I was 15 when my doctor first suggested birth control. I was an extremely active, young athlete who had yet to have a period. I felt as though I had fallen behind my friends. I wanted to make sure nothing was physically wrong with me. I thought the doctor would ask me questions about my nutrition, exercise habits, stress levels, etc.
Five minutes into the appointment, my doctor was writing me a script for the birth control pill. I, confused, told her I didn't want to take it. It screws up your hormones. It can cause trouble getting pregnant in the future or even infertility.
She laughed my concerns away and said, "Everybody takes it."
I took the script but refused to take the pills. I wasn't comfortable with putting artificial hormones into my body, a body I already feared was ill.
Every doctor's visit after that, oral contraceptives were pushed on me.
I finally caved when I was 18.
I went to an endocrinologist seeking help. I was physically exhausted. My period (which had finally come) was unbearable. I often skipped school. Some days I didn't even have the energy to get out of bed. I was miserable.
My doctor told me I had to take the pill because my hormones were causing my fatigue and misery. The pill would fix that. She used my obvious distress against me. I was desperate for a cure, desperate to feel like myself again. I wanted to be able to get out of bed in the morning and live an active lifestyle. So I took it.
I took that damned little pill for two straight years. I feared what would happen if I didn't. Would my hormones return to "normal?" Would I suffer from withdrawal?
I became so acclimated to the effects of the pill I barely noticed them. I was oblivious to the dark cloud that hung over my head for those two years. I didn't realize how constantly bloated, fatigued, and devoid of emotion I was while on the pill. Not until five months ago.
During the COVID quarantine, my prescription was delivered to the mailroom instead of my home address. I took it as a sign to do something I had wanted to for a long time — go off of it. I had never even wanted to take it in the first place. This could be my experiment. It wasn't like I had anything else to do.
Within weeks of stopping that stupid little pill, it was like the sky had opened up. The cloud above my head disappeared. I felt joy and sadness and anger and frustration. I felt like a human. I was no longer bloated. I felt normal.
In the months since stopping the pill, I have often pondered the question: why did my doctors push so hard for it? Why did they try to convince me at a mere 15 years old that the pill was my only option? Why didn't they more thoroughly investigate my fatigue, fatigue that was caused by a severe iron deficiency (we later found out)?
I'm not entirely sure as to why these doctors hawked me as they did. It isn't an uncommon experience — countless articles have been written about doctors overprescribing the pill. There is a common notion in society that female fertility is something that needs to be "fixed."
The pill has become a sort of cure-all. Acne? Take the pill! No period? The pill! Two periods a month? You guessed it, the pill! Perfectly healthy and normal cycle? Still take it so you won't have an unwanted pregnancy!
For many of these issues, prescribing birth control merely covers the deeper issues. Lack of a period could be caused by over-exercise, eating disorders, or other hormonal issues such as PCOS. Heavy periods could be signs of endometriosis or thyroid issues. Taking the pill just postpones the inevitable; when/if you eventually want to have kids, you'll have to go off the pill. All those previous issues will come rushing back.
As for the "take it anyway to avoid pregnancy" spiel, some research points to the contrary. Former director of Planned Parenthood Abby Johnson explains that the majority of women who receive abortions were using contraceptives. How could this possibly be? Human error.
Those 97-99 percent effectiveness ratings? They fail to account for human error. Very few women take birth control "perfectly." When human error is factored in, the effectiveness of oral contraceptives in preventing pregnancy falls to approximately 90 percent, more in line with male condoms.
I am not sure why doctors push so hard for oral contraceptives. I don't understand why it can be difficult to find medical lists of the "cons" of birth control. We've all seen the ads with the women prancing around in bikinis, smiling from ear to ear, so irrationally happy to be on birth control. Those ads make birth control seem like a magic pill. It's hard to find medical evidence of the pill causing depression, low libido, bloating, weight gain, lack of emotion. These testimonies come only from women who have gone off the pill. No experts are available to weigh in.
I may not understand why doctors push so hard for the pill, but I have a theory. Abby Johnson explained Planned Parenthood's goals in a speech about her time working for PP. Their main goal was simple: double their monthly abortions. Abby explained that, though this troubled her, her bosses explained they had to increase how many abortions they performed. That was how they, a business, made their money.
To increase their abortions, they had to increase their presence in the lives of young girls. They had to infiltrate schools. They had to convince these girls that they could not talk to their parents about sex or pregnancy-way too embarrassing. But, they could talk to Planned Parenthood, whom they had known since kindergarten.
Planned Parenthood aimed to get all girls on oral contraceptives by the age of 13, likely before they even started to naturally menstruate. They choose the pill because it has the highest human error failure rate.
Then, they'd encourage these girls to have sex and be promiscuous, in the name of feminism. Finally, they hoped that every girl would have had three abortions by the time they are 30 years old. This would maximize Planned Parenthood's profits and keep its population-control interested investors happy.
This plan is sick. It's disgusting. It's child exploitation at best, and eugenics at worst. It perfectly exemplifies the evils of Planned Parenthood. It explains why doctors push contraceptives on young girls and why these girls aren't warned of the negative consequences. It explains our current culture's obsession with promiscuity and defense of sexual "looseness." It's eerie.
The counter-argument to all of this is likely that Abby Johnson is simply lying. Maybe she is. But why? Why would she lie? She gave up everything. She gave up her job at Planned Parenthood, where she made good money. She risked plunging her family into a financial crisis. She faced a lawsuit by PP. She had two abortions herself and speaks openly about them. She was once a pro-choice social justice warrior. Why would she lie?
We don't know if she's lying. She could be. But to my pro-choice opponents, for just a moment admit the possibility that this could all be true. Which side would you rather be on when you found out you were wrong? The side that advocates for protecting the sexual morality of our children and protecting children in the womb from being ripped apart for the sake of choice, or the side that supports those things?
I know which side I'd choose, hands down.