Opinion: We need to view birth control differently

Demonizing birth control users for any reason puts their health, and lives, at risk

Considering the multitude of additional uses that the medication can serve, the term “birth control” does not do the treatment justice.  

Birth control does not only act as an oral contraceptive, it allows many to function comfortably in their daily lives, is used as a treatment for certain health conditions and can reduce the risk of serious health issues that can lead to problems such as ovarian cancer.

Demonizing birth control as a whole simply because it is often used to avoid pregnancies affects all birth control users and contributes to dangerous rhetoric that is used to limit access to birth control.

This, in turn, creates a gateway for rhetoric that supports restrictions on abortion.

The American College Health Association found that about 53% of college students reportedly use birth control via the pill to prevent pregnancy. However, the number is likely much higher since the study did not take into account students who do not have vaginal intercourse and students who are not sexually active.

Birth control is also mandated to be covered under the Affordable Care Act, but the rules surrounding birth control coverage have evolved since the Trump administration took over. 

As of 2017, employers have the option to reject providing birth control coverage through insurance due to arbitrary “moral objections," which can put students who rely on birth control for their personal needs at risk. 

Catherine Corbett, the president of Planned Parenthood Generation Action at ASU, said one of the biggest misconceptions regarding birth control is that if you're taking it, you're having sex.

"If we were to have more access to birth control, there would be fewer abortions," Corbett said. This is evident in Colorado, where a pilot program providing free birth control to student-aged people led to a dramatic decrease in abortions.

Legislators, typically those without uteruses, use the same rhetoric to vilify birth control users that they use to attempt to justify implementing abortion bans and restrictions.

Recently, Arizona legislators attempted to pass HB 2759, a bill that would have allocated over $7 million dollars worth of government funds to crisis pregnancy centers, which are infamous for being vocally against abortion. 

"Politicians criticize people for getting abortions but we lack access to birth control; It's ironic," Corbett said. 

I have personally been using birth control since I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, at age 15. I have also had chronic migraines for the past few years and my current birth control prescription has treated my migraines as well as my PCOS successfully in a way that no other medication has been able to. 

Regardless of whether it is for medical or sex reasons, students should be entitled to use birth control in whatever way best fits their needs without the influence of other people. Period.


Reach the columnist at jguzma19@asu.edu or follow @JennyGuzmanAZ on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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