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Weeds in the Wild: Meet Joan, the Robotic Pelvis


Sarah and Byrd take a look at some policy experiments working to drive down teen pregnancy and abortion rates. They're showing promising results — but they're also under threat.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
A low and welcome to weeds and the wild. I am Sarah Cliff, and this is our occasional papa podcast about how policy affects actual real life people. Today, the people we are talking about Our people who rely on Britain, which imagine is in number listeners enjoy. The episode tell us what you think about it. We would love to your feedback. It needs at box. Dot com also share your thoughts about the policies we talk about in this episode in our new Facebook group. Just go on Facebook censure the weeds, and with that we'll start, the episode by introducing you to a very special new friend I made in this report for us, this is drown. This is marginal, written Joan is a public stimulator which starts simulator. Basically, it appears to be a replica vagina and cervical system and I'm gonna try and uncertain eighty.
I met the delightful shower at an event a few months ago in Delaware that was training clinic. to give women long acting contraception. Like ideas are implants, the use of this type of birth control has increased six thousand percent in the United States since two thousand to it's just a real staggering change and its throat two very specific policy choices made in Washington and instead houses. These policies have reduced their pregnancy rate, they have cut the abortion rate, but There are also at risk right now and today we're going to tell you about them how they came to be what do and why, at this very moment they are facing a lot of threats. understand why programmes like this even exist. There are some basic facts about birth control unit. Understand mostly why some types of birth control work better than others.
We talk to young woman named Christa, whose story illustrates this idea really well. Chris his mind doesn't know she's using birth control, so we said we would use her last name. I come from a really really. It is fairly Christa is twenty. lives in Delaware, where she goes to college and because she grew up Pentecostal she used to wear skirts to school every day I always had to find a way to just make them different. I will never have a high speed, but I would have liked the split of mixed with scrutiny of white that all that tinkering she'd have the first skirt, It made her fall in love with passion, and now she is getting a degree in textiles minor in business as well. Croatia, has a lot going on in her life. She does not want to baby right now. It will. It will really five things but two years ago. She started having sex with her boyfriend and we were using like the data protection. We use. Condoms knows I ok years or again, but you know, I'm no fool comes about full prove anything can happen so crystal started, taking birth control pals
was fine for a few years until last winter, around the under the semester, but have already semester practice do like you know, semester on products that you dont do until the end of semester, semester, long project plus should this job at a store at night, and she had so much going on that she was not keeping track of her birth control bells I'll, be a work like I'll shoot apparatchik. My pale face figure. When I get a brake on, workers are required. When you know no customs here get rushed and then madam, I all crap. I forgot to take it again: it's not the end of the world. If you forget the pill once or twice, but am I looked back at the money from smoking too many days of late in the day? That's it. The next day crystal started worrying that she might be pregnant that couldn't sleep. I was so by the situation, even though Christa doesn't where those skirts she used to, and she is ok with sex before marriage. There is this one thing: she's really firm on. I don't believe in abortions it turns out Christa was not pregnant
but she was scared and she didn't want to leave this to chance anymore. So she went to this local clinic for a new kind of birth control, one that really efficient that doesn't depend on you cause. You know people are not perfect at all patients come in and they want to talk about birth control with me. I usually give him a run down in terms of efficacy cause that, to me is the most important question. This is Jennifer County and talks to a lot of women about birth control at her clinic at Stanford University, and she says that far and away the most effective birth control is something called larks. That is the kind of terrible acronym for long acting, reversible contraceptives. There are a few different kinds, but what they have in common is that, put them in once, and they will last for a few months or even for a few years, you're in moving the user air you're taking the possibility of someone forgetting to take their method or using
