Quantcast
Channel:
Viewing all articles
Browse latest Browse all 25628

Limiting Access to Birth Control Means Limiting American Women's Lives

0
0

Editor's note: This essay comes in response to the Trump administration's proposal to further limit acess to birth control in the U.S. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Let’s rewind to my freshman year of college: I’m standing in my friend’s dorm room as she hands me several of her birth control pills, assuring me that taking a few at intervals will be the same as a Plan B pill. Unsure if this is actually true and too ashamed to call a professional (editor's note: although this method can be effective if used properly, it should never be your default—go to Bedsider to learn more), I take my friend’s pills as she directed, and hope for the best. I subsequently spend the next month anxiously awaiting my period, envisioning what I will have to do if I get pregnant. This all culminates in going to Walmart to buy a pregnancy test, and I still remember the wave of immense relief I had standing in the cramped bathroom stall with a urine-sprinkled negative test in my hand.

In a heated moment, I made the decision to have sex without a condom or any other form of birth control. The awful month that followed this decision made me realize that it was time for me to take control of my reproductive health care by myself. I made an appointment at my college’s Wellness Center. When filling out the paperwork for my appointment, I had one request: that my parents did not receive any information that I was going to get birth control. Nervously, I walked away from the appointment with a small, round, plastic container in my hand. While some of my friends’ more liberal-minded parents sent them their birth control each month, I set aside nine dollars and a friend’s car to go to Target and renew my prescription. When I went home, I concealed these small packets from my parents.

One year later, the same boy who stood next to me in line at Walmart to get a pregnancy test went abroad for the semester. Now feeling alone and insecure at college, my anxiety came roaring into existence. Hypothesizing that my birth control might be impacting my racing mind, I went back to my school’s Wellness Center to switch birth control prescriptions. Instead of improving my anxiety, my OCD, which had been dormant most of my life, came back into my life and made me feel like I had no control over any of my thought patterns or emotions. I began counseling and even switched prescriptions one more time just to try something else.

After several appointments with my school’s nurse practitioner gynecologist, I finally decided to commit to getting a hormone-free copper IUD, also known as the Paragard. At this point, my boyfriend was back from his semester abroad, and I was relieved to have an end in sight to the days of hormonal birth control. My insurance required an upfront payment of $112 for the IUD, which later came with a refund check of $100. My IUD will stay in my body for up to ten years, but in total, I only paid ten dollars for it.

I did all of this alone until I finally opened up to my mom and asked her if she had ever experienced anxiety from birth control methods she had used in the past. Smiling, she tilted her head and told me, “I never used birth control. I just had babies.” She offered me no advice or reassurance for what I was experiencing. What’s more is that I knew this statement to be false; she just didn’t want to admit it. I love my mom, and we have always been close. And yet, my parents’ conservative beliefs prevented them from being pillars of support for me. In their world, Christian summer camps teach high schoolers that sexual activity before marriage is like gluing pieces of paper together, then ripping them apart over and over until the papers are just bits and shreds.

Today, they still aren’t ready to offer me support or advice about being sexually active. Although I can talk to my mom now about visits to the gynecologist, she doesn’t support me being sexually active. This is definitely hard at times, but I know that thanks to my health care insurance, I was able to independently fund my own access to birth control. I autonomously decided the various steps I needed to take for my body to have a peace of mind and heart. I cannot imagine the struggles I would have encountered had the laws on birth control not guaranteed affordability, which is why the threats to women’s health care deeply frighten me. Reproductive rights allow women to have control over their relationships, their futures, their careers, their educations, and so much more. Limiting access means limiting American women, a fact which politicians need to wake up and accept.


Viewing all articles
Browse latest Browse all 25628