I have needed birth control.
My current method of not getting pregnant is abstinence. This is highly convenient. Though it’s always listed as a method along with the cervical cap, vaginal ring, IUD and other preventative measures with an emphasis on efficiency (100%!), as someone who hasn’t much time (and does not enjoy errands) it’s also efficient in other ways. It slides easily, quietly, unnoticed, into my life.
But that also means there are other ramifications. It means I will rarely have motivation to see a doctor—if at all—for problems relating to my cycle. Even if there is pain. It means no one will inform me until I have passed out that I am iron deficient and that accounting for this is critical. It means that when I experience irregularities I will offhandedly dismiss them as an indication of nothing serious. It means I don’t have to listen to the burn in my legs or the searing in my abdomen. It means that I will assume—though I know objectively that it isn’t true—that nothing could possibly go wrong because I am not sexually active. It means that after being condescendingly told by conservatives that the expansive complexity of my reproductive health is reduced to my sexual activity I have begun to believe it. It means that I have accepted that being in pain—even excruciating pain—is simply a part of being a woman.
Losing control of your menstrual cycle is not just mildly unpleasant. When a woman is unable to predict when she is going to start her period, she doesn’t take painkillers until half her day is ruined. The interruption does not only mean you might happen to have been caught unprepared without feminine products. It means you have to stop working, often for more than a few minutes. It means you need urgently to lie down or else you will faint. It means there may not be a place to lie down. It means you could have taken painkillers that morning if you had known this was coming, before the agony overcame you like this, and your schedule has been deferred and if that weren’t enraging enough it involves awkward explanations.
Now you’ve become an excuse for the wage gap. (Women have periods and get pregnant—obviously fair pay is a joke. Vote Scott Walker!) How’s it feel to know that the fate of your entire sex has been determined by the fact that you can’t predict your own damn period?
Okay, okay, try answering me when you’re not PMSing. Geez.
Women don’t take birth control to have sex. They take it to control their lives. Because that is to what our worth has been reduced. And it is infuriating–infuriating–that those who overcome this by dealing with it through seeking better coverage, are the ones accused of causing this reduction. It’s a dangerous and effective game—and it has been played for centuries.
“The bottom line is that before the ACA,” writes Sari Weintraub, “insurers legally discriminated against women who purchased health insurance. Women’s premiums were higher because insurance companies claimed that women use the health care system more often and incur higher total health care costs. It’s called “gender rating,” and it’s used to charge women more than men for the same policy. There are also particular health services specific to uterus-owners, such as Pap smears, pregnancy and prenatal care, and childbirth. For insurance companies, being female is a risk factor in determining coverage costs.”
As a 21-year-old woman, with the ACA I will save at least an estimated $9,108 on birth control in my lifetime, assuming I have one child.
According to the app, that money can fund a shelter for 50 girls surviving sex trafficking for a year.
Half that money can pay for a child’s education in a developing country for 10 years.
And this is what anti-choice Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) had to say about it,
“I know in your mind you can think of times when America was attacked. One is December 7th, that’s Pearl Harbor day. The other is September 11th, and that’s the day of the terrorist attack….I want you to remember August the 1st, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates.”
Insurance typically covers vasectomies (without a man needing to prove it is absolutely necessary for his health.) And Viagra.
The rest of us, of course, are whores, which is why a bunch of XYs should pass laws regulating our vaginas, the only problem being that if they try to do that you can’t say words like “vagina” without conservative men believing you are casting a spell on them.
If you don’t have that control, someone else does, because you are a thing to be controlled. Make no mistake of it. You have always been. And when they think they can control your uterus, they will believe they are entitled to control your First Amendment rights. Because this is a mentality, and it lives on reducing women to the sex class.