letters to the editor

Letter to the Editor: Response to ‘Birth Control Should Not Be Free’

This article is a response to ‘Birth Control Should Not Be Free’ as well as some entry-level comprehensive sex education.

To think that birth control is only used to prevent pregnancies and that it only comes in the form of condoms is an uneducated and uninformed understanding of birth control. Birth control can help treat polycystic ovary syndrome, acne, premenstrual syndrome, endometriosis, amenorrhea, primary ovarian insufficiency, but let us not forget people also use it to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Birth control comes in the form of hormonal methods (ie: pill, patch), barrier methods (ie: external and internal condoms), intrauterine devices, and many more options. Guttmacher reported that in 2008 the most common reason women used the pill was for preventing unwanted pregnancies (86%) while other pills users reported using it for other health benefits (58%), like I listed above. I will use this platform as an educational opportunity to also mention that you should always use two forms of birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

When those in power try to control access to health care they are controlling the access to a basic human right. Birth control is health care, controlling access to birth control is controlling what women can and cannot do with their bodies. The right to health care is the right to birth control, so you cannot separate the two when you are talking about them. We cannot assume that ‘free birth control’ is only appealing to college students when “62% of all women of reproductive age are currently using a contraceptive method” (Guttmacher). The contraceptive implant and the IUD are the most effective reversible birth control methods available with failure rates being less than 1% (Guttmacher). Guttmacher reported that in 2010, every $1 that people invested in helping women avoid pregnancies saved Medicaid $7.09 that otherwise would’ve been used to pay for the medical costs of pregnancy deliveries and early childhood care. It is a fact that access to birth control lowers abortion rates, thus saving the government money while letting women feel empowered with choice over their own body. Giving women access to free, or reduced, birth control saves everyone involved with sex and reproduction money.

My final point is that having sex does not mean you will get pregnant, or that your actions are deemed “immoral”. Having unprotected, risky sex can lead to an unwanted pregnancy. Using at least one form of birth control while having safe, consensual sex will significantly decrease the chance of having an unwanted pregnancy. We can no longer stigmatize people having sex; it happens. It’s natural. If you’re doing it right, it might even be pleasurable. So don’t spew the idea that birth control should be paid out of pocket.

Liv Oland, Junior, olivia.oland@ndsu.edu

Source: https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/contraceptive-use-united-states

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