The Plea For The IUD: Why A Woman's Contraception Is Her Business


I laid there a few minutes, afraid to open my eyes in case it wasn't true, but eventually, I conceded and gave way to the day.

The sun was shining; the coffee smelled strong; the summer breeze through my window was light.

And, best of all, I was not incapacitated by a debilitating headache for the first time in months.

A few years ago, as a 20-something girl in a long-term, serious relationship, I had gone on birth control pills only to see a steady decline in my health. I'm not just talking about weight gain, but also moodiness, irritability and overall illness.

In the year and a half I was on the pill, I brushed off steadily worsening eyesight. I chalked up headaches and aversion to light as hangovers and sinus infections to allergies; I blamed the flash of the camera. I told my friends it was no big deal.

However, the pain progressed and these symptoms culminated in my place of work, no less.

As I sat at my computer one morning, I began to see stars, so I dimmed my monitor. A sharp pain began pulsating behind my left eye, so I popped a Tylenol.

I started to go numb on the right side of my body, so I shook out my arm.

Finally, I became cotton mouthed and all but lost my ability to speak.

Turning out my lights, I texted my mother as best I could:

"Come get me now. Something is wrong with me."

After many CAT scans, tests and incessant probing, my doctor was able to rule out tumors and strokes, landing on "complex, complicated migraine," the worst type.

They don't really know what causes these neurological headaches, but one thing was certain: I needed to get off my birth control pill immediately, as the hormones are often migraine triggers and certainly put me at a very high risk for stroke.

I knew I needed another form of protection, but implants and shots were out; no one knew how my mind would react to the hormones.

I couldn't go on any other pills.

My only option was Paragard, a completely hormone-free intrauterine device (IUD).

I've had my IUD for over a year and a half now, and it was the best decision for me for so many reasons. It gave me control over my life, my body and my decisions as an adult and as a woman. It saved me from serious and irreversible damage to my health and my body.

It freed me of manufactured hormones and allowed me to live a cleaner, more natural life.

It is so devastating to hear about this absurd debacle regarding IUDs in Colorado, and appalling to listen to such ignorant people mouthing off about what constitutes abortion.

Let's talk for a minute about how IUDs work.

An IUD is a small, plastic, T-shaped device that is inserted into your uterus (hence, intrauterine). Paragard and Mirena are currently leading the US market.

The former is wrapped in copper, which creates a natural toxic environment for sperm and prevent fertilization; the latter emits a small amount of centralized hormones to prevent fertilization for seven to 10 years at a time.

Right there, we have already debunked the majority of the Colorado Conservatives' argument, which states that an IUD is a method of abortion, not contraception.

The function of the IUD is to prevent fertilization.

Granted, there is a small, uncommon margin where fertilization may occur.

However, that does not mean it will result in a baby. In fact, that aforementioned toxic environment prevents eggs from implanting in the uterus lining in the rare chance of fertilization, making IUDs more than 99 percent effective.

This lack of implanting, however, does not mean it's an abortion, either.

I believe it is wildly irresponsible to label IUDs as the makers of abortion, and to lobby for a ban against them. Since the regulation of the IUD in Colorado, teen pregnancies have decreased by 40 percent and teen abortions by 34 percent.

Additionally, birth control pills also work in several different ways, once of which being the prevention of implantation. Finally, Colorado is one of the few states where late-term abortions are legal.

All these grumpy old men are concerned about is a piece of plastic in my uterus? Really?

If they are so concerned about abortions, why don't they focus on those late-term abortions, which are significantly more controversial than a device doctors label as "contraceptive."

At this point, if they're going to go after one, they better just go after all of our methods of contraception.

A woman's method (or lack thereof) of contraception does not concern anyone but herself. The fact that women not only have to defend our right to choose, but now our right to choose not to choose, is sickening.

Are these few representatives (like Republican Kevin Lundberg) making noise simply for the sake of causing a ruckus, despite the words and wishes of medical doctors and patients alike? When will enough frivolous debate finally be enough?

You want to decrease abortion rates?

Let women choose the best form of birth control for them, whether it be pills, shots, implants, condoms, dams, sponges or IUDs.

And, if there is a particular method of contraception you don't like (say, for example, an IUD), well, then don't get one.