Want Your Birth Control Delivered? There’s an App for That!

Thanks to the ever-evolving intersection between women’s health and mobile app technology, you can now have birth control pills delivered to your home faster than the next book on your Amazon wishlist!

One of the most important health achievements in the modern era has been the ability for women to decide when or if they want to become parents. Contraception has allowed for women who want to become parents to space their pregnancies for optimal maternal and child health outcomes.  It’s also allowed women to help support themselves and their families through educational and career advancements.

simone-van-der-koelen-435823-unsplash

But often women who want to prevent pregnancy, encounter issues that make it difficult or impossible to get the care they need. These issues include:

  • Difficulty taking time off school or work to get to a doctor’s visit
  • Getting enough medication to last until you can get back to a doctor or pharmacist
  • Paying for transportation to/from a doctor’s appointment
  • Paying co-pays
  • Finding a doctor that prescribes the type of birth control you want

These barriers to accessing health care can exist for anyone but they have a much larger impact on women in rural locations, those with limited financial resources, and Black women who simultaneous experience racism within the healthcare system. So, now that the technology industry and women’s health have converged to help women overcome the many challenges we face in accessing health care, it’s essential that we support Black women by getting the word out.

julian-howard-642517-unsplash

For some time now, pharmacists in many states have been providing emergency contraception (EC) to women without a prescription. Now, many women’s health experts believe that other forms of birth control are safe enough to be sold without a prescription. In fact, several states, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Oregon, trained pharmacists can prescribe birth control so you can skip the doctor’s visit and get the medication at the same place you purchase condoms and feminine hygiene products.

Although no smartphone app will ever completely replace the valuable experience of meeting face-to-face with a clinician, these apps do offer an alternative to those who want to avoid many of the pitfalls of the traditional healthcare experience. And although women must visit a clinician to get access to the most effective forms of birth control, research suggests that for Black women,

the ability start/stop birth control that comes with less effective methods like birth control pills, the patch, and the ring, are important to Black women. Here’s the scoop on a few options to have your birth control delivered to your doorstep:

NURX

They are committed to disrupting the traditional healthcare model that too often leaves women of color with poor outcomes. Perhaps the most popular of the mobile health platforms, Nurx also provides the widest range of birth control, with over 50 options that include the patch and the ring.

Nurx also prescribes pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), to women at risk for contracting HIV, making it unique among the online options. It’s available in 17 states and expanding to offer services in other states.

PRJKTRUBY

PrjktRuby aims to break the cycles of generational poverty by empowering women to decide if/when they want to become parents.

PrjktRuby is available in 48 states, giving it the widest reach of any of the platforms. Also, they demonstrate a commitment to their mission of halting generational poverty by donating 25 cents of every $20 pack of birth pills purchased, toward the provision of contraception in developing countries.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD DIRECT

If you live in California, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, or Washington, you can order birth control online through Planned Parenthood Direct. They offer delivery of 5 different birth control pills through the app. You can also get information on more effective birth control like IUDs and implants. Consistent with their provision of comprehensive care in person, they also provide treatment for UTIs. Unique to this app is that you always have to option to turn your online visit to an in-person one if necessary.

LEMONAID HEALTH

Lemonaid Health’s mission is to provide ultra-low cost healthcare to everyone in America. Birth control is just one of many medications the deliver. They offer a wide array of birth control pills and although you can skip the doctor’s visit, you will need to go to the pharmacy to pick it up the patch or the ring.

thought-catalog-612383-unsplash (1)

Photo Cred: thoughtcatalog.com

In general, the mobile health platforms require an online medical assessment, which most women are capable of completing quite accurately. Licensed clinicians then review your responses and meet with you, usually via telephone or video. No physical exam needed so the mobile app options may be most appropriate for women who have no pre-existing health conditions. And there is no substitute for the experience of meeting face-to-face with a licensed health care provider so it may be a good idea to visit the doctor’s office if you’re just getting started on birth control and use the online option for refills. Without insurance, prices start as low as $9 per cycle, depending on the birth control method and the platform you use. In most cases, that’s less money that it takes to take the train to the doctor’s office!

So what do you think! Have you tried either of these platforms? Do you think ordering your birth control online s something you’d be willing to try? Let me know in the comments below!

 

I’m Childfree By Choice: So Please Stop Bingoing Me!

I went back and forth about whether or not I wanted to write this for this platform. Everywhere I go I see post after post saying people without kids are “assholes”, “rude,” “mean,” “selfish,” and every other word in the book. This post originally appeared on my facebook, but I wanted to add it here and flesh out a few pieces for a greater audience because there just aren’t enough posts like these. I also feel like it can contribute to the conversation that is circling regarding Jeannie Mai and her husband’s impending divorce.  With this ridiculous disclaimer out the way….

