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8 Fearless Women Share Why Birth Control Matters To Them

On Friday, October 6, the Trump administration issued a rule that severely limits the ACA's contraception coverage mandate, putting 62 million women at risk. The new regulations exempt employers and insurers from covering contraceptives if they have personal religious or moral convictions--with zero alternatives. As a result, many women will now be forced to pay out of pocket for birth control. This decision is not solely a threat to women who use contraceptives, but really, to all women. In response to the attack on womens' most fundamental rights, eight fearless women worked with Her Campus NYU to share their stories. 

A recurring pose of the participants using the tips of their fingers to touch their shoulders is seen in the powerful images. The hashtag, "Hands Off My Birth Control" or #HandsOffMyBC was rampantly trending on Twitter. This pose translates into, "Hands Off" in American Sign Language (ASL).

Her Campus NYU and eight unapologetic women present, "A Photo Narrative: Dear Donald J. Trump, Here's Why Birth Control Matters To Me." Hear their story, share their story. 

 

Jaya Aiyer

Dear Donald J. Trump, 

Here’s why birth control matters to me. I should have birth control because I deserve a say in what happens to my body. Because my humanity should not be reliant on my connection to you. I am not your daughter, sister, cousin, niece, or friend, I am a person. Because I am 20 years old and do not want to have children anytime soon. Because choice is deciding when, how, and by what means I get to have a family. I should have birth control because as a woman who wants to have children, one far away day, I want the reassurance that I can lead a healthy and safe life now, support myself and my loved ones, and improve my community before bringing a child into the world. We should have birth control because reproductive care is a right, not a privilege.

Margaret Arabpour

Dear Donald J. Trump, 

Here's why birth control matters to me. I got my period when I was in sixth grade. Since the beginning, I’ve had unbearable cramps. I remember one time in 8th grade I was supposed to be helping with field day outside. My stomach hurt so badly that I lied to the teacher and told him I had a headache from the heat and wanted to go back into class, where I sat curled with my knees to my chest.  This pain was a recurring feeling that would last about a week every single month. It intensified to the point where I could be outside in the middle of the scorching summer, and still get chills from the pain.

When I came to college, I decided I was tired of it. I made a decision with the advice of my doctor to go on the pill to help manage my horrible symptoms. I’ve spent almost two years of my life so far “on my period.”  My pain is real, and I’m not alone. Countless other people experience the same intense cramps on a regular basis. My birth control matters because it gives me back a week every month. A week where I can concentrate fully on my classes and actually enjoy the time with my friends. A week where I’m not curled up in a ball in bed, googling for another unsuccessful at home remedy for period cramps. 

Rosanne Chen

Dear Donald J. Trump, 

Here's why birth control matters to me. It’s very simple actually. Birth control is the way for me to be intimate and enjoy being intimate with my boyfriend, while still being responsible for my body at the same time. Intimacy with the person I love shouldn’t result in creating a life that I am not able to support. Birth control provides me with security, and it allows me to know that I am not being reckless with my life or anybody else’s life as well. I don’t have to ask for this benefit because I deserve it for being responsible, as should any other girl.

 

Catalina Gonella

Dear Donald J. Trump, 

Here's why birth control matters to me. Towards the end of my senior year, my swimming career was waning down. Though I would continue to exercise, I no longer had an athlete’s workout regimen. My body rebelled. Each and every single one of my periods became unbearable. Every time, I would want to rip my leg off. More than that, I began to lose faith in myself.

So, my mom and I booked an appointment with a gynecologist, and I started my first pack that same day. And when my next period rolled around, I was able to function. I started swimming again without any pain. It felt like a miracle.  Since then, I’ve had a couple of lapses of time when I’ve stopped taking the pill for a month or two for one reason or another. And each time, I experience the same debilitating pain.

Birth control matters to me because it allows me to live my life all month long. Taking it away from me and other women is ludicrous, and more than that, it’s inhumane. No one should have to go through the pain that could be a hindrance to the ambitions of myself and other women.

