helping parents and baby, solid tips about what to do if/when the crying stresses you out, and so on. Could have used a bit more information on formula feeding, but it did at least explain about how to clean bottles properly and when you need to sterilize them.

          • demodocus

            I get what you’re saying. My son’s ped does include papers listing each vaccine, normal mild reactions and what to watch out for just in case. We pored over those, especially those first few visits.

          • Mishimoo

            Our doctors and nurses make a point of reminding us of the side effects, just in case, even though they’re staunchly provax. I think it might be governmental guidelines, but I appreciate it regardless. I wish they’d give you the info sheet we receive, it has the relevant vaccines + reactions highlighted and makes things so much easier.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Something like that would be great, or the CDC handout that Box of Salt linked to.

          • KarenJJ

            Yep. I had to ask about vaccines for one of my kids because I knew that live vaccines are contraindicated for her medication. To my immunologist’s credit she replied with a restrained “immunologists really really like vaccines” and once we got further into the conversation she relaxed when she realised we were more than happy to do vaccines but wanted guidance from her regarding this particular issue.

          • Kelly

            I get a paper that covers all of those questions for every vaccine I get or my child gets.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            My doctor always gives those to me, or if it’s the flu shot, I get it from the pharmacist who administers it. For some reason or other, DD’s pediatrician’s practice doesn’t hand them out. I’m considering politely suggesting that they consider doing so the next time I’m there with DD.

          • Kelly

            Yes, I am surprised because I also thought it was a way of covering their butts.

    • Gozi

      It wouldn’t be scientific, but I have relatives who would love to be questioned about what it was like before vaccines were readily available and affordable. Some of the alternative treatments would make a person sad.

      • Angharad

        I think this is a fantastic idea. My grandma still talks about how miserable it made her to see her babies sick with measles and mumps and rubella. None of her children had any lasting effects, but she says they were clearly suffering for weeks and it broke her heart. She’s a big fan of a few minutes of crying from a shot over weeks of agony.

      • Bombshellrisa

        My parents had to endure mumps, measles, chickenpox. My mom’s description of mumps made ME hurt. My husband’s aunt had polio and post polio syndrome is something we see her suffering from. She has broken a bone every summer for three years now and her mobility (never great) is now even more limited. I wish more of those arrogant, full of pseudoscience people who preach the anti vax rhetoric could spend a day caring for her. They might find out that while she was the lucky one in the family in that she survived (the other kids, siblings and cousins, who had polio died). They might also find out that just because you had something and “got better” that the after effects can last a lifetime.

        • Roadstergal

          And that “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is just so much bullshit. 🙁 So sorry for her experience.

          (Oh, and measles is one of those diseases where the disease itself dampens your immune system – so vaccinating for it protects against opportunistic infection as well as the disease itself. No, your immune system does not get ‘stronger’ from fighting off the actual disease. Due to how vaccines work, it gets just as strong, if not stronger, from mounting a response to the vaccine.)

          • Amy M

            I never had measles (vaccinated), but experienced a similar phenomenon after a bout of flu (vaccinated for that too, didn’t work that year) led to simultaneous pneumonia, sinus and ear infections. It took months to get my asthma under control, and for years after every little cold led to another sinus infection. I can only imagine how it would be with the measles—I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

          • An Actual Attorney

            Irrelevant, but a pet peeve- damp means lessons the amplitude, dampen means makes wet.

          • Guest

            No, Roadstergal used it correctly; dampen has 2 possible meanings, one of which is to lessen intensity.

            http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dampen

  • namaste863

    For the viewing pleasure, entertainment, and vindictive fantasy fulfillment of all you lovely folks, may I proudly present the link to Jenny McCarthy’s death scene in Scream 3

    http://youtu.be/hajGYP3CLKo

  • namaste863

    It never fails to amaze me that gullible idiots will listen to a talk show host and a former playboy bunny before they will listen to medical professionals who have sunk (Okay, invested) years of their time and obscene amounts of money into making sure they actually know what they’re talking about. I’d almost be tempted to deem it chlorinating the gene pool if it were them getting sick and dying from their own stupidity. Unfortunately, it’s not, it’s their kids, who have done nothing but had the bad luck to be born to said gullible idiots.

  • Gozi

    I wonder if Jenny is a natural blonde? If not, maybe she will make a case against all this unnatural hair dying that goes on.

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! In my dreams!

    • namaste863

      I was going to say the same thing. You beat me to it.