 

In the childfree community, we call it bingoing/being bingoed when people with children or those who buy into norms of having children say certain things to us because we have made a decision to opt out of parenthood. The decision of whether or not I wanted to parent became particularly salient for me when my ex-fiance and I went back and forth in the months leading up to our planned wedding date.

 

Well as you can guess by this post– that wedding didn’t happen. *Ba dun tisk*

Go head, laugh. I can *now* laugh about it myself; but it took a few months to get here. Anyway, I have been very forthcoming with people about the end of my last relationship and that at the core of this change was my lack of willingness to have children, to give up my dreams and goals associated with travel, and to stifle my career by placing another person’s vision of happiness above my own. Some people call this selfish, I call it self-awareness.

I think it is noble and nice that folks say their kids are the best thing to happen to them, and yet I see so many parents on my social media timelines and elsewhere who are utterly miserable. People who mention their lack of sleep, continued inability to save for a rainy day, find themselves consistently canceling plans because of a sick baby or unexpectedly busy co-parent,  etc.  and it’s touted as a badge of honor. I don’t purport to understand it and I have decided it’s not for me to do so. But gosh golly people. Canceling on the same friend every month? It sucks. Walking around a shell of who you are? It’s hard to watch. Asking me for money? Well, that’s actually no longer an option for anyone because I cannot help you.

What I do know is that I did not grow up with the life I felt I deserved. My parents did everything they could and I am grateful for every sacrifice they’ve made to get me here. It is not lost on me that my parents contributed greatly to the woman I am today. My parents worked to their bones to provide for my sister and I. I have watched as they gave everything they had and poured into us with a selflessness that I honestly think should be illegal. I am hyper-aware of the fact that my parents, who are low income by every measure I’ve come to learn as a social class researcher, have worked 40+ hours per week for the entirety of my life and they do not have enough to retire on. They have not because they sacrificed for us. And in many ways I’ve already made the decision to make sure they do not have to suffer for it.

Make no mistake I am grateful. In fact, I want the best for everyone in my life, and if that means having 2972972982 kids and struggling or having no kids at all great. But I must admit openly and honestly that it is utterly exhausting being bingoed. I am tired and I am frustrated with everyone else’s preoccupation with what I do with my vagina, my wallet, and my willingness to sacrifice. People treat me as if my decision not to have kids is somehow an affront to them. As if I have somehow invalidated their choices by choosing to make my own. And the worst part of it all is how many people ignore just how many Black women, women who could be me, my sister, my cousins, etc. have died during childbirth and die at a higher rate than everyone else in this first world country we call home.  I am exhausted by hearing–

“it’s different when you have yours”

“you don’t want to give your parents grandkids”

“You didn’t really love [ex-fiance] if you wouldn’t have his kids” (I’m no longer friends with this person.)

“Children are a blessing”

“What will be your legacy”

“You’re not a real woman until you have kids”

Etc. Etc. Etc.

I must admit I’ve been particularly sensitive this month. I was supposed to get married *and* I somehow forgot to remove the calendar invites going haywire to remind me about my “honeymoon.” I still love my ex-fiance and do not pretend as if this isn’t the case.

AND… I still don’t want to have kids.

I think the most frustrating part of all of this is how people question me as if I have not thought and calculated every piece of this decision. Do people honestly think that I walked away from a relationship that would have guaranteed me fun and comfort without weighing how much having a child because he wanted one would hurt and harm me? Do people think I am unaware of the exorbitant costs associated with daycare and private schooling? Do people think I am unaware that amongst even my closest friends those married, in a partnership, a relationship without legal guarantees, and even those who are single that the women *almost always* do all of the parenting work? Even amongst my friends in queer relationships, the person who is most femme presenting *often* does all of the work (this is a whole different dialogue for another day, btw).

I have thought.

I have researched.

I have made budgets.

I have remade budgets.

I have mapped career timelines from front to back with and without kids.

I still have no desire to have kids.

I write all of this to say stop trying to make me make the choices you’ve made. Stop trying to make me be with someone who wants kids (or is fence sitting) when I know I’m setting myself up for divorce. Stop talking to me as if my life is not as important as yours because you’re a parent. Stop saying “at least you don’t have kids” when I mention my annoyance about unexpected expenses popping up. I still have bills to pay and a mouth to feed: Mine.

I am a whole person. A living breathing individual who wishes to be seen as more than an incubator for a human fetus. Who wishes to have her accomplishments judged by their merit, not by the man or kids I am or am not attached to.

And stop trying to force me to qualify “I’m not interested in having kids” by following up quickly about how much I like them. Everything I do is for the good of other people. Nearly every desire I have is for the betterment of society. Every decision I make is so that I can get to a point of being more charitable and giving than I am today– things that are for the good of a future I don’t have children coming into.

And if you can’t do any of that, just please for the sake of my heart, feelings, and emotions stop bingoing me.

P.S. My ex is a great guy. Have at him. 😉