 

 

Jenny Labovitz

Dear Donald J. Trump, 

Here’s why birth control matters to me. My birth control matters to me because it has given me literal control over the most important things in my life, namely my body, my future, and my happiness. I have distinct memories from early high school of playing soccer games wearing a team uniform that required white shorts - instead of focusing on scoring goals, depending on the time of the month I would be compelled to focus on whether I had accidentally bled through those shorts. Thankfully, birth control has helped me lead an active life and not be preoccupied worrying about unexpectedly getting my period or about any of the innumerable other worries that accompany being a woman who gets periods. Birth control has given me the freedom to enjoy experiences as fully as possible, and that freedom has changed my life.

 

Jami Tanner

Dear Donald J. Trump,

Here’s why birth control matters to me. Three years ago, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome — a hormonal condition that affects 1 in 10 women in the US, with side effects that include irregular periods, insulin resistance, increased risk of endometrial cancer, and infertility. Luckily, PCOS is treatable with the birth control pill, and I’ve been in excellent health since I started taking it.  

I grew up under such a strong stigmatization of female sexuality that, sadly, there were times I felt relieved that I could defend my contraceptive use with my health condition (which is now so absurd to me). While I’m grateful to birth control for its many contributions to my health, I really shouldn’t have to justify my use of contraception at all. Having agency over my own body should be enough in itself.

Birth control matters to me because it grants me true autonomy, by giving me control over my body and my future.

Aree Worawongwasu

Dear Donald J. Trump, 

Here's why birth control matters to me. I started taking birth control pills two years ago to manage my skin condition and menstruation cycle. after careful consultation with a gynecologist. As starting birth control was an informed decision I had made after months of consideration, I was not expecting the amount of presumptuous judgment, unwarranted commentary, and shaming I would receive for it. When taking birth control pills in public, strangers would wink and make jokes about how I must be "getting it." Once, when purchasing birth control at a local drugstore, a pharmacist thought it was appropriate to launch into an unsolicited lecture about how I had to be careful and not give my body away easily. 

The very fact that so many people - including a medical professional - presume that birth control is only used for sex or that they can police what anyone chooses to do with their own body speaks to the societal stigma and ignorance pertaining to birth control, which is only worsened by your mandate. The government has absolutely no business in my uterus, and I should have every right to choose to take birth control. 

Lina Wu

Dear Donald J. Trump,

Here’s why my birth control matters to me. I used to be an unbelievably insecure person. I would often find myself in moments of pain because of men. I was an 18-year-old girl and older men often took advantage of me. I found myself being hurt over and over again because I wanted to be loved and appreciated. Little did I know that none of these men actually cared about me for any reason other than sex. I would have been left with more than just a broken body if I didn’t have birth control. I could have been forced to face unwanted pregnancies and responsibilities that I was not ready for. 

Birth control was what made me feel secure when I didn’t really feel like I mattered. It gave me the freedom to claim my body in a world that frankly doesn’t respect women. It gave me the freedom to be uninhibited, yet safe with the man I actually loved. And ultimately, birth control gave me the chance to feel human in a world that condemns women for wanting to be more than just slaves to men. For the first time in 20 years, I had control over my life, thanks to birth control.

 

All pictures were taken by Grace Moon

@gracemoonreports

For inquiries: gracemoonnyu@gmail.com 

Grace is currently a senior at New York University majoring in Journalism and Media Studies. Although born in California and raised in Dallas, Texas, Grace considers Seoul, South Korea to be her home sweet home. At school, Grace serves as the Editor-In-Chief at Her Campus NYU, President at Freedom for North Korea (an issue very personal to her), and Engagement Director of the Coalition of Minority Journalists. She is currently interning at Turner's Strategic Communications team while serving as a PA at CNN. In her free time, Grace loves to sing jazz, run outside, read the news, go on photography excursions, and get to know people around her-- hence, her passion for conducting Her Campus profiles. She can be reached at: gracemoon@hercampus.com
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