It can be harder to buy birth control pills and other hormonal birth control options than it is to purchase guns, cigarettes and beer, according to a new report.
Role Reboot notes that people can suffer side effects from consuming alcohol and smoking cigarettes, as they can from prescription birth control pills, but women have to see a doctor every quarter or yearly to stay on the pill even if they do not experience problems or have any concerns.
Jen Billock Young told the news site that it took her three years to get a prescription for birth control pills because she was on Wisconsin state insurance. Young was delayed by a year and a half of just waiting to get a new patient exam by a gynecologist, who required her to get a pap smear, which took several more months.
"Meanwhile, I tried to go to Planned Parenthood," Young recalled. "They refused to give me a prescription because my blood pressure was slightly elevated because I was nervous… They said they could only offer me a shot that I had to come in for every three weeks."
Young kept pursuing birth control through the state: "The state insurance filled the prescription for three months at a time, but I got kicked off (of that). So I bought a marketplace plan… and they’ll only refill it one month at a time."
Another woman, Emily Popek, told Role Reboot she was "shocked and disappointed" to find that her health insurance coverage did not include birth control prescriptions. Her only option was a third-party company that was more than 60 miles from her home.
Another woman, who chose to remain anonymous, told the news site she needed to take birth control pills for her symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):
The doctor told me that the pill increases the risk of diabetes and in general isn’t good for women with PCOS. He then looked at me sternly and asked if I was using the pill as a contraceptive as well and I said I wasn’t. He replied "good girl" in a patronizing but sincere tone.
There are legitimate medical concerns about birth control pills, particularly blood clotting because birth control pills contain hormones that thicken the blood. Smokers, drinkers and gun owners, however, do not usually have to jump through the same number of hoops despite their respective dangers.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website states: "Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including nearly 42,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day."
The CDC website also says that 33,736 people were killed by guns in 2014.