Chronicles of Contraceptive Access: The Partners’ Perspectives
By Jane Haines, Communications Intern, The National Campaign
The internet is going crazy for birth control. While Congress fights over the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), women from across the country are fighting tooth and nail to let the world know how much birth control access means to them. Through our storytelling portal, we’ve heard from women across the country in the last few months who told us how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) changed their lives. Millennial women especially piped up to tell us how they’ve never known anything different—universal birth control coverage is a daily part of life they can’t afford to lose. But what about their partners?
Last month, the internet blew up—again—when a new survey revealed that 52% of men say they haven’t personally benefitted from women’s access to birth control. Understandably, women on the internet weren’t happy. Here’s why:
55 million women gained access to no-cost preventive services under the Affordable Care Act, including birth control. This increased access has allowed millions of women to take control of their futures by giving them the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances they become pregnant.
With the future of the ACA in jeopardy, however, it’s important now more than ever for everyone to speak up about the importance of contraceptive coverage. If 52% of men don’t have our backs, lawmakers could cut the no-cost provision, and leave millions of women out in the cold.
The good news is that the male survey respondents were more likely to say they benefit from birth control access the closer they were to a woman’s reproductive age. That’s not surprising, considering 86% of men say that sex is better when they’re not worried about getting a partner pregnant.
We reached out to three millennial men who agree with that statement, and they told us how they’ve benefitted from their partners’ access to birth control through the ACA.
Jack, 19, from Massachusetts, said access to birth control has helped eliminate a huge stressor in his relationship. “My partner getting pregnant has always been a fear of mine. [Her] access to birth control is a great thing and a privilege. I’ve seen friends have difficulty getting it because of cost or stigma from their parents, so no-cost birth control is a huge thing for them.”
In addition to the pill, the ACA eliminated the high cost of methods like the IUD and implant, which, while among the most effective also happen to be among the most expensive. Access to these long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) not only gives women more effective pregnancy prevention methods, it also helps everyone have better, stress-free sex!
Stewart, 24, from Virginia, said his girlfriend’s decision to switch to an IUD at no cost was a huge relief. “No more fear of pregnancy, no more refilling expensive scrips, no more remembering to take it (or scrambling when you realize you forget,) and fewer side effects have all made our lives a lot easier.”
Alex, 21, from Pennsylvania, says unplanned pregnancy isn’t the only thing that can strain a relationship.
“I watched my girlfriend cycle through a half dozen birth control methods during our first year together to manage her ovarian cysts. When she finally decided to get an IUD, the Affordable Care Act made it really easy. I was out of town at the time, so it was especially great that she could find a provider close to campus.”
The bottom line is that safe, protected sex is everyone’s responsibility. Access to the full range of birth control methods means young people have the options they need to take control of their reproductive health.
Now that the future of the ACA is in lawmakers’ hands, 55 million women could stand to lose access to no-cost contraceptives—but we can’t let that happen. This isn’t just a policy, it has real impact on real peoples’ lives across the country.
If you or your partner has benefitted from no-cost birth control through the ACA, it’s time to speak up!
To tell your story, visit our interactive portal and find out why patients and providers from across the country support the no cost of contraception.
(Editor’s note: submissions have been edited for clarity and length).