incorrectly, because it's out of sight and out of mind there are a few different types of birth control that count as larks. You have it ants. You have intrauterine devices as are called, I, U Dees and you. Injections of birth control. It would be impossible to say This is the one best method for everyone, Christa decided to get an implant. It's this thing that goes on your arm, maybe like an inch or so long and really skinny about, like the width of us, spaghetti new dollar so best like a little flexible bar. You can actually fill it being flexible in your arm like if you push your skin in and then over three years it slowly releases a hormone that helps to stop the ovaries Frahm releasing an egg which would eventually get you pregnant. I suggest the reassure my father still
the delay in another crazy happens a few years ago. Christa might not have been able to get an implant. They are really expensive, like over five hundred dollars and clinicians. They need training to put this little spaghetti noodle device into your arm, but lucky for Christa some new laws passed. It really started with this. One particular see that new near certainly already know about the affordable current passed, both houses of cops, I signed it in the law, the affordable CARE Act or Obamacare included this requirement that all women have access to preventative health benefits, the Obama administration had to decide what is a preventative health benefit and they said birth control definitely counts. We decided to follow the judgment of the nation's leading medical experts and make sure that free preventive care includes access to free contraceptive here. So all of a sudden larks were really
what a ball, but doctors and nurses didn't always know how to actually put them in how to get them in your arm or in your uterus. You wanna be careful with those parts of the body and clinics the noise of it to train their staff to do it, but in Colorado there was this new programme called the Colorado family Planning initiative that gave clinics across the state the training that they needed. That combined with the new, affordable cost of larks, had really impressive results. The results, a dramatic drop in team pregnancy, Forty percent, since the state programme started in two thousand nine Colorado's abortion rate, also down more than forty percent, those just on precedent. It never heard of this is Susan Buchanan. She runs a reproductive health clinic in Colorado that got trained and she has seen a huge drop in unintended pregnant he's. Among her patience, we ve actually had to cut a rethink: how weak
and maintain our patient numbers, because a lot of em don't have to come back for three to five years view cannons clinic does provide abortions, but ever since its programme started, they ve been doing way fewer of those and they started to shift their attention to other issues like sexual health in the gay and lesbian community to make sure they can keep up their patient numbers. It's a game changer, it's absolutely game, changer and all of this game, changing it actually lead to the creation of a new national nonprofit called upstream warm, although brow, just as our entire team here an upstream my name- is danish stones in the Lee trainer, Far Delaware, tee the people who, founded upstream, they could have looked at what we have in Colorado and said. This is really great. We should see if it works in another state. Their first target, the great state of
elsewhere, we're doing more hearing Delaware and also around the country to reduce unintended pregnancy by increasing access to contraception, particularly the most effective forms. The idea implants Venus Jones is standing in front of this group of maybe two dozen people who work at the birth Centre: Delaware Clinic that delivers babies and reproductive health. It's the clinicians the nurse the front desk people, the whole staff is there, and we all know that unattended pregnancy has far reaching consequences right there in this kind of weird refurbished bank building for a full day training and after the introductory session, the doctors and nurses get pulled into a separate room. It is set up with all these tables of model, universes and vaginas, and there are these two suitcase sized mechanical vaginas in the back there. drown. This isn't aren't you written, which is how I met John D, robotic pelvis.
