Debate Magazine

Let’s Talk About Sex: Emergency Contraception (EC) Edition

Posted on the 30 March 2011 by Juliez

Today, my lovely FBomb friends, is a wonderful day. Why is that? You may perplexedly ponder. I don’t recall hearing talk of it being International Free Cupcake Day and  I’m pretty sure Ryan Gosling isn’t going to spontaneously show up on my doorstop “Hey Girl” -ing me…is he? IS HE?!?!

NO! HE’S NOT! BUT THIS IS EVEN BETTER! IT’S BACK UP YOUR BIRTH CONTROL NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION!

Yay!

So here’s the thing about birth control: there’s no excuse not to use it and everybody should. Especially teens. Especially, especially feminist teens. I don’t think most kids in our generation even comprehend how much fighting the awesome women who came before us did to secure us the right to even have birth control, and beyond that, the social revolution that made it possible for women to have sex without it being solely for reproductive purposes within marriage. Those were some awesome feminist revolutions that occurred so that we could have sex without having to immediately get married or start a family – instead we get to have sex lives AND professional lives AND do whatever the hell we want to do, which is pretty freakin sweet.

But sometimes, we slip up and don’t use birth control. Or, even if we do, malfunctions happen (condoms break, y’all). Or, worst of all, women can be forced to have unprotected sex – one out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.

All of this shit sucks. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the story, because this is where Emergency Contraception comes in. Here’s the 411, via Back Up Your Birth Control:

WHAT IS EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION?

EC is a safe and effective method of birth control that can prevent pregnancy after sex. EC is not the abortion pill. It will not work if you are already pregnant. It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections or HIV/AIDS.

HOW DOES EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION WORK?

EC can prevent pregnancy by delaying or inhibiting ovulation. It may also inhibit fertilization. There are three brands of EC (Plan B® One-Step, Next Choice®, and ella®) approved for pregnancy prevention.

EC is a great idea, right? Well, in the grand tradition of many great ideas before it, there are people out there who don’t want to “corrupt” society with it, especially not in the hands of teens. Luckily the Center for Reproductive Rights has a petition that’s trying to take of that.

Honestly, it’s hard enough to get adults to talk to us about sex. If schools have sex education curriculum at all, so much of it is based on abstinence. So many kids have such limited information about regular birth control that it’s depressing to think how few know about EC, and even worse to think of kids who really could’ve used it, and how different their lives might be now if they had.

My challenge to the FBomb community is this: one of the greatest parts of our feminist identities is that it has educated us in so many areas (like reproductive rights) that we probably otherwise would know little about. I’m sure all of us have friends who don’t identify as feminists and who may know very little about this stuff. I think our job, as teen feminists, should be to start these conversations amongst our peers (Awkward? Maybe. Necessary? Yes.), and stand in for the adults of authority in our lives that may be failing us. And the Back Up Your Birth Control Campus Challenge is making it even easier by hosting a challenge/contest on the very topic.

Of course, our ultimate goal should be to have more comprehensive sex education in our schools, and even further to be a society that isn’t ashamed of talking openly about sex and makes information about it widely available so that we can all make the best choices for us. But until then, I guess it’s up to us.


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