Pretty much the moment Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, a very real fear began to set in for many women all across the country: the fear that one day soon, our reproductive rights — including our access to birth control — would be in danger. Since the election, I've heard so many kidding-but-not-kidding comments from my fellow women about getting an IUD — because it's hard for anyone to mess with your birth control when it's safely nestled in your uterus. But, while IUDs are a great long-term birth control option for some women, every woman's body is different, and it's important that the women who don't want IUDs (or can't get one) never lose access to their preferred method of birth control.
Even though it's hard not to be slightly pessimistic in the face of all the scary conversations (and legislation) surrounding reproductive rights and sexual health right now, there are still a few bright spots of hope on the horizon. Whether you use a ring or a patch or a pill, there's one company that's dedicated to bringing access to affordable birth control to as many women as possible: The Pill Club, an online pharmacy made up of a team of RNs and MDs that can prescribe, dispense, and deliver birth control to women.
"We seek to empower young women by providing greater and more affordable access to a medication that puts her future in her hands."
"At TPC, we believe that a woman's body is hers and hers alone," Nick Chang, Founder of The Pill Club, tells Bustle. "She deserves access to information and the ability to choose what she decides is best for herself. We understand the barriers that prevent [women] from receiving birth control. We seek to empower young women by providing greater and more affordable access to a medication that puts her future in her hands."
Even better news? After a successful year of prescribing birth control to women in California (and delivering it to women with existing prescriptions in 19 states), TPC is expanding its prescription services to the East Coast and beyond. In the coming months, TPC plans to launch their prescription services in states like New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, and more. The eventual goal, of course, is to be able to prescribe and deliver birth control in every state, so no woman is without access to birth control.
Here's everything you need to know about how this forward-thinking company is improving the process of getting birth control — and empowering women in the process.
How The Pill Club Is Changing The Birth Control Game
Before I got my IUD two years ago, I was one of the almost 10 million American women who rely on oral contraceptives, and I still distinctly remember how much I loathed the process of getting and refilling my birth control prescription. First as a broke college student and later as a young adult with no health insurance, I struggled to feel in control of my sexual health, because I wasn't always sure exactly how and where I would get my birth control each month, or how much it would cost me to do so.
'The ways things used to be was quite complicated, to say the least," Chang says. "Simply said, finding a doctor, visiting him/her, getting a prescription, then finally picking up it up at a pharmacy is a drawn-out (and usually confusing) process. For the first time user of birth control, it can all be incredibly daunting and difficult to navigate."
Rather than having to visit a doctor IRL, members of The Pill Club need only login to their account online to get insight from medical professionals, obtain or refill a birth control prescription, and then have it conveniently shipped to their door.
"At TPC, we provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for individuals to not only receive birth control, but to actually be prescribed it," Chang says. "And since TPC team is made up of licensed nurse practitioners, we have the ability to reach out and deal with insurers directly. So, ultimately, all of the annoying bits that go into getting birth control are removed when you sign up for TPC. We believe in direct and real communication with our customers via text and always work to make the process — start to finish — enjoyable and comfortable."
What It's Like To Be A Member Of The Pill Club
So what's it actually like to have birth control delivered to your door instead of visiting your doctor or pharmacy for a refill? According to Ashley, a mobile software engineeer who's been using The Pill Club to get her birth control for almost three months, their services are super simple to use and cut out almost all the hassle of getting birth control the "traditional" way.
"I like the way it's super easy to sign up [for The Pill Club], the way they're clear about their services, the fact you can call or text them with any questions or concerns and you can get a real person to talk to — not a robot — and that I don't have to run to Walgreens at like 9 p.m. and wait in a 20-minute line to get my birth control," Vuong tells Bustle.
But The Pill Club is much more than just a convenient way to get your birth control each month: it's also a growing community of women who feel empowered to take charge of their bodies and sexual health.
"I have to admit, when I first started, I kept stalking their hashtags and came across a lot of other women posting the contents of their packages [from The Pill Club]," Vuong says. "It's really awesome to see women not afraid to take charge of their own sexuality and encourage others to do the same. It felt invigorating."
Why Personalized Healthcare Is So Empowering For Women
Normally, going to get a refill of your birth control prescription isn't something you celebrate — but with a service like TPC (which, BTW, sends you chocolate and stickers with each package) there actually is reason to rejoice. By doing something as necessary as ordering birth control, you're supporting a company whose goal is much bigger than any one individual woman. Chang says the goal of TPC is to change how women view the process of getting birth control, and, through their services, empower women to make the best decisions for their lives and their bodies.
"Personalized healthcare is so important right now, especially in regard to women’s health and wellbeing," Chang says. "We strive to deliver an experience that's simple, delightful, and fully customized to each woman's needs. We want to change perceptions, and prove that getting birth control doesn’t have to be a complicated task."
If all women — even those without insurance — are able to get access to affordable birth control as well as real-time help from medical professionals, then we're one step closer to making sure women remain in control of their sexual health, and by extension, their futures.
"Not only do we hope to continue advocating for total freedom when it comes to birth control, but we hope to hand our members the microphone, so we can ensure all voices are heard," Chang says. "All in all, we strongly believe that access to birth control should be completely normal, and without any reservations in the 21st century."
Giving women the mic and the power to control their sexual health? Now that is what we could use a lot more of in this country — take notes, President Trump.