Huffpost UK Lifestyle
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Brogan Driscoll Headshot

Life on the Contraceptive Pill: Why I'm Thrilled the NHS Support My Decision to Remain Childless

Posted: Updated:

Not a day goes by when I don't think about the pill. But then, I don't really have a choice, I'm on the mini pill - the one that has to be taken every single day, without a seven-day break each month.

But popping that little hormone-rich disc into my mouth like clockwork every 24hours couldn't feel any less of a chore. Instead when I take it, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude.

Grateful that I have access to free contraception. Grateful that every six months the only thing standing between me and another prescription is a blood pressure reading. Grateful that no-one, but myself, has the right to question my desire to remain childless.

Contraception is something women (and men) take for granted in the UK. But venture across the pond to the not-so bright lights of America and these fundamental rights are being threatened, even today.

On Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled that retail chain Hobby Lobby can refuse health coverage for employees' contraception on religious grounds.

According to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, for-profit corporations may deny its employees the health coverage for contraceptives - to which the employees are otherwise entitled by federal law - based on the religious objections of the corporation's owners.

Monday's ruling was narrow. And the 5-4 decision, with all female justices dissenting, means that once again female reproductive rights are at the mercy of a small group of men.

hobby lobby

Naturally, there's been outrage (see above) and Hillary Clinton has expressed her dismay at the "deeply disturbing" ruling.

"I find it deeply disturbing that we are going in that direction," Hillary said. "It is very troubling that a sales clerk at Hobby Lobby who needs contraception, which is pretty expensive, is not going to get that service through her employer's health-care plan because her employer doesn't think she should be using contraception."

How can the US, which is supposed to be "the land of the free", deny this simple act of freedom to women?

The introduction of the contraceptive pill in 1961 is heralded as a major stepping stone in the emancipation of women.

Like many of my peers, I first began taking contraception at 16. I'd recently started going out with my first boyfriend and my mum decided I should start taking the pill.

At first I was aghast: "Ergh. I don't want to have sex with him, mum."

But I soon learned that mum knows best, and changed my mind.

Since that fateful day, like most women in the UK, I've tried different forms of contraception.

My first pill, Microgynon, gave me teenage moodswings (to which my aforementioned mother and first boyfriend can testify), the implant gave me periods that lasted for six weeks at a time (horrendous), and now I'm on the mini pill, which is oestrogen-free and progestogen-only.

It's not easy to try out different contraceptives. It's time-consuming and messes with your body (some being hormonal, others invasive). But, as there's no one-size-fits-all answer to contraception, it's something that needs to be done.

In the UK, we're very lucky to have so many options available and free-of-charge. And, in my eyes, no side-effect outweighs the ultimate risk: becoming a mother when I'm neither willing or able.

This may be an unpopular opinion. Especially among those who have experienced the side-effects first hand, are unable to conceive or are happy mothers and I respect that.

But ultimately I'm grateful that when it comes to my life and my body, my opinion is only opinion that counts.

Around the Web

Hobby Lobby - Hobby Lobby

Justices Rule in Favor of Hobby Lobby - NYTimes.com

SCOTUS sides with Hobby Lobby on birth control - Politico

Supreme Court rules ObamaCare provision can't force some ...

Hobby Lobby Wins Contraceptive Ruling in Supreme Court - ABC ...

Supreme Court Rejects Contraceptives Mandate for Some Corporations

Clinton blasts Hobby Lobby ruling

Hobby Lobby Ruling Cuts Into Contraceptive Mandate

Hobby Lobby Actually Lavishes Contraception Coverage on Its Employees

The Political Repercussions of the Hobby Lobby Decision