Since the election, as you can imagine, the outspoken Lena Dunham has had a particularly tough time traversing the political climate–and understandably so. Recently, Dunham penned a powerfully emotional and honest essay in The New York Times about how she’s struggled with endometriosis, something she has suffered from since age 12 but only got diagnosed at 27. (That alone says a lot about how women are treated in the healthcare system.)
For many women who suffer from painful periods, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, cystic acne, migraines, uterine abnormalities and ectopic pregnancies, they suffer silently–and hardly get any understanding or respite. Especially now.
This is why Dunham wrote about how birth control is a life-saver (because it is, and hey, I use it and love it). She opened the essay describing how she felt her first symptoms at 12, having ended up blacking out–and went on to talk about what would happen if Trumpcare rolls back covering birth control. Document that appear to delineate the ACA repeal “outline a chilling proposal that would allow any employer to deny coverage of birth control at any time and for any reason.”
My @nytimes op-ed on the proposed birth control coverage rollbacks is in print and online now. Women should have access to any kind of contraception they want, any time they want, without pushback from their employers or insurers. But what about the fact that hormonal BC keeps many of us healthy, in the work force and out of this position? We have the power to let our representatives know that enough is enough. We are the NO LONGER SILENT majority. Link in bio, take action. And yeah, I am this extra hot every time I’m in an ER with pelvic pain 🔥
She went on to explain how birth control help controls pain associated with these diseased, endometriosis in particular, which has no cure:
“Considering how little money the government puts into endometriosis research (last year, the National Institutes of Health allocated around $10 million of its $32 billion budget to it), it’s clear that our country already has a dangerous disregard for women with this common condition.
But imagine if this disease that affects about one in 10 women of reproductive age were allowed to progress unhindered. Imagine losing these women’s essential contributions to our world because of a treatable illness.”
The rollback, as she says, is absurd and inhuman. While it should be covered just on the basis that it’s a preventative measure against becoming pregnant unintentionally, it could disable women who suffer from these syndromes and diseases. She said:
“For women with financial means, the rollback would be inconvenient and unfair, as other necessary medications remain covered. But for women living near or below the poverty line, it would be disastrous, jeopardizing their ability to work and provide for their families.
But imagine if this disease that affects about one in 10 women of reproductive age were allowed to progress unhindered. Imagine losing these women’s essential contributions to our world because of a treatable illness.
Considering birth control pills can cost up to $50 a month without insurance, it means more stress for women who don’t earn a lot–as if they need another bill on their plate. As I’ve written about for Kveller before, the new draft doesn’t help anyone except for men or wealthy women. When it comes to birth control, the ACA saved American women $1.4 billion just in 2013.
Thank you for all the love & concern that’s been pouring in since Tuesday. Although I’m much healthier than I was a year ago, complications arose from my most recent endometriosis surgery. When the healthcare of so many American women, especially our trans sisters, is at-risk- or already nonexistent- I am lucky to be in the position to seek help when I’m in pain. To those in that privileged spot- never forget that we are blessed and can pay it forward by supporting Planned Parenthood and LGBTQ clinics like Callen-Lorde with our 💰 and ⌚️. I also want to remind all the women suffering from chronic illness that we aren’t weak- quite the opposite, actually. We do our jobs with skill even when we’re struggling. We care for our families even when we can hardly care for ourselves. We serve major face on a red carpet when we feel like lying face down would be more appropriate. I’ll always be proud of those Met Gala pics- not just because I felt beautiful, surrounded by art and magic, hugging my best friend tightly, but because they’re evidence that women contain steely multitudes. Just that morning @dianafalzone sued Fox after they took her off air for disclosing her endometriosis. But they’re the ones who lost when they lost her, because everyone who’s anyone knows that if you can battle chronic illness there’s nothing you can’t take on.
For moms who don’t suffer from something like endometriosis, this hurts too, considering affordable access to birth control to results in a decrease in maternal and infant deaths–which also saves children’s lives. It’s been said before, but it feels truer every day: Republicans only care about fetuses and people before they are born.