ChoiceWords Blog

Posts By: Guest Blogger

What Controls Birth Control?: A Brief Context on the Centrality of Black Reproductive Freedom to Collective Liberation 

By: Victor Ultra Omni White feminist’s often center birth control in a larger conversation of choice— a decision that creates a silence around the coercive roots of its creation. While undeniably a cornerstone to gender equity, a means of limiting unintended pregnancy, and mitigating health concerns like migraines or severe menstrual cramps, birth control also has troubling entanglements with white supremacy as its procurement relied on Black and brown flesh as its testing site. Now lauded as “the Pill,” birth control originally referred to an intricate system and plan for controlling births among populations considered “degenerate.” This larger apparatus of social control included the prescription of daily tablets, but also involved forced sterilizations and coerced experimentation which disproportionately affected Black people, a disparity that continues today. Any analysis on the… Read more »

Birth Control Access Gave Me Peace of Mind

The first time it happened, I was terrified: my period was late. Although I can’t remember when it was exactly, it must have been sometime around the beginning of my sophomore year in college. I had been lucky for a few months of having protected sex with my boyfriend at the time, but I thought that it was finally my time for my life as I knew it to end because I was pregnant. Even though my period was only three days late the first time, I was much less lucky in the later months. Stress from school, work, and my other activities caught up to me and delayed my periods by up to a full week. Once, I went so far as to take a pregnancy test just to… Read more »

Not Just Pregnancy Prevention: #FreeThePill Will Free Us

By: Sarah Michal Hamid Birth control is not always used for pregnancy prevention, and that’s OK! What is not okay, is only centering pregnancy prevention in #FreeThePill discourse. There are multiple uses for birth control beyond pregnancy prevention, which is why we need to urgently improve birth control accessibility by bringing it over the counter. Centering pregnancy prevention in #FreeThePill narratives alienate QTBIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ people who may not use the birth control pill for pregnancy-related reasons, but still rely on the pill. LGBTQ+ people depend on contraceptives for a variety of reasons, and we should not be an afterthought in the movement for reproductive rights. By utilizing a reproductive justice framework within the #FreeThePill movement, reproductive rights advocates can adopt language and tools that seek to center LGBTQ2S+ folks,… Read more »

Forced Sterilizations, and the RJ Struggle of the Latinx Community in California

By: Kirsten Hernandez It’s no secret that Black, Asian, Indigenous, and Latinx people throughout American history have struggled harder than others to gain autonomy over their bodies. What was a secret, however, was the lengths to which many states went to ensure these people were stripped of their rights. Eugenics is a dirty word, as it should be. Modern eugenics came about in the early 20th century and was used to justify horrific acts of racism across the globe. The most prominent example, of course, was the holocaust, in which the Nazi party attempted to justify their human rights abuses by claiming that there was a biological imbalance between the aryan race and the other ethnic groups they demonized. The US fought a war, rightfully claiming that such programs were… Read more »

Life Without Interference

By: Lily Stewart Recently, I saw my doctor for a yearly wellness visit. We spoke about my health, my habits, and my medicine—the usual. The doctor asked how I was liking my birth control pills, noting that I had mentioned severe pain due to endometriosis during previous appointments. I nodded, saying that my pain had become much more manageable, and other endometriosis symptoms were no longer as noticeable. She was happy to hear that and said, “You know, if I were in charge, I would see that all students have access to birth control pills. You just don’t have time for pain or pregnancy.” I nodded, and we went on with the checkup. After the appointment, I thought more about what she had said. She was right; many students simply… Read more »

Birth Control in My Community

By: Anna Beth Peters My personal experience with the birth control pill has been a roller coaster; I originally started taking the pill in high school to regulate my period. I have tried a few different options, and I have had incredibly varying results. I have struggled with mood changes, depression, hormonal acne breakouts, cramps, and difficulty getting my prescription from pharmacies. Despite all of the issues I have encountered with birth control, taking the pill greatly enhances my life by regulating my period and giving a sense of normalcy to my cycle. People take the pill for many different reasons; some take it for period regulation, some take it to lessen cramps, acne, or the chance of infection, and some people take it solely to prevent pregnancy. No matter… Read more »

What OTC Access to Oral Contraception Means to Women

By: Kaitlyn Germann To me, and to many young people, access to oral contraception is incredibly important. Although it can be accessed through a doctor’s appointment, in person,  online in some states, or even with a prescription from a pharmacist in some, it still remains something that isn’t accessible, as daily forms of oral contraception are not currently available over the counter without a prescription.  The only contraceptives accessible without a prescription, are labeled as “emergency contraceptives,” not made for regular use, and only, as the name implies, for emergencies when other contraceptive methods failed or were not used. Even with this, not all emergency contraceptives are available over the counter, such as Ella (ulipristal acetate), an emergency contraceptive which is both more effective overall, and specifically more effective for… Read more »

We all deserve control over our reproductive futures – Trish Hyde

Like many teenagers, in the throes of first love, I wanted to have sex. I was 16 and had been dating my boyfriend for about a year when we decided we just could not wait any longer. Actually, we *could* wait longer and I required that we did because I was incredibly paranoid about the possibility of becoming pregnant. I had done my research (okay, much of it on 2013 Tumblr, but still) and knew that two forms of contraceptives were recommended and that, should I choose to get on “the pill,” I would need to wait one month for it to become effective. So, a plan was hatched. I would talk to my mom, see the doctor, be on the pill for at least one month, and then we… Read more »

Wolves with a Time’s Up Pin

When Grace’s account of her evening with actor, stand up comedian, director, author, and, most importantly, proclaimed feminist, Aziz Ansari broke, hundreds of think pieces were soon posted all over the web. This particular story struck a chord because it’s familiarity resonated with so many people who never knew how to discuss or label experiences that went beyond “bad sex”. URGE’s student journalists Anna Khan and Ofelia Alonso did an incredible job detailing this encounter and explaining how our culture contributes to experiences such as Grace’s, and I encourage you to read their articles. This story in particular hit me the hardest, since Ansari is a public figure I had previously seen as one of the very few men in Hollywood that could be considered a “good guy”. He appeared… Read more »

Making Space for Healing Justice

This summer, URGE activists gathered in Cleveland, Ohio for the first ever Summer Camp. Activists from AL, GA, TX, KS, & OH came together, thanks to a coordinated field and DC staff who worked their magic to create an unforgettable experience. The goal behind Summer Camp was to provide time and space for activists to broaden their analysis of reproductive justice, learn how to incorporate this analysis, and learn creative avenues to utilize back on campus and within the community. Activists were able to build on skills new and familiar such as developing leadership, facilitation, direct action, and cultural organizing. For four days, we were joined by the incredible Harriet’s Apothecary, “a collective of Black cis women, Queer, Trans Healers, artists, health professionals, magicians, and activists” who teach radical healing… Read more »