I am writing this letter in response to an opinion piece from April 2, 2019 titled “Educating people on the negative effects of birth control.” I truly have no ill intent, but I hope to enlighten readers to a few points I believe were overlooked.
First, I wish to stress that not only women use birth control. Many non-binary people, intersex people, and transgender men use various forms of birth control. Unless this article was intended specifically for cisgender women, I believe more inclusive language would have been beneficial because the effects listed can also affect much of these populations.
Secondly, hormonal birth control is prescribed for number of serious, chronic heath conditions like endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. For people with these disorders, myself included, hormonal birth control is often the only treatment available and can be lifesaving because of the severe physical and psychological symptoms these conditions cause, despite the possible side effects and risks that the treatments may carry.
An additional note is that two types of cancer mentioned in the article whose risks are reduced by oral contraceptives have lower survival rates than those which have a heightened risk, meaning that oral contraceptives may actually lower the user’s risk of more dangerous cancers in exchange for less dangerous types.
Although I agree that patients should be more informed when being prescribed contraceptives, they typically do come with information about the medication which includes the risks and side effects. I feel that it is the patient’s responsibility to read over that information and let it influence their decision.
Overall, I think this is a great conversation to have. I just wish it had been more informed and inclusive.
Kylie-Sky Lindsey, Student