Buffy the Vampire Slayer Probably Used Birth Control
This piece is cross-posted from Pregnant Pause, the blog of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
The Hollywood writer Joss Whedon famously responded to a question regarding why he writes about strong female characters by saying, “Because you’re still asking me that question.” I love this quote partly because I am a huge nerd and I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But more importantly, I love this quote because it demonstrates that gender inequality is still widespread in our society. I am drawn to women’s health issues because, despite gaining the right to vote almost a century ago, women still face barriers to adequate healthcare.
Unfortunately, our country is becoming increasingly polarized and important women’s health issues such as contraceptive coverage are being overshadowed by the controversy surrounding abortion. The fact of the matter is that nearly all the women you know—a whopping 99% of sexually active American women—have used birth control at one point in their lives. Here is the breakdown: half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned and about four in 10 of those unplanned pregnancies result in abortion. The best way to prevent abortion is to make sure that contraception is widely accessible.
How can contraception, something that is so common and clearly so necessary, possibly be controversial? Access to contraception is a win for everyone. It reduces the number of abortions and it is a tremendously important aspect of women’s health. Once we ensure that all women have complete and affordable access to the full range of contraceptives (because the pill isn’t necessarily the best option for everyone) then we will have overcome yet one more barrier that prevents women from planning and spacing out their pregnancies.
Contraceptives are a vital tool that women can use to maintain control over their lives and choose when they are ready to be parents. An unplanned pregnancy can interrupt attaining a degree or moving forward in a career (and unplanned pregnancies can be mighty expensive). Birth control represents an amazing opportunity through which we can attain greater gender equality. If you want more information I suggest that you read 5 arguments for better birth control access.
I am a champion for greater access to contraception because I hope to see the day when women have full access to adequate healthcare and Joss Whedon can write about an ass-kicking woman without having his motives questioned. If you agree you should join me tomorrow, November 12th, by sharing these awesome postcards or by using the hashtag #ThxBirthControl to say why you think birth control rocks and support access to contraception for women everywhere!
Devin McBrayer is an intern with the public policy department of The National Campaign and an MPH Candidate at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at The George Washington University. She is a California native, a sister to three brothers, and she loves puppies—all puppies.
I’m okay if we disagree on political positions as long as we agree on sexual positions.
We’ve learned recently, thanks to vlogger Veralyn Williams and some of our Facebook friends, that political differences are a bigger deal to some folks than others. But whether you see clashing political views as a deal breaker or a turn-on, we hope everyone can agree that exercising your right to vote is a very big deal.
If you need even more Someecards-style voting motivation, we’ve got you covered:
See you at the polls, hot stuff.
3 Ways to Deal With Political Differences in a Relationship
With Election Day just around the corner, I’ve noticed a lot of my Facebook friends being way less tolerant about political views that differ from theirs. I’ve witnessed “un-friending” announcements and call-outs in the comments of politics-related status updates. With dating and relationships on the brain (as always), of course I found myself wondering how this political climate is affecting our love lives.
Through the interview process for my latest vlog, Is Politics a Dating Deal Breaker?, I learned that political differences can cause conflict in a relationship, but that they don’t necessarily have to be a deal breaker. Here are 3 political problems I heard about, and solutions to get past each.
Problem #1: My partner sees EVERYTHING as political—and I don’t.
You know those people who make everything into a conspiracy by the government, or who can’t get through dinner without pointing out all the ways the restaurant is not “green”? If you’re not as passionate about the same issue, this might get old really fast.
Solution: Remind your sweetie that being present and in the moment (with you!) is just as important. Interviewee K-Swift has to be reminded of this sometimes:
Problem #2: The views of our families conflict.
You can choose your mate, but you can’t choose their family—or yours, for that matter. So what do you do when grandma makes a racially insensitive statement at Thanksgiving dinner?
Solution: Pick your battles and remember there is a time and place for everything. Natasha’s take:
Problem #3: We just don’t see things the same way.
Probably the most common conflict of all: You think you’ve found the one, but every time you talk about your political beliefs, the “love” seemingly goes out the window. Sounds like an impossible situation, but does it have to be?
Solution: Decide it’s okay to agree to disagree. Or, in the words of Obama, disagree without being disagreeable. Henry, tells us how he (a conservative) and his wife (a liberal) make their relationship work:
How does politics affect your relationships (romantic or otherwise)? Could you see yourself in a “bipartisan” relationship?
Veralyn Williams is a Multimedia Freelance Journalist currently working in New York City. She has spent 4 years at WNYC Radio working with various departments including: Radio Rookies, Culture, News, and Freakonomincs. Also freelancing for Black Enterprise, BronxNet Television,Bedsider, and The Museum for African Art. Her independent work is featured on her website VeralynMedia.com. Through all of her endeavors she aims to give a voice to perspectives that are often forgotten in the media.
Can’t we all just get along? Depends who you ask…
Elizabeth Banks: I Thank Birth Control Pills for My Son
Just over a year ago, my son Felix was born via gestational surrogacy. He came out of me nine months early and because of my broken belly, his babycake was baked in a wonderful angel’s oven and now — I can’t believe it — he’s a year old and walking. He has expanded my capacity for joy a thousand-fold.
His life would have been much harder to come by if not for the birth control pill. How’s that, you ask? Well, it’s a simple fact: The pill is used for many situations that have nothing to do with the prevention of pregnancy. The pill was prescribed to me when hormonally induced migraines kept me locked up in dark rooms for days at a time. It was prescribed to me to regulate insanely painful cramps every month — cramps so painful that I often vomited.
And here’s a little secret I am happy to blow the lid off of: The pill is often prescribed during the IVF (in vitro fertilization) process to help MAKE BABIES! That’s right, women dealing with infertility are often put on the pill to help regulate a cycle so that they might have a more successful IVF. The pill is used to manage ovarian cysts, endometriosis and other conditions too. Not to mention, it helps couples plan for wanted children.
Obviously, I’m not a doctor. I’m just a woman grateful for my necessary and very helpful medication. And I’m sure glad I don’t have to discuss any of these conditions, including infertility, with my employer.
A girlfriend and I recently wondered what would be more mortifying: having to tell her male employer she needed birth control to mitigate a heavy flow or just bleeding all over herself in the office?
So with that image in mind, I encourage all women — and the men in their lives — to protect access to birth control, and encourage our politicians to take women’s health issues out of the political process.
For more information, please visit the most comprehensive and willing advocates for women’s health in America: www.plannedparenthood.org.
What do you have to say about birth control?
As a response to a Congressional hearing on whether health insurance plans should be required to cover birth control—a hearing which is now infamous for opening with the testimonies of five men and zero women—the Coalition to Protect Women’s Health Care (CPWH) started the “I Have a Say” campaign to bring women’s voices into the discussion. Today Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, added her own voice to the campaign.
And the great thing about it is that you don’t have to have 45 years of experience in the area of birth control and pregnancy planning to have a say. CPWH is asking all women to share their experiences and perspectives on why access to contraception is important.
Check out a few more examples below or go to the CPWH playlist to see more “I Have a Say” videos. Then make your own and share it with CPWH. You can also join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #ihaveasay. (And if you’re moved to give us a heads up when you’ve had your say, we’re making a playlist too and would love for you to be a part of it!)
Dianna in Alaska:
Megan, a nurse from Tacoma, WA: