Birth Control



I don’t know what’s up with the attacks on birth control lately.

First it was Rick Santorum supporter Foster Friess reminiscing about the good old days in which the ladyfolk put aspirin between their knees in order to prevent pregnancy.

Then came Rush Limbaugh characterizing Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke as a “slut” and a “prostitute” for having the audacity to want her health insurance to cover contraceptives.

And more recently, Arizona state representative Debbie Lesko sponsored a bill that would allow employers to refuse to cover their employees’ use of birth control that wasn’t intended for medical conditions (other than the prevention of unintended pregnancies).

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me as if the United States has stepped into an alternate reality when it comes to matters of politics and birth control.

Birth control?  Controversial?  On a national level?  Debated about by presidential candidates?

IN 2012?


Don’t get me wrong: I know that some birth control medications are not without risks.  And even when used properly, none of them are 100% perfect when it comes to preventing pregnancies.

But just because birth control isn’t perfect doesn’t mean that it’s not also an incredible tool that has helped countless women (yours truly included) to exert more control over their reproductive lives.

It doesn’t mean that birth control is not something for which many of us are exceedingly grateful.


I thank birth control for allowing me to choose motherhood.

I thank birth control for allowing me to plan my family.

I thank birth control for helping me not to conceive a baby with that jerk I dated in college.

I thank birth control for helping me not to conceive a baby with the nice guys I dated too: for while they were nice, they weren’t right for me like Tim was, and is.

I thank birth control for relieving the debilitating menstrual cramps I suffered in high school and college.

I thank birth control for preventing me from becoming a single mother: I know lots of single mothers, and I’ve witnessed their incredible strength, and I am not strong enough to be one of them.

I thank birth control for allowing me to act on what I once knew about myself: namely, that I was ready to be sexually active, but I wasn’t yet ready to become a parent.

I thank birth control because it has given generations of women all of this and then some.


So tell me: is it really only a concern about religious freedom that has people up in arms about contraception?

Is it a desire for MORE BABEEEEZ?

Is it a misunderstanding of just how cost prohibitive birth control can be?

Is it a fear of the possibility LONGTIME REALITY, PEOPLE, IT’S A REALITY that women sometimes like to do things with their vaginas other than having procreative sex and/or birthing babies?

Is it a shadowy, murky, once-thought-dormant brand of misogyny that’s only now materializing in the public forum?

I, for one, wouldn’t be surprised if that very misogyny is now looming over us.

Because make no mistake about it–if it’s an attack on birth control, then it’s also an attack on women.


Why are you thankful for birth control?


*image credit brains the head

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  1. Jane

    Sorry if my comment is inappropriate or off topic, but I always found it very telling of the sex lives of the anti-birth control cohort that they seem to think that a woman holding an aspirin between her knees would be an effective method of birth control. Really, if you can’t think of a way that it would be possible to have sex with your knees closed, you’re not being very creative.

    • BirthingBeautifulIdeas

      HAAA HAAAAA…not inappropriate at all. In fact, I’ll up it a notch and offer a PSA to those who might not know: sex with your knees closed is not only possible, it can be very pleasurable too!

  2. Kara

    I wouldn’t choose birth control for myself because of all the hormones that I’m skeptical of (I’m a bit of a nature freak) but I definitely don’t think it should be a national issue. It’s a personal choice and it should be kept that way. As long as you’re well informed on both the risks and the benefits, you should be able to make your own choice on an individual level.

  3. Mama Mo
    Mama Mo03-15-2012

    Oh, my yes. Thank you birth control for allowing me to go to work like a normal adult. I had such debilitating cramps all through high school and into college that I would have to miss at least one day of school or class a month. When it came time to get a job in the real world, I knew I couldn’t do that. Birth control allowed me to be a grown-up in many different senses of the word.

    Birth control gave me the… well, CONTROL… to plan my family. I was able to CHOOSE when to have children.

    Hmmmmm… control, choice… hot button words in Congress, buy why? Don’t they have better things to do. Like creating JOBS?

    • BirthingBeautifulIdeas

      Same here, Mama Mo! In fact, there was a point in high school and college where my cramps were far more intense/left me far more debilitated than TRANSITION did during my labor with Eric. I would literally feel like I was dying. And again, while hormonal birth control isn’t without risk, I can’t thank it enough for saving me from at least twelve miserable days a year back in those days.

      And isn’t that control to choose and plan a family wonderful? I can’t exaggerate how lucky I feel to have had that privilege.

  4. Summer C
    Summer C03-15-2012

    I can thank birth control for keeping me from getting pregnant while experiencing debilitating postpartum depression after my first. I can’t imagine what would have happened had I become pregnant or had a second child thrown into the depression mix. Thanks to the military insurance for paying for it since we are now a one income family.

    • BirthingBeautifulIdeas

      AMEN, Summer. This is one of those points for which birth control literally makes mothers HEALTHIER.

  5. Rixa

    Yes, this utter ridiculousness drives me nuts. I don’t get that this is coming from the same groups who are so ardently anti-abortion. Let’s see…free birth control for all women = fewer unplanned pregnancies = fewer abortions! Everyone wins!

