Why religion should stay out of my contraception

Recently, the Obama administration has been getting heat for part of the health bill that requires employers to provide contraception at no cost. Religious groups have been fighting back saying that they shouldn’t have to do this because it is against their beliefs. The bill states that they must if they serve women of any faith. I fully support the Obama administration in their efforts to improve womens’ health.

I have been on the pill for eighteen years. But it isn’t why you think.

Yes, originally it was to prevent pregnancy. Yes, I had sex outside of marriage. It happened. I’m not ashamed. But it isn’t the reason I’ve been using the pill this whole time.

One warm, summer morning in Connecticut, I was feeling perfectly fine, except for the dread that I was going to be in a lot of pain in a few hours after surgery. Twelve years later, I still have a five-inch scar, and a lot of money spent on birth control to remind me.

Since age seventeen, every other month for a day, I’d be in excruciating pain. The first time it happened was my chemistry midterm. I wrote my name on my paper, I tried to read the question through the searing sensation in my abdomen, but I couldn’t. I was a shy, quiet kid, not one who would ever disrupt a classroom. That day I stood up without saying a word and walked out the door, letting it slam as I hobbled to the bathroom.

A while later, I managed to get to the nurse’s office. I’m forever grateful for my mother picking me up. She stopped by the chemistry class and picked up my calculator and books. And she took me home to comfort me, while I felt shame for having disrupted the test, and embarrassment that I’d have to retake it at another time. But teenage girls and their cramps will happen. At least that is what I thought it was.

For the next eight years, every other month, I would writhe in pain for a day. My cats would stare at me, wondering who would feed them when I was dead. And I would curl up in a ball hoping to pass out and praying that the cats wouldn’t start feeding on me while I slept.

Two months is a long time. By the time it happened again, I’d forgotten about the last time. It went undiagnosed by my college OBGYN who gave me an exam and filled my first prescription for the pill.

Five years later, I had an exam. The doctor asked if I was pregnant. I told her I was certain that I was not. Then she said, “You did say that you have male partners, right?”

My doctor just questioned if I am a lesbian. Could this get any worse?

Yes it can. She made me take a test I hadn’t studied for. It was negative for pregnancy. So I had an ultrasound a couple days later. The results came in. I had a ten-centimeter cyst encasing an ovary.

The morning of surgery, I signed papers that I was an organ donor and asked that they not take anything I needed or was still using. They made me sign papers that said if they found the cyst to be cancerous, they could take out whatever they wanted. It was a lot to ask of a twenty-five year old.

The doctor removed the cyst and an ovary. There was no cancer. I was thankful for that. And I was grateful that my mother quit her temp job to care for me the first week. Meine Schwester moved in the next. I couldn’t have done it without them.

So what does this have to do with the pill and Obamacare? Well, it turns out that one of the best treatments for preventing ovarian cysts is the pill. So regardless of my need to use the pill for contraception, the real reason I use it, even when I don’t seemingly need it, is because it keeps me from doubling over in pain for a day every other month. Or possibly dying.

I’ve had to pay hundreds of dollars a year for a drug to prevent ovarian cysts that the Catholic Church and other religious organizations don’t want to provide to anyone.

I’m grateful that I’ve had doctors and hospitals willing to prescribe it to me. I know I am in the minority of women using the pill, but I’m grateful to the Obama administration that other women will be able to access the drugs they need and that it won’t cost them what it has cost me.


3 responses to this post.

  1. This is a touching thing for you to have shared. Wish I could give you a hug right now.

    Thanks for this.


  2. I actually respect your decision about the one of the advantages of pill. Taking up pills has a health benefits and advantages. But then we should take a look of the risk and disadvantages of this one. One of these is heart attack, blood clots etc. I’ll share you this (link http://www.emedexpert.com/compare/birth-control-advantages.shtml) it’s up to the readers then to weigh it around.


    • I agree. With every medication, I have to look at the risks versus the reward. In this case, especially since I am not a smoker, have average blood pressure, am not excessively overweight, and I didn’t present with any symptoms within the first three months of taking the pill, I think the reward of keeping cysts from growing is worth the risk.

      Everyone must decide that for themselves. But first, we need for every woman to have the ability to decide that for themselves and not have a man dictate what she will or won’t be able to choose.


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