    • Roadstergal

      Going by the pic, I’m pretty sure that’s not the only unnatural enhancers she’s a fan of.

      (Oh, and e-cigs. She’s a big fan and spokesperson, and was a big fan of the non-e types before that.)

      • indigosky

        And Botox.

        • Gozi

          But vaccines are dangerous? This just gets worse and worse…

          • Roadstergal

            I do wonder how much her son was exposed to in terms of second-hand smoke and second-hand vape.

          • Mattie

            I loathe e-cigarettes, they’re not regulated, they are literally sold everywhere and they don’t actually get people to stop smoking. I do try not to get too bogged down by the ‘kemikalz’ in things, but really when you’re breathing that stuff in on purpose it can’t be great for your body.

          • Cobalt

            I just want to see some good studies.

          • Roadstergal

            I just don’t like that they weaseled in the back door of regulation, so there really is no way of knowing what’s in a given ecig’s fluid and what effect it has. The advocates say “It’s safer than cigarettes,” which really is one of the lowest bars you can possibly have. There’s a lot of dangerous stuff you can inhale that are safer than cigarettes. And the ecig advocates are so very much opposed to standardization and studies – I mentioned ecigs on Twitter once and got deluged with ‘screw you for wanting to know something about these, you’ll take my unregulated ecigs out of my cold dead hands.’

            And yeah, it bothers me that people smoke the dizam things indoors, in spaces where cigarettes aren’t allowed.

          • Azuran

            What annoys me the most about e-cig is the attitude of people smoking it. They show much less consideration for non-smoker than actually smokers do.
            Two people at my job started smoking it, during their work hours, inside, even next to another pregnant employee. We had to get the bosses involved because they didn’t care that we didn’t want to be exposed to it, saying that there was no rule against it.

            My boyfriend’s friend casually took his e-cig during a dinner inside my home. Without ever considering asking first.
            I get it that it’s most likely less damaging than cigarette, but that doesn’t mean I wish to be exposed to it.

          • demodocus

            Not to mention if your toddler manages to open a refill it can kill ’em.

          • indigosky
          • Azuran

            Botox is natural, so it’s ok.

      • Captain Obvious

        Despite their divorce, Jim Carrey is blowing up twitter about anti-vax.

        • KarenJJ

          At least we now know he’s full on nuts and wasn’t just on the bandwagon due to being with Jenny McCarthy.

  • wookie130

    I’m pretty sure the Jenny McCarthy photo used for this post with the word “immunologist” underneath it wins the Internet today. The tight pleather maid costume speaks to her years of experience and education on the matter.

    • namaste863

      Dont forget the fake tits.

      • Wombat

        Hey if an actual board certified Immunologist wants fake tits, more power to her.

        • indigosky

          But fake tits aren’t “natural” and they are full of “chemicals.”

  • E

    In my birthing class there was a mother there who was adamant that she wouldn’t need birth control because she planned to breastfeed. She argued with the OB who was instructing and insisted that because her midwife said so than it was true. The OB just laughed and said, “Well, I guess you’ll be in next year’s class, too.”

    • indigosky

      A friend of mine took five years to conceive and went through several medicine regimes to finally get pregnant. She was so sure that she would not be able to conceive without help and she was breastfeeding so she didn’t go on birth control. 10 months after her daughter was born she gave birth to twins. After their birth she went on birth control ASAP!

      • Who?

        Yup, one sister-in-law and one friend with children with less than a year’s gap in just that scenario. No twins though!

        • indigosky

          Nothing like Irish triplets in Irish twins years! After the twins were a year old her husband got snipped, but she keeps her IUD out of paranoia.

          • Who?

            Oh look you would after that.

    • demodocus

      The only reason why we didn’t bother is because my husband is sterile. Good thing, too, because I got my period 7 1/2 weeks postpartum. Merry Christmas!

  • Azuran

    I guess the people most likely to listen to them are those already neck deep in the woo of ‘natural parenting’.
    After natural birth and refusing vaccination, refusing ‘unnatural’ hormonal birth control is only the next natural step for these women. Clearly it won’t be long before all fertility/pregnancy/breastfeeding problems will be linked to you (or even your mother) using the pill 10 years ago.

    • Roadstergal

      There’s already a movement saying that microwaves are bad. I guess refrigerators and freezers are next. How many unnatural things can they go through before they finally decide they need to get rid of unnatural computers and the unnatural internet, and leave us fans of the unnatural the eff alone?

