I almost typed BS, because that’s exactly what this is.
Look, if you’re a man? I’m sorry, but you have zero right to tell me what I can or can’t do with my body. If you’re my partner (and you’re probably NOT, because my partner lives halfway across the country), or my doctor (which you might be, because I don’t know my gyno’s internet habits), or maybe my Dad (which you definitely aren’t, because my parents don’t have internet and definitely aren’t savvy with social media), then I’ll listen to what you say and take it into consideration.
For clarity’s sake, my Dad, my gyno, AND my partner are all down with my use of contraceptives for any reason whatsoever. Even though my dad likes to pretend that I’ll Never Have Sex Until I’m Married.
Here’s the thing. Birth Control is Smart Family Planning. Take it until you want to have children, come off it so you can get pregnant and have babies, then take it again. In a relationship (committed or not), it helps prevent unwanted pregnancies. A woman on BC that gets raped is less likely to have to deal with the agony of carrying her rapist’s child. Don’t say “well you shouldn’t have sex if you don’t want to get pregnant” because hello? You are probably not innocent of having sex when you have zero interest in Making The Babies. If you are, congratulations, you have awesome control over your sex drive. You’re probably also not a rapist, but then again you probably DO know a woman that’s been sexually assaulted (although I bet they haven’t confided in you). Are you also anti-abortion? Then you should be all about Smart Family Planning, because inexpensive access to the Pill and other contraceptives (including condoms!) can and will help lower the abortion rate. I’m all for a woman’s right to choose, but I’d also love it if women didn’t have to make that choice because they already had access to affordable family planning that wasn’t someone spouting off something inane like “don’t have sex.” Married couples use birth control too!
Birth Control Saves Lives. I know, I KNOW. I can’t possibly be right, yeah? Is that what you’re thinking? Well I am. My birth control (Sprintec, it’s a generic form for who-knows-what name brand) helps reduce ovarian cysts, controls some of the symptoms of PCOS (so that women who HAVE it can possibly have children later), controls the symptoms of menorrhagia, helps control the issues that crop up with endometriosis, AND provides use as birth control, should I have sex.
Ovarian cysts are fairly well known—cysts that grow on your ovaries. Before I got onto the Sprintec, I had a cyst that was twice the size of my actual ovary. That’s pretty damn large, and it was really painful. My BC has helped shrink it to something more manageable without any intrusive surgery.
PCOS, for anyone that doesn’t know, is short for Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. A lot of doctors don’t know much about it, but some pretty common tells are erratic or practically non-existent periods in women who have reached puberty. Untreated PCOS often leads to increased difficulty (or impossibility) for women to have children. Birth control can help get their reproductive systems on track so that when they WANT to have children, their likelihood of success in conceiving naturally is greatly increased. And we want our family/wives/other female friends to be able to have a baby naturally if they want to do so, right? At least, I do.
Menorrhagia isn’t terribly life-threatening, but it’s pretty fucking gross. Basically, when a woman has her period, her uterine lining sheds in a “whole” pieces (like a snake shedding its skin, if that works for you as a visual. A woman with menorrhagia (like me) sheds her uterine lining in stripes, which basically means she has a period that never ends. We’re not talking trickles of blood either, we’re talking about filling a super plus tampon (which is ~20g absorption) in 90 minutes for weeks on end. Birth control helps by regulating the system and basically forcing (to my understanding) the uterine lining to shed normally.
Endometriosis can be life-threatening. It’s actually one of the first things the doctors thought I had, and after looking it up, I’m pretty grateful that I’m just dealing with cysts and menorrhagia. Basically with endo, the cells from your uterus (called endometrium) appear outside the uterine cavity on things like your ovaries. This leads to extremely painful periods, chronic pelvic pain (including lower back and abdominal pain), frequent urination, constipation and bowel obstruction, and can also lead to bigger issues like ruptured cysts and a particularly icky thing called a chocolate cyst of the ovary. (Feel free to wiki that last one and wince in sympathy for your lady friends. Just imagine that happening to your balls.) Oh, and it also increases the risk for infertility.
Birth control helps control all of that, and it also allows for folks to plan for families on their own time. When that family can afford a child, when that family is ready. Now I’d like you to tell me that you don’t think those things should be a right to women, that women and families shouldn’t have inexpensive, easy to obtain means of taking care of themselves and doing what’s best for them and their families. I don’t think you can.