Open Arms Blog

If you're facing an unplanned pregnancy and considering abortion, you may be looking into the abortion pill. There's a lot of confusion about this pill, and many people don't understand what it is or how it works.

Do I Need a Prescription for the Abortion Pill?

Whether you're considering a medical abortion or surgical abortion, abortion is still a serious medical procedure, and you deserve the facts. Let's look at some of those facts to understand why a prescription is needed for the abortion pill.

What is the abortion pill?

The "abortion pill" is actually two pills taken to end a pregnancy.

The first, mifepristone, is taken at the abortion clinic and blocks your body's natural production of progesterone. This causes fetal demise; in other words, the fetus will stop growing.

The second pill, misoprostol, is taken 24-48 hours later at home. This pill causes contractions so your body expels the contents of the uterus.

Potential side effects of the abortion pill

A prescription is needed for this medication because it contains powerful drugs that can cause some pretty serious side effects. If anything goes wrong, it is important to be under the care of a doctor so you can go back and receive needed treatment.

Some common side effects of the abortion pill are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cramping
  • Bleeding
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood clots
  • Fever
  • Incomplete abortion

These side effects should not last more than two weeks, and if they do, you'll need to see your doctor immediately for medical attention and help.

Can I get a prescription for the abortion pill online?

While more websites are cropping up offering to ship the abortion pill straight to your house, you should be wary of these and not order the abortion pill online. There are a few reasons for this:

Ordering the abortion pill online violates FDA regulations

The FDA sets regulations for all approved drugs in the United States to ensure they are prescribed correctly and administered safely.

Because the abortion pill is so powerful, the FDA requires a physician or certified health professional to prescribe the pill in person after verification of pregnancy. Ordering online skips the prescription process, putting your health at risk.

Taking the abortion pill ordered online can damage your health

There's no way to verify where the abortion pill is coming from. Or if it is being sent to you with the correct dosages.

If the pill is coming from another country, the purity of the drugs may be compromised. If the dosages are off, the pill may be ineffective, meaning you'd need to either retake it or have a surgical abortion.

The abortion pill has to be taken within a specific timeframe

The abortion pill is only approved for use within the first ten weeks of pregnancy. After that, it is ineffective and dangerous to try to end a pregnancy with the abortion pill.

If the pill arrives late or you aren't exactly sure how far along in your pregnancy you are, taking the abortion pill without a prescription can be very risky.

What should I do before I get a prescription for the abortion pill?

To get a prescription for an abortion pill, you need to confirm that you're pregnant, know how far along you are, and understand if the pregnancy is viable.

To determine these things, you need a pregnancy test and ultrasound, both of which are offered at no cost at the Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic.

Pregnancy Test

It's possible to experience common pregnancy symptoms like a late or missed period, tender breasts, and extreme mood swings without actually being pregnant.

The first step in knowing for certain is to take a pregnancy test.

Ultrasound

After taking a positive pregnancy test, the second step is to have an ultrasound to determine the dating and viability of the pregnancy. 

Ultrasound technology utilizes sound waves to capture images of the inside of your uterus. Using those images, the nurse can determine the gestational age, which will tell you how far along you are in your pregnancy. 

If the ultrasound shows an empty uterus, that can be an indication you have an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies are non-viable and pose serious health risks if not removed immediately.

The abortion pill is a serious medication that requires a prescription, according to the FDA2.  Before you can get a prescription for the abortion pill, you should have an ultrasound to answer these essential questions about your pregnancy. We offer both for free and can provide information on all your options regarding your unplanned pregnancy.

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

2https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/questions-and-answers-mifeprex

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If you're facing an unintended pregnancy and think you want an abortion, you may be wanting to schedule an appointment at an abortion clinic right away. However, there are three reasons it makes sense financially and otherwise to visit a pregnancy clinic first.

Reasons to Visit a Pregnancy Clinic Before Abortion

Free Pregnancy Test

The first reason to visit a pregnancy clinic before getting an abortion is to get a free pregnancy test. Many women think they're pregnant because they're experiencing common symptoms like a late or missed period or tender, swollen breasts. But the only way to know for sure if you're pregnant is to take a pregnancy test.

