Why I’m Grateful for Birth Control
The majority of people (82%) believe that birth control should be considered a basic part of health care. However, we know that millions across the country don’t have access to the full range of methods. This Women’s History Month we spoke to our CEO, Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, about why birth control is so important, it’s impact, how it’s changed the field of sexual and reproductive health, and why she says, “Thanks, birth control!”
Why did you decide to work in reproductive health? And how have you seen the field evolve since you entered?
I was drawn to work in reproductive health after spending a semester in college researching causes of maternal mortality in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. It was unfathomable to me that so many people died needlessly due to lack of access to comprehensive reproductive health services. As a young woman, I was determined to make a difference and drove my career path to ensure more people have the ability to receive quality reproductive health services and the power to design their futures in the US and abroad. I have seen enormous change in the filed over the last twenty years, particularly in the area of contraception and family planning services. There are many more contraceptive methods available, plus novel service delivery and access points, including telehealth and pharmacist prescribing in some states. However, I think the most impactful changes are the field’s continued reckoning with the past harms done through reproductive coercion and unethical research, particularly among low-income communities and communities of color, and the field’s pivot to bring reproductive justice principles into practice is another. Plenty of work still needs to be done on both fronts, but these changes have been impactful to my practice in striving to provide person-centered care and in the work that we do at Power to Decide to advance reproductive well-being for all.
Have you seen access to birth control change the lives of those around you (patients, friends, family, etc.)?
Absolutely! Birth control has been instrumental in my ability to have an impactful career and an amazing family. The same is true for many of my patients, friends, and family members. Access to birth control has allowed these folks to manage their cramps, finish higher education, space out their pregnancies, and design their futures. Everyone is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. Moreover, people use birth control for different reasons and may choose a method based on what is most important to them. For example, managing heavy bleeding which is interfering with their life, stubborn hormonal acne, or menstrual migraines. Finding the right method is often a journey, and the health care system and providers should be able to adapt to the changing needs of our patients in order provide timely care and services.
Why do you say #ThxBirthControl?
There are a plethora of reasons—personal and professional—that I am thankful for birth control. I wouldn’t be here with an amazing life, dream job, awesome life-partner, kids, and dog without birth control. It has given me the power to decide my future on my own terms. Our communities are better when all people experience reproductive well-being and equitably have access to high-quality, person-centered contraceptive services and care. Sadly, this is not the reality for too many, so we must take the opportunity to normalize conversations about birth control and shout #ThxBirthControl until reproductive well-being is a reality for all.