      • Amazed

        Never. I hate to break it to you but that won’t gonna happen. No computer and no internet means no one can appreciate their naturalness on a broader scale. Won’t happen, girlfriend. Don’t hold your breath.

      • Amy M

        I’m kinda hoping that all those who think microwaves are of the devil, are the same small group that think vaccines, the pill, cribs, formula, public school, GMOs and fluoride are terrible. They can keep telling each other how awesome they are for “being more natural and less sheeple” than their peers, and leave the rest of us alone to enjoy and embrace our technology and social progress.

        • Roadstergal

          “public school”

          That’s the thing that gets me about the SB277 anger. Aren’t their snowflakes who are too special for vaccines also too special for public school? The mums already showed their superiority by staying home to EBF – why don’t they keep it up and homeschool, away from the scary kids with their vaccination shedding and non-organic fruit?

          • Cobalt

            Maybe if the alties become convinced that GMOs shed through the body systems of those who eat conventional produce? Like if little Susie eats GMO corn, then she’ll shed a cloud of (epi)genetic modifying quantum rays and render little Cneauphlayk into a conventional child? That might scare them into homeschooling.

          • Mattie

            Just as a side note, how are we pronouncing Cneauphlayk?

          • Nick Sanders

            Just like it’s spelled, obviously.

          • Mattie

            GOT IT! I was saying it as a hard C lol

          • Cobalt

            Snowflake. It’s a spelling as special and yoonik as the child.

          • araikwao

            Tee hee. My 5yo snowflake drew, and captioned a picture of a “yoonikorn” the other week!

          • Gozi

            I frankly don’t blame some people for homeschooling, but not for the purpose of avoiding vaccines.

          • just me

            I think 277 also applies to private schools.

          • Roadstergal

            And some daycares, I think? I was just reacting to her comment on public schools. Homeschooling solves it all – and it’s still totes legal to take your unvaccinated child to Disneyland.

          • Box of Salt

            “277 also applies to private schools”
            Yes, it does – why Roadersgal brought up homeschooling. And in her reply below: daycares.

            Just as the previous version of the law applied to both public and private schools. The law allowed private schools to allow as many unvaccintated children as they desired, but did not allow private schools to exclude a child with a PBE.

  • Zoey

    I think the celebrity mother as shill concept is a logical extension of celebrity culture in general. Now, celebrities like actresses or musicians, are expected to monetize more than just their “talent,” but also their image as a brand. I’m sure this has always happened to some extent, but I think it’s more prevalent and blatant now. For example, when you watch a music video or a movie, all of the products you see have paid for the opportunity to be in that content and be associated with that celebrity’s brand. Same thing with companies providing free samples to celebrities to use or wear their product in the hopes they’ll be photographed wearing/using it. Celebrities are expected to be product spokespersons all of the time now, and many of them take whatever their interests are (clothing, shoes, fragrances, etc.) and monetize these directly into their own businesses. I seem to recall reading that this is how many celebrities make the lion’s share of their money now.

    So, it seems logical to assume that these celebrities will continue to shill once they become parents. Indeed, some celebrities like Jessica Alba have become very successful in translating their parenthood into a baby and household products business (using unscientific fears of “toxins” unfortunately). However, the problem becomes when you take these people, who are great at selling shoes, and fragrances, and give them a platform to “sell” pseudoscience and misinformation. Our culture very much wants us to buy what celebrities are selling, so it can be hard for the public to distinguish between good information and bad information if it comes from someone they like or want to emulate.

    Not sure what the solution to this would be. Other than just assuming celebrities are trying to sell you something all the time and take everything they say with a huge grain of salt.

    • Roadstergal

      “Other than just assuming celebrities are trying to sell you something all the time and take everything they say with a huge grain of salt.”

      I am a great believer in this. I don’t know of any celebrities that are better-informed when it comes to buying a car or radio than I am, let alone medical advice.

      • Zornorph

        I would take Jay Leno’s advice if I were buying a motorcycle.

        • Roadstergal

          I wouldn’t. I like the guy and appreciate his collection of cool-looking things that make nice noises, but I know bikes and I know how I want to use them. 🙂

          (And if you’re just starting riding and want info on beginner bikes, I can think of a lot more appropriate folk to ask. I suppose what it comes down to is – while celebs can bring public view and interest to things/causes, they’re never the best source of actual information on them.)

          • Gozi

            Plus he has the money to buy any kind of bike he wants and afford any sort of enhancements. His advice might would be good, but maybe not for the average person.