Welcome to the latest installment of “Over 90 Percent of What Planned Parenthood Does,” a series on Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona’s blog that highlights Planned Parenthood’s diverse array of services — the ones Jon Kyl doesn’t know about.
I remember sitting in the exam room, fidgeting with my paper gown and nervously explaining to the doctor that my boyfriend and I had come very close to having sex already, and I would please like to be on birth control pills when it actually happened.
“Sure,” he said, swinging open the stirrups. “Just as soon a we do a pelvic exam.”
I didn’t want one. I really didn’t want one.
While it’s common for health care providers in the United States to require or routinely perform a pelvic examination — with or without a Pap test — prior to prescribing hormonal birth control, several health organizations state that a pelvic exam isn’t necessary in order to be safely prescribed hormonal contraceptive pills, patches, shots, or rings. For instance, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises, “A pelvic exam is not needed to get most forms of birth control from a health care provider except for the intrauterine device (IUD), diaphragm, and cervical cap.” In such cases, HOPE (Hormonal Option without Pelvic Exam) may be an appropriate alternative. Continue reading