Someone asked us:
Q. I’m going to start college in the fall, and while I don’t plan to be sexually active for some time, I’d like to go on birth control. My menstrual cramps are really bad and I’ve heard that birth control can alleviate this. However, my parents are strongly opposed to letting me get birth control, especially on their insurance. What are some low cost options I could use?
It’s true! Hormonal birth control methods can help with all sorts of menstrual-related mischief like irregular, painful, or heavy periods, acne, anemia, infections, and even cancer. In fact, lots of people use birth control even if they aren’t currently sexually active to help with this stuff. Your parents might not know this, so try sending them over to plannedparenthood.org for a little education.
And on the other part of your question, I totally get it: Talking with your parents about birth control isn’t always easy. But you might be surprised. You’re regularly dealing with cramping and other uncomfortable menstrual symptoms. You’re suffering and using birth control could help. Regardless of their opinions about sex, chances are your parents don’t want to see you suffer. Explaining what you’re going through might help them understand why you want to get a prescription for birth control.
Of course there’s no guarantee that they’ll be open to it, and depending upon your situation, you might decide it’s best to avoid the conversation entirely. In general, you don’t need your parents’ permission to get prescription birth control like the pill. If you’re 18 years old or older, you definitely don’t need parental permission.
As for costs, Planned Parenthood works to make health care accessible and affordable for everyone, so some health centers are able to charge according to income. Most Planned Parenthood health centers accept health insurance, and if you qualify, Medicaid or other state programs could help lower the cost of birth control for you. The staff at your local health center can talk with you about costs and payment for your specific situation.
-Nathan at PPFA