Aleen Mean

No Contraceptives for You

After a night brought to me by insomnia, I slept in a little this morning. One of the first things Justin said to me was, “Have you heard about the Hobby Lobby thing yet?”

“What Hobby Lobby thing?”

“Just. Just search for the hashtag on Twitter.”

It took about three seconds for my blood to boil. To sum up, the Supreme Court of the United States has decided that Hobby Lobby doesn’t have to buy insurance that will cover contraceptives for their employees.

Let’s just set aside the Every Sperm is Sacred Argument for now and get very TMI. We’re all friends here on the Internet, right? (If you don’t want to read Aleen Period Facts, skip the italicized bits below.)

I started getting periods when I was in the 5th or 6th grade. From the start, they were miserable. I would get nauseated, curl up in a ball, and hope that my “feminine product” would last more than an hour so that I wouldn’t have to get out of bed. I’ve had them start unexpectedly with a flow so heavy that my jeans were soaked with blood. I’ve had periods last for three weeks at a time, stop for a week, and then start again for another few weeks. I’ve gone more than a year without a period without the help of birth control.

Do you know what’s helped me with all of that? Contraceptives. I don’t need to miss a week of work at a time because I can’t sit upright, worry about anemia, or buy mega packs of pads and tampons.

“But Aleen,” you may argue, “some types of birth control are generic and affordable. These women can afford to get on one of those.”

First I would ask, “When was the last time you lived on Ramen noodles because you were paid minimum wage?” Sure, some generics are less than $20 per month. When your daily food budget is way less than $5, however, $20 for a prescription is a big hit.

Secondly, I literally tried a dozen (or more!) kinds of birth control before I was able to find a solution that worked for me. Birth control is hormonal, and everyone’s hormones are different. There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Now let’s talk about pregnancy. If you can’t deal with the consequences, don’t have sex, right? Well, I know that absence-only education has really prevented teens from having sex (13% of my high school class had at least one child on graduation day), but it’s unrealistic to think that people aren’t going to have sex. What about women who are raped? I know that you might think that a “legitimate rape” will cause a woman’s reproductive organs to shut down, but you’re wrong.

And which is worse: preventing a sperm from fertilizing an egg, aborting a baby, or going on welfare because you make minimum wage and can’t afford to take care of your child? (“They’re all bad!” Okay, that can be between God and me. I’ll absolve you from any responsibility for my reproductive decisions.)

Lastly, as Ruth Bader Ginsberg pointed out in her dissenting opinion, this is setting a dangerous precedent.

Maybe if healthcare were truly affordable for people in the United States, we wouldn’t need to debate this issue. But even with the Affordable Care Act, it’s out of reach for many of us.

I am so. tired. of this conversation. I’m tired of my uterus being up for debate. I’m tired of having to argue that women are people too. I don’t understand why we’re creating bullshit problems like this instead of growing up.