With the laws on women's body autonomy getting worse every day, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find doctors who actually advocate on behalf of women. We live in a time when both pharmacists and doctors have the right to refuse service "on religious grounds," despite it putting women in harm's way.
In some cases, women who trust their doctors to allow them to make choices about their bodies end up finding themselves betrayed because their doctors simply refuse to give them the form of birth control they want.
If you have found yourself in a position where your doctor has refused to offer you birth control, you already know how hurtful and disempowering it can be. It's normal to feel judged by these kinds of doctors, and frankly, what they are doing is ethically wrong.
Speaking as someone who has been denied birth control by doctors, I know how bad it can be. It's actually one of many reasons why I refuse to go to a doctor's office under any circumstances.
That being said, you should never let a foul doctor stop you when you want to get birth control. Here's how to react the right way.
First, it's okay to freak out.
The fact that some doctors are so judgemental when they hear about a woman who wants to get birth control is truly awful. They took an oath (allegedly) to help their patients, and what the doctor did to you shattered that oath into a million pieces.
When this happened to me, I felt horrible. I actually went out to my car and cried. It's okay to cry. It's also okay to feel shaken, betrayed, and violated by the doctor's actions. Why? Because the doctor did violate you and because he did betray you.
If you need to, go to a professional therapist or talk to a friend about what happened. You have every right to feel the way you feel when your doctor betrays you that way.
File a complaint, and let the world know what the doctor's deal is.
If you went to a gynecologist or a doctor specifically for the chance to get birth control, the fact that they refused you is an affront to you. They literally just wasted your time and money, and to add insult to injury, judged you for your lifestyle.
The best way to react is to write several public reviews about the doctor. In plain terms, you should let people know exactly what happened so that they can avoid having the same thing happen to them. By doing this, you're hitting the doctor where it hurts: their wallet.
If the doctor is part of a larger group, ask to see another doctor or talk to the office manager.
Doctors who behave this way are not doing their practice any favors, and most office managers are well-aware of this fact. In a lot of cases, filing a complaint with the doctor's higher-ups will get you the results you want—or will at least get you an appointment with another doctor for free.
At the end of the day, every doctor's practice wants to make money. A doctor that passes judgment is not a profitable doctor, and a lot of people will not stand for it.
Another thing you can do is call your health insurance company.
Though it is legal to refuse birth control, that doesn't mean it's good business to do so. Insurance companies often will keep tabs on doctors who have a high number of complaints—and may even drop them from insurance plan coverage in certain cases.
Calling your insurer will also allow you to get a list of other available doctors in your area. This will be handy for you for a variety of different reasons, including the fact that you should fire your doctor.
Next, look for a new doctor.
It's important to remember that doctors are human beings, not gods on a pedestal. They are also business owners, and you, as a patient, are their client. That means that you, at the end of the day, have the right to fire your doctor.
Think about it. If you went to a McDonald's and ordered a burger, only to be told you couldn't have one because it "wasn't right," you wouldn't go back to that McDonald's, right? So, why would you go back to a doctor who's doing the very same thing?
Start shopping around for a new doctor immediately, and terminate your relationship with your current doctor. He doesn't deserve your money, nor your patronage.
Once you find a new doctor, call up the old one.
Call up your now-ex doctor once you find a new doctor. You need to tell the doctor's office exactly why you are leaving their practice. It's okay to dump a mean doctor over the phone, especially if the doctor in question decided that they know what you want more than you do.
By letting them know why you're leaving their practice, you're giving them food for thought. They may actually realize they are hurting their own bottom line this way.
If you are looking for permanent birth control, you may want to consult childfree groups or even consider going abroad for your surgery.
Different types of birth control will have different levels of difficulty when it comes to obtaining it. Considering that it's becoming harder to get birth control pills, it's not surprising that most doctors will not even bother listening to women who want permanent birth control.
Personally, it took me going to about 16 different doctors before I was able to get sterilized. It took finding a doctor through a childfree forum to get the tubal ligation and partial hysterectomy I needed.
That being said, you also may have better luck abroad. Most doctors outside of the US will happily offer up permanent birth control for a fee that's typically far lower than what you'd pay stateside.
Had the 16th refused me too, I would have simply gone to Canada and had my uterus removed entirely.
If you cannot find a doctor's office nearby that's willing to prescribe you birth control, use PRJKT RUBY.
Scary as it is to admit, there are many parts of America that are just not friendly towards women who want to get birth control. In some situations, it's not even possible to find a doctor who will work with you.
If you are not able to find a doctor that's willing to prescribe you birth control, you still have other options to consider. PRJKT RUBY is a movement that allows you to get birth control delivered right to your door.
Birth control costs about $20 per month, and no insurance is needed. You also can get overnight emergency contraception through this service, too. You just have a quick consultation with a doctor via the phone, ask for the birth control you want, and the doctors prescribe (and ship) your birth control to you.
This service is available in all 50 states, which means that you will be able to get birth control wherever you are—regardless of what the medical community around you thinks!
You also might want to check out Lemonaid.
Another telemedicine service that will allow you to get birth control in a judgment-free way is Lemonaid. While Lemonaid isn't available in all 50 states, it's still a great option for people who are lucky enough to live in a state that's cleared for it.
What you might like about Lemonaid is the fact that they offer up name-brand birth control, UTI prescriptions, and acne prescriptions at a discount. They also allow you to pick it up at the pharmacy of your choosing.
Finally, understand that you're not alone.
Sadly, we live in a country where doctors are treated like gods—and where they regularly are given far too much power that could potentially harm their patients. Doctors refuse to be held accountable for their behavior, so it's up to us to force them to be accountable.
As painful as it is, it's important to realize that you are not alone here. There are others who have been hurt in similar ways, and if we all join together, we can hopefully help others avoid this pain in the future.