October 8, 2017

Throughout my 20s and early 30s, I suffered from a condition called endometriosis. It is the literal displacement of endometrial lining outside of the uterus. I had scar tissue wrapped around my spinal cord and attached to organs. I had three surgeries over the course of 15 years to remove the scar tissue, to try to alleviate the debilitating pain. My doctors warned me that endometriosis would likely result in my never being able to have children, at least without major medical intervention.

The pain would go away for a little bit but it would always come back. There were times that it would send me into tears to try to walk up the stairs. The only real therapy that I could do was to take birth control pills. Not to prevent pregnancies--because that wasn't a possibility--but to treat a very real, very painful medical condition.

And this week, Donald Trump decided that my husband's employer can make the decision as to whether I can treat my medical condition. Think about that concept.

Why does the GOP hate women so very much?

We know they hate science, because birth control saves lives:

Like many necessary medical treatments, birth control helps women work, learn, and lead fulfilling and productive lives. In one survey of patients at family planning clinics, 64 percent said birth control helped them extend their education, 71 percent said it helped them support themselves financially, and 77 percent said it helped them take care of themselves or their families.

Many women have health conditions that make pregnancy dangerous, or take medications that are dangerous to a developing fetus. Birth control allows them to prevent pregnancy or plan it carefully in concert with their doctors. Beyond preventing pregnancy, however, many of the millions of Americans with endometriosis use oral contraception to control their symptoms. Without it, many would experience severe pain, and some would be unable to work or care for their families.

One in 10 women of childbearing age has polycystic ovary syndrome, which can cause irregular periods, acne, and facial hair growth and can increase the risk of endometrial cancer. Hormonal birth control, one of the most common treatments for PCOS, helps regulate periods and lowers patients’ cancer risk. Birth control is a treatment for a variety of other health conditions, including menstrual migraines and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Overall, 58 percent of people who take oral contraceptives do so at least in part for reasons beyond contraception, and 14 percent take them for noncontraceptive reasons alone, according to a 2011 study by Rachel K. Jones of the Guttmacher Institute. As debates over contraceptive access have raged in recent years, many women have told stories of how birth control helped them. “As an older mom who chose to wait and raise three kids after years of travel, study and professional growth — I can't imagine an equally fulfilling life for myself, any other way,” one American woman told the Gates Foundation. “‘Choosing’ requires access to effective contraception. There is no other way.”

What's worse, the choice to treat my medical condition can be taken away from me in the name of "religious freedom". Because my husband's employer's sense of faith (as long as he isn't Muslim, mind you) is far more important than my health. My life, my economic power, my privacy, my family choices are all now in the hands of a man wholly unconnected to me because he has hired my husband.

This is "freedom" in today's GOP.

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