Birth Control: You're Talking About It Wrong

I know this is yesterday's news (literally), but.... how do some people not understand how the Pill and its non-oral counterparts work?

Not just their mechanics. No matter how little or much sex you have, you take the same number of Pill doses, insert the same number of Rings, stick on the same number of Patches, get stuck with the same number of Shots within the same amount of time.

No, NOT just the mechanics, though confusion over that boggles the mind.

The pricing.  How do people not understand the pricing of hormonal birth control, and still dare to chime in on this "debate"? (Scare quotes because it's actually a FARCE.)

If my insurance didn't cover my birth control pill, that would be every month of the year I'm spending $92 for birth control, rather than just the first two or three months of the year.  (My Rx deductible is $300, so if I'm taking other medication at the time, obviously the deductible is met by February instead of March-and-then-some-in-April.)

$92 x 12 months = $1,104.  VoilĂ .  Over $1,000.  And my Pill, while not a generic, isn't one of the most expensive ones.  It's not Alesse, for instance.

How anyone can not know the above and still have the temerity to contribute their verbal diarrhea to any discussion of birth control is just...  I almost want them to keep going because they're digging the anti-woman side's grave so very effectively.

But you know what?  All that is beside the point.  I wish that the people on "my side," debating right back at the idjits who think I pop three Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo every time I get busy with the husband, would quit it with the "but PCOS and acne and PMS assistance and dysmenorrhea, oh my!"  I honestly wish they would stop.

Most women who use hormonal birth control?  Use it as birth control.  

Sure, the reason I didn't stick with a generic was that it didn't provide the same off-label benefit of skin clearing up, and I went, as the kids say, cray-cray with PMS symptoms like I'd never had.  This is despite every doctor I've ever spoken to swearing up and down that generics are identical.  (Most of the pharmacists I've asked and my own experience tell me that those doctors are full of shit.) (Also some other doctors think so, apparently.)

I love me some off-label benefits to my birth control.

I know many women who have taken or now take the Pill because of cysts, anemia, PMDD.  I, with my history, know women who take the Pill simply so they get periods, because their BMI's are so low.  (This protects your bone mass.)

That's all the beauty of modern medicine, and thank Big Pharma that the Pill can help all those things.  It's wonderful.

But talking about birth control:  you're doin' it (w)rong if you seem publicly afraid of acknowledging it as what it is.  BIRTH. CONTROL.

So as much as the one side needs to Get A Freaking Clue, Like Whoa about the pricing and mechanics of being a sexually active woman in the modern world, I feel so much right now like my own side needs pony up and quit being scared of calling BIRTH CONTROL, not just treatment-of-medical-problems, a good thing.


  1. I really don't see why we have to be ashamed that it's birth control, either. I use birth control, the Nuva Ring, so I guess you can call me a married slut. I also can't afford to (mentally and financially) pop out kids whenever my body decides to do so. That would be irresponsible. I have one kiddo, and will maybe have more if the stars align. But in the meantime, I need to prevent pregnancy. I only want the amount of kids I know we can care for WELL.

    I also don't understand why Repubs don't want insurance to cover contraception. It's a lot more cost-effective than covering pregnancies, births, CHILDREN, etc. Now THAT costs money. Oh, and it prevents unwanted pregnancies, thus abortions. Win-win. What am I missing here?

    Also, I pay $60 a month (and my insurance supposedly defrays the cost) for my special Nuva Rings, because my body prefers them to pills. Sure, I could invest in cheaper methods, but those pose side effects for me, and I like to have options. I know, I know, I'm just asking for the moon ...

  2. How dare you want medicine that works for you?! Hoor!

  3. It's not BIRTH control that's at issue, it's birth CONTROL.

    By attempting to take CONTROL of your life, you see, you are taking away CONTROL from God, the Ultimate Authority who CONTROLS us all, and making yourself into a little god with CONTROL over yourself;
    and of course, when I take CONTROL of you, against your wishes, I am heroically stepping in to take CONTROL for God and helping him to restore his rightful CONTROL to where it should be, over your sinful slutty self. A mere woman should never usurp CONTROL over herself and away from God and his many male minions, mainly me.

  4. I've been taking birth control for 10 years for severe endometriosis, whether or not I've been sexually active to help make sure that, when I am ready, I will be able to have kids. I've been taking it since I was first diagnosed, before I even began having sex; so making an argument for the Pill's other uses is valid and necessary. To accuse anyone who argues that they have the right to affordable medication, which they are using for reasons than your own, of cowardice just speaks to your own “us vs. them” mentality, except the line that you have drawn is between women. Your side is sounding very one-sided.

  5. @ Meg: My intention is not to marginalize those who are on hormonal birth control for non-contraceptive purposes, and if that is how my post comes across to you, I apologize.

    My point is that there should be no shame in talking about birth control as what it is on-label: a control mechanism used by women to determine if, when and how often they conceive.

    At this point in the recent conversation about birth control, I think it's a safe bet that everyone who's followed the debate knows that birth control addresses serious medical issues. But pointedly ignoring or playing down the contraceptive action of hormonal birth control stigmatizes women's sexuality.

    The way I see it, it's the culture that fetishizes chaste women that's pitting women against one another, not appeals to fellow women to not tacitly endorse the virgin/whore dichotomy that this whole birth control "debate" is predicated on.

  6. @ uzza: I just cannot even. I'm emerging after, like, a week and a half totally unable to follow the news (work emergencies), and I see MORE BULLSHIT. I just cannot even.

  7. Generics: the difference
    The branded version has to prove to the FDA that the medicine in its delivery form 1) Has the correct dosage, 2) delivers the dose in an effective way. I.e., it has to do what it's supposed to do.

    Generics just have to demonstrate that they are providing the correct dosage, but they don't have to demonstrate that it is usable for the body. They can have various fillers which might inhibit drug release or uptake, etc.

    Worst of all: you have no legal recourse to sue a generic drug maker for damage done.

    I love my doc for explaining that.


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