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Why would a woman try to buy a used IUD on social media?

Because contraception is necessary, basic healthcare! A reminder why everyone needs -- and deserves -- access to it


Jenny Kutner
October 1, 2014 7:20PM (UTC)

Reddit is a unique place. It is a place where people tend to post some of the strangest gems accrued on their respective treks across the Internet, and sometimes these gems raise deep philosophical questions. For instance: Why would someone try to sell a used IUD on social media? And, as a natural follow up, why would anyone buy it?

The Daily Dot's EJ Dickson discovered a woman attempting to do exactly that -- sell her IUD -- after having the hormonal, long-acting birth control device removed from her uterus a year into using it. As Dickson points out, the woman's $40 asking price is a steal for people without health insurance, as IUDs and other implantable contraceptives can sometimes cost up to $1,000. Still, deal or no deal, the prospect of buying used birth control on the Internet is fishy at best and dangerous at worst; IUDs, in particular, must be properly sterilized and inserted by a healthcare professional using a speculum. If a device is used by someone who might not be a good candidate, or if it is inserted improperly, it can cause cramps, spotting, infection, uterine perforation or it could simply fall out.

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So why on earth would anyone consider buying birth control online? Well, first of all, it's not entirely unheard of: Dickson notes that emergency contraception is sold on Amazon, while plenty of other "shady-looking websites" sell generic oral contraceptives without prescriptions. But beyond that, a person's motivation to buy birth control online doesn't have much to do with its ready availability; rather, it has to do with a lack thereof in the "real world." Birth control is basic, necessary healthcare, and it's inaccessible to too many people. Nobody should have to resort to sketchy corners of the Internet to find the health assistance they need, and yet that's exactly the situation an estimated 220 million people find themselves in.

The takeaway here is not just to avoid buying birth control on the Internet -- it's a reminder that when any of the 99 percent of women who use birth control are deprived of their access to it, desperation ensues. This is basic. It's not just a funny Reddit joke.


Jenny Kutner

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