Birth Control and Insurance

Disclaimer: Don’t read this if you don’t like the headline. I an opinion to share, but I will not tolerate any purposely offensive comments.

On Friday, I received wonderful news!

The current form of birth control I am taking is now covered, at least partially. While a pretty penny still comes out of my pocket, that pretty penny is much less.

I do not know if my rather religious insurance company now covers my birth control because it is a special type or because birth control is now a part of preventative health care for women.

FINALLY!

(Considering it’s my money and my husband’s money anyway… I think we should have whatever we want covered! We pay the insurance company every month and fight with them weekly because of my appointments to the lady doctor. But that is besides the point.)

Unfortunately, after watching/reading/listening to the news for the past few days, I have learned that not every one is as excited about this little development as I am.

Why?

Well, the most atrocious comment made was that breast pumps, birth control and abuse counseling were the same as pedicures and manicures. Frivolous. Insurance companies shouldn’t have to cover them.

I almost threw something at the TV.

I don’t get manicures and pedicures because I find them to be frivolous. Remember, I’m quite frugal. And I bite my fingernails so it’s pointless, too.

However, if I can and when I decide to get pregnant, I would like to know that the breast pump I will use to feed my child is not considered frivolous spending.

I know I cannot change people’s opinions regarding birth control or reproductive health care. In fact, changing opinion is not my mission.

My mission is to explain what I believe and why. You may take it or leave it; I hope I don’t offend anyone with my comments.

(If you are grossed out easily, please do not read further. I warned you.)

From the time of my menstrual cycle’s beginning to… well, now… I have suffered from an imbalance of hormones that causes my body to act in a way that is not normal.

When you think of a woman and her “period,” you probably think, “Oh! It’s her time of the month.”

Well, for many women, “time of the month” is not an adequate term. I – like those other women – take birth control to even out the hormones.

To balance and find normalcy.

As a comparison, think of bipolar disorder. Persons suffering from bipolar disorder do not want the chemicals in their brain to be imbalanced, but, without medication, it is usually impossible to correct.

To balance and find normalcy.

That’s what birth control does for me. It’s like an anti-anxiety medication for my uterus. I balance when I’m on the right dosage, the right pill. I have normalcy.

Pure estrogen pills would not make me normal for those of you with that argument. Probably make me even more aberrant…

Do I wish I could have a normal, healthy cycle that doesn’t cause me to lose so much iron that I’m not able to donate blood?

Yes. Every. Damn. Day.

But I’m not normal, and I never will be.

This is not something I can grow out of made obvious by the fact that I have been dealing with it for at least 10 years. I was an impressionable teenager through those years.

But I had a strong family, a strong desire to get an education and do something, and a complete knowledge of sexual and reproductive health.

I’m not surprised that girls who didn’t or don’t have what I had get pregnant or contract STIs or suffer in abusive relationships silently.

I bet their mother’s didn’t have what I had either.

The comments that I have heard from news reports, specialists, senators and even people who are closer to me make me so angry.

What I hear is that birth control is a medication that causes young girls to have sex, get pregnant and ruin their lives. Not true.

As seen from “16 & Pregnant” and “Teen Mom,” young girls will have sex WITHOUT protection, and society will idealize it.

How is it the fault of birth control that girls get pregnant? How it is the fault of reproductive health and sex education that girls get pregnant?

From what I remember from that “class,” the whole thing was probably the nastiest stuff I’d ever seen. Boys were gross – that’s what I learned in that class.

What I hear is that birth control has no benefits, only disadvantages. How can something that protects a woman’s body from unwanted pregnancy be beneficial? How? How can a pill that gives a woman the right to choose be beneficial? How? How can a woman be so bold as to choose?

That’s what I hear because that is what is being said: DO NOT COVER BIRTH CONTROL. WOMEN DO NOT GET TO MAKE THAT DECISION. (Notice it’s not in quotations. This is what I hear.)

To the men and women who say that I do not get to choose that it is chosen for me: I reply.

Who chooses but me? I choose. I refuse to militate or allow any one else to work against my own well-being.

What I hear is that birth control and reproductive health benefits fight destiny and fate. Instead of having babies like married women are supposed to, those same women are destroying an entire generation with birth control!

Really? I will put off having children until I am mentally, physically and financially capable of having a child. My maternal clock is broken because I’m smart enough to know that two parts aren’t ready when one part is.

Preventing pregnancy also prevents abortion, if you needed a better reason other than the one I offered. My right to choose.

I want those people to hear that they are wrong, and that their comments break my heart.

Out of pocket, since I was 17, I have overpaid for a pill that I have to take just so I can be normal. Just so I’m not in pain for weeks at a time. Just so I can have the chance to live a normal, healthy life.

My insurance company should cover my birth control without question without exception without denial. My insurance company should step up and be an example to provide what a woman needs.

So far they have. I’ll continue to fight with them until they’ve fulfilled the promise of preventative health care for women. My husband and I do, in fact, pay them.

(Now, I’m not addressing those who do not want to fund birth control with taxpayer dollars. That’s another matter for another time, but my opinions don’t change much.)

And I ask those people who demean and defame and malign a woman because she wants coverage for her birth control…

Wouldn’t you want your daughter, your mother, your sister, your wife, your friend have the same healthy, normal life that you do? Wouldn’t you want that happiness for them? Or are you so selfish as to believe that we, because we are women, do not deserve it?

I hear your selfishness, but I am done listening to you.

As a woman, I will fight for my right to my own body. If you are woman and you will not fight…

I just don’t know what to say to you.

Please forgive me if I caused offense.

3 thoughts on “Birth Control and Insurance

  1. dana @ my little celebration

    So sorry you’ve had to endure this struggle most of your adult life. I haven’t experienced these issues much with my lady dept. but I can sympathize with you, friend. But thanks for sharing your thoughts! It’s always so refreshing to read your writing. You have a talent for it.

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