Why do we shame individuals for taking control of their reproductive health instead of celebrating their empowerment and accountability?
It’s Sunday morning just outside the campus of Indiana University, the proud home of the Kinsey Institute, a renowned and extremely well respected center for the study of human sexuality. Two 21-year-olds head to the local CVS to pick up the necessities for the week: shampoo, conditioner, Plan B, body lotion, birth control, Q- tips, the norm.
Although two items from that list may sound unusual, it is not completely out of left field for the 5.8 Million women worldwide who have reported using “the morning after pill” at least once in their lifetime. So why all the fuss?
Plan B and Birth Control are two forms of contraceptives that a surprisingly large percent of sexually active young adults use daily. In fact, four of every five sexually experienced women have used the pill.
It is extremely important to be honest with yourself and your partner when it comes to practicing safe sex. Let me be honest. In my opinion, if you’re not mature enough to have an open discussion about using condoms, birth control, or worst case scenario “the morning after pill,” you are not mature enough to be having sex in the first place.
Honesty with your partner is KEY to having healthy and safe sexual experiences.
Let’s return to the CVS in Bloomington, Indiana...
Two women are buying a product that many consider to be unsafe, but at this moment in time, it’s far more precarious to leave their fates up to chance. These women have a beautiful future ahead of them, and thanks to modern medicine, they are able to ensure that nothing gets in their way of that bright future (which at this stage in their respective lives, does not include children).
The women receive a handful of dirty looks and can feel other customers looking them up and down. They have every right to feel judged; but what exactly are they being judged for? They are being responsible by protecting their bodies from unwanted pregnancies.
Countless healthcare providers have cited that proper use of birth control and the “morning after pill” will not affect women in a negative light in the future, as long as the drug is not abused.
The sheer fact that an innovation as amazing as emergency contraception exists is something that women (and men!) should be thankful, not punished, for.
As a college student, I feel strong about criticism that others receive when making mindful decisions to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancies. While products such as Plan B and birth control don’t protect against STIs, they do help ensure safety for young women’s reproductive health.
When a college student makes the decision to protect her body (whether the night of, the morning after, or even a day later) she doesn’t deserve to be slut-shamed. If anything, she should be praised for making the educated decision to protect her body, and protect the successful future she envisions for herself.
Title image source: Gratisography
Kayla Brock has a drive to de-stigmatize taboos related to sexuality. Her other raw passions involve sushi, sushi & more sushi.