Birth Control Really Isn’t Health Care In The First Place

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It is no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I am a not a fan of birth control.  I think it’s unconscionable that women have been expected to suppress or perhaps even damage a healthy, normal part of who they are in the interest of unrestricted sex. Contraception has led to an expectation that women must be sexually available at all times. And it has facilitated relational dysfunctions like the hookup culture, which could not possibly exist without it.

I don’t normally comment on things political, but given this passion, I do want to make one observation in the wake of the supreme court decision earlier this week.

Birth control occupies an unusual, perhaps even unique, place in medicine. The purpose of medicine is to fix what is wrong with a human body, and birth control does not fix a woman’s health. In fact, it inhibits the normal, healthy function of her body. I am hard pressed to think of any other comparable situation in medicine (aside from vasectomy, which is part of the same topic).

Yes, the pill is slapped like a band-aid on any number of conditions, and I’m willing to concede that in some cases it can be useful to treat symptoms (although not the conditions underlying them). But birth control as a family planning method–which is what we’re talking about–is not treating a health problem. In fact, you could argue that it’s creating one by shutting down the way the body was designed to work.

For this reason, birth control’s presence in the health care law has always bothered me. I get why birth control must be administered by medical professionals: it’s a pharmaceutical, and where else in the regulatory hierarchy are you going to classify a pharmaceutical? But still–family planning is not health care.

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8 thoughts on “Birth Control Really Isn’t Health Care In The First Place

  1. You know I agree with you. I made a comment in an online discussion yesterday about how tired I feel. Tired of trying to educate, tired of trying to correct all the ignorance, tired of fighting the NFP fight. I don’t know why I feel so tired…it just feel so insurmountable (the misinformation out there) sometimes. Thanks for this post!!

    • You know, Mike Manhart (director of CCL) wrote a great, great column in the most recent issue of Family Foundations. He talked about how joy and excitement are how we communicate on other topics–like a great restaurant, for instance–and that communicating that way invites, where being negative about the alternatives pushes people away. That was quite a “holy cow, that’s so true!” moment for me. I debated whether I was even taking the right tack with this post today, for that reason. I think I’m going to follow it up with one of those “this is so cool” posts tomorrow.

  2. Carrie E.

    I agree!!!!! I went on it in college for a while because I had debilitating periods. After about a year, I went off and it straightened my hormones out. They tried to put me on it again after my 5th child because I was bleeding all the time and the results were terrible. That only lasted 3 weeks as it caused extreme mental health issues. A friend of mine shared this article and I really like it because it’s balanced and logical. http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/06/hobby-lobby-isnt-waging-a-war-on-women/373717/

  3. Molly

    So with you Kate! I’m one of the few of my friends who isn’t on it. Though I know some of them use it for acne & various reasons, but I can’t help wonder about healthier alternative routes they could take.

  4. Diana

    Love it! I love your perspective and have this same position of every point you hit! Keep on it, NFP warrior princess! 😉 ❤

  5. Reblogged this on Will Write for Tomato Pie and commented:
    Considering I kinda wrote a book about how hormonal birth control is health destruction rather than health care, I like what Kate here has to say so much that I’m reblogging. I get that the Hobby Lobby Haters are convinced the best way to serve women is to have a group help us pay for our birth control, and I believe most of them are sincerely convinced that anything else is sexist. As a woman, however, especially one with hormonal health problems… I beg Team Hobby Lobby Haters to consider Kate’s words. I’ll pray for softened hearts all around. If you can, please pray for my peace in the face of such hatred as well. It’s troubling.

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