In June 2021, we listened as Britney Spears explained to a judge in horrifying detail the level of control her conservatorship (ahem, her father) has over her life as a 39-year-old mother of two, multi-platinum recording artist, and millionaire.
What began as a very public mental health crisis in 2007 has grown into the #FreeBritney Movement. In 2008 her father, Jamie Spears, was put in charge of her money, her health, and her career as a safeguard – but 13 years later, she’s trapped and wants out.
“I wanted to take the IUD out, so I could start trying to have another baby, but…they don’t want me to have…any more children. So basically, this conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good. I deserve to have a life.” – Britney Spears
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Her father’s decision is tantamount to involuntary sterilization — something we’d expect to see on an episode of Handmaid’s Tale, not in America; land of the free.
Britney’s case has garnered worldwide attention because she’s a celebrity, but the power imbalance that leads to forced and coerced methods of birth control is centuries old. Women in marginalized groups (Black Americans, immigrants, the incarcerated, and those with disabilities to name a few) have long been the victims of public health policies that sought to slow or prevent their reproduction.
We stand in solidarity with Britney and all women who face reproductive coercion. Your reproductive health is your own — and no one should make decisions about it for you. #FreeBritney – Alexis McGill Johnson, President of Planned Parenthood
In 2021 too many women do not have access to safe, affordable birth control – which means that while we fight for the reproductive rights of all women, not all women have the same reproductive rights.
Let’s hop into the birth control time machine…
Birth control pills were officially approved by the FDA in 1960, but it wasn’t legal in all 50 states for doctors to prescribe them. Even if you were lucky enough to live in a state where they could, you still had to be married in order to get a prescription!
Now it’s 2021, and things are…slightly better.
Most female birth control methods still require a prescription (don’t even get us started on why male birth control pills and implanted devices don’t exist), and a number of obstacles must be overcome before a woman even enters an exam room.
Safe & Effective Birth Control? Good Luck.
If she’s insured, she’ll have to find an approved doctor, make (and then wait for) an appointment, and have reliable transportation (maybe even childcare).
If she’s uninsured, it’s even harder because her provider options are more limited (shout out to Planned Parenthood!) and her out-of-pocket expenses may be higher.
But just for fun, let’s say she jumps through all these hoops and arrives at her appointment. How will she know which birth control option is the right one?
Let’s look at the options:
- Male condoms have a 13% failure rate when used correctly (yikes!)
- Hormonal Birth Control Pills have a 7% failure rate when used correctly and tons of gross side effects (Plan B has 13% failure rate)
- The Shot isadministered in the arm once every 3 months, with a 4% failure rate.
- Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) (inserted once and last up to 10 years)have an exciting .8% failure rate (copper) and .1%-.4% failure rate (hormonal).
Sign me up for an IUD, right? Not so fast.
Sometimes the FDA will remove a birth control product from the market, like it did with Norplant (an ineffective arm implant) in 2002. And sometimes companies will voluntarily stop selling their products when there is enough public outcry.
Currently, the “safe and effective” copper IUD Paragard has thousands of complaints registered against it by women claiming it failed them miserably. This “low-maintenance, low-risk” birth control option has left thousands of women injured, needing emergency surgeries, and potentially unable to have children in the future.
This type of device is in Britney’s body against her will. This type of device has caused irreversible harm to thousands of women despite being presented as their “best” or “only” option.
Birth control that costs men nothing but costs women their time, money, dignity, and potentially their health is no longer acceptable. Men deciding which women can have children and when they can do so is no longer acceptable.
Free Britney. Free women.
If you have experienced injury or illness due to a Paragard IUD or Essure device, don’t wait another moment.
Contact our team for a free and confidential legal consultation. We are sending a message to manufacturers that this type of malfunction in women’s healthcare is unacceptable, and we need your help!