So here I was, a 14-year-old, in tears, receiving word that my ability to choose motherhood later in life was at risk, and that I had to begin taking birth control pills and not stop until I am ready to try for a baby.
Women’s preventive care — including birth control — is basic health care. This isn’t a revolutionary idea, but birth control has become increasingly politicized. Most American women who have ever had sex have used birth control at some point in their lives. Women must have access to a full range of methods, no matter what.
Take endometriosis, for example. Preventive care means taking hormonal birth control pills to manage the symptoms. Endometriosis affects one in 10 women and girls in the U.S. and is a leading cause of infertility.
For women who live with this common health problem, it takes regular checkups and hormonal birth control to treat the chronic pain of endometriosis. When I found out I had endometriosis, I learned I needed consistent access to birth control to keep my symptoms under control. Endometriosis is a condition where endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus and therefore doesn’t shed monthly.
As my doctor explained this to me, she also explained that if this tissue continues to grow and spread it can be toxic to my eggs and can lead to infertility.
She then explained that taking birth control pills can allow me to regulate and often skip my period, which also regulates the endometriosis. So here I was, a 14-year-old, in tears, receiving word that my ability to choose motherhood later in life was at risk, and that I had to begin taking birth control pills and not stop until I am ready to try for a baby. I am now 23, and have been taking birth control for nine years.
That is 108 monthly trips to the pharmacy. For 24 of those monthly visits, I wasn’t even old enough to drive, and I relied on my mom to take me. We lived 20 minutes from the pharmacy. It comes down to the fact that every woman deserves the right to choose the birth control method that best fits their unique needs, and HB 1234 supports and respects the health of women across the state.