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Potential limits on birth control: Know your options

Birth control pills are one of many contraceptive options. Many people have been looking into forms of birth control because they may be harder to access in the future. – Photo by Wikimedia

The hasty appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court has alarmed women across the country who fear for the future of their reproductive rights. Barrett, who was President Donald J. Trump’s nominee, has a conservative and anti-choice record that places many other human rights at risk.

The newly-appointed judge has been a member of the conservative Federalist Society and is associated with a Christian group called People of Praise, according to CNN.

Upon Trump’s announcement of Barrett as his pick, Republicans hailed her as a champion of women’s rights and a viable replacement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But, while Trump was campaigning for president, he voiced his intention to appoint justices that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision that protects a woman's right to an abortion. 

Barrett has kept silent on whether she would uphold access to safe abortion, birth control and other reproductive services. Aside from those, paid leave, affordable childcare, voting rights and LGBTQ+ rights are also at stake. Barrett is walking through the doors Ginsburg — and many other women — opened for her, and closing them.

For those of you looking into acquiring birth control before access is limited or restricted, there are several options to select from. You may be familiar with many of these, but aren’t sure how they work or what they entail. Here’s what you need to know:

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

An IUD is a tiny device that’s put inside your uterus to prevent pregnancy and is more than 99 percent effective.

It’s long term, reversible and offered by five different brands that are Food and Drug Administration approved. There is the copper IUD, sold by Paragard, that is free of hormones and prevents pregnancy for up to 12 years.

There are also hormonal IUDs — sold by Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta and Skyla — that use the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. They can last from 3 to 7 years depending on which brand you use. IUDs can be used for emergency contraception as well.

Birth control pill

Birth control pills are largely safe and affordable. The pill contains hormones that prevent pregnancy and is effective if used correctly. The hormones in the pill stop ovulation which prevents a sperm from fertilizing an eggs.

It’s highly important to take your pill on time every day — setting reminders on your phone and keeping the pack accessible wherever you go helps. Upon starting the pill, you many experience side effects such as nausea, headaches, changes in your period and mood swings. It can also help prevent or lessen acne, anemia and certain cancers.

Implant

The birth control implant joins the IUD as one of the most effective methods of contraception. It's a tiny thin rod that is inserted in your arm and releases hormones that stop you from getting pregnant. The implant is 99 percent effective and lasts up to five years. While it can be costly, it is offered for free under most healthcare plans with the help of the Affordable Care Act (thanks Barack Obama).

Vaginal Ring

The vaginal ring is a rare form of birth control but has promising success in preventing pregnancy as well. The ring is inserted in the vagina and releases small amounts of hormones that stop ovulation. It generally requires higher maintenance, as it has to be changed monthly and can be difficult to insert or remove.

Diaphragm

The diaphragm is another uncommon form of birth control. It is a shallow cup placed inside your vagina that covers your cervix, preventing you from getting pregnant. If used perfectly, it is 94 percent effective, but typical use renders 88 percent effectiveness.

This list isn’t comprehensive, but covers both hormonal and non-hormonal options for birth control. Disclaimer: The only way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and sexually transmitted infections are condoms, so act wisely.

I hope you enjoyed this recap of high school health class and are well versed in birth control methods, now that they're placed in dangerous hands.


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