With the recent political landscape continuously taking a turn for the worst whilst simultaneously turning against immigrants, refugees, POC, the LGBTQ+ community, Muslims, public and special education programs and women’s rights, etc. it’s become a scary America to exist in. And, with Congressional spite fueling and unnecessary repeal (without a logical replacement, but that’s of our business) of the Affordable Care Act, access to affordable health care will leave millions of Americans without access to the services that they need to lead healthy and happy lives. Which, if you ask us, should fall under the constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness but, we’re not politicians so what do we know, really?
Falling under attack of conservative lawmakers, unsurprisingly, is reproductive rights. Apparently, being male, a politician and lacking both a uterus and an MD in obstetrics or gynecology still qualifies you to make decisions about what women and femme-identifying individuals can do with their bodies. Then again, Donald Trump is president so I guess anything is possible these days. But, I digress.
If you’re like me and birth control is your main source of contraceptive, then you’re probably also worried about what will happen when it is no longer covered under insurance. Monthly pills have only been affordable and accessible to me because the ACA has lowered the patient co-pay. Not to mention, with the constant threat to defund Planned Parenthood (seriously, is there anything else Congress even talks about anymore?), millions of people risk losing the access to information on how to practice safe sex. And between you and me, abstinence-only education just doesn’t work. However, there is an alternative to the daily pill that has gained popularity since the Trump/Pence cabinet was elected in November.
An intrauterine device, more commonly known as an IUD, is a form of birth control that has been around for decades but has only gained traction within the last twenty or so years. With improvements to its design and the creation of the Mirena IUD in the early 2000s, it has actually been proven to be more effective (over 99%) at preventing pregnancy than a daily pill. In addition, it can last anywhere from 3 – 12 years depending on which type you opt for and has few side effects. Occasionally users can experience some side effects in the first few months of adjusting to the device but, after that, barely have to think about it until it’s ready for replacement. Plus, it often lightens periods for women who have typically had heavy or harsh menstrual cycles. And, because it is localized to the uterus, it doesn’t release large amounts of hormones into the bloodstream which is what typically causes the mood swings, acne, weight gain, etc. so commonly associated with daily pills.
While IUDs do not protect against STIs/STDs, neither do pills. Only abstinence from sex or condom usage is effective for that purpose. Not to mention, it takes less than five minutes to insert and removal doesn’t leave users with the effects that weaning off of a pill does. And, for those worried about the long-term effects on fertility, most women can get pregnant almost immediately.
If you’re worried about the impact of losing access to daily birth control pills, an IUD is a great option to prevent pregnancy. For more information, make an appointment at your university health center, with a trusted women’s health professional or even at Planned Parenthood. The best way to prevent unplanned pregnancy is to be educated about your options.
Besides, it’s about time we put the YOU back in uterus.
Featured image here.