Girl, Take Control Of Your Birth Control


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There are various forms of birth control. Pictures here: oral birth control pills

Amaris E. Rodriguez, Opinions Editor

Women are still experiencing the negative social stigma associated with taking charge of their sexual health regarding birth control.

The thought might be outdated but I had an experience at the NEIU Student Health Office that reinforced that the stigma is still there, as much as they try to hide it.

In the process of obtaining the morning after pill, a friend informed me that the Student Health Office offers the morning after pill for students for $10, a more economically do able price for a college student than the pharmacy price of $50 or the lifelong financial commitment of an unplanned child. While the price was definitely worth the peace of mind, I left with a bitter taste in my mouth due to the tone used by the people that assisted me during the process.

I was not too keen on providing details on why I didn’t use protection and couldn’t really understand the necessity of asking me ‘how often this happens.’ Nor was I appreciated of the tone shift when I finally disclosed that I was in a committed three-year relationship at the time of the visit. The sense of relief was visible, and not appreciated.

So, here we are, writing about how in 2019 I was slut-shamed for trying to do the responsible thing to rectify a “mistake.” I don’t believe that their actions were out of malice; however, I do believe that we are socially conditioned to treat women differently than men when it comes to birth control.

While attending a middle-class suburban high school, my sex education consisted of STDs, condoms and abstinence. Combine that with strict religious Mexican immigrant parents and you have a strong idea of how controlled my access to information on reproductive health I had. However, as I have matured, I have learned that it is important for women to not only know the different types of birth control available to them, but to know and learn to believe that they are in every right to want to take control over their birth control.

According to Planned Parenthood, the most common forms of birth control are condoms (85 percent effective), birth control pills (91 percent effective), patches (91 percent effective), IUDs (99 percent effective), birth control implants (99 percent effective) and the vaginal ring (91 percent effective).

It starts with educating yourself about the difference types of methods you are able to use and figuring out which one you are more comfortable with. Unlearning to care about the social stigma that society has placed on women as viewing them as promiscuous – nothing wrong with that either- will take some time. Your first-time buying condoms or asking your doctor about the pill don’t be a walk in the park. It will be awkward and you will feel uncomfortable, but you will be taking control over your body and your health.