Pregnancy clinics offer these tests for free and can also answer any related questions you may have. It's very important to know for sure you're pregnant before getting an abortion, especially if you're thinking about taking the abortion pill. Otherwise, the drugs could wreak havoc on your body and you'll spend money on a procedure or prescription you don't need.

Free Ultrasound

While a pregnancy test will reveal whether or not the pregnancy hormone is present, it can't tell us anything about the viability of the pregnancy.  That is done through an ultrasound exam.  Ultrasound technology utilizes sound waves to generate pictures of the inside of your uterus to answer important questions about the pregnancy like the following:

Where is the pregnancy located?

An ultrasound will reveal whether the pregnancy is located in the uterus or not. Sometimes the pregnancy attaches somewhere else, most commonly in the Fallopian tubes, and this "ectopic pregnancy" can pose serious dangers to your health if not addressed immediately by a doctor.

This type of pregnancy is nonviable and will need to be removed by a doctor.  The abortion pill and other abortion procedures do not work in the case of an ectopic pregnancy.

How far along is the pregnancy?

Based on the images generated from the ultrasound, the size of the fetus is measured which will indicate how far along you are in the pregnancy.

This is important if you're considering an abortion because it will determine the type of abortion you would have. Generally, the abortion pill can only be taken up to 10 weeks. After 10 weeks into the pregnancy requires the surgical procedure.

Is there a heartbeat?

Fetal heartbeat begins around 22 days after conception and can be seen through an ultrasound exam as early as 5 ½ weeks.  If there is no heartbeat, the pregnancy is not viable and may miscarry naturally.  A pregnancy test may still come back positive even soon after a miscarriage because the hormone is still present.

It's important to determine the dating and the viability of a pregnancy prior to having an abortion.

Free Information & Support

Another very important reason to visit a pregnancy clinic before getting an abortion is so you can be aware of all the resources and support available to you. It's important to consider all your options before making a decision that will impact the rest of your life.

You should seek all the information you can, and because pregnancy clinics do not profit from your decision either way, you can trust the information provided.

Pregnancy clinics exist to help you navigate your pregnancy-related decisions, providing all the information and education you need to make a fully informed decision.

If you're considering abortion but need more information or the free services a pregnancy clinic can provide, please contact us to schedule an appointment today!

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If you are a single parent or pregnant and living in California and are worried about affording child care while you finish school or build your career, there is good news!

California Child Care Assistance

There are several programs in California to provide low cost or even free child care. This is especially the case for single parents trying to finish school or transition into a better job opportunity.

Experts recognize that providing child care assistance for a single parent can be the difference between the parent finishing school and starting a career or dropping out of school altogether and staying stuck in a low-income job.

That's why free- or low-cost child care has been a priority for leaders in California, with the state government recently expanding access to more parents for those child care programs.

The largest child care assistance opportunities are found through programs like CalWORKS, Child Welfare and ACCESS as well as other government-funded programs.

These programs, found throughout California range from more general assistance to programs designed for parents in specific situations.

For example, the Cal-Learn Program is for teen parents and pregnant teens who are enrolled in CalWORKS. Cal-Learn is a resource designed to help teen parents and pregnant teens graduate from high school. As part of the program, Cal-Learn provides assistance for child care.

With so many options, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start in figuring out which programs are best for you as the parent. That's where your local Child Care Resource Center (CCRC) can help. The CCRC in your community can help you figure out which child care program is best for you and what steps are needed to get started.

The Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic is also a great resource for single moms or pregnant moms who are planning to parent. Their staff listens to you and your needs and dreams for the future and can help connect you with the program that will best fit your plans.

Resources:

https://www.cdss.ca.gov/calworks-child-care

https://ccrcca.org/

https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/calworks/cal-learn

https://www.needhelppayingbills.com/html/california_child_care_assistan.html

https://www.wonderschool.com/p/parent-resources/child-care-resource-referral-california/

 

Photo by Thiago Cerqueira on Unsplash

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With all the nonstop news about Coronavirus and COVID-19, this season can feel alarming. Fears and emotions can run even higher if you are pregnant or nursing and are unsure about the effect it could have on you and your baby.

