Story No. 437: Abby from Maryland

The early days of having my period were hell: seven full days of extensive bleeding, pain so bad I passed out more than once, anemia. I tried over-the-counter medicines. I cried at home and missed school. Finally, my doctor suggested birth control, even though I was still very young.

My life changed. I felt “normal.” I could attend classes. But then I got sick in a new way and learned it was due to the hormones. So I switched to a lower hormone birth control and got better. Then it got recalled. I switched again. Finally, I had periods that didn’t ruin my life, hormone levels my body could tolerate, and a proven and safe medication. But this new birth control was expensive. I am now an adult woman who needs birth control medicinally and who needs a specific type of birth control.

Every time some politician tries to limit my ability to receive my medicine or act like it isn’t necessary, I think of my 11-year-old self curled in bed, thinking she was dying a week of every month. Or my 13-year-old self passing out in a shower when taking high-hormone medicine. Or my 22-year-old self trying to make it on her own with an entry level job after college while paying for an expensive but necessary medication. I am a productive member of society who pays my bills on time and never misses work due to a period, and it’s thanks to my medication being available free of charge.