A few weeks ago we asked Tell Them members to share their reproductive health stories. Here's one from Lee who explains what affordable birth control means for women and families.
Many years ago I worked for a small nonprofit that had to make changes to their health insurance plan. I was blessed because this nonprofit paid for my monthly premiums in full, however, changes passed down by the health insurance company meant my monthly co-pay would go up from $15 to $50 on my birth control. That was unafforable. It angered me. Really angered me.
In a moment of anger, I called the health insurance company, planning to yell at them and see if they saved more money by paying for me to have a baby than they did by helping my husband and I prevent that until we felt ready. I asked about the IUD, not fully understanding what it was, but knowing it lasted for 5 years and could help us plan our family. The customer service repersentative informed me, that for a $40 co-pay I could have an IUD placed and be set for five years. I was shocked. I asked again in several different ways, looking for the loophole. After our conversation I was mad no one told me of this option before. I had been spending $15 each month on birth control. Fifteen dollars might not seem like a lot of money, but we weren’t making much money. That extra $15 each month adds up as the months go along, plus it saved me time from having to go pick up the prescription each month.
I had that IUD placed within the month, and a second one inserted (for free thanks to the Affordable Care Act) when the first one ended. Seven years later, my husband and I decided to remove the IUD and see what happened. Two months later we found out we are expecting our first child. A baby girl. That time allowed us to both receive our Masters Degrees, buy a house, make dumb financial decisions, become gainfully employed at jobs we love, create a happy, stable marriage, and be there for my aging mother when she needed us most.
I am so thankful for the low-cost opportunity to take these past seven years and create a more stable household. We would have loved on a baby should we have had one seven years ago, but man it would have been much harder. We were newly married and fresh out of undergrad. We needed that time. We needed the policies that allowed us time to get ourselves together. I can’t pretend that I believe we are fully ready now, she’s our first, and we have no idea how our lives will change, but we’re a team and ready to love on this girl.
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