Birth control should be socially accepted


Sarah McAtee

Sarah McAtee, Staff Artist

About a year ago, I talked to my mom and doctor about being put on birth control. Because I’m someone who has intense cramping and heavy bleeding during my time of the month, we all decided that it was a good idea for my health and that it wouldn’t be a problem to start it immediately and long-term. When I first picked up my prescription, my mom handed me the stereotypical circular plastic package and said, “Now, this isn’t something you just take out around people.”

Why is it that we as a society have this stigma for young women going on birth control? It seems as if we’ve all created this idea that being on birth control is an excuse to be sexually irresponsible and that being on birth control encourages promiscuity in young women, but the opposite is true more often than not.

According to, “more than half of women who take birth control pills do so for reasons other than avoiding pregnancy.”

There are several feminine issues that can be helped with birth control. For example, birth control can be used to treat menorrhagia, or excessive menstrual bleeding. Women with menorrhagia are at the greatest risk for anemia. Birth control thins the lining of the uterus and therefore reduces blood loss along with side effects of anemia like dizziness, fatigue and headaches.

Another illness that taking birth control can help is endometriosis, a severe condition where tissue that typically grows within the uterus grows outside of it. It causes extremely heavy and painful periods, and being on birth control can’t cure it, but it can be used to lessen the intensity and help alleviate some pain.

Hormonal regularity is important when it comes to overall health, and without birth control, some women experience imbalanced hormonal cycles. That can lead to acne, excess body hair, cysts and unpredictable menstrual cycles. Taking birth control regulates the hormone levels in the body and can give women a greater sense of stability mentally and physically while helping other issues caused by hormonal imbalances.

Also, some women are on birth control because they want to be ready for when they choose to have sex, and there’s nothing wrong with that. People often shame young women for being on the pill, but I would even go as far as to say that we should be encouraging them and rewarding them for making this responsible and healthy decision. We need to acknowledge that many young women are having sex and that it’d be more irresponsible to be sexually active without being on birth control.

Even the name “birth control” lends itself to unfounded sexual accusations and can be a burden for those prescribed to it. Being accused of being sexual active when you’re not can be stressful and damaging to a young individual’s mental health, especially in social situations. In addition, the link between taking birth control and people assuming that you are sexually active can deter women from getting on the pill, which may take away an option of treatment simply because of the social implications of the word.

All in all, society as a whole needs to be more open to and understanding of young women being on birth control. We should try to make these women feel comfortable and reassure them that as long as they’re doing what is best for their health, they’re doing what is right. Maybe we could start by calling these medications something other than “birth control” or by simply allowing people to do what is best for themselves and their bodies without judgement.