Birth control funding has been an ongoing struggle in healthcare lately.
Birth control education, however, has rarely ever taken precedence and leaving public education to deal with the topic.
Often though, this means that birth control information is basic at best, and completely disregarded at worst.
When I was thirteen, my family doctor advised me to go on birth control for medical concerns. For several personal reasons, I did not. A couple years later, I was advised again by another doctor. Again, I did not for similar reasons as before.
Three years ago, I was told yet again, by a third doctor that it would be beneficial to my health if I were to start birth control medication. I agreed and was surprised when the doctor refused to simply prescribe the pill like my prior providers had. Instead, she recalled that I had chronic migraines that were accompanied by an aura, also known as ocular migraines.
Because of this condition, I was informed that I could not be prescribed most birth control pills as there was a high risk of me having a stroke. Instead, she told me that we should look into other forms in order to improve my health.
My prior providers should have known and informed me of this issue, but that was not the case. Instead, they’d been ready to prescribe a pill for me, not fully realizing the consequences it could have for me.
Birth control goes beyond preventing pregnancies. Yes, birth control is important to talk about when talking about sex, but that is not the only time. It is used for many different health reasons.
For years, I was unaware of how birth control would really interact with my body, much less that it could have detrimental effects if I were to take the wrong kind.
Friends that found out about my inability to take the pill expressed how little they actually know about the topic.
I am one of the lucky ones, as in my case taking birth control would be very beneficial to my health, but not vital. Many others do not have the same luck. Some people have to take it in order to be healthy, and they don’t have many other options.
There are several forms of birth control: the patch, pill, condom, Intrauterine Device (IUD) and nuvaring.
The pill is the most commonly prescribed and the others are considered alternative methods for the most part.
Until I found out I could not take the pill, I knew close to nothing about these other methods. I also was unaware that they could be used to treat health conditions in a similar way to the pill.
So why is it that so many people are uninformed when it comes to birth control?
Birth control falls under sex education, and there is no standard that schools are held to. This means every state, and even every district, tends to teach it a bit differently. A student in one state may learn about the pill and IUDs, while a student on anpther may only receive education about abstinence.
Not much changes later in life. As adults, the responsibility falls on the individual to educate themselves, which tends to be on a need-to basis. If something does not affect you, why learn about it, right?
This education can be vital, though. There are many health conditions for which birth control is prescribed, most of which are not well known. Even those who are prescribed the pill sometimes don’t know everything about their medication.
When it comes to healthcare, it can be hard to fight for the right to have something you know very little about.
Birth control is an important conversation that needs to be had for many reasons, and it is time to prioritize it.
We can not expect there to be a full and accurate conversation regarding birth control in politics if the majority of the population is not educated on the topic.
If we are not offered the information, we must demand it. Create the need, and the want, for this education and perhaps someone will finally listen.