Birth control

method of preventing human pregnancy or birth
(Redirected from Contraception)

Birth control, also known as contraception and fertility control, is a method or device used to prevent pregnancy.

There are three classes of people who have always been objectors to any form of birth control, and who have always opposed any measures which would enable parents to have children by choice rather than by chance. These are, first, the war leaders; second, the church leaders; and, third, the leaders in the commercial world who have wanted cheap labor. ~ William Hawley Smith

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  • The difference between human beings and other species is that only human beings practise birth control.
    • Al-Jahiz (in a book about the animal kingdom). Quoted in Lucas Catherine: Islam voor Ongelovigen (EPO, Antwerp 1997), p.215. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad. (1997) The Demographic Siege.
  • Exposure to all forms of violence may influence the choices that women make regarding contraceptive use. Women’s perceptions and experience of loss of reproductive control may affect their decisions to use contraception, lead to decreased conviction to use condoms, or result in partner control over administration and type of contraception used. Gee et al. demonstrated that, because of difficulties imposed by their partners, women with exposure to intimate partner violence were less likely than nonexposed women to use birth control. Compared with women without violence exposure, women with a history of intimate partner violence reported that their male partners were more likely to refuse to use condoms (21% vs 7%; P < .001) and to refuse to allow contraception (5% vs 1%; P < .001). Women exposed to violence were also less likely than their nonexposed peers to ask their partners to wear condoms (35% vs 56%; P < .001). Finally, previous experiences of abuse, particularly those occurring in childhood, might have an impact on contraceptive choices via alternate pathways including depression, substance abuse, and alcohol use.
    In light of these findings, women who experience histories of abuse may benefit from contraceptive methods that are independent of their partners. In this analysis, we sought to estimate the association of childhood, adult, and lifetime exposure to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse with contraceptive method selection and duration of use for both long-acting reversible contraception (LARC; intrauterine devices and hormonal implant) and non–long-acting methods of contraception (non-LARC; birth-control pill, injection, ring, or patch) in the Contraceptive CHOICE Project (CHOICE).
  • In this study of women seeking contraception, almost 1 in 3 women reported a history of sexual abuse or repeated experiences of emotional or physical abuse. Our findings highlight the large proportion of women who have experienced abuse in their lifetimes and the association of abuse with contraceptive method selection and discontinuation. Women with histories of abuse who select non-LARC methods may benefit from enhanced counseling as significant differences in contraceptive continuation existed by 6 months after initiation. Differences in continuation of LARC methods were modest and our data sup-port current recommendations that LARC should be offered as first-line contraceptive methods. A health care provider who identifies a woman with a history of abuse should consider the patient’s ability to maintain ongoing use, discuss LARC methods as the most effective contraceptive options to prevent pregnancy, and provide optimal contraceptive management in a manner that is effective, private, and safe.
In the latter part of the 20th century, people began to put forward the effect of population control upon the environment as a justification for regulation of fertility, independent of economic concerns.
However, many people would have serious moral objections to plans to use contraception in order to control population.
One objection that isn't covered here is that the real cause of poverty and damage is overconsumption by a few, and that if rich nations stopped consuming far more than their fair share of resources there would be no need for population control to be applied unfairly to poor nations. ~ BBC
  • Contraception is key to reducing abortion rates: 47 percent of the 6.3 million unplanned pregnancies that occur each year in the United States occur among the 7 percent of women who do not practice contraception and are at risk of unintended pregnancy. Even so, contraception does not eliminate women’s need for access to abortions: 54 percent of women who have had abortions reported that theey were using contraceptives during the month they became pregnant. Lack of education about contraceptives and inconsistent or improper use remain major problems, and nonuse is greatest among those who are young, poor, or poorly educated.
  • Although the plaintifs in Eisenstadt specifically disavowed any claim that the right to contraception would lead to a right to abortion, Justice Brennan’s plurality opinion in Eisenstadt clearly pointed in that general direction “If the right of privacy means anything,” Brennan wrote, “it is the right of the “individual”, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decisionwhether to bear or beget a child.” Through this dictum, Brennan served notice that the right recognized in the Griswold opiion was not merela right of marital privacy, but extended to single persons as well, and encompassed not only contraception, but the “decision whether tobear or beget a child.”
  • Griswold and Eisenstadt hold that he state may not forbid the use of contraceptives to prevent pregnancy, not only because individuals have the right to decide whether to procreate, but because the consequences of procreation are the responsibilities of parenthood, responsibilities that are felt most heavily by women in our society and perhaps even more heavily by single women. Individuals have the fundamental right to decide whether they want to become parents and assume those responsibilities. When the state bans contraception, it compels individuals to risk becoming parents-with all the attendant social expectations and responsibilities-or else give up sexual intercourse. Because the state may not force people to become parents against their will, it may not put people to this choice.
  • There are a number of general objections that can apply to any mass contraception programme.
