A Chat with Bedsider

What is Bedsider's big mission, if you could fold it into one sentence?

In a nutshell, Bedsider’s mission is to reduce rates of unplanned pregnancy in the United States by empowering people to take control of their sexual health and use birth control effectively--every time they have sex--until they’re ready to be parents.

Why is it so important for women to be able to access and use birth control?

We think everyone should have the right to a happy, healthy sex life without worrying about an unplanned pregnancy. And while we in the U.S. are very lucky to have easy access to certain birth control methods (e.g. condoms), we've still got a ways to go in terms of making it easy for all women--regardless of their financial or geographic situation--to access whichever methods of birth control they choose.

Allowing couples to decide when and whether to start a family and how many children to have can make a huge difference both for the health of women and their children and the stability (economic and otherwise) of families. And improving access to birth control has broader societal benefits too! 

What services beyond resourceful information do you provide?

Beyond providing information, we aim to make birth control easy--and fun! Our site offers free birth control reminders (for the pill, the patch, the ring, and the shot) which are custom-written to entertain, as well as free appointment reminders. We have a clinic finder that includes clinic information from several national databases including Planned Parenthood and an emergency contraception (EC) finder. We're always working to make our clinic and EC databases more comprehensive and accurate and crowd-sourcing is part of that, so if you search your area and see health care or EC locations missing, we'd be grateful if you'd add them!

We also have tools and resources for health care providers to help them educate their patients about different birth control options. We have a special website for providers where they can set up reminders for their patients and order materials.

How can we (as modern, frisky and savvy gals) help Bedsider to build a culture thats more supportive and proactive about birth control?

Having read your wonderful article on changing condom culture, I suspect that Unbound already knows the answer to that question! We're always amazed at how much stigma birth control seems to carry even though 99% of women have used it. Sex is all over our society, yet birth control is strangely taboo. We think the more comfortable people are talking about birth control--whether it's with their partner, their friends, or their health care provider--the more comfortable they'll be using it. In fact, in a recent survey The National Campaign asked young women exactly that and more than half of the 18- to 22-year-olds (55%) they asked said they would feel more comfortable using birth control if more people talked about it in a positive way.

As you know, we had our first "Thanks, Birth Control" Day this year on November 12th--that was intended to be a way to make it easy for folks to acknowledge the ways birth control has contributed to their lives. We were thrilled with the results--thousands of people took a moment to be a part of it, whether that meant a retweet or a Facebook share or a personal story about what birth control has made possible for them. There were so many inspiring stories and I'm hoping for even more next November.

In the meantime, there are lots of little things that make a difference. Staying informed and knowing how to access resources when there's something you don't know is the first step; the second is to be a resource to others. That can mean a lot of things--anything from posting an article about how to get health insurance on Facebook to talking to a younger sibling about birth control (or relationships, for that matter) to telling a friend about a birth control method you've had a good experience with. Basically we should all do what we can to send a message that taking control of your sexual health is not only totally normal but actually responsible and awesome!

Liz Sabatiuk manages content for Bedsider.org. If she’s not nerding out about women’s health and birth control, she’s probably nerding out about Argentine tango or something she saw on tumblr.

Whatcha think?

Please don't be mean :-)

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