COVID-19 and Your Pregnancy

It's normal to be worried, but there's also good news if you are an expectant mom or nursing your baby.

Can I give COVID-19 to my baby?

There have not been any recorded cases of a mom transferring COVID-19 to her unborn baby. In fact, a limited study with pregnant women who were infected with COVID-19 found no evidence of the infection being passed on to the baby.

Do pregnant women have a higher risk of catching COVID-19?

While there is no evidence to suggest that pregnant women are more likely than the average adult to be infected with COVID-19, it's important to remember the bodily changes during pregnancy can make some women more susceptible to respiratory infections like COVID-19. Health officials recommend that pregnant women take the same precautions being suggested for the general population, such as social distancing, avoiding contact with people that are showing symptoms, and exercising good hygiene like frequent handwashing.

Is my pregnancy at higher risk if I contract COVID-19?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that there is no evidence of an increase in adverse pregnancy outcomes to women with COVID-19. However, there have been cases of miscarriage and stillbirth in women who were infected with other severe respitory illnesses like SARS and MERS, and it's important to note some of the symptoms of COVID-19, like high fever, could be detrimental to your baby in the first trimester. That's why it's important to contact your doctor right away if you are showing any signs of COVID-19 or were exposed to an infected individual.

COVID-19 and breastfeeding mothers

Can I transmit COVID-19 to my nursing baby through my breast milk?

Not only has the CDC reported the virus has not been found in the breast milk of women with COVID-19, but the mother's milk may have antibodies that may help the child fight off COVID-19. In order to best protect your baby, though, you should take precautions while caring for and breastfeeding your baby if you are showing symptoms of, or have, COVID-19. These precautions include wearing a mask when caring for your child, including during breastfeeding, washing hands thoroughly before and after contact with your child, and frequently cleaning and disinfecting any potentially contaminated surfaces.

If you become too ill to breastfeed, it is recommended that you express milk, either through a breast pump or by hand that can be given to your child by a bottle, cup or spoon.

For both pregnant women and nursing moms, if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19 or was showing symptoms, contact your healthcare provider right away for any additional recommendations and precautions. 

 

Sources:

https://www.heartbeatservices.org/covid19/item/1692-how-covid-19-affects-pr°

https://www.unfpa.org/press/unfpa-statement-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-and-°

 

Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash

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Understanding the possible risks, side effects and alternatives is the best way to ensure you are making a fully informed decision.

What is a ''Medical'' Abortion?

To put it simply, a medical abortion uses medication rather than surgery to end a pregnancy. The procedure is done either in a clinic or at home depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. If you were to choose a medical abortion, the risk is lowest during the first trimester of your pregnancy. Having an ultrasound is the most effective way to determine how far along you are in the pregnancy and whether or not the pregnancy is viable, so we highly recommend having an ultrasound before scheduling an abortion. Understanding the possible risks, side effects and alternatives is the best way to ensure you are making a fully informed decision.

The Abortion Pill

To put it plainly, the abortion pill ends a pregnancy within the first 11 weeks. It's a two-step process that uses two different medications. The first drug, mifepristone (Mifeprex) is given at the abortion clinic. This drug blocks the hormone progesterone, causing the lining of the uterus to thin. A thinner lining prevents the embryo from staying implanted and growing. The second drug, misoprostol (Cytotec) is taken at home within 48 hours after the mifepristone. This drug causes cramping and bleeding to empty your uterus.

Plan B

This drug is often referred to as the "morning after pill." It's designed to decrease your odds of getting pregnant in the first few days after unprotected sex. It works by preventing or delaying ovulation. Depending on where you are in your monthly cycle, conception can occur anywhere from minutes up to 5 days after unprotected sex. As a result, Plan B will not help if ovulation or implantation has already occurred.