    My own sexual background would pass even the most stringent conservative litmus test…and yet they’d demonize me for using birth control *when I was married.* I just don’t get it.

    • BirthingBeautifulIdeas

      Absolutely, Rixa!

      On semi-tangent, one of my most favorite conversations re: abortion that I’ve ever heard was between the leaders of Democrats for Life and Republicans for Choice. (I believe it was on the Diane Rehm show a few years ago…) The conversation was so civil and well-informed and stripped of politics–a real breath of fresh air when it comes to talk of abortion! And both women agreed wholeheartedly that making contraception more accessible was the best way to prevent abortions. They were even happy to work together on projects making contraception more accessible (even though they came at these projects from different perspectives).

      I find it more than troubling that ANYONE is demonized for using birth control, but even monogamous married couples? It just makes no sense.

  6. Molly

    Back in December, I published a post entitled “thank you, contraception!” along these general lines (at http://www.firsttheegg.com/thank-you-contraception/) … but at the time, I had no idea how freaking weird this conversation would soon become! It blows my mind. And, yeah, what Rixa says about us slutty monogamous married people.

    Of course, I grew up in the Catholic church, and in that tradition contraception is always bad, abortion is always bad, and … as icing on the cake … saying no to sex with your husband is bad too, because it will drive him to sin (as in, it’s your own damned fault if he cheats on you). This strikes me as transparently misogynist, of course, but also as transparently anti-poor-people. How are we supposed to raise all these children conceived in contraception-free husband’s-soul-saving sex? Just don’t be poor!

    • BirthingBeautifulIdeas

      That was a great post, Molly. Especially great because so few people realize that access to contraceptives is a privilege for many (particularly when so many people have a fear of going to places where one can get free/reduced cost birth control).

      And yes, that facet of the Catholic Church is…eerie and troubling, to say the least. It’s really too bad, because the Catholic Church can (and in some places, has been) such fertile ground for fabulous work in radical politics and social justice. (Fertile ground? I suppose pun intended.)

  7. Rachael

    I can thank birth control for helping me plan for my pregnancies. No babies until I — and my husband — were ready for ‘em.

    The PUBLIC can also thank birth control for helping me — and all the rest of us — plan for our pregnancies. Misogyny aside (has anyone ever persuaded a misogynist to *stop* being a misogynist? — there’s a story I’d like to hear — really!), HOW IS THIS GOOD PUBLIC POLICY???

    • BirthingBeautifulIdeas

      Good point. Rational persuasion is often ineffective when used to combat irrational nonsense.

      And you’re absolutely right–this makes no sense whatsoever in terms of public policy. Pregnancy and birth are very expensive when compared to contraception (which can also be expensive, but obviously on a much smaller scale). And while hormone-based contraceptives are not without risks, neither is a slew of unintended pregnancies!

  8. Juliette

    But if women (and men) are allowed to choose WHEN they have children, and limit the number of children they have, then we take away that incredibly enjoyable activity – criticizing other people’s parenting. Because it’s so much more easy to criticize if there are lots of children!!!

  9. Naomi

    Don’t forget that it isn’t just ‘the pill’ that is on
    the attack but IUD’s and Diaphragms. I find it mind boggling… I think these politicians have decided that women are fair game because they can’t pick on race anymore and EVERY race has women in it! I am a SAHM mother of three….doing that ‘traditional motherhood’ thing while my husband works but I am not a doormat, nor a Republican!

    • Mama Mo
      Mama Mo03-17-2012

      Hahahahahaha! “…not a doormat, nor a Republican”!!! I love that so much, Naomi! I’m a SAHM of twins boys, doing that traditional thing, too. By choice. Because I want to. Because I love it.

  10. Ann Becker-Schutte
    Ann Becker-Schutte03-16-2012

    As another monogamous person in a committed relationship (even a conservative-approved heterosexual married relationship), I am grateful to birth control for being a part of the treatment for my PCOS that allowed me to become pregnant at all. Yes, that’s right, birth control was part of the treatment regimen that regulated my crazy hormones enough to allow me to conceive.
    After the five-month stillbirth of my son, during which I nearly died, the perinatologist told me that I had a 50% probability of the same outcome in any future pregnancy. So, I’m also grateful to birth control for allowing me to continue to have a relationship with my husband that doesn’t risk my life, my emotional health, or the lives of future children–oh and to parent the amazing kids that have been brought into my life by a loving birthmother.
    It blows my mind that this valid medical treatment is under fire in this day and age.

  11. Katy

    Aside from the obvious, I’m thankful that birth control helped me control the cysts that frequently marred my skin, and prevented more ovarian cysts that had landed me in the hospital when they burst. And I started taking them for this reason while leading a decidedly non-slutty, Catholic-college life. And, yes, I’m now monogamous, married, boring…oh-they-should-be-so-scared-of-my-lifestyle. ;)

    • BirthingBeautifulIdeas

      I’m shocked that they don’t realize that contraception is beneficial for woman all across the “sexual spectrum” (I don’t know if there is such a thing, but we’ll just say there is…:-)). When I could use it (long story as to why I no longer can), it was HUGELY beneficial in my very boring, very monogamous relationship with my husband.

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