I was in San Francisco on a week-long vacation house-sitting for my uncle when one of the most horrific experiences of my life struck. As I sat in the comfortable wooden chair enjoying my coffee, I felt my bottom get cold as if it were wet. Confused, I checked the seat for water or some other spilled drink but there was nothing. When I got up, I could feel my pants were soaked—but by what? Suddenly I felt that familiar sinking feeling of menstruation that we women all love and didn’t understand why I should be bleeding so early in the month. I went to the bathroom and discovered that I had soaked my pants in blood, from the crotch to halfway down each pant leg. I was momentarily stunned by confusion and horror. I took them off and hopped into the shower where more blood just poured out of me. I sat down to avoid fainting and just watched helplessly as the blood streamed into the drain. As I sat there, I decided I had to visit a gynecologist right away. They told me I had PCOS and that the problem would be alleviated by a birth control pill.
Now, I had never thought I’d be on the pill because I am a lesbian (what the heck for, right?). But in a turn of events, I found myself with a monthly subscription to oral contraceptives. Today, we are fighting a major battle over the necessity of birth control, headed by our ultra religious and largely uneducated male government. The premise is that pleasure promotes promiscuity, and the pill is only for women wanting to avoid the consequences of sex (those dark temptresses!). But what about my experience? It has nothing to do with sex or fear of pregnancy, it is about my health and the ability to have a regular period, to prevent cysts from forming in my ovaries that cause debilitating pain among other physical issues like excessive hair growth, most prominently on the face. What about women that rely on the pill to prevent cancers, hormonal imbalances, heavy menstruation, and severe acne? Is it right that their access to the pill be limited or cut just because a few religious men think it’s inappropriate for moral reasons? The answer is absolutely not. Women should have total access to birth control as it helps patients just as any other medication does.
Because of this reckless governmental mentality, even Planned Parenthood is on the chopping block due to their free birth control policy. What most people don’t realize is that PP’s services go beyond abortion and birth control—preventative care for diseases, illnesses, dangerous pregnancy, and safe sex education and resources comprise 70% of their services. So why is our government so hell-bent on closing PP’s doors when it’s doing exactly what they want? Allow me to explain: our GOP government is cutting funds on welfare, social services programs, and women’s health clinics because they want to save money and give unborn fetuses the right to live. But the people that use these services are mostly young parents, or parents-to-be, and can’t afford to provide for their children. So if the goal is to spend less money on welfare programs, then why eliminate the programs that prevent unwanted pregnancy? It makes absolutely no sense! The infant whose “right to life” has been protected will not be afforded those rights in early childhood or adolescence. It’s a serious issue that requires closer consideration of organizations like Planned Parenthood.
It is easy to see that birth control pills do nothing but good for the population. They prevent unwanted pregnancy and cancers of the reproductive system, as well as balance irregular menstruation, hormonal issues and pain, and greatly reduce the effects of PMS (which is always the reason given to invalidate women’s ability to be rational and reliable). This is not only a women’s issue, but a human issue. Planned Parenthood’s services are available to all genders, and as access to these services dwindle, we will see an increase of untreated cases of STDs, unwanted pregnancies, and preventable reproductive cancers on a national scale. Try seeking treatment independently, but be prepared— all of this is now considered a preexisting condition. Conclusively, I urge you to do all you can to fight for birth control and women’s health facilities that change so many lives for the better. To find out how you can support your local and national Planned Parenthood, text GIVE to 22422.