“IUD” is an acronym I saw a lot in the news, following Donald Trump‘s disturbing election win as President-elect. The headlines read as: “Women Are Considering Getting IUDs Before Trump Takes Away Reproductive Rights. ” “Women are rushing to get IUDs before Trump takes office.” “Women Rush To Get Long-Acting Birth Control After Trump Wins.”
I got curious. I knew it was a form of birth control. But why were women running track and field like the rent was due the night of November 9 to get an IUD? As opposed to, birth control pills or a diaphragm? And while I knew it was a contraceptive, what exactly is an IUD?
Instinctively, I did a Google search first and a link to Planned Parenthood came up. As a trusted sanctuary for women in need of contraceptives, medical help, and sex education, I immediately clicked on it. This would later lead to other pages brimming with information and opinions on the state of reproductive rights.
An IUD (Intrauterine Device) is a slightly T-shaped device that’s inserted into the woman’s uterus. It can last up to ten to twelve years depending on the kind you get. It is reversible, and 5 brands are FDA approved that provide them: ParaGard, Liletta, Mirena, Skyla, and Kyleena. How it works once inserted by an OB-GYN, is that it changes the way sperm moves so that it can’t interact with the egg. IUDs either attack sperm by omitting copper or levonorgestrel, a man-made hormone specifically crafted for birth control purposes and is also the basis for Plan B.
I’m not sure if I was more puzzled or concerned by the presence of copper in birth control tools. I know the material as simply a metal. Reading that it is greatly utilized for use inside of a woman’s body, and in an intimate manner, got me pondering just how safe the copper method was.
ParaGard and Mirena offer copper IUDs and its beneficial use towards contraception was first discovered in 1969 by Chilean Dr. Jamie Zipper. Zipper was aware that farm croppers used copper to kill plant diseases and wondered if copper could do the same, as far as killing sperm, if necessary. (Smart guy!)
Annexation of copper, ions, prostaglandins (lipids), and white blood cells combat as a mega-spermicide when released. Bustle disclosed that copper IUDs detach the tails off of sperm, therefore cutting its ability to do a damn thing. Sounds gruesome and awesome in terms of contraception, right? But is it really safe for us to use?
There is such a thing as copper toxicity. That is when the body consumes more than 10mg of it in a day. But IUDs actually release a small(er) amount of copper inside the body than imagined. (Pictures of IUDs appear massive, but the device is very modest). What is released is not enough to cause marring or damage. You’re more likely to experience copper toxicity from drinking tainted water or food cooked in uncoated pots and pans. In my research, however, it is was numerously recommended to get tested for pelvic allergies and inflammations so as not to agitate the body further if you are susceptible due to specific allergies.
Do remember this about IUDs: they only work against preventing pregnancy and not STDs, so please make sure that you are fully checked out for STDs and STIs, especially if in an exclusive or committed relationship. (There’s also no shame in continuing to use condoms). Also, once an IUD is removed, there is no wait time on getting pregnant too.
In a nutshell, that is what IUDs are.
It’s fascinating how much a stringy-looking T-shape device can do. It’s like a Star Wars mini lightsaber inside of the woman’s body for her protection.
This brings us back to (questioning) why a percentage of American women reacted as if IUDs would become scarce come 2017.
That answer is simple on the surface. During his campaign, Donald Trump reassured the right-wing crowd that he was pro-life, a stance he never cared to make public until his Presidential campaigning. Since becoming President-elect, he has made scathing remarks that his administration would attempt to overturn the historic Roe vs. Wade decision by the Supreme Court. Finalized in December 1973, Roe vs. Wade made it legal for women to get abortions in all fifty states. Trump said he would return the decision of abortions to individual states.
Adding another insult to the mountain of emotional injuries induced by Trump and his camp, his chosen Vice President Mike Pence has used the largest paint brush possible to paint himself as the worse representation of pro-life views with his asinine comments and actions on reproductive rights. He’s been doing so since 2007.
Starting in 2007, as a member of Congress, he authored the first bill demanding federal defunding of Planned Parenthood. In January 2016, for the first time in over 40 years, a bill, after being passed by the Senate, actually found its way to President Obama‘s desk, asking that the estimated $450 million for federal funding Planned Parenthood be expunged of such use. Considering Obama’s plea to stand with Planned Parenthood, despite their evil efforts, remains unsigned by him. But again. January 2017.
