In 1873 Congress passed an “antiobscenity law” that considered birth control as explicit and banned its distribution (London). Margaret Sanger opened America’s first family-planning clinic in Brooklyn in 1916, but was closed after 10 days of opening. In 1921, Margaret Sanger founded the American Birth Control League, which is now known as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (London). In 1938, a judge lifted the federal obscenity ban on birth control but contraceptives still remained illegal in many states. In 1954, the first human pill trial was held on 50 women in Massachusetts.
In 1960, a huge step happened. The FDA approved “Enovid” as a birth control pill. Nearly half of a million Americans were already using this pill for “therapeutic purposes” (London). In 1980, the pill really took off. Nearly 10. 5 million of American women were taking the pill. In 2010, a study of 46,000 women over 40 years of being on the Pill showed that they are more likely to live longer and less likely to die prematurely of all causes (London).
According to an article on Gutmacher. com, over 99 percent of women use a contraceptive or a birth control method today (Contraceptive Use in the US).
There are many different methods. Barrier methods consist of the contraceptive sponge, cervical cap, female and male condoms. Hormonal methods consist of oral contraceptives (the most common), the patch, shots, and vaginal rings. Implantable devices consist of implantable rods and intrauterine devices. Sterilization implants and surgical sterilization is a form of permanent birth control (Johnson). Lastly, there is emergency contraception, which is the “morning after pill,” or more well known as Plan B.
This pill is used to prevent pregnancy up to 5 days after unprotected sex.
According to Planned Parenthood, there have been no reports of serious complications with the Plan B pill. Planned Parenthood also states that the Plan B pill is 85 percent effective (Johnson). The main controversy with the Plan B pill is that it could be considered abortion. The fact that Plan B is offered in stores, it is creating questions on whether birth control should be offered on the shelf. Next are the social aspects of the birth control pill (Granzow). Birth control is extremely popular in America today. Many women view birth control as “sexual freedom. Men would use condoms and women were always afraid it would result in a pregnancy. Now, women are in the same playing field as men are with not being afraid as often (Gordon). Birth control has gone from being something rarely talking about to a casual subject now. This leads into women speaking freely about their sexual life. Casually, women have changed their social lives into a more intense conversation with adding in sex and birth control (Gordon). Another part of the social aspects of birth control is sex education in schools.
Many high schools provide sexual education that educates kids on sex and encourages the use of abstinence until marriage, rather than birth control. Colleges offer many different types of sexual education. Point Park University offers Health Fairs and “The Condom Carnival,” to educate students and give out free condoms to protect students from pregnancy and STD’s (Lindberg). The only problem with education in high schools is that most high schools are still using the “old-fashioned” way of educating students of abstinence.
A study preformed by the National Survey of Family growth in 2002 stated that nearly 95 percent of people have had premarital sex (Jayson). According to “Changes in Formal Sex Education: 1995-2002” by Laura Duberstein, 81 percent of males and 87 percent of females received formal education on birth control in 1995 and only around 66 percent of males and 70 percent in 2006. The concerns of this are that many teenagers might receive the information too late, after they are already having sex (Contraceptive Use in the US). This number is surely dropping as students go through high school.
Most students are not even being formally educated on birth control or abstinence anymore. Sex Education in high schools must get better in order to keep teenagers safe. For schools to focus on keeping teenagers safe they must education students on contraceptives and birth control methods instead of abstinence (Jayson). Abstinence is almost an ancient term to high school students nowadays since that 95 percent of people preform premarital sex. Instead of raising abstinence on the high horse, the use of these contraceptives and birth control methods must be used in educating teens (Lindberg).
One big step on getting the word out of contraceptives is “World Contraception Day. ” This is held on September 26th and raises awareness of contraception. Another huge aspect of birth control is the government views on it. Today, Obama’s administration decided to require health insurers to cover the FDA-approved contraceptives fully. The government is making birth control extremely affordable and sometimes even free for all women. This could be viewed as good and bad to people, depending on their views.
Approximately 8 out of 10 democrats support requiring birth control coverage and only 4 out of 10 republicans do (Jayson). Many generic birth controls are now free to women and some have a very low charge per month. This is making birth control extremely available and affordable for teenagers. A recent accommodation that the Obama Administration announced in February stated that religious nonprofits provide health insurance that covers birth control. This new health care law states that most employers must offer health insurance that contains artificial contraception and sterilization as a free preventive.
Since this announcement over 40 lawsuits were filed by religious nonprofit organizations that argued it violated their religious beliefs (Johnson). Many churches are against this law because they don’t support sex before marriage. They don’t care whether the sex is safe or if birth control is used, they just don’t support sex before marriage. A huge aspect of social change in birth control is how people talk about birth control now. In the early 2000’s, it was almost something that people were shy on talking about.
You can walk into a classroom today and teens will talk very openly about their birth control and not be afraid of being made fun of. There are many commercials shown daily on the television that get the word out even more. People are so used to hearing about it, that it isn’t a big subject of privacy anymore. One thing that may people wonder about birth control is, is it bad for you? When taking the birth control pill, many good things and some bad side effects could happen (Johnson). There are always side effects with every time of medication you take.
The main side effects of birth control pills are nausea, weight gain, cramping, lighter periods and mood changes. None of these effects are normally severe, a doctor may change the type of birth control if the woman is experiencing severe side effects (Johnson). Most importantly, the pill is good for many things. The pill can help reduce acne by decreasing the levels of testosterone. Birth control can also ease hormonal swings and mood swings. This happens because birth control pills normally supply your body with a constant level of estrogen levels and progesterone hormones.
Birth control pills normally help to make periods less heavy and painful by reducing cramps and also less endometrial lining. Lastly, studies show that the birth control pill can drastically reduce the lifetime risk of getting ovarian cancer. Harvard Medical School Researchers stated that in a study they found that 10 out of 12 percent of females had a decreased risk in one year and 50 percent after 5 years of use (Johnson). Birth control pills can make a woman’s “time of the month” a lot easier to deal with. While on birth control, skin is found to be clearer and menstrual cramps are reduced.
When thinking about birth control, it makes sense that fewer women are getting pregnant but there is always a risk when they misuse the pill or don’t take it regularly (Johnson). All in all, birth control is viewed as very good for women to have the use of. Whether you look at the social or government aspects of birth control, most views are looking on birth control positively. Within this paper, the history of birth control is discussed, social aspects of birth control are discussed, government aspects are discussed, and the health views are discussed.
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