‘Birth control is a political act’: the pre-Trump contraception hurry starts now

In fear of what the new presidency will mean for reproductive rights, women in the US are racing to secure IUDs

On Wednesday morning, gynecologist Deborah Ottenheimer went to work determined not to talk about the election. I never do that, she says. You merely never know where people are at. But as her doorways opened, she promptly realised she wouldnt have a option. Every single patient that walked in burst into tears, she says. Women and girls were sobbing. Just sobbing. Everybody was wrecked.

Ottenheimers New York City clinic treated nearly 40 patients the day after Donald Trump was elected, and the only thing more unusual than their tears was that so many of them had the same question: Should I get an IUD?

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Feminists, faggot and transgender activists collect to protest against Donald Trump. Photograph: Pacific Press/ LightRocket via Getty Images

This tiny T-shaped plastic-and-copper coil, designed to stop an egg and sperm from surviving in the womb, has become an unlikely weapon on the frontline of womens rights. These are not people who were thinking about it already or were unhappy with their current method, says Ottenheimer. These people were afraid.

In fear of what a Trump presidency might mean for reproductive rights, thousands of women on social media have urged one another to seek out access to IUDs, a kind of birth control that they are able last anywhere from three to 12 years. Trump has promised to defund Planned Parenthood, the reproductive health organisation that provides contraception to many women around the US, and dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which guarantees access to contraception. Depending on the brand, an IUD inserted before Trumps inauguration guarantees that a woman is protected from unwanted pregnancy for the duration of his presidency and beyond. Its a fuck you to this president to get birth control that they are able to outlasted him, says Margot Judge, a 25 -year-old from New York who is considering getting an IUD this week.

Since the election, Ottenheimer says she has continued to be overwhelmed with petitions about the device, and she is not alone. Planned Parenthood has reported a spike in investigations while Google reported a massive peak in searches for IUD this week. And while this step towards self-protection is used to measure reassurance, plenty of women remain deeply uncertain about what the future holds.

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Planned Parenthood advocates rally for reproductive healthcare. Photograph: Nick Ut/ AP

For me, my motivating is dread, says Jennifer, 35, from Maryland. For the past eight years, weve watched expanded healthcare and more recognition of reproductive rights but I recollect how tense things were under George Bush. So, for me, theres a sense that I need to protect myself because I dont think lawmakers will.

Jennifer has thought about get an IUD before, but feelings urged to get one now. She says that the anxiety she has noticed among women after the election has left her impression unsettled about making a decision. I dont like the feeling of being painted into a corner. I feel like I am being rushed, like Im having to make a decision right now that I would like to be more thoughtful about.

Even without the threat of a pussy-grabbing chairman, IUDs make a lot of women anxious. They are the third most popular form of contraception in the US and the best available kind of reversible contraception available but it requires a medical procedure, and tales of perforated uteruses, heavy hemorrhaging and painful cramps have long sent females running to the pill instead.

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A mass rally on the fourth day after the election. Photograph: Pacific Press/ LightRocket via Getty Images

However, gynaecologists insist complications are rare. Ottenheimer says that, while there are other forms of long-term birth control such as the implant( inserted in the limb, lasting up to three years ), IUDs are a really good option for most women. Clare Lyons, a registered nurse who urged females to get an IUD on the night of the election, says that IUDs are incredibly safe and that women should get informed about whether it might be a good option for them. Ultimately, my message is to make an appointment with a provider; figure out what is best for you.

Ayelet Bitton, a 25 -year-old software engineer from San Francisco, has read a few horror narratives about IUDs, which have always held her back from getting one. But now she is re-evaluating. I used to say I didnt want to deal with getting it inserted, or the fear that it might be dislodged. But now I want to reconsider all of that, she says. Because the stress of something going wrong with my IUD is a lot less than the stress Ill have if this other stuff happens.

Hannah Weinberger is also reconsidering the downsides. The 26 -year-old from Amaeus, Pennsylvania, is an avid cyclist. She was once put off having the procedure to avoid physical side-effects that could stop her from cycling. But now that has changed. My strong feelings about being able to take control of my body mean that temporary discomfort doesnt[ matter] very much to me any more.

Most women quote two reasons for wanting to get an IUD: wanting to take advantage of their current right to free contraception, and doubts about rising costs of contraception in the future. But theres another reason, too.

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A #GOPHandsOffMe protest outside Trump Tower. Photo: Pacific Press/ LightRocket via Getty Images

Contraception is a feminist issue, says Weinberger. Get an IUD entails I have a tool in my body that the government cant touch. Attaining my own option about what my body is possible and cannot do in the face of an administration that wants to change that is a political act.

And lets be clear, the authorities concerned does very much want to change that. Although Trump has flip-flopped on abortion and has seemingly softened his view on Obamacare, Mike Pence, his beady-eyed go mate, has been vehemently opposed to reproductive rights throughout his political career. He signed a whopping eight anti-abortion bills into statute in fewer than four years as governor of Indiana, including one that mandated women hold funerals for their aborted foetuses and allowed hospitals to deny abortions to girls even if they would die without care.

So, while an IUD is a form of armour that women can use to shield themselves against Pence and Trumps crusade to control their bodies, theres still reason for women to be anxious about their own future in Trumpland.

Even if I decide to get an IUD today, says Jennifer, how do I know that in a few years Ill be able to see somebody to get it taken out?

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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