Right-Wing Media Claims Birth Control Isn’t Necessary for Women’s Health

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This past month, the Trump administration reversed an Obama-era mandate that required employers to include birth control in their insurance plans. This would extend the rights of employers to deny women coverage for contraception based on “religious” objections.

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There’s been a lot of discussion targeting birth control from right-wing news sources such as The Federalist, claiming birth control isn’t necessary for women’s health. In the recent article - which sort of felt like experiencing a period cramp on its own - Dr. Marguerite Duane patronizingly explains why birth control doesn't treat reproductive problems well. She uses her own personal experience as to why birth control caused her to have a bald spot and switched to charting her menstrual cycles. She goes on to say that we should focus resources on “truly” critical medication such as preventive medicine for asthma attacks such as the ones she experienced while in college that she could not afford.

The problem with this narrative is that it is based on one person’s personal experience and, it is important to understand that women respond to different contraceptive methods differently. While preventing pregnancy is one of the top reasons women use birth control, there are many who need birth control for other health reasons such as endometriosis, irregular bleeding, heavy cramping, hormonal imbalances, anaemia, and other symptoms that menstrual cycle charting would not help.

PLUS: 11 Latinas Share Why They’re Thankful for Birth Control

The second point of her article dissuades readers from the idea that we should demand both access to birth control and access to other preventive medication. She says “Why do we ‘fight for birth control,’ but not drugs that allow people to breathe?” It’s possible to let women make decisions on their health while also fighting for other preventive medication so that no student has to worry about affording asthma medication.