Raise 3D

[Image: Joy Complex]

This week, John Oliver did a segment on crisis pregnancy centers on Last Week Tonight. The problem with them, he explained, is not that they don’t provide abortions, but that they mislead women into thinking that they do – and then refuse to provide that option, sometimes after it’s too late. One center told a woman she had plenty of time to consider her decision, telling her that she could have an abortion right up until term – which is completely untrue, as she found out when she went to a doctor only to be told she would have to carry out the rest of her pregnancy.

Abortion is a very, very sensitive subject that people have strong beliefs about on both sides, so it’s difficult to talk about – but while it’s fine to offer a woman alternatives to abortion, it’s not okay to trick or even lie directly to them, as many of these clinics do. The other problem is that these clinics tend to be very anti-birth control. While some may object to birth control for religious reasons, the reality is that the most effective way to prevent abortions is to allow women to prevent themselves from getting pregnant in the first place.

“The fact is, if you want fewer abortions, you should love birth control,” Oliver ranted. “You should be filling Pez dispensers with birth control pills. You should be giving condoms out to trick-or-treaters and IUD earrings out as hostess gifts. Birth control should be your favorite thing in the whole world!”

When I watched this segment the other night, I had no idea that the IUD earrings flashed on the screen were actually a real thing – and that they were 3D printed by Jeremy Burnich of Joy Complex.

Burnich has used his 3D printed jewelry to make a statement before, whether it’s about women’s rights or about commemorating historic scientific discoveries. He was inspired to create a set of IUD-shaped jewelry by a Jezebel article touting the benefits of IUDs – and also noting that panicked women were suddenly flocking to them out of fear that their more temporary birth control options would disappear under the Trump administration.

“It started a conversation between me and my wife Leah – who is a family physician at UPMC – about IUD’s, women’s health issues, and politics/political agendas,” Burnich told 3DPrint.com. “We put our heads together and she suggested that I design a pair of earrings and maybe a matching pendant based upon the Mirena style IUD. It is the most popular IUD in the US. Since the election it has also morphed into a symbol for women’s reproductive rights and empowerment. We both decided that a portion of the profits should go to Planned Parenthood because they do so much good work in the women’s health arena. Unfortunately that work is overshadowed by the unfair branding given to them by the GOP/right-wing. For some reason people who are against abortion don’t recognize that PP does vastly more in the women’s health arena than just that one procedure.”

A marcher wearing IUD earrings. [Image: ladydoc_kgf via Instagram]

The 3D printed jewelry collection has become highly popular, adorning women at the Women’s Marches and Planned Parenthood 5ks. Burnich has also donated pairs of earrings to Planned Parenthoods around the country for holiday raffles. They’ve become particularly popular with OB/GYN residents, he noted, and customers have contacted him to request that he make lapel pins as well.

“I originally just made them in metal – ExOne steel and cast silver and plated brass – but eventually made a version in SLS nylon that I apply color to by hand – brush and a spray lacquer,” Burnich told us. “I order the nylon from Shapeways but am saving up for my own SLA printer so I can begin producing them myself.”

Joy Complex’s IUD jewelry can be purchased on Etsy, ranging from $16 to $65 depending on material. They’re great statement pieces if you feel strongly about reproductive rights, and they’re bound to raise questions – which is a good thing if you’re looking for opportunities to talk to other women about the options they have. It’s no surprise that they’ve been a hit in OB/GYN offices.

“I started making these earrings right after Trump was elected because I was concerned about how the new administration would start going after organizations like Planned Parenthood and try to curtail women’s reproductive freedoms,” Burnich said. “Luckily people have really stepped up and worked to defend these rights but this administration and the GOP are not going to stop doing what they can to chip away.”

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