Women around the world are demanding increased birth control access, using the hashtag #ThxBirthControl. The social media outburst is exactly what we need to let those in power know we will not stand idly by as our rights are stripped away. We need more women to be bold and join this important movement.
When one woman’s account of trying to obtain birth control outside of the U.S. went viral on Nov. 10, the hashtag #ThxBirthControl emerged, creating a space for women– and all people– to share why they’re thankful for contraception. With republicans doing their best to both defund Planned Parenthood and make abortion access as limited as possible, it is seemingly getting harder, not easier, to obtain birth control in the United States. Outside the country, it is even more bleak, and we cannot allow this treatment of women to continue.
Writer Hayley MacMillen recounted the depressing difficulty to obtain emergency contraception while living in Burundi, a small country in East Africa, in a fearless piece for Refinery29. When Hayley’s time overseas concluded, though, she returned to the states where she received an IUD–for free, thanks to her insurance– with essentially no hassle nor medical risk.
Hayley goes on to describe a friend, born and raised in Burundi, who faced a different outcome. Unable to obtain birth control, she went on to have a baby she hadn’t planned for, effectively squashing her dreams of a business degree.
Hayley considers herself “one of the lucky ones,” and she’s right: comparatively, the U.S. is leaps and bounds ahead of developing nations in terms of birth control access. However, contraception is by no means guaranteed to women in this very country, a fact that should cause all citizens’ blood to boil.
At the end of October, the House approved a bill that would cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides birth control, abortions– and many other methods of health and wellness care. Similarly discouraging, nearly one in ten abortion clinics throughout the states has had to shutter or cease to provide the service since 2011, due to ever-tightening restrictions lead by (you guessed it) republicans, according to Bloomberg.
In four states, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, just one abortion-providing clinic remains open. What will happen if each of those sole providers is also forced to close its doors? Women, just like Hayley’s friend in Burundi, will have to forego their dreams, forego their plans, because someone else made their decisions for them. #ThxBirthControl, for allowing women to live their lives on their own schedule according to their own goals and desires– for now, that is. Stand up, women, and demand what should be yours.
What is your #ThxBirthControl story?
— Casey Mink