Attention all you old white men bloviating about the end-of-liberty if women get free birth control pills - I hope your punishment in hell includes a uterus of your very own.
Friends ask my why I let things like this bother me so much. I don't need the pill now, and I could afford it without insurance even if I did need it. But the issue bothers me because this is about women's health, not about the prevention of pregnancy or who can afford what. The critical lack of understanding of women's health issues among the people leading the fight against birth control coverage just appalls me. Worst of all, some of these people are women, very ignorant and just plain stupid women (They'll be getting a double uterus in hell I hope).
Several years ago, I had uterine cancer. I was one of the lucky ones who found it at stage 1. A total abdominal hysterectomy and I was fine. I was lucky. So many women don't catch this until it is too late, and I know part of it is because we've been brainwashed into thinking our pains are normal, brainwashing that continues today every time women's health issues take a back seat to politics.
My condition presented as endometrial hyperplasia, a thickening of the wall of the uterus. Endometrial hyperplasia is a pre-cancerous condition, and mine had already become cancer when it was found. Saying I had heavy periods is like saying the Titanic was a little boat. I was quite literally bleeding to death every month for about 2 years. I thought it was the cost of having a uterus and getting old, I had always had horrible periods with horrible cramps my entire life. But going into my mid-40s, it became overwhelming. When I finally did go to my gynecologist, it was because blood tests had shown I was severely anemic and my regular doctors told me I had to deal with it. Not anemia an iron pill every day would cure, but bitten-by-vampire anemic, needs-blood-transfusions anemic (something the Jehovah's Witnesses wouldn't have wanted to cover had I been employed by them).
Had I gone to my gynecologist earlier, like years earlier, one of the treatment options would have been, you guessed it, birth control pills. Controlling those hormones could have prevented the progression of the disease, and could have prevented the cancer. When I finally went, the only option was hysterectomy. I was allowed to take estrogen replacement pills because of the ensuing instant and almost violent onset of menopause with the most horrible hot flashes imaginable, but I'm betting those estrogen replacement pills would be viewed as "birth control" by some or "immoral" for some odd reason, and thus not covered as a "moral" thing by anybody wanting to save some money on insurance policies.
Had I gone to my gynecologist earlier when many insurance plans didn't cover contraception (before insurance companies realized they could save money by preventing pregnancies) and been recommended to take birth control pills, I would have had to pay out of pocket for a drug that could have prevented my eventual cancer. The various plans my employer offers now do cover birth control coverage, but they have not always included it. The idea of being denied coverage of such a necessary drug simply because Rick Santorum thinks I might then go out and do something he wouldn't like just makes me seethe. The idea that any woman suffering the same symptoms could be denied health saving medical coverage simply because of where she works and the religion of her employer, I'm just apoplectic with anger!
For those who don't see this as a "health" issue and think of it just as a "freedom to have sex without caution" issue and that women should just cross their legs and say no to sex, here are just a few other uses for birth control pills from the Center For Young Women's Health:
What kinds of medical conditions can be helped with birth control pills?No woman, young or old, underage or otherwise, should have to go through painful periods. Women should never be denied something their doctor suggests might help ease their pain just because some old white man thinks it will make her a slut.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): is a hormonal imbalance which causes irregular menstrual periods, acne, and excess hair growth. Birth control pills work by lowering certain hormone levels to regulate menstrual periods. When hormone levels are decreased to normal, acne and hair growth often improve.
Endometriosis: Most girls with endometriosis have cramps or pelvic pain during their menstrual cycle. Birth control pills are often prescribed to treat endometriosis and work by temporarily preventing periods. When hormonal treatment is prescribed continuously, young women will rarely have periods, or not at all. Since periods can cause pain for young women with endometriosis, stopping periods will usually improve cramps and pelvic pain.
Lack of periods (“amenorrhea”) from low weight, stress, excessive exercise, or damage to the ovaries from radiation or chemotherapy: With any of these conditions, the hormone “estrogen” is not made in normal amounts by the body. Birth control pills may be prescribed to replace estrogen, which helps to regulate the menstrual cycle. For girls whose menstrual periods are irregular (too few - or not at all), birth control pills can help to regulate the menstrual cycle to every 28 days and provide the body with normal amounts of estrogen. Normal estrogen levels are important for healthy bones.
Menstrual Cramps: When over-the-counter medications don't help with severe cramps, birth control pills may be the solution because they prevent ovulation and lighten periods.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Symptoms of PMS such as mood swings, breast soreness, and bloating, along with acne can occur up to 2 weeks before a young women's period. Birth control pills may be prescribed to stop ovulation and keep hormone levels balanced. Symptoms may improve, particularly when oral contraceptive pills are prescribed continuously.
Heavy Menstrual Periods: Birth control pills can reduce the amount and length of menstrual bleeding.
Acne: For moderate to severe acne, which over-the-counter and prescription medications haven't cured, birth control pills may be prescribed. The hormones in the Pill can help stop acne from forming. Be patient though, since it takes several months for birth control pills to work.
Other Medical Benefits
Because there is less menstrual bleeding when taking birth control pills, you are less likely to get anemia (low number of red blood cells, which carry oxygen from the lungs to the tissues). Birth control pills lower your chance of getting endometrial (lining of the uterus) cancer, ovarian cancer, and ovarian cysts.
You men out there that would deny your teenage daughter who is having terrible cramps every month permission to take birth control pills because you think she might have sex - GROW UP. If you had to live with a uterus for one minute, you'd get the scalpel and rip it out yourself. If you love your daughter, let her and her gynecologist decide on the appropriate treatment.
Anyhow, just had to vent about this. The ways that I abhor the Catholic church (even though I consider myself a Catholic) and republicans just keep increasing by leaps and bounds.