Birth Control

It is difficult to exaggerate the impact of the availability of birth control on women’s lives and on society in general. Women have been able to build careers and enter the workplace, adding significantly to national productivity. Birth control is critical to women’s economic security and to the economic well-being of the American family. However, this was not achieved without struggle. It was only in 1965 that the Supreme Court decided that married couples had the right to use birth control.

Even today, some employers refuse to provide birth control to their employees as part of their health care package (this is why I don’t shop at Hobby Lobby). For those who believe that life begins with the fertilization of an egg, some methods of birth control are equivalent to abortion. We need to understand that this is a logical extension of their belief, and that they will fight until such methods are banned. This is why birth control is under threat. For those who believe that even the potential for life itself is sacred, no birth control method is acceptable. Please note that those who believe in this way are a minority, but their voices have been loud.

We need to understand the methods of birth control and how they work. AAUW members, given our demographic, may not be up to date on this. You can review the currently available birth control methods, many of which were not available when most of us needed them, from Planned Parenthood. None, not even tubal ligation, is 100% effective except for abstinence, and to require abstinence is also to tell a woman what she can and cannot to do with her body. Abstinence is not conducive to a successful marriage, and healthcare advisors are continually telling us that we should have sex—safe sex, of course.

The above site also describes the cost of the various methods of birth control. Not surprisingly, the most effective methods that still allow sexual intercourse can be extremely expensive, up to $1300. This means that poor women do not have the best choices, especially since many of them are working at jobs that do not provide health care at all.

Author: Pat DeWitt

I am a retired institutional researcher, a musician and musicologist, and support AAUW as well as several environmental causes.

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