Plan C

Currently, Plan C is illegal in the United States. Since the abortion pill isn't available to purchase at your local drug store, many advocates are pushing for Plan C. This plan would allow you to order abortion pills over the internet. Without a pregnancy test and subsequent ultrasound, you won't know whether this form of abortion will be successful or not.

Abortion Pill Reversal

If you have begun the process of a medication abortion and are having second thoughts, there is a procedure known as the abortion pill reversal (APR) that has a high level of success in saving the pregnancy if taken after the first drug is given.  https://www.abortionpillreversal.com/ 

Your Best Option

Before scheduling an abortion, whether it is a medical or surgical abortion, it is important to have an ultrasound to determine how far along you are and to confirm a viable pregnancy. The Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic offers free and confidential pregnancy testing, ultrasound and options consultation so you can make a fully informed decision regarding your pregnancy. Call or text 818-626-9400. We're here to help.

Information for this post was taken from healthline.com

Photo Credit:  Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

 

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Telling your boyfriend you're pregnant, especially if you're a teen or still in college, can feel tricky. If the relationship isn't serious, or you aren't sure how he'll respond, this might add even more pressure on you. But ultimately, keeping it a secret isn't good for a healthy relationship or your future together, if you see that as a possibility.

How to Tell Your Boyfriend You Are Pregnant

Here are some tips to make it easier to tell your boyfriend you're pregnant.

Pick a good time

You want to choose a time to tell him when you both will be able to talk about it thoroughly and uninterrupted. Right before you're going to hang out with friends, for example, may not be the best time to tell him. Instead, pick a time when the two of you can be alone and where he can process the information. Keep in mind he might need time to process alone before he's ready to talk about it with you or anyone else.

Anticipate his questions

Try to think ahead to what questions he might have and prepare some responses in your mind to make the conversation more helpful for both of you. He'll likely want to know how far along you are, what you'd like to do about the pregnancy, if you're anticipating him staying involved, etc. Think through how you feel about the pregnancy and envision what your future would look like if you choose to parent, make an adoption plan, or have an abortion.

Give him time to process

What he says in the moment may not reflect how he actually feels. He may initially speak out of fear, uncertainty or anger, but after having time to think and adjust to this new reality, he may be better able to discuss it more thoughtfully. If he's not ready to talk about it when you share your pregnancy news with him, ask him when he'd like to talk again. This will give him time but also put a definitive date on the calendar so you both know it's important to talk again.

Don't let him pressure you

Making a decision based on pressure can lead to regret.  Ultimately, the decision is yours, though if you both can make the decision together, that will be ideal for you both. If he threatens to break up with you or gives you an ultimatum, you probably shouldn't be in a relationship with him anyway. On the other hand, if he offers to support you and help with decisions about the future and your pregnancy, he's demonstrating he genuinely cares about you.

This news can be hard to share, but in a good and healthy relationship, it's important to let your boyfriend know as soon as you can. The decision you make impacts both of you.

If you need help or want to talk with someone before you tell your boyfriend, our staff members are available to meet with you and would be happy to help you prepare for this important conversation. The Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic also has men on staff who are able to help your boyfriend with his questions and concerns.  Please contact us today.  We are here to help.

 

Photo Credit:  Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash

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If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and parenthood as a single mom, you may be wondering what resources are available to you. The good news is, you don't have to face this path alone! There is support and access to resources along the way, and all provided through Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic.

Resources for Single Moms

Educational Resources

You've chosen to carry your pregnancy to term and become a parent ° now what? We offer a customizable pregnancy education and parenting skills program where you can choose the topics that would be most helpful to you in your journey.

We cover topics like:

  • Eating for two
  • Labor and delivery
  • Your developing baby
  • Newborn care
  • Reducing the risk of SIDS
  • Breastfeeding
  • Infant care and nutrition
  • Sleep and crying
  • And more!

We know how overwhelming it is to be a first-time parent, and we're here to help you prepare!

Material Resources

Attending our classes means you have the opportunity to receive needed items for you and your baby all free of charge. Things like maternity clothes, baby clothes, diapers, wipes, blankets, and more are all available through our Baby Closet.

