She cuts her hair just so it falls across her face to hide her acne. Her eyes do not meet mine while we talk about what polycystic ovarian syndrome means and why it is changing her body in these ways she cannot stand. She just wants the hair on her upper lip to stop coming back. After hearing that the solution is as simple as taking one birth control pill a day, she meets my gaze for the first time and smiles with relief. Her first question, “How can I get it?”
Appointments in the office are a whirlwind of wiping snot and tears. She undresses and dresses squirming bodies with surprising ease. We talk shop about vaccines, vegetables, and vitamin D and when I finally I ask how she is doing, she says "Hanging in there!". We both know that in between school, well-child visits, and running countless errands there is no time to make an appointment for herself. All she knows is that she and her partner want to prepare before they make another addition to the family. She just wants to have a plan.
Between evening ESL classes and working two part time jobs, she can’t afford to see me more than once a year. She also knows she can’t afford a pregnancy right now. The sense of security she feels by having access to safe and effective birth control brings a touch of calm to her busy world.
These are just a few of my patients who will be directly impacted by HB 25. As a family physician, I see the hoops my patients have to jump through and the high costs they have to pay as major barriers to the creation and promotion of healthy families. When a woman doesn’t have to stress about calling my office or scheduling an appointment in order to refill her monthly birth control, she is more likely to take it as prescribed. Making birth control accessible and straightforward to obtain keeps women in control of their own health and their own preparedness for pregnancy. Healthy moms raise healthy children.
By providing women access to a year supply of birth control at a time, among other important measures, HB 25 will help my patients and their families prepare for their futures. Congressmen and women who believe in healthy American families should recognize the power in preparedness – the power in family planning – and they should relinquish that power to the people who deserve it.