There are millions of teenage girls and women in the United States who depend on oral contraception, or as it is widely known, "the pill", in their everyday lives. According to recent studies (Guttmacher Institute, 2011), 58% of women who use the pill use it for reasons other than or in addition to contraception. Women use this pill to prevent pregnancy, to relieve menstrual-related cramps, to relieve migraines, to treat acne, and to treat endometriosis (Guttmacher Institute, 2011).
The problem is that many women are denied access to this life-impacting drug because many doctors will not prescribe the pill without a pap-smear or pelvic exam, two extremely invasive exams. What is the relationship between these "necessary" exams and the pill? It turns out there is no relationship at all.
Physicians all over the country are requiring this procedure which, for many women, is traumatic. Many women, including myself, regard this practice as being unethical. We should have the right to choose to undergo a voluntary medical screening such as the pap smear without the danger of our life-changing medications being withheld. Every woman has the human right to have access to birth control for contraceptive purposes, hormonal regulatory purposes, and the treatment of painful illnesses.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, Planned Parenthood, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, this exam is completely unnecessary for the safe prescribing of the pill.
Why, then, are our medications being withheld unless we undergo these invasive and sometimes painful exams? We need to send the AMA the message that this type of unethical withholding of medications will not be tolerated.
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