Photo: Unsplash/Simone van der Koelen

Why I Use Birth Control, and Why Trump’s New Mandate Scares Me as a Woman

The first time I got my period I was eleven and in elementary school. I was excited and kind of nervous; I was becoming a woman. As cheesy as it was, I really thought this meant I would be embarking on a new journey into adulthood. I was, but it was much different than the one I had envisioned.

On both sides of my family, the women have a difficult time with their periods: we vomit from the pain of our cramps. That fateful day in sixth grade did not prepare me. My first period went by relatively easy, I could move around even if it was uncomfortable. However, every period after that, my body was wracked with pain, and the only time I would get up from my fetal position was when I had to run to the bathroom to vomit.

Fast forward a year, and I was in seventh grade. Middle school is rough for anyone; children that aren’t quite teens, teens that still act like children, and they’re all thrown together in an environment reminiscent of a more barbaric time.

To add to the hell that is middle school, part of my life now consisted of fear; constant, persistent fear that I would get my period on the wrong day, because along with throbbing pain, my periods also had the habit of being irregular.

Meaning that in seventh grade, I ended up running out of fifth period English class and threw up in a trash can while my class stared after me.

For nine years I had to deal with this. If travelling, I would have to throw up in the airplane bathrooms; if I was in a car, I would have to yell at whoever was driving to stop and let me vomit on the side of the road. I missed my winter formal, which is a tradition that I never got to participate in as part of my high school experience, due to my period. I had to take my AP exams while resisting the urge to hurl. In college, I’ve had to miss work, miss class, and go to midterms and finals while in gut-wrenching pain.

This past summer I finally tried birth control. The first month was pretty tough; my emotions were a bit of a mess and I was constantly spotting. The second month was a lot better, I experienced a little spotting but I felt like myself. By the third month, I felt normal. But what about the biggest issue: the pain? What happened to the pain that had me dry-heaving for hours because nothing was left inside me? It was gone.

Rather than feeling like I was immobilized or preparing for the next time I would get sick and vomit, my periods became more like an annoyance. Uncomfortable and still bothersome, sure, but I could actually live my life in a relatively normal manner. There was a certain sense of relief in knowing exactly when it would start every month, and that when it did I wouldn’t have to worry. It changed my life for the better.

I know there are a lot of girls like me, and there are girls who have it even worse than me. Which is why it bothers me to no end that the Trump administration is trying to deny women access to birth control.

Birth control gave me a freedom that I never thought would be possible. And his new mandate is going to affect thousands, if not millions, of women in the United States.

Under the Obama administration, the 2010 contraceptive mandate required health insurance companies, or employers who provide health insurance, to cover prescription contraceptives as a preventive health service for women – although there was an exemption for religious organizations such as churches. It lowered the out-of-pocket costs for contraceptives from 21% to 3%, making birth control much for affordable for women everywhere.

Under the Trump administration’s new law, employers with religious or moral objections do not have to provide birth control to their employees. So now, even if organizations aren’t religious, but employers have some undefined moral or religious objections, they don’t have to provide their employees with birth control coverage. Meaning that some corporations, even with no real moral or religious objections, could use this new law to refuse birth control to their employees for monetary reasons.

This mandate is just another strike in the fight against women’s rights by the Trump administration. In the past year, Planned Parenthood and other family planning services, criticized for providing abortions even though that is a very small percentage of their work, were cut off from all federal funding, a mandate that has gone back and forth with the change of each president. Obama made sure they received funding; Bush cut them off.

Cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood and rolling back Obama’s mandate shows that the war against women never ended, but it has been simmering under the surface until Trump came into power. These actions not only target women as a whole, but specifically low-income women and families who cannot afford birth control because of the reversal.

No matter what the reason a woman might want to use birth control, nothing should obstruct her from having a choice to obtain it.

If, like me, it’s to help relieve the pain and misery of periods, then they should be able to have access to it. If it’s because they are having sex and want protection from an unplanned pregnancy, then that’s their prerogative.

Pregnancy shouldn’t be a punishment or a consequence of having sex; pregnancy should not be used as a fear tactic. Even if you or someone else does not agree with the idea of birth control, or premarital sex, that does not give you or anyone else the right to deny it for others. It’s as simple as that.

The same goes for other women’s health issues. For example, I would not have an abortion for my own reasons. However, I would never tell another woman what to do, because it’s her body, her decision, and her choice to make. Some women don’t have the time or money to have a baby at the moment; others don’t want to have a baby period. Either way, women should have the right to decide for themselves what they want to do with their own body.

Don’t take the choice from me, or from anyone else.

