Birth Control Effects on Society
Birth control has been practiced throughout history as a method of avoiding pregnancy. Today, birth control is more effective than ever, and those wishing to engage in sexual behavior, without the risk of conception, have more options than ever.
While the increased availability of effective birth control has had some positive effects on society and women’s liberation, it also may have led to an increase in promiscuity and higher divorce rates.
Society’s interest in birth control dates back to as early as 1727 when Daniel Defoe published “A Treatise Concerning the Use and Abuse of the Marriage Bed,” condemning the practice of conception and comparing it to infanticide.
Throughout the next several centuries, birth control was continually used and practiced in various forms. Egyptian and Asian women used various primitive forms of the method, while some Europeans drank potions purported to prevent pregnancy. In Germany, under Hitler, birth control information was readily distributed to non-Aryan women in 1935.
In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first hormonal birth control in 1960. In France, the ban on birth control ended in 1965, and feminists in Italy won the battle on the birth control ban in 1970.
Today, birth control is widely used, although controversy remains over whether its use is permitted by those who practice certain religions.
Birth control comes in several different forms. The oldest known form of practiced birth control was coitus interruptus, which involved withdrawing the penis from the vagina prior to ejaculation.
This method is still practiced today, but is not a very effective method of birth control since it can be difficult to determine the exact time of withdrawal. Today, there are many other methods of birth control that are relatively reliable, including barrier methods and hormonal methods of birth control.
Barrier methods of birth control include condoms, the diaphragm and the cervical sponge. Condoms are placed over the penis prior to intercourse. Diaphragms are inserted into a woman’s vagina and fit in place behind the pubic bone.
The contraceptive sponge fits in place over a woman’s cervix. Spermicide is often used in conjunction with diaphragms and contraceptive sponges, but it can also be inserted into the vagina alone and used as a method of birth control. Barrier methods of birth control work by blocking the sperms access to the egg.
Hormonal birth control is perhaps the most effective form of birth control, and can be used either alone or in conjunction with barrier methods. Hormonal methods of birth control include the pill, the patch, vaginal rings and injections of hormones. Hormonal birth control generally works by fooling the body into believing that you are already pregnant.
Intrauterine methods are also used as birth control. A T-shaped device is placed inside the uterus. The device is either made of copper, which acts as a spermicide, or releases a progestin.
Birth control has played an important role on equality for women and women’s liberation. Prior to the advent of effective birth control, women were essentially continually at risk of unplanned and perhaps unwanted pregnancies.
Women’s role in marriage was caring for children, and intercourse outside a marriage was a prospect with a great deal of stigma, especially if a child was conceived.
Birth control allows for the spacing of births. This results in healthier mothers, who are more likely to carry a healthy child to term. Birth control has thus aided in lowering the rates of infant and childhood mortality and decreased the risk of anemia in pregnant mothers.
Birth control also can prevent high-risk pregnancies in young children, older women, women who have had many prior births and women with pre-existing medical or genetic conditions. The widespread availability of birth control also has reduced the number of unsafe abortions resulting in unwanted pregnancies.
Finally, certain methods of barrier birth control are instrumental in preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). While hormonal birth control is not effective at preventing STD, condoms are effective when properly used.
There is much debate among politicians and lobbyists about whether birth control, as part of a larger sexual education program, should be taught in schools. Some believe that teaching birth control encourages sexual behavior in minors.
In addition to the possibility of increasing sexual behavior in minors, the widespread use of birth control is alleged by some to be responsible for other societal issues. University of Virginia assistant professor of sociology W.
Bradford Wilcox published an article claiming that birth control is responsible for an increase in divorce and illegitimate children.
Wilcox cited George Akerlof, an economist who argued that the widespread use of birth control decreased incentive to marry, and created an environment where premarital sex became the norm.