ALERT: Your health is top priority. We’re committed to providing reliable COVID-19 resources to keep you informed and safe.

Deadpool 2 Inserts IUDs Back Into Pop Culture


Editors carefully fact-check all Drugwatch content for accuracy and quality.

Drugwatch has a stringent fact-checking process. It starts with our strict sourcing guidelines.

We only gather information from credible sources. This includes peer-reviewed medical journals, reputable media outlets, government reports, court records and interviews with qualified experts.

Deadpool with IUD

It may be the most unexpected cameo ever in a Marvel movie. An IUD has a brief but important role in Deadpool 2.

In the film, Deadpool’s girlfriend Vanessa surprises him on their anniversary. She gives him her IUD in a gift box (this is a romantic gesture in the Deadpool universe).

IUDs are intrauterine devices. Doctors place them in the uterus. IUDs work by preventing sperm from reaching an egg.

The birth control device has moved in and out of pop culture for half a century. The IUD has been both a symbol of the women’s movement and a synonym of medical disaster.

It became the most used form of reversible birth control in the world. But American women moved away from IUDs after problems with some devices in the 1980s. The Deadpool 2 appearance is a nod to the birth control device’s return in America in the past few years.

Things You May Not Know About IUDs

IUDs seem a perfect fit for the Deadpool universe. The devices’ history features as many plot twists and unbelievable scenes as the film.

The IUD story involves camel caravans and Chapstick. It stars historic figures from Hippocrates to Donald Trump. And Planned Parenthood’s founder rescues the G-spot’s discoverer from Nazi Germany.

Here are some highlights from the devices’ history:

400 AD

Nomadic desert merchants placed stones in camels’ uteruses as veterinary birth control.


Doctors introduce “stem pessaries” to America. The device’s glass and unsterilized metals caused serious health problems.


German gynecologist Dr. Ernst Grafenberg introduced the “Grafenberg Ring.” It was the first modern IUD. But Grafenberg was better known for his earlier research. He was the first to identify the G-spot – which is also named after him.


Nazis threw Grafenberg, who is Jewish, into prison. Nazi ideology banned intrauterine contraception. IUD research and development remained stalled until after World War II.


Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger launched her “Refugee Department.” She leveraged her home and lined up wealthy donors. The private effort helped get prominent doctors and scientists out of Germany. Sanger’s efforts, and a reported ransom, freed Grafenberg from prison and brought him to New York. His work continued after the war.


Chapstick maker A.H. Robins Company bought the rights to the Dalkon Shield. The FDA did not approve medical devices at the time. By 1975, more than 2.8 million women used the Dalkon Shield. But the CDC blamed more than 15 deaths on the device. More than 300,000 women filed lawsuits against A.H. Robins. The company declared bankruptcy 10 years later. It sold Chapstick and its remaining assets to what is now Wyeth. The Dalkon Shield disaster led to new regulations. Congress gave the FDA authority to oversee medical devices.


IUD use in the U.S. began a decades-long decline in the Dalkon Shield aftermath.


Bayer introduced Mirena in the U.S. The IUD has a hormone coating Bayer claimed further protects against pregnancy. Women later blamed Mirena for serious side effects. These included infection and intracranial hypertension.


The Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, took effect. It reduced out-of-pocket costs for IUDs. A study found IUD use climbed more than 10 percent in five years under the law. But only about one in seven American women on birth control used IUDs.


Donald Trump’s election set off a rush for IUD prescriptions. Fear that the new administration would repeal the ACA drove the demand. Medical tech company Athenahealth tracked IUD prescriptions for several months. It found a 16 percent increase in prescriptions among women with insurance. Planned Parenthood reports a 900 percent increase at its offices.


Women and their families are suing Bayer over allegations Mirena caused injuries. More than 500 Mirena lawsuits are pending in federal court.

Terry Turner
Written By Terry Turner Writer

Terry Turner has been writing articles and producing news broadcasts for more than 25 years. He covers FDA policy, proton pump inhibitors, and medical devices such as hernia mesh, IVC filters, and hip and knee implants. An Emmy-winning journalist, he has reported on health and medical policy issues before Congress, the FDA and other federal agencies. Some of his qualifications include:

  • American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates member
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health Literacy certificates
  • Original works published or cited in Washington Examiner, MedPage Today and The New York Times
  • Appeared as an expert panelist on hernia mesh lawsuits on the BBC
Edited By
Emily Miller
Emily Miller Managing Editor

14 Cited Research Articles writers follow rigorous sourcing guidelines and cite only trustworthy sources of information, including peer-reviewed journals, court records, academic organizations, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports and interviews with qualified experts. Review our editorial policy to learn more about our process for producing accurate, current and balanced content.

  1. Mahoney, D. (2018, April 18). ACA Mandate Reduced Out-of-Pocket Cost for IUDs, Upped Use. Medscape. Retrieved from
  2. Heisel, E., et al. (2018, May). Intrauterine Device Insertion Before and After Mandated Health Care Coverage: The Importance of Baseline Costs. Obstetrics & Gynecology. Retrieved from
  3. Hubacher D. (2002, March 1). The Checkered History and Bright Future of Intrauterine Contraception In the United States. Retrieved from
  4. LaVito, A. (2018, January 21). Women Rushed to Get IUDs Fearing Trump’s Threats to Repeal Obamacare. CNBC. Retrieved from
  5. Beaton, C. (2017, April 18). Why Does America Have Fewer Tupes of IUDs Than Other Countries? The Atlantic. Retrieved from
  6. Copeland, L. (2017, June 15). From Medical Pariah to Feminist Icon: The Story of the IUD. Smithsonian. Retrieved from
  7. Couzin-Frankel, J. (2011, July 15) Contraceptive Comeback: The Maligned IUD Gets A Second Chance. Retrieved from
  8. Sifferlin, A. (2014, June 30). Why is the most effective form of birth control – the IUD – also the one no one is using? Retrieved from
  9. Branum, A.M. and Jones, J. (2015, February). Trends in Long-acting Reversible Contraception Use Among U.S. Women Aged 15-44. Retrieved from
  10. Levy, G. (2016, October 28). This Day in Jewish History//1957: The Doctor Who Discovered the G-spot, if There Is One, Dies. Retrieved from
  11. Cohen, E. (2017, January 25). Women rush to get IUDs because of Trump. Retrieved from
  12. Planned Parenthood. (2015, Feb. 23). New Study Finds Women’s Health Providers Use IUDs More Than Any Other Method of Birth Control. Retrieved from
  13. American Experience. (n.d.). The Pill and the Women’s Liberation Movement. PBS. Retrieved from
  14. New York University. (1993). Margaret Sanger and the Refugee Department. The Margaret Sanger Papers Project. Retrieved from
View All Sources
Who Am I Calling?

Calling this number connects you with one of Drugwatch's trusted legal partners. A law firm representative will review your case for free.

Drugwatch's sponsors support the organization’s mission to keep people safe from dangerous drugs and medical devices. For more information, visit our sponsors page.

(888) 645-1617