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So… I’m pro-choice. I’m a minister. But this note of of a different nature than anyone may expect. It’s about birth-control, but it’s not going to be typical. It’s going to be truthful.

When I was 12 I was diagnosed with poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, also known as PCOS. My doctor prescribed birth control. Without it, things could get worse.

My mother, who was raised Catholic although she didn’t practice anymore, was horrified. She thought it would send me the wrong message. She saw it as an invitation to become a harlot. She filled the prescription but never actually gave them to me. I have no idea why.

Skip forward a few years. It has gotten worse. I go through boxes of supplies. I had one period that lasted an entire month. I was suffering from blood loss. The cysts had started bursting. I was finally put on birth control and it all evened out for the most part. I could wander around without being doubled over and that was nice.

In my twenties I began having berserk mood swings and I went off birth control to see if it was the hormones. It wasn’t, but my cycles disappeared. Totally.

The doctor told me the PCOS had been stable while I was on the pills, but so much damage had been done before then I’d probably have to do some serious fertility to have a family if I could at all. I went back on the pill. A lot of people don’t know puberty actually ends around 25.

Every moment between 12 and my late 20’s that I was off the pill I was playing Russian roulette with my fertility. After I was grown it was all my responsibility, but when I was a child, not even a teenager, it was up to other people to protect me.

I have had multiple miscarriages. Never beyond a couple months. I am a statistic. I am also adopted. I will never know anyone who I am related to. Ever.

I am not blaming my mom or my doctor because we just didn’t know a lot about it back then and it was just starting to get attention. But now we do know, and alarmingly the percentage of women diagnosed has been going up every year.

Looking forward, it isn’t such a big deal anymore because we know what works to help it and fertility treatments for people who have gotten help is very good. I’m not bitter about not having a time machine.

The problem I have with what’s going on in Washington is that they aren’t trying to get rid of prescriptions for people seeking contraception, they’re trying to get rid of the pill specifically, along with other things that are listed and named.

In other words, what would you do if your child was diagnosed with something that could cause sterility and your health provider refused any assistance because of your boss’ religious beliefs? What if you couldn’t afford it on your own? What are the long term effects of this if this is the standard for future generations?

Saying this is a fight over religious beliefs and birth control is completely ridiculous. The question remains: with the poor getting poorer and PCOS on the rise what will the fertility levels look like by social tier in the next century? Will it be about who can afford to remain healthy enough to reproduce when they are adults?

Yes, a box of condoms is only a few dollars, but for many the access to contraceptives has little to do with immediate contraception and more to do with the ability to have a family in the future.

So far there are no clauses for people with illnesses. Hearing someone say ‘oh, they’ll fix it later so it doesn’t apply to the sick’ is not enough for me because then we would have to define what was truly ‘sick.’ Remember, these are the same people that, 150 years ago, tried to make painkillers during childbirth illegal because women were meant to go through that type of pain because of Eve’s sin.

They have priests and ‘experts’ up on the panel but I have yet to see a doctor that actually deals with women’s reproductive health. I’m sorry. You can speculate all you want, but if you aren’t a trained, informed medical person you don’t get to make medical decisions for other people. As far as I know practicing medicine without a license was a felony.

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
lupinlover
Feb. 16th, 2012 10:45 pm (UTC)
Where did you read that puberty ends at 25?? I'm very interested in this and want to find out more.
teshara
Feb. 16th, 2012 11:05 pm (UTC)
Re:
Growth hormone stops being produced in the body around the age of 25. It's when voices stop deepening and the skin stops losing some of its elasticity because it's no longer growing.

I had no idea either, until I shot up 3 inches when I was 26. The doctor said it was my one last hurrah.

Weird trivia, there's an African country where you can't consent to sex until you're 27 because of this. Unless you are married and their age for marriage is unusually high as well. I wish I remember which one it was. I'll try to find it.
lupinlover
Feb. 16th, 2012 11:07 pm (UTC)
Re:
This is very welcoming news to me, though, sometimes I feel like I'm still in puberty, with all my crazy mood swings and sadness. Maybe this is to blame! I just turned 25 a few months ago.
(Deleted comment)
teshara
Feb. 17th, 2012 03:00 am (UTC)
go ahead. I think it's the one of the few I haven't locked down.
pennfana
Feb. 17th, 2012 07:28 pm (UTC)
I also heard that no women have been permitted to speak about the issue, apparently for lack of qualifications. Talk about screwed up. As far as I know, this isn't an issue in Canada, but I've been keeping an eye on it because it may eventually an issue here; our Prime Minister isn't exactly a progressive, and there have been rumours that he's toying with the idea of re-criminalizing abortion, and of course, that will bring up all the same BS about contraception that you folks are dealing with right now. It's ridiculous that these people think that they're more qualified to make medical decisions for women than women and their doctors are, just because they have this boneheaded hatred for birth control, everything that's done with it, and (most of all, I think) everyone who uses it.

And on a more personal note, Tesh, I'm so sorry that all this happened to you.
writermerrin
Feb. 17th, 2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
I think this is something that people do need to hear. Since my mom didn't respond well to hormonal birth control, it is something that I have never tried myself. I've read a lot of studies about the negative impact it can have on a healthy system. However, I've also seen many people for whom it has given relief from reproductive problems. (I think that teen girls who go on the pill just to clear up their acne are possibly going overboard with it.) More often, lately, when a friend of mine tells me she's having problems, I've been a lot more supportive of the HBC option. This is definitely something where there is a lot at stake on both sides of the issue, but I also agree that there is so much ignorance about 'reproductive health' and all it encompasses.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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