What Republicans Keep Failing to Understand About Birth Control

Yeah, for some people it is just about preventing pregnancy (or, as the category suggests, controlling birth). But, for the majority, it’s about so much more.

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Our society is outright hostile towards uteri, and anyone who has one.

Having a uterus that insists on following the reproductive processes is just, well, devastating. It shouldn’t be and it sure as hell doesn’t have to be, but we live in a society that is stacked against menstruation and anyone who has to go through that process. For a lot of people who have a uterus, having a period — a ‘normal,’ ‘behaving as expected’ period —can be like having a case of salmonella, ranging from mild to extreme, every single month. (Some women are much luckier — and to them I say “I’m really truly honestly very happy for you” while praying they don’t notice my extreme jealousy.)

  1. Employers are not sympathetic, and menstruation is not a defense from being fired or from being passed over for raises and promotions ‘because you weren’t productive enough’ (because you dared to go to the bathroom too often). Employers also think they’re being fair by offering ‘medical exceptions,’ but that links back to the doctor. If the doctor doesn’t think you’re bleeding enough of in enough pain, they’re not going to spend time filling out the required paperwork. So you’re back at the start.
  2. Schools make life very difficult for children who are just getting their periods and navigating those early years of having one. And I’m not just talking about bullying.
  3. There actually isn’t a lot of information, or discussion, at all in America about periods and young people. Be it regarding access to care, access to products, if kids are missing school for reasons related to their period — America, and it’s majority-testicle-having politicians, doesn’t seem to care.
  4. Not to mention, female anatomy and period education is severely lacking across the board, leaving many people poorly educated into adulthood. I knew so many girls who thought that using a tampon would ‘pop their cherry’ (please don’t even get me started on the bullshit myth of cherry popping).
  5. Not to forget to also mention, because medicine has been so heavily male-dominated, we still don’t know the full truth about female reproductive organs. There’s still ‘new’ things being discovered about them, proper care is simply not a consideration (for example, douching is still something people encourage and pretend is safe, even though it’s garbage and has always been garbage, even before they stopped using Lysol — as for the rest of our products, the FDA doesn’t require the ingredients to be provided on the package, and it’s been found that many products contain hazardous materials), and many medical conditions related to these organs are decades behind where they should be in regards to treatment (see the endometriosis example above).
  6. Important political figures at best use periods as an insult and at worst have no clue how periods and/or female anatomy actually works.
  • Not all doctors understand the importance of birth control. Hell, a lot of doctors don’t understand why it’s so important. I gave up after two, but I’ve known people who tried so many more. I’ve also had doctors and nurses — whose opinion I wasn’t asking for — tell me they didn’t understand why a lesbian-Asexual like me even needed birth control. Ex-fucking-scuse me? You’re medical professionals and you can’t comprehend why someone might want birth control unless they are having sex that involves a penis?
  • None of the above matters anyway because of the last part of that statement: “If you have a medical condition.” If you’ve actually read to this point, I’m going to hope I don’t need to repeat myself, but I will for those who skimmed.

People who have a uterus are severely under-diagnosed in almost every category already, simply because most of medicine starts with and revolves around people who have testicles. Now put the problem in the reproductive region, and the situation gets even worse.

And that, of course, assumes you even have a ‘medical condition.’ Heavy flows and run of the mill cramps so bad you need prescription painkillers (or worse) aren’t typically classified as a medical condition, and you can guarantee that insurance providers will put together a very narrow list of requirements. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if the list only has PCOS on it, since that’s about the only ‘official’ medical condition that tends to be recognized as being treated sufficiently with birth control (BC only treats the symptoms of endometriosis, not the condition itself). How many people know that it treats acne and anemia, or that it helps prevent bone thinning? (My last doctor didn’t.)

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I write in the hopes that perhaps I may help others feel not so alone. Join my writing journey on twitter @kate_is_writing

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