If finances are tight, attending classes is a great way to learn more about parenthood and prepare for your baby by receiving necessary items. Our closet is stocked with new and gently-used items from people in our community who want to serve and help you!

Community Resources

If you have needs we aren't able to help meet at Open Arms, we can make referrals to other organizations in our community who can provide assistance and care. Whether you need social services, housing, counseling, or help to further your education, we'll connect you to the community partners who can meet your needs.

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and want to carry to term but are scared or need support, please contact us today. We're here for you to provide resources, support, and hope.

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Getting pregnant may not have been in your plans, but a positive pregnancy test means now you have a new season to navigate. There's a lot to consider before making a decision about how to proceed, so here's what to do after a positive pregnancy test.

What To Do After A Positive Pregnancy Test

Confirm the pregnancy with an ultrasound

It's important to get an ultrasound after receiving a positive pregnancy test. An ultrasound will reveal important information about the pregnancy that will help determine your next steps.

We offer free ultrasound exams, and our nurses will be able to answer questions and offer valuable information regarding your pregnancy and your options.

Why an ultrasound is important

An ultrasound is necessary regardless of what you are considering because it will let you know how far along you are in the pregnancy, which reveals your due date.  If you are considering abortion, knowing the dating of your pregnancy is key in determining the type of abortion procedure you would have. During your appointment, our nurses can discuss with you the various abortion procedures and important considerations.

An ultrasound is also an important next step after a positive pregnancy test because it will reveal the location of the pregnancy. Sometimes a pregnancy will implant outside of the uterus, most commonly in the Fallopian tubes. This is called a tubal or ectopic pregnancy and is not viable. In fact, it's also very dangerous for the woman carrying the pregnancy, so determining this early in a pregnancy is very important to ensure your wellbeing.

Regardless of whether you're excited about the pregnancy or not, it's important to get an ultrasound to gather as much information about the pregnancy as possible. This, along with our free options consultation, will help you make a fully-informed decision about how to proceed.

If you are pregnant and need an ultrasound, please contact us today to schedule your free appointment. We're here for you and can help you process the next steps in a judgment-free, confidential, and caring environment.

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What to Expect During an Ultrasound

An ultrasound is important even if you are undecided about the next steps for your pregnancy. It can provide vital information about the health, location, and timing of the pregnancy that can impact the decision you make.

We offer free ultrasounds at the Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic, so please contact us today to schedule your appointment.

About the appointment

Whether you're nervous about your ultrasound or just want more information before you schedule one, here's all you need to know about what to expect during an ultrasound:

After arriving for your appointment, you'll check-in at the front desk and fill out some routine medical paperwork. If you've brought a friend, partner, or family member with you they can wait in the lobby or accompany you into the examination room, whichever you prefer.

In the exam room, you'll lay on an examination table. We'll ask you to roll your pants down slightly and shirt up to expose your abdomen. Bring a light-weight jacket just in case you get a little chilly.

An ultrasound-trained registered nurse will then put gel on your abdomen. This helps the ultrasound wand pick up the sound waves that create the image for you to see. The nurse will move the wand (or transducer) over your stomach; you might feel a little bit of pressure but it won't be painful.

It usually doesn't take long to pick up the images, and you'll be able to view them if you choose. The nurse will explain the images to you and answer any questions you may have about what you're seeing.

At Open Arms, we do ultrasounds to determine the location of the pregnancy to make sure the pregnancy is located inside the uterus (not ectopic), measure fetal heart rate, and determine the gestational age. These ultrasounds will not reveal the sex.

Why an ultrasound is important

Many women who are unsure about their pregnancies or who are planning to have abortions often think they don't need an ultrasound. Actually, the opposite is true. An ultrasound is necessary even before having an abortion because it reveals key information that determines the type of abortion you would have (medical or surgical).

An ultrasound will also reveal whether the pregnancy is located inside or outside of the uterus. Pregnancies outside of the uterus are called ectopic pregnancies and they are not viable. They can be life-threatening to you and will require immediate medical intervention.

