Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Birth Control

“If men got pregnant, there would be safe, reliable methods of birth control. They’d be inexpensive too.”
With the subject of birth control becoming such a big issue in the United States people over look just how many women, adults and teens actually use birth control. Women use birth control to stop unwanted pregnancy, regulate their menstrual cycles, reduce the pain of cramps and even get rid of acne. There is a huge demographic of females using birth control and being over looked in favor of religious fervor and politics.

As of March 2011 it was estimated 62 % of women able to have children used some form of birth control. Of these women 28% use the pill, 5.5 % an IUD, 3.2 the Depo shot and 2.4 a vaginal ring. All of these types of birth control require a doctor to either prescribe them or insert the contraceptive. Less than 20 % of the 62 % chose a method that did not require a trip to clinic or doctor’s office.

There are whole clinics, like Planned Parenthood who make their money from reproductive health services, including providing birth control to those without health insurance. In fact 33.5 % of Planned Parenthood services were birth control related in 2009/2010, only out done by STD testing and treatment at 38 % . In fact the amount og money Planned Parenthood makes from abortions is less than half those amounts.

It is also ridiculous how much time it takes to get birth control at a normal doctor's office. At the Westridge Clinic in Kearns Utah a doctor requires an hour long appointment for the first time birth control is prescribed. If a patient needs birth control right away he/she is more likely to get a same day appointment at a clinic, like the Utah Women’s Clinic. Clinics are easier than waiting days to see a regular doctor.

Of late we have seen a lot politically in regards to birth control legislation. In August of 2011 the Department of Health and Human Services required that all new health insurance companies cover birth control without any cost; however religious institutes, such as Deseret Industries, do not have to cover birth control since it would go against their religious beliefs. Again, stupid, just because you are a religious organization doesn't mean birth control should not be covered. What they are saying here is even MARRIED people should just keep popping out babies that they probably cannot afford because a church still will not have birth control coverage on their super special "privledged" insurance. Nope now you must "sully" yourself by going to a clinic and paying out of pocket. If you think I am being harsh I apoligized. I have spoken to religious women who have had SO much tude while talking about visiting a clinic.

Now while this new legislation does allow many women who before would not be able to afford birth control access to it like I said before many still require places like Planned Parenthood for the majority of their reproductive health services.

Another piece of legislation being thrown around is Defunding Planned Parenthood, which would make birth control out of reach for millions of American women, changing the demographic of women on birth control, tipping them into the demographic of women who have unplanned pregnancies. Thankfully this got over turned, but many states are still trying similar things to get rid of clinics that offer abortions.

Clinics that provide free or low cost birth control are essential to women’s health and the health care industry, which includes the patients. Especially since in February of 2012 Obama declared that while churches and other explicit religious institutions would be excused from the birth control legislation, religiously affiliated business would be required to provide contraception to their employees. After this was announced two senators then put in motion a reversal bill. The fact that birth control has become a huge controversy is a great challenge to the women who actually use and require such services. And it begs the questions... Who cares? Really? Whose business is it if you take birth control? The answer? No one but the woman taking it and perhaps her partner.

Women in the United States benefit greatly from programs that provide information on birth control as well as STD’s, and other women’s health issues. While wellness programs may not decrease cost, educational programs do. When people are educated on STD’s and how their bodies actually work they spend less money on health care. Informing a woman on how to prevent pregnancy means that in the long run the government or her health insurance will spend less money on an unplanned pregnancy and any complications that may come from it. The women herself will also have less costs. Going to the a clinic and spending sixty dollars on a birth control pill prescription is thousands of dollars less than a c-section ten months later.

What women need are more service providers that handle women’s health issues. There need to be more clinics in hospitals and major health care companies that will take insurance but also offer sliding scale, reduce cost or free birth control options. The need for birth control can come up at any time, having to either a) wait days for an appointment or b) rush down to a clinic one is not familiar with can be stressful options. Women need other safe, welcoming options in the health care community for these issues.

As a whole birth control needs to stop being a taboo topic. If everyone was able to openly discuss the need for birth control and see it as a safe and good method for reducing the risk of unwanted pregnancy then there would be fewer challenges. Birth control is a personal option, as a society it needs to be accepted as such and women who take birth control should not be discriminated against, gossiped about or looked down upon. Everyone knows someone who takes birth control whether they are married, single, promiscuous, or virginal. When birth control stops being something debated politically and socially only then will women be able to feel empowered.

Helpful links for birth control:
Planned Parenthood


Womens Health

Birth Control Stats as of March 2012
Obamacare Says Insurance Must Cover Birth Control

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