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5 Steps To Get Your Birth Control Action Plan In Order Now

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Birth control

Preventing unwanted pregnancy is increasingly difficult in a post-Roe America.

Beyond abortion bans, not even contraceptive access is a given now, with nearly all Republican members of the House of Representatives voting against a bill to protect birth control access, and Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas calling into question the precedent that protects contraceptive access.

In this tumultuous political climate, having a birth control action plan is all the more important. Now is the time to create a personalized birth control action plan so you have the necessary tools and advice to avoid pitfalls while taking charge of your reproductive health.

How to make a birth control access plan:

Step one: Consider your reproductive priorities and goals.

Do you want to get pregnant within the next five years? What does your sex life look like and which type of birth control feels feasible with your lifestyle?

RELATED: Here Are The States That Will Protect Abortion Rights Now That Roe V. Wade Has Been Overturned

Before you get bogged down with the logistics of access, think about what your ideal mode of preventing pregnancy would be, both in the present and in the years to come.

No more relying on the pull out method with a wish and a prayer — it's time to find a highly effective method of birth control, and the key to that is defining what highly effective would mean for you.

Step two: Identify your support network.

Who are the people you trust when it comes to reproductive health care planning? Do you have a partner? If so, invite them to participate in the creation of a birth control action plan, and ask them to share their reproductive health care goals with you.

Clarify expectations surrounding the potential cost of birth control and the labor of accessing it.

Are there other family members or friends you’d rely on for help in accessing birth control? Take stock of the people in your life, and consider who makes you feel safe and seen when it comes to preventing unwanted pregnancy.

Step three: Arm yourself with information. 

Overwhelmed by the turmoil of this moment? That’s fair, but information is your friend and greatest ally as you devise a birth control action plan.

Take time to research the laws, policies and resources in your state and local community that impact birth control access. If you have insurance through your employer, that’s great! Find out what they do and do not cover.

RELATED: What It’s Like To Have A Miscarriage In A State Where Abortions Are Effectively Banned

Through the Affordable Care Act, most employers are required to cover birth control, but there are some limits, constraints and complications in accessing it that you should know.

Do you have alternate health care options? Now’s the time to find out. Speak to your health care provider, and determine what is available to you. 

Step four: Revisit your relationship with birth control. 

So many people have written off hormonal birth control entirely because of their experiences with negative side effects, or the horror stories they’ve heard from friends and social media.

But we live in a time where precision health care has changed the terrain of reproductive health care.

A type of hormonal birth control that could cause unpleasant side effects for a friend could have life affirming benefits for you, beyond preventing unwanted pregnancy.

Understanding your own biology and how your body responds to specific formulations of birth control is now possible through precision medicine.

Find a doctor who listens to you and can be a good partner in birth control decision-making, and assess whether the baggage you have about birth control — whether it be from your own experiences or impressions you’ve formed from others — will help you to make informed decisions for your birth control action plan. 

Step five: Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

Although having highly effective birth control is critically important, unwanted pregnancies do still happen despite our best efforts.

Figure out what your strategy will be in the case of unwanted pregnancy, and if you decide you may want an abortion, research and seek out abortion medication to have on hand.

RELATED: What It's Like To Have An Abortion One Month After Turning 13

Elizabeth Ruzzo, PhD, is the Founder and CEO of adyna precision medicine company that is the first platform to create a test designed to prevent birth control side effects. adyn seeks to advance equity in biomedical research to make scientific discovery more inclusive for all. Learn more at adyn.com.