    Imperialism: Both the following can be regarded as forms of imperialism:
    rich countries funding contraceptive programmes in the third world
    rich countries demanding the implementation of birth control programmes in exchange for financial or other aid
    Cultural imperialism: Bringing birth control to a community that has previously avoided it will inevitably change the relationships and power dynamics within that community. It's important to take appropriate precautions to minimise the impact of contraception on cultures to which it is introduced.
    Human rights: Mass birth control interferes with a person's right to have as many children as they wish
    Eugenics: Mass birth control programmes may be used to reduce the birth rate of certain classes, castes or ethnic groups
    Gender bias: The majority of mass birth-control programmes operate by controlling only female fertility. This is because there are long-term female contraceptives such as the pill, hormone implants, and IUDs, but no male equivalents. As a result:
    women unfairly bear the burden of population control
    female fertility is treated as something dangerous that needs to be controlled
    this gender bias operates regardless of the good intentions behind programmes of mass contraception.
  • The regulation of births, which is an aspect of responsible fatherhood and motherhood, is objectively morally acceptable when it is pursued by the spouses without external pressure; when it is practiced not out of selfishness but for serious reasons; and with methods that conform to the objective criteria of morality, that is, periodic continence and use of the infertile periods.
    • Compedium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, question 497.
  • Birth control as it is now practised in the United States is bound to bring about a notable decline in our white population in the near future. Skilled statisticians predict that in twenty or thirty years our nation will cease to grow and begin to diminish, unless there occurs some extraordinary immigrational influx or widespread change in the attitude toward birth control. When the decline becomes pronounced and rapid, the government will probably become concerned in the matter, like the government of France, which is now making strenuous efforts to induce married couples to produce more children. It is not at all unlikely that the babies who are being born in the United States today will receive similar inducements from our government before they are too old to bear offspring. Even now there are many thoughtful men and women in our land who are gravely disturbed over the decline of the population and are engaged in a campaign for more births, although some of them continue to advocate the use of contraception by persons whose offspring are liable to be unsound in mind or in body.
  • [A]ccess to birth control is dependent on the privacy right articulated in Griswold and echoed in Roe. Contraception availability is crucial toward reducing unintended pregnancies, reducing the number of abortions, and improving women's health. In addition, improved access to contraception will allow more women to control the timing of their pregnancies. This, in turn, helps reduce infant mortality, low birth weight, and maternal health complications during pregnancy. Thus, undermining the privacy right will serve to endanger women’s health and lives even beyond the abortion decision.
  • The two great sources of the opposition to Birth Control are found in the purely selfish motives of the religionist who wishes his people kept in ignorance of Birth Control and its methods so that they will beget children and yet more children for the glory of God and the Church, and the capitalistic exploiter of labor who is afraid of a diminution in the cheap labor supply.
    • Lydia Allen DeVilbiss, Birth Control: What is It? (1925), p. 36
  • If under Griswold the distribution of contraceptives to married persons cannot be prohibited, a ban on the distribution to unmarried persons would be equally impermissible.
  • Thus it seems to me entirely proper to infer a general right of privacy, so long as some care is taken in defining the sort of right the inference will support. Those aspects of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments to which the Court refers all limit the ways in which, and the circumstances under which, the government can go about gathering information about a person he would rather it did not have. Katz v. United States, limiting governmental tapping of telephones, may not involve what the framers would have called a “search,” but it plainly involves this general concern with privacy. Griswold is a long step, even a leap, beyond this, but at least the connection is discernible. Had it been a case that purported to discover in the Constitution a “right to contraception,” it would have been Roe’s strongest precedent. But the Court in Roe gives no evidence of so regarding it, and rightly not. Commentators tend to forget, though the Court plainly has not, that the Court in Griswold stressed that it was invalidating only that portion of the Connecticut law that proscribed the use, as opposed to the manufacture, sale, or other distribution of contraceptives. That distinction (which would be silly were the right to contraception being constitutionally enshrined) makes sense if the case is rationalized on the ground that the section of the law whose constitutionality was in issue was such that its enforcement would have been virtually impossible without the most outrageous sort of governmental prying into the privacy of the home.
  • Luker discounts the theory that abortion is used as a contraceptive because women have incomplete knowledge bout preconception measures or because of individual intrapsychic conflicts that cannot be fully. Instead, she hypothesizes that women engage in a fairly conscious, rational, though often not express, cost-benefit analysis in which they weigh the many different relational costs and benefits of pregnancy against those of contraception and birth. Thus, for example, many of the women she surveyed found contraception “unnatural” and “cold blooded,” a measure that robbed the sexual act of its warm intimacy.. For others, to use a contraceptive, such as the pill, was to acknowledge to herself and to others that she was available for sex and thus transgressing the model of a “good girl in the traditional moral sense. Some women avoided contraception because they saw in pregnancy a way to notify parents, husbands, and lovers that they had not been properly attentive and to ask for help and care. Still others recognized pregnancy as a means of measuring their partner’s commitment to then. Some believed that if they got pregnant, their partners would marry them or become more living. Disillusioned in those beliefs after becoming pregnant, many sought abortions. Finally, some women saw contraceptives not as a way to control one’s body but as a technology that permitted women to be exploited by their male partners. As one woman stated:
    [If you use a contraceptive,] [h]e’s not worrying about what’s going to happen to you He’s only worrying about himself.
