Friday, October 6, 2017

Birth Control Gave Me One Fourth of My Life Back

The Trump administration has officially rolled back the free birth control mandate of the ACA, officially making me furious. The fact that such an extreme view of one single religion in this country is being catered to at the expense of every single person who menstruates is fucking maddening. But it's not really about that. It's not about "religious freedom" - that excuse is downright laughable considering the fact that the same administration is doing its best to ban people from Muslim countries from being able to come here at all. It's about catering to a perception of conservative voters but also about giving insurance companies an opportunity to hoard a little more of the wealth for themselves.

The administration says this will only affect a "tiny percentage" of people. Oh really? Well let's do some math. Roughly 50% of the population has a uterus. A large percentage of those are in the age range to menstruate. And let's see, how many health insurance companies are willing to let people die rather than see a tiny dent in their obscene profits? All of them?

From a civilian standpoint, withholding birth control has always been about controlling women. Birth control not only allows us to control our ability to get pregnant, it makes a large section of our lives much easier. Birth control very often makes our periods lighter and relieve cramps, so much so that it's prescribed for severe cramps and conditions like PMDD.

Before going on birth control pills, my periods were hell. They were heavy, mood-altering, and worst of all, came with intense cramps for at least 2-3 days out of the week these periods lasted. The only way to avoid debilitating cramps that interfered with my education and ability to do anything other than lay in bed writhing was to take a double dose of extra strength Midol from the minute the blood  showed up until the end of day three. Allowing this painkiller to wear off meant exposing myself to days of hell, because once the cramps got going, no over-the-counter painkiller could stop them.

Let me underline this for you - these cramps sent me home from school on several occasions, and when I either couldn't get ahold of my mom or was too ashamed to call her for help, I couldn't do anything at school but sit in my seat and suffer. I had to get special permission to be able to carry Midol with me at school (fucking ridiculous anti-drug policy, it's fucking ibuprofen), and to this day I wonder what those years did to my poor kidneys.

Then I got on the birth control pill. At like age 16. Meaning I spent five years in needless suffering because I had no idea that the pill could free me from the cramps. And it did. One simple, safe, non-kidney-damaging pill per day nearly eliminated my cramps. My periods are now light and a mere occasional inconvenience. Missing school/work for a period? Didn't even cross my mind. For 13 years.

But for much of that time, I had to pay for them. Until President Obama implemented the birth control mandate, I had to pay about $10 for every pack of birth control. And I'm sure that sounds like nothing to the congress members getting paid six figures to work like 90 days out of the year. But of course, it's the poor who will get screwed over. Because for the poor, often $10 is too much for  something you don't absolutely need to live. So the poor, who are already screwed when it comes to education and employment, get to once again spend one fourth of their lives in hell, unable to focus on school if they can even make it there. And the cycle of poverty continues.

That's all this does. Force poor people, largely women, to suffer needlessly and make their leaves even more unnecessarily difficult, further keeping them oppressed and less of a threat to the ruling class. Oh, and of course, another big "fuck you" to the black man who insulted white supremacy by daring to become president over another white guy.

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