As the fight to keep birth control accessible for women becomes more real, many people have emerged believing that you can solve your need for birth control by simply abstaining from sex. And I suppose in their tiny, uneducated brains they see "birth control" and see it as one thing: Controlling birth. But despite its misleading name, birth control serves as a medicine that some women truly could not live without... So don't make us.
I suffer from endometriosis, along with about 1 in every 10 women and girls in the US. Endometriosis comes along with painful intercourse, digestive issues, excruciating cramps, ovarian cysts and a wealth of other symptoms. There are women who may never know they have it, and women who are controlled by it every day of their lives. There is no cure for endometriosis, only maintenance. And that maintenance is, you guessed it: Birth control.
In June of 2016, I underwent surgery for my endometriosis. Immediately afterward, I was put on continuous birth control. The goal of this is to not give my body any time to allow the lesions to grow back. Untreated, it can grow back and require additional surgeries to continue removing it. With no cure, maintenance with birth control is a lot of endo patients' best bet.
There are days when, even treated, I get cramps so bad that I throw up. I've had to leave social gatherings to go home, curl up and cry. I've had an additional surgery that was a result of a complication from my endometriosis. I've been in the ER twice for debilitating pain from rupturing ovarian cysts. I've attended pelvic floor physical therapy for pain. I've had to sit through class and meetings in such severe pain I thought I was going to pass out.
These happen while I'm being using the best treatment modern medicine has to offer at this time, so I fear: What if this is taken away?
Sure, everything listed above is HARD. It makes life hard sometimes. But because of the medicine I take (yes, medicine), more of my life is pain-free than not. I am able to live a mostly normal life with this chronic illness. If my one source of treatment was taken away, what would that mean for me? More time holding in tears from cramps ripping through my body? Throwing up in more parking lots after crying the whole way home? More cysts and pain and complications? Why do I have to lose my access to what keeps me some semblance of healthy because another function of the drug is to prevent pregnancy?
And this does not even necessarily pertain to ME, as I believe without insurance covering my birth control myself and my family could and would still find a way to access it.
This is for the women who CAN'T, whose lives would quite seriously turn into a living hell of pain if their insurance no longer covered their medicine.
This is for all of the women living with endo or PCOS or any other debilitating disease that's primary source of treatment is with birth control.
The fact of the matter is, for some women, the insurance coverage of birth control will solely be to prevent pregnancy. But I beg of you not to be so thrown off by that truth that you would rather let millions of women live in excruciating pain.
Remaining abstinent and "not opening our knees" isn't going to solve this.
What is going to solve this, or at the very least assist in making life more tolerable, is birth control. And we are begging you to understand that.