As part of this blog I have decided to include a popular hashtag once a month. It will always be something that I feel strongly about and this will be my way to include some more serious reads as well as get some of my own thoughts out on certain topics.
For about a month now a hashtag that I continuously see on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook is #HandsOffMyBC. The hashtag was started by feminist activists in response to the Trump Administration narrowing the scope of employer-provided health insurance to no longer require birth control to be covered.
As I write this, I am doubled over in pain from period cramps. TMI?
The thing is that without birth control my pain would be a billion times worse. That is something that I do not miss and cannot even imagine.
When I was 14 I was rushed to my local children’s hospital for bad abdominal pains. I was then diagnosed with Endometriosis. Although disappointing, this wasn’t exactly surprising as my mom also had the disease and I suffered from debilitating cramps since I was 9.
If you don’t know what Endometriosis is, it’s a disease that occurs when uterine tissue is found outside of the uterus- for example in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, or cervix. This tissue develops into growths that build up, break down, and shed. It can result in internal bleeding, infertility, and scar tissue formation. Endometriosis causes fatigue, almost constant pain, and gastrointestinal problems such as nausea.
Basically, it’s not fun and hardly even bearable.
A week after that night in the children’s hospital I began seeing a gynecologist and was put on the hormonal birth control pill. I was not sexually active and therefore wasn’t using it for contraception. It was treating the cysts growing on my ovaries and helping the pain be less painful.
Hormonal birth control pills contain the hormones estrogen & progestin, or there are those that contain just progestin. Neither of these pills cures Endometriosis, but they do alleviate the symptoms amazingly. Since beginning the pill 7 years ago, my once unbearable pain is now controlled and and minimal.
Without birth control, it would be impossible for me to leave my bed most days and my condition would grow worse and worse.
Along with Endometriosis there are endless things that hormonal pills helps to treat.
They aid in helping women with irregular menstrual cycles.
They can give a lighter flow and lesser cramps.
They can treat acne.
They can help hormonal imbalance such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Primary Ovarian Insufficiency.
They alleviate bad PMS (premenstrual syndrome) or PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) symptoms.
THEY ARE HEALTHCARE.
Despite “birth control” being a really poorly chosen term for this little magical dose of hormones that treats various health conditions in women, at the end of the day it is also used for what it is called.
Brace yourselves for this shocker: birth control is used to prevent unwanted and unplanned pregnancy. AND THAT IS OKAY.
Only 3% of Americans wait until marriage before having sex. Which means the other 97% should be protecting themselves if they aren’t ready for children. No one is telling men to have less sex, so let’s drop the double standard and allow women the respect of choosing what they do with their bodies and when they do it.
Simply put, birth control IS healthcare. It IS NOT a decision to be made for each woman by the government or an employer.
So please, keep your hands off my birth control.