As a thirteen year old, I was diagnosed as having polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which basically means that my ovaries produce more male hormones than normal. The best treatment for this is a contraceptive pill. I found it ridiculously hard to get the pill. My family was lucky to have enough money for all the doctors visit, and was thankful that my insurance covered at least part of the birth control. Many women out there don’t have that luxury. Birth control should be easily accessible to young women, teens, and women living in poverty because it prevents unwanted pregnancies and helps with medical conditions.
Women in poverty need birth control as much as, if not more than, middle class or upper class women do. Many women in poverty do not have the money to raise an unplanned baby. Birth control gives the women control over reproduction. The only issue is that to get a prescription, a doctor’s visit is required, and that can be a costly expense. While places like Planned Parenthood will get women birth control for a low cost, the stigma surrounding that Planned Parenthood does abortions will keep many women away. Birth control also improves income potential for not only the mother, but the father too. Without unplanned children, both are able to work more and have more flexible hours. Giving birth control to these women, or making it more accessible, would help keep poverty low.
By offering birth control to teens, schools can help prevent a pregnancy that could ruin the teen’s life. Having birth control available decreases the likelihood that the teen will drop out of school. Marnelli cites a 2011 report from the CDC when he states “Only 60 percent of [students who said they have had sex] have reported to have had used condoms and only 23 percent had said they used birth control.” One of the issues for teen is getting the birth control. Like with women in poverty, it’s hard for a teen to get the prescription. It is awkward for a teen to ask her parent to get her birth control and it’s hard to go to the doctor without a parent. Even if a teen manages to go to the doctor by herself, a doctor’s trip is expensive, and on top of that the teen then has to pay for the medicine itself. By allowing teens birth control, they are being allowed to put off parenthood until they are ready for it.
There are many people out there who work to deny access to birth control for those who need it the most. According to many anti-abortion people, birth control is an equivalent to an abortion. Stone points out in her article that “In the 1890s, when birth control was illegal in the U.S., doctors estimated that 2 million abortions were performed each year out of a population of 64 million people. In 2011, the CDC recorded 730,322 legal induced abortions out of a population of more than 300 million.” These statistics point to the conclusion that people without access to birth control get more abortions. Another common misconception is that by giving teens birth control and teaching them safe ways to practice sex, teachers are influencing the teens and causing them to have sex. But, in all honesty, teens that have sex are going to do it with or without birth control. If schools and parents provide teens with multiple types of birth control, such as condoms and the birth control pill, along with the education that goes along with it, they will practice safe sex.
While Oprah has never given out birth control to her audience, birth control should be available for all women who need and/or want it. It can keep women out of poverty and help keep teens in school. By making it easily accessible to young women, teens, and women living in poverty, it prevents unwanted pregnancies and helps with medical conditions. By making birth control accessible, the women who need it will be able to reach their educational and professional goals. If birth control was so easily attainable that Oprah could give it out at her show, the world would be a better place.
Marinelli, Christopher. "Lack of Sex Education in the United States." University Wire. 24 Sep. 2015: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Mar. 2016.
"Polycystic Ovary Syndrome." MedlinePlus (2016): n. pag. Web.
Rampell, Catherine. "Want to Fight Poverty? Expand Access to Contraception." Washington Post. 25 Sep. 2015: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Mar. 2016.
Stone, Rachel Marie. "Myths and Consequences." Sojourners. Nov. 2015: 14-18. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Mar. 2016.