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Contraception and Women’s Health
“Those who wish to limit women’s access to birth control apparently do not care about women’s health. ” That’s the key, they don’t seem to care about women as individual human beings and only see them as incubators. It is very disturbing.
It’s like they can’t imagine what it would be like to be a woman and pregnant. Apparently Sheryl Sandberg also didn’t support flex time at work until she, herself, became pregnant and had a child! It’s partly a failure of imagination and empathy.
The more things change the more they stay the same. It is infuriating how a handful of men can alter the fates of so many women and their families. Must every step toward equality but so hard fought and long to win. (sigh) What can we do but what we can do? A well-put and thoughtful article on a very Important subject.
Thanks! I’m afraid we just have to take the long view and continue the pressure. After all, it’s been 150 years since emancipation, and still African Americans are considered by many to be second-class citizens. The existence of an AA in the White House (note the irony) makes about 20% of the U.S. population absolutely apoplectic. As Jesus said, “Love others as you love yourselves.” I believe the haters really don’t like themselves very well. And those who would limit women’s freedom are bound by their own narrow-mindedness.
Excellent blog! I had not realized how the childbirth death rate rose after doctors began to replace midwives, but it’s not surprising, for the reasons you cited. The graph you included is certainly dramatic.
In all the brouhaha about birth control, the original idea of Planned Parenthood seems to be overlooked. Both pro- and anti-contraception groups focus on abortion rather than on sensible family planning. By using contraception, a woman is contributing to her own health in various ways–avoiding pregnancy during periods of illness or stress, allowing time to recover after giving birth before becoming pregnant again, postponing pregnancy until she can afford needed medical care, and so on.
She is ensuring health for her family, too. Her husband or partner will suffer less stress and be better able to support her and their children. The children will benefit from a healthy mother who has time for them and is not burdened financially.
A woman who uses contraception proactively is also much less likely to need abortion. Even we who are pro-choice wouldn’t choose abortion as a first choice.
Thanks, Carol. Contraception certainly IS a women’s health issue – both physical health and psychological health!
Thanks for sharing this well-thought information, Joanne. I was just reading a book about women in the eighteenth century and how so many died in childbirth and how few survived childhood. We don’t often think of that today–but we should.
Kathy, yes indeed, we should. Contraception is basically what liberated Western women from the often deadly burden of constant childbearing. This is truly a women’s health issue. Besides this, contraception has made it possible for married women to have fewer children so that they could contribute creatively to other aspects of society and culture. I believe it was “the pill” that set women free from the tyranny of their gender roles. Back when my mother was young, if you wanted to be a professional woman (including a teacher), you simply didn’t get married.
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