I’m sitting in a room at the Women’s Clinic at the UCF Health Center, waiting. I look around and see posters explaining the dangers of drinking alcohol and the different types of STDS. There is a mobile on the ceiling with butterflies hanging from it.
I have come to this clinic several times since starting college. I came here for the first time in the fall of my freshman year, nervous and scared. I had met someone who would later become my boyfriend and I felt like I was ready to take birth control. I didn’t know what to expect.
I met with an absolutely fantastic nurse practitioner who was funny and kind and open. She was everything that I wanted and needed at that time and she made me realize that my sexuality was normal instead of shameful or embarrassing. She wrote my very first birth control prescription and I left feeling responsible and in control of my body.
Now I come here once every three months to get a Depo-Provera birth control shot. The nurses always ask me how I’m doing, and I leave feeling empowered and happy knowing that I’m safe.
But this visit is different, more ominous.
The reason for my visit is to have a consultation about switching my current form of birth control to an IUD. I am currently looking into Mirena: It can last up to five years after insertion and is over 99% effective.
I need a form of birth control that will last longer than Trump’s presidency. I am honestly so terrified about what will happen not only to me, but to all of my friends and to all of the women on college campuses across the country who are on birth control. I’m terrified for the women who take birth control not only for protection against pregnancy, but for other health related reasons as well. Birth control can be taken to prevent ovarian cysts, clear up acne, and can potentially prevent ovarian and uterine cancers.
I was incredibly lucky to have become sexually active during the Obama administration. My shot is currently completely covered by my mother’s health insurance. I never once had to worry about how I was going to have access to birth control or whether or not I could pay or it.
The Women’s Clinic at UCF is a very special place. Almost every nurse and nurse practitioner in the clinic has seen me and I have never had a bad experience. The women in the clinic have empowered me to make good choices and be safe about my sexuality. The Women’s Clinic is a safe haven for women to go, free from fear or judgment.
A nurse comes in and asks me why I’m here today. I look down at my lap and fiddle with my fingers.
“This may sound silly-“ I begin, “But I am honestly terrified about Trump’s presidency and that my current form of birth control will become unaffordable.”
The nurse looks at me with solemn eyes.
“Oh honey,” she says, “That’s not silly at all.”
The nurse asks me general questions about my health and before she leaves the room she looks at me says “Thank you for being proactive” and gives me a reassuring smile.
After she leaves I feel like I might cry. I love the Women’s Clinic. I love how it promotes the safety of women and empowers us.
But I’m also angry. I’m angry that we are still debating reproductive rights. I’m angry that Trump and Pence won the election. I’m angry that I feel unsafe and that my friends and I have to worry at night about how things will change for us.
Here is the realty that politicians don’t understand — women are having sex.
President-elect Donald Trump and Mike Pence don’t understand what it’s like to be a modern woman. They are not empathetic and aware of our needs. Women are leaders and intellectuals and, yes, we are also sexually active. This does not make us sluts or whores. The fact that we are sexually active does not decrease our worth.
Pence’s viewpoints about women are especially terrifying. He was the leader in the movement to defund Planned Parenthood and thinks that all women should remain chaste and pure until marriage.
That is simply unrealistic. Pence needs to accept that the fact that he is living in the 21st century and women are sexually liberated.
There is real feeling of fear among young women. The vast majority of my friends and sorority sisters say that Trump and Pence make them feel unsafe.
One of my sorority sisters said it best after Trump got elected: “I’m so sad. I feel like I don’t have control over my body anymore.”
I talk to a nurse practitioner and she says that if my insurance covers it, I can get my IUD within a few weeks. She walks me through the process and tells me about the different options that are offered. I then go to the insurance office to fill out paperwork.
I leave the Health Center feeling a little bit better knowing that I was proactive. To Trump and Pence I say this: You do not control me or my body. I simply won’t let you.
Photo via Women’s eNews on Flickr.