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I'm a UC Davis English Major pursuing the creative writing emphasis. I'm an avid reader of Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Thomas Pynchon, Ted Chiang, and trashy romance novels. Latina born and bred, travel is my passion, and good food will always make me happy.

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Why I Use Birth Control, and Why Trump’s New Mandate Scares Me as a Woman

The first time I got my period I was eleven and in elementary school. I was excited and kind of nervous; I was becoming a woman. As cheesy as it was, I really thought this meant I would be embarking on a new journey into adulthood. I was, but it was much different than the one I had envisioned.

On both sides of my family, the women have a difficult time with their periods: we vomit from the pain of our cramps. That fateful day in sixth grade did not prepare me. My first period went by relatively easy, I could move around even if it was uncomfortable. However, every period after that, my body was wracked with pain, and the only time I would get up from my fetal position was when I had to run to the bathroom to vomit.

Fast forward a year, and I was in seventh grade. Middle school is rough for anyone; children that aren’t quite teens, teens that still act like children, and they’re all thrown together in an environment reminiscent of a more barbaric time.

To add to the hell that is middle school, part of my life now consisted of fear; constant, persistent fear that I would get my period on the wrong day, because along with throbbing pain, my periods also had the habit of being irregular.

Meaning that in seventh grade, I ended up running out of fifth period English class and threw up in a trash can while my class stared after me.

For nine years I had to deal with this. If travelling, I would have to throw up in the airplane bathrooms; if I was in a car, I would have to yell at whoever was driving to stop and let me vomit on the side of the road. I missed my winter formal, which is a tradition that I never got to participate in as part of my high school experience, due to my period. I had to take my AP exams while resisting the urge to hurl. In college, I’ve had to miss work, miss class, and go to midterms and finals while in gut-wrenching pain.

This past summer I finally tried birth control. The first month was pretty tough; my emotions were a bit of a mess and I was constantly spotting. The second month was a lot better, I experienced a little spotting but I felt like myself. By the third month, I felt normal. But what about the biggest issue: the pain? What happened to the pain that had me dry-heaving for hours because nothing was left inside me? It was gone.

Rather than feeling like I was immobilized or preparing for the next time I would get sick and vomit, my periods became more like an annoyance. Uncomfortable and still bothersome, sure, but I could actually live my life in a relatively normal manner. There was a certain sense of relief in knowing exactly when it would start every month, and that when it did I wouldn’t have to worry. It changed my life for the better.

I know there are a lot of girls like me, and there are girls who have it even worse than me. Which is why it bothers me to no end that the Trump administration is trying to deny women access to birth control.

Birth control gave me a freedom that I never thought would be possible. And his new mandate is going to affect thousands, if not millions, of women in the United States.

Under the Obama administration, the 2010 contraceptive mandate required health insurance companies, or employers who provide health insurance, to cover prescription contraceptives as a preventive health service for women – although there was an exemption for religious organizations such as churches. It lowered the out-of-pocket costs for contraceptives from 21% to 3%, making birth control much for affordable for women everywhere.

Under the Trump administration’s new law, employers with religious or moral objections do not have to provide birth control to their employees. So now, even if organizations aren’t religious, but employers have some undefined moral or religious objections, they don’t have to provide their employees with birth control coverage. Meaning that some corporations, even with no real moral or religious objections, could use this new law to refuse birth control to their employees for monetary reasons.

This mandate is just another strike in the fight against women’s rights by the Trump administration. In the past year, Planned Parenthood and other family planning services, criticized for providing abortions even though that is a very small percentage of their work, were cut off from all federal funding, a mandate that has gone back and forth with the change of each president. Obama made sure they received funding; Bush cut them off.

Cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood and rolling back Obama’s mandate shows that the war against women never ended, but it has been simmering under the surface until Trump came into power. These actions not only target women as a whole, but specifically low-income women and families who cannot afford birth control because of the reversal.

No matter what the reason a woman might want to use birth control, nothing should obstruct her from having a choice to obtain it.

If, like me, it’s to help relieve the pain and misery of periods, then they should be able to have access to it. If it’s because they are having sex and want protection from an unplanned pregnancy, then that’s their prerogative.

Pregnancy shouldn’t be a punishment or a consequence of having sex; pregnancy should not be used as a fear tactic. Even if you or someone else does not agree with the idea of birth control, or premarital sex, that does not give you or anyone else the right to deny it for others. It’s as simple as that.

The same goes for other women’s health issues. For example, I would not have an abortion for my own reasons. However, I would never tell another woman what to do, because it’s her body, her decision, and her choice to make. Some women don’t have the time or money to have a baby at the moment; others don’t want to have a baby period. Either way, women should have the right to decide for themselves what they want to do with their own body.

Don’t take the choice from me, or from anyone else.

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