You're in an tell who was the instructor that day was helping me get to know all the tools inserted inside her. It almost looks like a duck bill is how I think of it like an open duck mouth, that's inside the Medina right now, and then we also have to natural, which almost looks like a pair of scissors like it has little holes in the end, except it's more like a clam on the end and that is holding on to the servant. Cervix gently gently gently, uncertain uterine, sound to check the patent c of the servants, so I am sitting there in front of Joan. With this red T shaped our you d, its little tea Arms are folded into a white tube ends. I like that. nations. I am learning how to insert the eye you d into the cervix and then the uterus and Pesa little button to let it go and live. It's happy life in a uterus. I can't get it end. every time I did something
on the simulation pelvis and which has grown in pain at it. But for the record is horrified by what I have done to the servant, It is really really hard and I am obviously a reporter- not a doktor. The people who are actually being trained have way more medical background than I do It is still a lot better for them to practise on a robot. Then you know a patient's named Joan instead and then the rest of the clinic staff in the room. Store. Venus is doing this culinary with them about implants and are there is this woman, Jasmine Williams, who has a lot of questions there now some people they pushed further back, they go out of my life
These jasmine is twenty three she's, a taxi kind of helps out the doctors who are working at this birthing centre, and she is exactly the kind of staffer that upstream wants to target with this training. She interacts with patients all the time and if she has the mistaken information, she could pass it on to them that you know that's a minute, but it's like traveling around my arm, and I don't know where it is, and it's going to cause some kind of infection explained that to her you know and giving them the medically accurate information will help kind of dispel those myths. Jasmine is incredibly talkative. She is so personal and one of the reason she seems to be really good at her. job is she can relate really well to the young moms at the clinic that got pregnant two months after I graduated high school. It was not blame Jasmine also knows that birth control can be really confusing. She remembers her doctor
Put her on one form of birth control without really telling her the side effects are giving her other options. There was more like you're, gonna, breastfeed this, which you should get end. She didn't have much help when she experienced some pretty bad side effects from having You know a spotting period that on call in- and there is nothing I could do or tell me upstream- is trying to teach clinics all across Delaware, how to give patients a totally different experience there, hoping that staff actually know the answer to question so people live Jasmin, don't have such a terrible experience. One way there trying to teach that is through role playing games. Athene, the staff is split up into debt. teams to explain different types of birth control. Team nuver, rang, that's virginal, birth control ring is jasmine and to have her coworkers, Katy and Tammy Daily undermined by higher jasmine, and this is my husband
They are having a lot of fun running through what a patient made experience in their first control conversation. I have been on the appeal in having so many I'm just Africa to take gate in. He doesn't like They go back and forth as imaginary husband and wife with jasmine talking about how she likes to hormones in the pale, but she doesn't like taking it every day and doesn't want to get pregnant right now and finally Katy the counselor. She suggested a birth control so once a month all you do, is you take that flexible ring and you inserted in your vagina? They go through each contraceptive talking about the pros. The side effects how they would be inserted and we talked a jasmine at the end of the day she felt like she had learned some things that weren't just for her job were actually for hurt I think I will probably think about the EU, the actually where you could just as easily take our or even the ring. I found that the ring is where you can do that yourself. We are going to take a quick break and
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it depends on a lot of federal policies. That Republicans want to get rid of I'd like to talk to you about title ten family planning. This is need allowing she's a democratic congresswoman from New York, and she is questioning Tom Price, who is president trumps health, inhuman services, secretary she's, asking him about this programme called title tat. This is a federal program that gets about three hundred million dollars every year and sends them to clinics to help low income. Women get birth control. and a lot of those Delaware clinics being trained. They rely on title ten funds to provide birth control to women, who still don't have health insurance, as you know, title ten funding health Provide is serve more than four million low income, women and men every year offering contraceptive counselling and services. Mr Secretary, does Europe wide too
as an eighteen budget, maintain funding for the title. Ten family planning programme servers are really report because oftentimes, as you mentioned, that speed in an individual's all my line of opportunity to gain access to the kind care that they need. This exchange goes on for a while, but essentially secretary price doesn't answer the question and representative lower. She keeps pushing him on it. So is funding for title. Ten providers included new budget of ongoing conversations and appreciate your input. forward. To having those conversations, I'm not sure I got an answer to this question representative low. We did not get an answer to your question, but we generally know how Republicans feel about title ten. They voted to defend it entirely and twenty eleven, but President Obama,