To schedule your free and confidential ultrasound appointment, please contact the Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic today. Our trained case managers are also on hand to provide information to help you process your decision if you need someone to talk with at your appointment.

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Your negative pregnancy test and next steps

Negative Pregnancy Test - Now What?

AN IMPORTANT OPPORTUNITY

Your pregnancy test came back negative. You may be feeling a huge sense of relief right now. In fact, you may have come in today feeling very nervous and worried at the thought of the possibility of being pregnant. Or maybe you are feeling sad or have mixed emotions. Either way, these emotions are completely understandable because your life could have changed drastically as a result of that pregnancy test.

So what should you do now? Your emotions leading up to taking the pregnancy test today are helpful in revealing how you really feel about the potential of being a parent and perhaps how you feel about your partner. Now is the perfect time to consider what steps you can take for your future. Consider this time as an important opportunity to evaluate your choices, especially regarding your relationship with your partner and your sexual intimacy with him.

HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • Am I prepared to be a parent? Am I okay with the possibility of being pregnant?
  • Do I see a future with my partner? Would I want him to be the father of my children?
  • If I was worried or nervous about this situation, what ways can I be protecting myself from a similar situation again?
  • In what ways might I have been putting myself at risk with my sexual choices?

We are holistic beings, and as holistic beings, engaging in sexual activity affects our emotional, spiritual, and physical health.

CREATE AN ACTION PLAN

If you are not ready to be a parent and you want to avoid any risk of infection with a sexually transmitted disease, consider talking to one of our case managers at the clinic today about creating an action plan together. The only 100% guaranteed way of preventing pregnancy or infection with a sexually transmitted disease is to practice sexual risk avoidance (abstaining from any sexual contact outside of a committed marriage relationship). All other methods leave you at some form of risk. Birth control pills provide no protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and condoms have been shown to provide only some protection from some diseases.1 The FDA publishes expected pregnancy rates with condom usage. Normally, around 2% of condoms are expected to break, but for each year of "typical" condom use, the pregnancy rate is 15%.2 Each year, 18 out of 100 women become pregnant using birth control pills.3 In addition, in America, there is a growing epidemic of STDs. It is estimated over 110 million people are now infected and 20 million new infections occur each year.4 Almost half of these new infections are in young people, 15 to 24 years old.5

TAKE OUR POSITIVE PARTNERSHIP CLASS 

If you are wondering what steps to take next in your relationship with your partner, our clinic provides Positive Partnership classes that are available to you to help you navigate through your relationship and to help you make intentional choices that will benefit your future. These classes include two modules, one for men and one for women, which teach vital information about relationships and marriage. If you think your partner can benefit from man-to-man support, we also have a male case manager on staff who would be happy to meet with him to discuss any questions he may have about his role.

All of our case managers are here to listen to you, to equip you, educate you, and empower you to make informed decisions about your life and to discuss how these decisions impact you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. 

If you have any questions or would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact us or visit us again.

References:
1National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Workshop Summary: Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Prevention. Herndon, VA: Hyatt Dulles Airport, June 12-13, 2000 and the follow-up report: Fact Sheet for Public Health Personnel, Male Latex Condoms and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, found at: http://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/latex.htm, accessed 3-23-2017.
2Commissioner, Office of the. "HIV/AIDS Prevention – Condoms: Barriers to Bad News." US Food and Drug Administration Home Page, Office of the Commissioner, https://www.fda.gov/ForPatients/Illness/HIVAIDS/Prevention/default.htm, accessed on 12-20-17.
3U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Birth control: Medicines To Help You, found at http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ByAudience/ForWomen/FreePublications/ucm313215.htm, accessed 3-23-2017.
4"Sexually Transmitted Diseases." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 Dec. 2017, www.cdc.gov/std/life-stages-populations/adolescents-youngadults.htm, accessed 12-20-2017.
5"Sexually Transmitted Diseases." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 Dec. 2017, www.cdc.gov/std/life-stages-populations/adolescents-youngadults.htm, accessed 12-20-2017.

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