Depo Diaries

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This national storytelling project is now closed until resources permit. Thank you for your voice and please use these tools as a resource for your communities to track the uses of unethical contraceptives and testing.

As women, our rights to safe and voluntary sex, birth control and motherhood are increasingly restricted, controlled and even criminalized. Coercive programs target women on the margins for dangerous contraceptives; the development of provider-controlled contraceptives with serious adverse effects on women's health. The Committee on Women, Population, & the Environment (CWPE) supports women's right to safe, voluntary sex, birth control and abortion, while strongly opposing demographically driven population policies. We are a national organization of activists, academics, and women's health providers, led by women of color. Our mission is to promote the social and economic empowerment of women in a context of global peace and justice and work for the elimination of poverty, inequality, racism, and environmental degradation. By focusing on emerging political issues we work to expose the human rights violations that follow from population-based analyses; such as welfare "reform" and immigration control in the North, and increasing population control in the South; and to build grassroots alliances and actions together at local, regional, national, and international levels on these issues.

We invite you to collaborate with the CWPE National Dangerous Contraceptives Task Force in piloting a new project, Depo Diaries, which seeks to gather personal testimonies of women's experiences using Depo Provera. We are seeking your expertise on getting the word out about this storytelling project.

The work you do is inseparable from so many other issues we are working on at CWPE. The gender, race, and class inequalities of society are implicit in ways the distribution of contraceptives target specific populations. For example, Depo-Provera (also known as "Depo" or "the Shot"), which is a long term provider-controlled synthetic hormonal contraceptive, has been tested and used on predominantly women of color and poor women. A study of Depo-Provera users in the United States found 84 percent were black women and 74 percent were low income.* Some of the side effects of Depo Provera include, but are not limited to severe depression, breast cancer, cervical cancer, higher HIV/AIDS susceptibility, excessive bleeding, weight change, and osteoporosis. Depo is mass marketed to clinics and doctors as efficient in cost, without measuring the risks to women.

We are collecting these stories to better understand what effects Depo has on women's bodies, to understand what women are told about Depo, and how we can better provide critical resources and information on why it is being used on predominantly poor women and women of color. Our aim is to uncover a more accurate picture of the range and kinds of side effects women experience from Depo-Provera. We believe that, in addition to better understanding the problems surrounding certain contraceptives, women who decide to tell their stories may reclaim ownership over their bodies and their lives naming their experience and taking action.

We have a right to know and make informed decisions about our lives!

We want to hear from you, send us your story, or fill out the questionnaire below describing your experience. Your information is valuable to us and will be kept confidential.

DEPO DIARIES QUESTIONNAIRE:
Fill out this questionnaire which will automatically be sent to CWPE.
You can also call this toll free number: 1-866-575-CWPE and tell us your story over the phone. We’ll transcribe it for you.
Or you can write down your experience with Depo and mail it to CWPE:
CWPE
P.O. Box 55108
Atlanta, GA 30308

Spread The Word About Depo Diaries:
Please share this website with your friends, family members, and community members who have had experiences with Depo Provera. You can also forward this site to e-mail listservs with large numbers of women (especially women targeted by Depo manufacturers such as young women, women of color, poor women, and women with disabilities). Also feel free to share info about the Depo Diaries with other organizations, scholars, activists, and health practitioners who can also get the word out to women with stories to tell.

Distribute Depo Diaries Postcards:
CWPE has produced postcards describing the Depo Diaries project and as another entryway for women to learn about this initiative. Contact us to order Depo Diaries postcards for yourself or for distribution!

*Contraceptive Technology Update, Vol. 14, No. 12 (December 1994), 162.

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