When Getting Birth Control Becomes A Challenge

Kayla is a Cell and Molecular Biology major at San Francisco State University. She is an intern/Brand Ambassador for Nurx, an intern for ASI Women’s Center, and a Sexual Health intern for the HPW Health Promotion and Wellness Center Team at SFSU. Her hobbies include writing spoken word poetry and taking care of her two pet chinchillas.

I know from personal experience that obtaining birth control can be daunting and aggravating.

Nearing the end of my senior year of high school, I wanted to get birth control before I entered college. Things were getting more serious with my boyfriend and I also wanted to be protected before entering the college scene. But I had one major roadblock: strict parents.

I began to devise a plan for when I could drive to Planned Parenthood to get birth control without my parents knowing. I used the classic excuse, “I’m hanging out with Danielle today”, which was pretty much the truth since she did come with me for support. I remember feeling so uncomfortable and awkward sitting in the seats in the waiting room surrounded by other people. Why did I feel like everyone was staring at me and judging me? Or was that just paranoia? Why was this so nerve wrecking?

I remember not knowing how to answer some of the questions the woman asked me about my insurance, so I just told her I did not have any. She put me under Family Pact, which allowed the birth control to be free. I left Planned Parenthood with a year’s supply of birth control pills, feeling like I had won the jackpot. Danielle and I giggled in awe at the goodie bag filled health products, including a variety of brightly colored condoms. I felt sneaky and accomplished because I’d succeeded in independently getting birth control without my parent’s knowledge.

A week into taking my pills daily, my parents found out. I wasn’t as sly as I thought I was. My dad found my pills in my purse and became outraged, taking the pills away. My parents shamed me and told me I was not ready. But I knew that was my decision to make.

I went back to Planned Parenthood to get more birth control. But I was unable to get more for free since they already gave me a year’s supply. This time I would have to pay. I paid $30 for only three months, only to go home and have my father steal my birth control for a second time.

I felt helpless and wondered what options were available for girls in situations like me. I faced many difficulties just to obtain my birth control. I felt powerless to protect my body. I felt like no one had any resources to assist me.

It wasn’t until I finally got away from my house that I was able to take control of my reproductive health. As a college student, I discovered there were services out there that would deliver my pills directly to me at school. One of these, the one I found, was Nurx. Using Nurx, I was able to get my birth control delivered to me at college, a safe place where I could receive them and not worry about my parents confiscating them. While I still had to hide the pills from my parents on visits home, I knew that I could, and would, always have a delivery waiting for me at school when I needed it.

While birth control delivery services are great, they won’t do you much good if you live in a super strict household or if your parents check the mail. But they might be a good option for you if you leave home, or if you’re able to get the delivery somewhere that isn’t your house, like a school or work mailbox.

For girls in the same situation as me, it can be a struggle to protect yourself and ensure you get the birth control you need. If you struggle with overly strict parents who think you’re not ready, try to get them on your page by asking your parents to speak with you calmly. Explain that you’re the one making the decision, that it’s your body, and your right to access birth control when you need it. Explain that taking away birth control won’t prevent you from the activities you’re engaging in, and that you’re making a smart, responsible choice by even seeking out birth control in the first place.

If your parents still refuse to let you get the pill on your own, or continue to confiscate your pills when you get them, you can seek out help from another trusted adult, like a school counselor or nurse. You can also look into other birth control options, such as the IUD, patch, injection, or ring, which last longer and don’t require you to take a pill every day. Ultimately it’s your body and your right to choose.

Getting my birth control delivered by Nurx at school was the best solution for me. Once I moved away and figured out an easy way to get birth control delivered to me at school, I finally was able to have the responsibility of controlling my own sexual health. I felt free. I was in control.

You can learn about ways you can prevent pregnancy, and resource you can use to access birth control in California, by visiting our Birth Control section.

Finding Birth Control Through Planned Parenthood

Tyler S is a senior at SF State, graduating in May with a B.S in Health Education. She works as a lifeguard and swim instructor for the city of San Francisco. In her free time, she likes to go hiking, walk her dog, and go rock climbing.

When I was about 15 ½ I decided I was ready to have sex with my boyfriend at the time. We used condoms for a while and then decided it was time for me to be on birth control. I did not want to ask my parents because I was not sure how they would have reacted and I did not want to get in trouble with them.

So instead an older friend and my boyfriend recommended I go to Planned Parenthood. They told me they would give me birth control for free and it be confidential so my parents couldn’t find out. So we went and waited and I was able to go on birth control.

The whole experience was a bit nerve racking but my friend and boyfriend came with me so that definitely calmed my nerves. Also the people at the Planned Parenthood were so understanding. My parents had not found out that I was having sex or on birth control for a long time; I think I was about 17 when they found out. Turns out my mom was really chill about it and kind of bummed that I did not tell her. Though she was happy that I was protected and taking birth control.

Click here for more resources and information about accessing and using birth control.