Birth Control Preppers
November 9, 2016 6:59 PM   Subscribe

Are fears of restrictions on hormonal birth control in the wake of a Trump/Pence victory well founded, and what should I do about this in light of my specific snowflakey reproductive situation?

Today on my social media feed, I'm seeing a lot of folks recommending that women who seek to control their fertility in the age of Trump and Pence get an IUD, stat. I'm planning to start trying to conceive within a few months. I currently use a different form of hormonal birth control which I am otherwise happy with. I live in California and access birth control via Planned Parenthood.

Ideally, the timeframe is to go off birth control in February or March, kid within a year or two, and then probably get an IUD or have my tubes tied if possible. I'm not sure how much that trajectory makes sense as of today. Putting childbearing off for another five years is not an option. What do?
posted by Sara C. to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Honestly, your worry should not be about birth control, given your timeline. It should be about whether or not you will have your childbirth expenses covered, and whether or not you will miss out on getting your breast pump paid for, as is required by the ACA. If you get your reproductive healthcare exclusively through Planned Parenthood, perhaps you can ask them what your options are.
posted by Pearl928 at 7:10 PM on November 9, 2016 [22 favorites]

Trump thinks the government shouldn't have to pay for birth control, not that it shouldn't be available for women who want to buy it. The recommendation you see on Twitter is getting the IUD for free before that part of ACA is cut.
posted by cecic at 7:22 PM on November 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

One of the strongest reasons to get an IUD now is a) fear that many/all affordable contraceptive options will be taken away from unmarried women who can't afford to self-fund it b) no access to legal abortion in the case of an unwanted pregnancy. This doesn't seem to be your particular set of circumstances, and while we all run the risk of sex we don't consent to, you are probably at least safer on those grounds than younger more vulnerable women.

As long as you plan to give birth before 2018 you'll probably have something resembling ACA-era insurance. It seems unlikely that much will change until open enrollment next year.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:24 PM on November 9, 2016

If cost may be a future issue for obtaining birth control there's a few things to do, 1. Start saving some money 2. Find out how your local planned parenthood is funded and whether or not it's a Title X site (which means sliding scale, not all planned parenthoods are). 3. Follow the news- all these things take time and you will at least be able to plan about costs.

Fun fact: IUDs can be placed immediately post partum
posted by raccoon409 at 7:29 PM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Trump thinks the government shouldn't have to pay for birth control, not that it shouldn't be available for women who want to buy it.

This may be optimistic. The religious right has been moving towards making birth control harder to access for several years now, and this would probably be more likely to happen with almost any Republican president. However, the specific presence of Mike Pence in the executive branch all but insures that women's access to reproductive healthcare will be less assured going forward.

This is not a question about whether feminist fears of contracting access to women's healthcare are real, but on strategizing based on the assumption that this is a thing.

Great answers, all! I'm still not sure what I will do (in an ideal world I'd get an IUD now, but the timing is not great), but this is food for thought.
posted by Sara C. at 7:35 PM on November 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

So at the moment, the only justice they can replace will be Scalia, who already hated your birth control. I would only worry if RBG or Stevens started looking sick. You're probably fine for now, but I'd definitely keep an eye on the Justice's health.
posted by corb at 7:40 PM on November 9, 2016 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Assuming you are in a monogamous partnership, don't forget about the option of a vasectomy for him if you're only planning a single pregnancy. Much cheaper and simpler than tubal litigation, and undoubtedly not a right that will ever be under attack.
posted by veery at 7:52 PM on November 9, 2016 [24 favorites]

Keep in mind that an IUD can screw with your hormones after it's taken out more than other forms of HBC, so conceiving could take longer.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:57 PM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Is adoption an option?

You get a paperwork pregnancy instead of gestation, maybe not as exciting but certainly worthwhile. The adopted baby or kid gets a stable family and you get a baby/kid.

And then you can go ahead with getting that IUD or tube-tying asap.
posted by aniola at 8:01 PM on November 9, 2016

Best answer: Condoms. I'm not even joking.

IUDs are wonderful but I wouldn't recommend one for just a few months of birth control.

Stay on your birth control until February, pop out a kid, then get your husband to have a vasectomy.
posted by pintapicasso at 2:06 AM on November 10, 2016 [7 favorites]

Keep in mind that an IUD can screw with your hormones after it's taken out more than other forms of HBC, so conceiving could take longer.

This is not true.
posted by chiquitita at 3:09 AM on November 10, 2016 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Assuming it would not be a disaster in the event you did get pregnant before February: condoms and/or your current hormonal method of birth control, kid, vasectomy. If you would be more comfortable with a tubal, discuss that with your OB, but it does slightly increase your risk of ectopic pregnancies and while I hope we will not live so far into a Handmaid's Tale dystopia by then that that would be a problem to treat, I'd seek to avoid it if possible. Reevaluate IUD access/coverage after giving birth.

I've never been happier that my husband is scheduled to have his vasectomy next week, btw.
posted by lydhre at 5:33 AM on November 10, 2016

Best answer: Another vote for Team Vasectomy. I feel straight-up blessed that my partner has done this, and it requires no effort or worry on my part.

If your partner is open to it and you can afford it, one solution might be for him to get a vasectomy soon, and just prior to make a few "deposits" to be preserved for future use.
posted by witchen at 9:31 AM on November 10, 2016

There is a big difference between the hormonal (Mirena, etc) and non-hormonal copper (Paragard) IUDs.

With a copper non-hormonal IUD, you're fertile the instant it's removed because it mostly prevents implantation.

The hormonal IUD releases very small amounts of hormones (non-estrogen) locally and does have a wear-off time like other hormonal birth control.

I would NOT get any IUD if you only intend to keep it a few months, though.
posted by bookdragoness at 10:10 AM on November 10, 2016

Best answer: Just a sort of side note: If Planned Parenthood goes away, and you are able to get insurance elsewhere. Try to get insurance, if at all possible, that does not put your preferred provider at a Catholic hospital. The one here will not allow an OB to do tubal ligations, for example. I am guessing there are other restrictions, but that was one that came up in discussions with my OB.
posted by freezer cake at 11:25 AM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, Team Vasectomy!
posted by Sara C. at 12:59 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

I think a vasectomy or condoms are a great choice for a couple, but I think the most terrifying thing, especially in a male supremacist, no-abortion setting, is pregnancy by rape, and they're no help for that. If you are afraid of losing insurance, you could see whether a doc would prescribe and then hold an IUD for you for installation in the future (I'm not sure how expiration works, but I presume the doc would know). I also think doing what's necessary, in terms of travel or 'informal' import to try to keep an unexpired Plan B supply on hand would help with peace of mind.
posted by Salamandrous at 4:02 PM on November 10, 2016

In CA, we're not likely to lose access to birth control in a hurry - you'll be able to see the wave of restrictions move across other states first. :( And while Pence & co. really do want to remove all ability for women to control their bodies, that's not a single-order slash-those-rights situation. The recommendation for IUDs now is for women who are (rightfully) concerned that they won't be able to afford them when they lose access to insurance.

FWIW, price of an IUD without insurance, according to Google, is up to $1000. CA will continue to have places that work hard to reduce that cost for the women who need them.

I've used a copper-T (Paraguard) IUD for more than 15 years (had my first replaced a few years ago) and have loved it. I have friends who strongly prefer Mirena because the hormones cut down on heavy periods.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:15 PM on November 10, 2016

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