A couple weeks ago, I had the birth control implant inserted. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a four-centimeter rod that is inserted under the skin. A local anesthetic is applied and a small incision is made — so small that you don’t even need stitches. Through the miracle of Cornell Health, I was able to get the thousand-dollar procedure done for just under $21. The nurse’s comments about the size of my biceps and her questions about my workout routine were only marginally more uncomfortable than the procedure itself.
It took Cornell senior Maddie* three doctor’s visits to find a birth control option that worked for her. While trying to find the right contraception, Maddie worried about how different forms might affect her recovery process from eating disorders. Weight gain and mood changes were among her concerns, but her main focus was which option would allow her to keep a regular, monthly menstrual cycle — something that can be an important indicator of appropriate weight and overall health for those in recovery. Although her medical records indicate a history of anorexia, Maddie said her experience with it didn’t come up in visits until she finally brought it up herself during her third appointment. After reading a study on how different forms of birth control can be better suited for those with anorexia, she felt compelled to raise the issue.
I went on birth control before I had my first kiss. I did not have to sneak around to Planned Parenthood or make a secret call to my doctor’s office without my parents knowing. My mom just posed the idea to my doctor during one of my annual check-ups. While my doctor and my mother were deep in conversation about the “new” types of birth control, I continually glanced at my phone praying that my childhood doctor wasn’t picturing me as an uncontrollable sex whore. But “hearing my options,” felt a lot less like an adventurous treat and more like choosing which type of allergy medication I’d prefer.
The nation’s president has been a staunch proponent of contraceptive use, recently signing an appropriations bill calling for pharmaceutical companies to supply discounted contraceptives to college health clinics, Planned Parenthood offices and family-planning centers throughout the country.
“The recent passing of the affordable birth control legislation is a victory for millions of college students who have struggled to afford the rising costs of basic contraception in these difficult economic times,” stated Robin Gaige, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes, in an e-mail.
The passage of the bill may also help to reduce the high numbers of unplanned pregnancies seen in the U.S.