“The New York Birth Control Access Project”

““So people’s ability to have or not have children are all tied up in reproductive justice.”  ”

— NY Birth Control Access Project Associate Board

While Alcea Surrogacy aids with the latter, we cannot (and will not) deny the former as we are forever joined by biology. We are sisters wrapped in social injustice. As reproductive rights were lit a blaze less than four weeks ago, I take some comfort in organizations rising up and continuing to fight despite being blistered and begrimed by ash. So let us shift our attention to the NY Birth Control Access Project (NYBCAP) which is out there ‘getting busy for birth control,’ as they put it…and I gotta say….I’m here for it.

The goal of the NYBCAP is contraceptive accessibility.  Yet, the NYBCAP board raises an important question…..what does that word mean to you?  Accessibility.  It is not as simple as being able to get something.  It runs so much deeper, especially when it comes to reproductive health where any discussion is often taboo and divisive.

Most of us, even the ones who work for NYBCAP, have some form of unconscious bias.  It’s unavoidable.  EVERYONE has it.  When you see anything day in and day out, it sinks in. They say consistency is the key to forming good habits …well, friends, it’s also the key to forming bad ones.  In some form or fashion the bias seeps its way behind thoughts and feelings and no matter how hard we try we can never be free of them.    Even though I believe with all the fire in my red headed roots that I should have control over my body I would still immediately lower my voice if someone started asking me questions about birth control in a public space.

But WHY?  Well, unconscious bias…that’s what we have to be aware of.  You have to CONSCIOUSLY make decisions that confront the weight of bias.  Make the choice to be more aware.  Speak up in moments of discomfort.  Stand tall even when your voice quavers.  With consistency, it will get easier.  Being aware is no walk in the park; it’s an uncomfortable and timid crawl over uneven floors in a ‘not so fun’ fun-house.

I walk around every day thinking about people who cannot have children and how to help them.  But today, I’ve turned the table, because as much as I feel for people who want to have children but cannot, I feel just as much for those who can but do NOT want.  Hell, I personally feel MOST people should not have children….but I am not those people….so I should not have a say over their bodies.  When you are young and maturing, one of the things you learn is that other people will try and bring you down, especially when they don’t feel good about themselves.  So is that the situation we, as a country, have found ourselves in?  Does it make those without a uterus feel better?  Do they feel less on par without female reproductive organs?   Is this rooted in some perverted form of low self-esteem?  Do they sleep better at night knowing I have no control over my uterus and the legislation put into action does? The decision to send the question of abortion back to the states is just as wrong now as when the question was segregation.  Make no mistake. What state they reside in determines whether they have control of their life and body just as men do in every state.   Women are disadvantaged because of their sex.  Geographic location, not the constitution, now determines whether they are entitled to full equality.

The NYBCAP is getting out into the communities and impacting the health and safety surrounding reproduction.   Members are tasked and empowered to head into their communities with education and access.  One of those ways is contraceptive and emergency birth control vending machines.  It would be so obvious. It is without stigma and unconscious bias!  This is something they are looking at for college campuses, public spaces and birth control deserts.  Think vending machines in airports that sell travel size toiletries, etc….but with the focus on birth control and emergency contraceptives.  It’s bold, simple, empowering and would be immediately effective in the community.  NYBCAP is also working toward pharmacist prescribed birth control.  So simple but it did blow my mind a bit.  I live in a state where that is not accessible….or even really heard of.  Learning that so many states already do this was wild.  Jenna Bimbi, NYBCAP’s executive director stated,   “Pharmacists having the ability to prescribe birth control will create an unprecedented and game-changing level of access. Nearly 20 states across the country allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control.”  Doctor’s offices typically are not “right around the corner” but pharmacies are.  They are on the corner or nestled into your grocery stores.  Most people live within FIVE miles of their pharmacy.  That could open up accessibility by a drastic percentage.  NYBCAP has the research to back it up, too.  A 2019 study showed women who were prescribed birth control by their pharmacist were younger and less likely to be insured.  That is two giant gaps in contraceptive access. This non profit organization continues to help New Yorkers (and more) channel their rage into action, reminding us that SCOTUS isn’t stopping at abortion … all reproductive rights are on the line, including birth control.

The NY Birth Control Access Project  is made up over 100 young people shining their light across New York.  I’m really excited to learn, donate and participate in their cause.  I encourage all who are reading to get involved or make a small change that can impact this country for the better.  #GetBusy4BirthControl.  Who knows, maybe they will grow into the USA Birth Control Access Project.  I’ll be here for it.