vetoed that bell. Now there is a bill on president trumps task that would cut plan parenthood out of title ten. It just pass through Congress a few weeks ago and if total ten is not in the twenty eighteen budget, that would make it a lot harder for four million women to get birth control. And then there is that birth control mandate that we mentioned earlier, that Obama regulation that has all insurers have to cover eighteen different types of contraceptives. Are women going to have to return to paying out of pocket for contraceptive again, while those areas where we believe that individuals, out of access to the kind of coverage that they want, not that the government forces them to buy. This was another really long exchange and other non
answer. We just don't know right now. If the Trump administration is going to keep, Obama cares birth control mandate. Those are the threats here in Washington, but there are threats out elsewhere in the country to remember that Colorado Programme, the one that had those great results that got national news coverage, a dramatic drop in teen pregnancy, down. Forty percent, since the state programme started in two thousand nine Colorado's abortion rate also down some republican legislators and Colorado, want to make sure that that programme loses its funding this year we have an obligation to not intentionally stop life from existing, even if it's just in the first few days of existence. This is Colorado State Senator Kevin Leyenburg, who we interviewed a few months ago, he's on the committee that controls the state budget and he's really wants to end the states program that funds I it isn't implants. He says that you can't be sure you do
aren't causing abortions. If you choose an abortifacient bare minimum, it should not be at the expense of the cholera taxpayer. There's a war He uses there that you may not hear a lot abortive patient. It often is used by people who pose abortion to talk about different things that would cause a pregnancy, determinate, Jennifer Conti, the clinic professor, helped us understand a little bit more about what he meant it has to do with this and how are you? Do you work? For example, there is the hormonal. I you d. It makes like a plug plugs the cervix up, so that the sperm can't get in as well and meet the egg. There is also the copper I you d
Something with the copper in eighty makes it so the sperm can't swim as well, in both cases all the research we have say it's very probable that the sperm is not reaching the egg or fertilizing at that's a good way to say it is very, probably have his works, but very probable. Just isn't good enough for Senator Leyenburg. He is and adamant abortion opponent and he is worried. There is still a chance that a sperm could get to the egg. In that case, the Eu De could possibly be keeping the fertilized eggs from implanting. The uterus and growing. I haven't seen the evidence to the contrary. Yet there's somebody can send me a study that gives you a hundred percent, a surety them. I'm I'm a very happy to change my mind appallingly. Anything in medicine is that you can't say a hundred percent, because that's just how science is right, you think a certain thing, believe a certain way until your proven wrong, through through new studies, so there is
basically no way to give senator lumbered the reassurance that he wants. No legally preventing fertilized eggs from planting itself in the uterus is not an abortion, but that is where Senator Lundberg draws the line personally and he plans to try and the Colorado programme this year. I know I have a lot more opportunities You have some effect being on this joint budget committee. He wants to shift the funding elsewhere. I think I ve a group you're in Colorado, called life choices and they provide education training in a lot of schools to teens it largely rolls roundly the concept of abstinence by four Christa that college student from Delaware, healthier life choice. Involves having an implant. She knows what the other options look like some I'm
I'm not married at seventeen year, though never use virtual once amateur life have four kids. You know happy family, happy life, things like that, and it worked out for her. But that's like everybody's path, like you know, and I believe, like Gap- is on our pass, Christa still things of herself as a devoted Christian, but she is also not going to stop having sex with her boyfriend. I understand why a contradiction you know I have seen how the Bible speaks a gifted and things like that, but at the same time, like Anderson, our human side for her the implant as a way to actually maintain her I just beliefs. I will for so much worse. If I ever had to sit and do not want my God, I'm gonna has again an abortion like. That is a crazy thought to me. There are a lot of young women across the country like Christa, who are in high school or college, a recent graduates who have plans that just don't involve babies right now.
the programme in Delaware, Colorado or other ones. We haven't even talked about elsewhere in the country lose funding, then it'll be a lot harder for those women to plan for their. We know for sure that these programmes reduced in pregnancy and they reduce abortion. You don't know how much longer will stick around. That was another episode of weeds and the wild. Thank you so much to our producer Bird Pinkerton, he went on this adventure. Delaware with me, too, are editor. No shot. Croatia are engineer. Peter Leonard tell us what you think we would love love, love to hear your feedback. It reads at box, our com,
give us a rating on Itunes. If you feel so inclined- and we will see you sometime in the near future for another weeds in the wild.
Transcript generated on 2021-09-13.