Birth Control: Precaution or Deleterious Action?
Birth control is known for preventing pregnancy. Birth control has different forms pills, sponges, vaginal rings, patches, condoms, and more. It was legalized by the Supreme Court during the Baird V. Eisenstadt case in 1972 (Thompson). Some women were ecstatic when it was legalized. They saw this as a way to control their lives, not only for the pregnancy aspect, but also to improve their menstrual cycles. I was in the seventh grade when I had my first encounter with birth control. I had been going through the beginning stages of becoming a woman, but my experience was quite different than my friends’ experiences.
I would go for days at a time not being able to sleep due to the cramps; I would have to check out from school because I was in so much pain. After the prolonging of pain I went to the doctor and she prescribed me different kinds of medication, but none of the medications worked until she prescribed me Lo Loestrin Fe. After about a week I was no longer in pain from cramps or not being able to sleep.
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For some people birth control is a precaution, an aid for young girls, a helpful prescription for women, but for others it is more of an questionable action that causes troublesome opinions. Having many different forms, we as a population would think we could find a meeting point for agreement, but that is not the case. Many other young girls have this problem in their lives, so we as a country and community must ask ourselves the question: is birth control a helpful precaution or an deleterious action?
A rising question is whether or not the government should fully fund birth control or will the funds increase the concern of abortions in the United States. Abortion is one of the main concerns to most people, will the funds be an advantage to abortion or disadvantage? An abortion is the “termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus” (“Abortion”). Having the government provide the funds for birth control is shown to not diminish the number of abortions, but it will increase the amount taxpayers owe (“Birth”).
The funding also has the threat of an increased sex drive in the population, resulting in frivolous actions by the population as a whole (“Birth”). Some people argue that pregnancy is a natural state rather than a disease: “[P]regnancy […] should not be regarded as an illness to be ‘prevented’” (“Birth”). Lastly, different types of birth control may perform in ways which cause abortions, meaning “religious and other employers objecting to contraceptives and abortion on moral grounds should be exempt from the policy” (“Birth”).
Birth control does not fall under the category of “basic health”. Basic health classes do not usually talk about sex education; they may talk about STD prevention but not the ways young adults can get products to prevent STDs. Most health classes teach about weight management, healthy eating habits, and exercise plans. Many people believe restraining from temptation against having sexual intercourse may be the only way of forestalling teenage pregnancy. Teaching teenagers about birth control may send the message to them, that having sexual intercourse is okay as long as they are using birth control (“Teen”).
The distribution of birth control is also a major conflict. Should stores such as CVS and Walgreens distribute birth control without prescriptions? What rights do pharmacists have when it comes to distribution? Should pharmacists be allowed to refuse to distribute birth control due to religious beliefs, or is that the consequence they get for their career decision? Many believe that due to religious beliefs pharmacists should never be forced to distribute contraceptives (“Pharmacists”). Most states have a “Right Of Conscience” law in place (“Pharmacists”).
The “conscience clause is a legislative provision that relieves a person from compliance on religious grounds” (Us Legal). The Clause states that “pharmacists, physicians, and other health care providers not to provide certain medical services for reasons of religion or conscience” (Us Legal). It is unfair to the pharmacists who do not have the right to refuse to fill the prescription, while health care workers have the option to refuse to provide abortion services (“Pharmacists”). No matter the career path one chooses, everyone should have equal rights just as other professions- no matter what it may be, after all equability is an ongoing fight in our country.
Although these arguments do bare some merits, is birth control actually beneficial? The United States government has been known for funding many things, like providing funds for the Homeland Security Department, the Justice Department and even the Agriculture Department. President Barack Obama even created ObamaCare which provided funds and services for a variety of people, including those who did not have insurance. Why would the Government not fund a product which could potentially lower the abortion and teenage pregnancy rates significantly?
Government funding birth control could help women in many ways. Government funding will give women easier access to birth control, causing a jump in usage (“Birth”). Women will also be able to afford birth control much easier due to the funding (“Birth”). Both of these benefits will lower the number of unintended pregnancies, directly resulting in less abortions (“Birth”). Also, the result of the lowered unintended pregnancies will not cost the taxpayers, but do exactly the opposite and save money.
Health classes are mandated in every school’s curriculum, and since birth control relates to health it should be taught. Health classes teach students of things like STDs, weight management, exercising, menstrual cycles, UTI and many other related bodily functions, so why not tell them about a prevention they can have while being sexually active? Birth control has been shown to have a major impact on teenage pregnancies. In recent years teenage pregnancy rates have dropped (“Teen”). Believing that the only way to prevent pregnancy is through resisting temptation“is simply a daydream, and it is unrealistic” (“Teen”).
What if the temptation isn’t what got the girls pregnant? What if she was taken advantage of? What if she was a victim of rape? Being on birth control could change this girl’s life instead of making the decision of what to do if she got pregnant. If students could learn about the varieties of birth control and its availability, resisting temptation would clearly not be the only way to prevent pregnancies. The Guttmacher Institute indicates a major reason why their [industrialized countries] teenage pregnancy rate is lower than the birth rate in U.S. teens is because of the access to sex education and birth control(“Teen”).
Most schools in Great Britain, France, Sweden, and Canada offer more sex education programs, and safe sex campaigns. (“Teen”). In these countries, besides the United States, birth control is available, which is the reason their teen pregnancy rates are lower than the United States (“Teen”). Barth says, “[T]eenagers from United States have higher rates of unplanned pregnancy due to the lack of knowing about contraceptives, which gives them a higher rate of having STDs, and it has been shown that they have the most sexual partners.”
Pharmacists train for their job, knowing what it entails. On a day-to-day basis, pharmacists “serve patients by preparing medications; giving pharmacological information to multidisciplinary health care team; monitoring patient drug therapies” (“Pharmacist Job”). Pharmacists go to school for not just one year, but for “three to four years of undergraduate pre-professional (prerequisite) coursework, followed by four academic years in the professional program”. During all of this schooling pharmacists must know that they may have to fix prescriptions they may not agree with.
For example, a patient with very bad anxiety comes into a pharmacy with a prescription for Xanax, but the side effects are of the prescription are alarming and the pharmacist does not believe the patient should be taking this prescription, is the pharmacist just going to refuse to fill it? The answer is simple, it is no, the pharmacist is going to fill the prescription for the patient who has bad anxiety because that is what the doctor prescribed and that may be the only way this person would no longer have anxiety.
Seeing that pharmacists are not health care workers, the right of having the conscience laws does not apply to them (“Pharmacists”). Since pharmacists are not protected under these laws, they cannot refuse to perform services. They cannot refuse these services due to the fact distributing birth control is not considered an “abortion service” (“Pharmacists”). “Abortion services” would be things like the Plan B pill, birth control is simply a precarious contraceptive for women.
Giving all the benefits of birth control, people should embrace it. People need to stop being so cynical when they hear about others using contraceptives. While a woman may be using it to prevent pregnancy, she may also have other reasons. Preventing pregnancy may not even be a factor in why she is on the pill. Birth control may be prescribed to women to help regulate the menstrual cycle, even just help with symptoms while on the menstrual cycle, and to clear up acne. Women should not be shunned and forced to ensconce their medical choices. This is an option for women— therefore they should use it.