In a past interview with Vox, Pence was recorded saying: “If Planned Parenthood wants to be involved in providing counseling services and HIV testing, they ought not be in the business of providing abortions. As long as they aspire to do that, I’ll be after them.”
The man is obsessed with anti-abortion laws and limiting American women’s and human rights. It is creepy and scary because his views on why abortions are done in the first place are extremely narrow-minded and insensitive. Pence is the same individual that co-signed Todd Akin‘s atrocious attempt of wedging “legitimate rape” into a definition, the American English lexicon and worse, the law.
After the above refreshing, I returned to the articles that brought me to write my own piece in the first place about IUDs.
Under the Affordable Care act through the Obama Administration, birth control became more cost-effective and in some instances, free. If Trump follows through on his threats, birth control could be harder to get a hold of, in addition to the kind of birth control that lasts for years, such as IUDs. It was mainly on Twitter that women were encouraging each other to get IUDs before January 20, the date Trump and Pence are scheduled to be sworn in as President and Vice President. Over at ELLE, Mattie Kahn said it blunt: “Our reproductive healthcare is always under attack, but it’s about to be a very scary time to have unreliable birth control. Enter, the IUD.”
At The Daily Beast, Erin Gloria Ryan was honest in that Trump never blatantly stated that he would outlaw IUDs. BUT: “What Donald Trump has promised to do—and what Mike Pence has actually done during his tenure as governor of Indiana—is to make birth control a lot more difficult for women to access.”
Back on November 2, Ryan wrote: “But if Hillary Clinton loses on November 8, and if along with her loss goes the Senate and House, the repeal of Obamacare is all but inevitable come January. And the repeal conservatives have promised will likely mean the free IUD benefit vanishes, and accessible birth control goes back to being either a daily responsibility that doesn’t work as well or a serious surgical intervention that can’t be reversed.”
NPR calmed nerves in that our current reproductive rights wouldn’t elapse when the clock strikes January 20, but Erin Ross pointed out that women in the know weren’t waiting. Planned Parenthoods and clinics across the country were hit with higher than usual calls and requests after November 8, election day. Pussies weren’t only grabbing back (at Trump’s sexism and patriarchal presentation), but pussies were making imperative moves to protect themselves immediately in such an inimical climate.
“Dr. Anne Davis, consulting medical director for Physicians for Reproductive Health and an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, says that on Wednesday six women called “in a panic” to schedule IUD appointments. Normally, only about one woman calls to book an IUD insertion each day.”
Interestingly, most of the articles abridged above were short and to the point: Ladies. Get an IUD.
During the time frame of his first meeting with President Obama as President-elect, Trump admitted to not having given Obamacare a proper, thorough reading (He trashed it throughout his entire campaign). In a New Yorker brief titled “TRUMP CONFIRMS THAT HE JUST GOOGLED OBAMACARE”, he disclosed to actually liking a lot of what it offered. “I Googled it, and, I must say, I was surprised. There was a lot in it that really made sense, to be honest.”
He really is a handful, huh?
Without the help of Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act’s current plan, women would’ve paid the full $500-$900 for the IUD process and device. For that alone, next to the moral compass that’s missing from Pence’s logic and throughout Trump’s candidacy, is why reports came out describing women as “running” to the doctor’s office for long-term contraception.
In the United States, only 9% of women use IUDs as their main form of birth control. They are more commonly used in Europe. The IUD is still combating the myths and issues it experienced in the past, most of it occurring in the 1970s. The problems surrounded usage and understanding of the IUD and the Dalkon disaster. (A brand and type of IUD that malfunctioned on the regular). Women who are sexually active and use birth control beyond condoms are aware of IUDs when observing the abundant of options that are right for their bodies. But the average female population remains unaware or unintentionally uneducated about them.
The invention and development of the IUD are incredibly innovative. Its presence is needed more than ever in which women must practice safe sex and reliable contraception. The IUD has evolved exponentially and its supply and demand arrive at a dire era in American history.