A world without birth control would look very different than it does today; it is truly amazing to consider the difference contraceptive care has made in the lives of millions of people. Here at Upstream, we want to say “Thanks, Birth Control!” and reflect about the impact it has had on all of our lives.
To show the vastness of birth control’s impact, consider that the average U.S. woman uses contraceptives for 30 years and in 2018, 65% of U.S. women aged 15–49 were using a contraceptive method. Birth control affects so many people’s lives for the better, underscoring the importance of expanding access to patient-centered contraceptive care and ensuring that the benefits of contraception – including the means to control if and when to have children – are equitably afforded to all people.
When people have access to a wide range of contraceptive methods, they are able to plan and space out their births. This space can lead to positive health, social and economic outcomes for women, families and society. Access to these methods can also increase women’s opportunity for educational attainment, labor force participation, expanding career outcomes, increasing earnings, decreasing poverty, and even how it affects the next generation.
Birth control means the opportunity to have a choice. I feel empowered. It’s been amazing for me to be able to succeed at my career and do the things that I want to do without worrying about an unplanned pregnancy.” – Mia
Mia shared her story with Upstream in 2020, watch it here or below.
While these economic advancements are exciting, we must acknowledge the work is not done. A dark history of systemic racism and continued barriers to equitable contraceptive care has complicated contraceptive access for many people of color.
I kept thinking about ‘What does contraception mean to me? Why is it important to me?’ And I kept coming back to this idea, as revolutionary as it may seem for some, that we are not empty vessels waiting to become impregnated,” shared Stephanie Avila, CNM, FNP Ob-Gyn, Providence Community Health Center speaking at Upstream’s World Contraception Day 2022 event. “We are people who have dreams, hopes, plans, aspirations. Access to contraception is really the piece that helps us achieve and reach those goals, whether they be to delay pregnancy for a period of time, or to avoid pregnancy completely over the course of a lifetime.”
Beyond preventing pregnancy and the economic benefits, many people use hormonal birth control methods for other health reasons. In fact, 70 percent of pill users cited non-contraceptive health benefits as reasons for using birth control and 58 percent of people who use the pill rely on it, at least in part, for conditions, including endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome — which is prevalent among women of color — fibroids, and menstrual regulation.
No matter the reason behind your decision to use birth control, we can all agree that access to contraception exponentially betters lives. Please join us in celebrating the power birth control can have to determine your future and why it matters with Thanks, Birth Control Day on November 16! Your birth control stories are important, mention us on Twitter at @Upstream_USA and use #Thxsbirthcontrol to share how access to birth control has made a difference.
High quality, conscious care is necessary to create the success of your dream. It’s about the founding principles of our nation, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness for all people. Contraception is about women and people at risk of pregnancy and timing the number of pregnancies that they would like to have, but it’s also more than that. It’s about partners. It’s about families being able to create the life of their dreams. Contraception is essential to the success of our nation. It helps people share their talents, so as individuals, we feel fulfilled and happy.” – Dr. Emily Godfrey, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Washington
Birth control means taking control of my body, life, career trajectory, finances, and well-being. I LOVE being a mom, but contraception helps me be the best mom I can be right now!” – Alex Rankin, Upstream USA
Thank you, birth control! From emergency contraception to DMPA to the ring to condoms to FAM to the implant, you’ve given me options that were able to meet me where I was at, and help carve a path to reaching my goals.” – Kelly Barnes-Carr, Upstream USA
As a mom, wife, daughter, friend and comms professional, sometimes I can barely remember to even do the dishes. Using an implant as my form of birth control helps ensure I don’t forget to track my cycle or have to take a pill, even on my busiest days.” – Miranda Iglesias, Upstream USA