Kelly McDonald

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This work is a light-hearted look at the tumultuous 110 year history and development of the intrauterine device (IUD). It broaches the subject of accessible and equitable contraception the world over and wonders (just a little bit) about making reproductive health care, open source.

Some fun IUD facts:

  • An IUD is a small, often T-shaped birth control device inserted into a woman's uterus and is more than 99% effective at pregnancy prevention for between 3 – 10 years.

  • The first IUD, made of silkworm gut, was developed in 1909 by German physician Richard Richter.

  • In 1960, Dr. Lazar Margulies of New York created the first thermoplastic IUD and tested it in his wife, it was the precursor to our modern IUDs.

  • IUDs are the most popular means of reversible birth control in the world with more than 160 million users – over two thirds of those women live in China.

  • IUDs played a pivotal role in the Chinese One Child Policy - from 1980 to 2014, 324 million women were inserted with IUDs modified in such a way that they could not be removed in a doctor's office, instead requiring surgical removal.

  • Another German physician, Ernst Gräfenberg (after whom the G-Spot is named), created the first Ring IUD which was made of silver filaments. His work was suppressed during the Nazi regime, when contraception was considered a threat to Aryan women.

  • Pro-lifer, Donald Trump, promised during his presidential campaign that he would appoint anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court and that Roe v. Wade would be overturned “automatically.” (Roe v. Wade was a 1973 landmark decision by the US Supreme Court making abortion legal in many circumstances.)

  • During the 2017 New Zealand general election, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said the Labour government would decriminalise abortion in New Zealand.

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