    . . . [Getting birth control pills] worked to where it was a one-way street for his benefit, not for mine. It would be mine because I wouldn’t get pregnant, but safe for him, too, because I wouldn’t put him on the spot. So I get sick of being used. I’m tired of this same old crap, forget it. I’m not getting pills for his benefit. . . . He gets all the feelings, girls have all hassles.
  • The ulema declare: If need be, then, as long as the excuse lasts, one can use contraceptive methods, but, frankly speaking, it is sheer ingratitude for divine bounty that one gets oneself deprived of offspring through tubectomy without a legal excuse. The Holy Prophet (pbuh.!) has said: ‘Contract marriage with women who love more and beget more children so that on account of your multitudinousness on the Day of Judgement I may take pride in your number vis-à-vis the other ummahs’ (Mishkat). God is the Provider; He will provide for you as well as your children. The children’s provider is God, not we. He who supplied nourishment in the mother’s womb, He will provide it after birth also. The list of livelihood the offspring bring with them from the mother’s womb and they will receive their quota according to the same. Why should then one entertain such thoughts? The Divine Commandment is: ‘And that ye slay not your children because of penury—We provide for you and for them’ (6:151). At another place it has been said: ‘Slay not your children, fearing a [fall to poverty]; We shall provide for them and for you’ (17:31). It is reported in a hadith that certain Companions, in order to save themselves from sins and wordly worries and to engage themselves in devotions, expressed the wish to get themselves castrated. The Holy Prophet (pbuh.!) did not permit it and recited the Quranic verse: ‘O ye who believe ! Fobid not the good things which Allah hath made lawful for you, and transgress not. Lo! Allah loveth not transgressors’ (V. 87). (Bukh., vol. ii, p.759). It is conclusively proved from this that castration, that is, the discontinuance of procreation artificially is unlawful (haram) according to the explicit verse of the Quran also and is included in transgression from the limits fixed by God. Hence an operation that discontinues procreation is unanimously unlawful (UQ, vol. xx, p. 72)... And the jurisconsults have said: ‘Castration of men is forbidden’ (haram). (DM & S., vol. v, p. 342). And: ‘And that ye slay not your children because of penury—We provide for you and for them.’ (VI: 151). And: ‘Slay not your children, fearing a fall to poverty.We shall provide for them and for you.’ (XVII: 31).
    • Fatawa-i-Raihimiyyah, Quran, Hadis, quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins).
  • When the Companions asked the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Aliaihe wa sallaml) about coitus interruptus (‘azl), he said: ‘This is like burying a live child.’ And this is the same which has been described in the Quranic verse: ‘And when the girl-child that was buried alive is asked’ (LXXXI) (Vide Muslim Sharif, vol. i, p. 466; Mishkat Sharif, p. 276). In Path al-Mulhim Sharh-e Sahih-e Muslim, Allamah Shabbir Ahmed Usmani quotes that Qazi has written that the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Aliaihe wa sallam!) has determined coitus interruptus ‘a hidden burial’, that is, to waste the seed which Allah Most High had prepared for procreation is like infanticide and burying the child alive. The result is the same: the only difference is that it is not buried alive openly and hence it has been called hidden. There is a hadith in the Bukhari Sharif to the effect that when the Companions, on account of their zest of engaging in devotions and in order to avoid sins and for remaining aloof from relations, expressed the desire to get themselves castrated, the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wa sallam!) did not allow them and adduced the Quranic verse, ‘O ye who believe: Forbid not the good things which Allah hath made lawful for you, and transgress not. Lo! Allah loveth not transgressors’ (V: 87), in proof. Even as the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihe wa sallam!) has, by this verse, determined castration to be unlawful, it is obvious that the termination of propagation under the family planning scheme will also be included under this order.
    • Fatawa-i-Raihimiyyah, Quran, Hadis, quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins).
  • Before considering abortion, the Justices had faced the issue of contraception. They eliminated state restrictions on contraceptives in two major cases in 1965 and 1972, an action that provoked little public opposition in the midst of the sexual revolution. The ease with which they were able to eliminate those laws likely gave some of the Justices a sense that the abortion laws were simply another set of laws that could be eliminated as an “invasion of privacy.” They saw contraception and abortion laws as one and the same intrusion on “privacy.”
    The Justices first seriously addressed the issue of contraception in 1961 in a case called Poe v. Ullman, but in a very limited way. The Connecticut statute in Poe was unique, the only one of its kind in the country to “criminally prohibit” the marital use of contraception.
    Although a majority of the Justices dismissed the Poe case-Justice Brennan complained about “this skimpy record”-two influential dissents by Justices William O. Douglas (a “liberal”) and John Harlan (a “conservative”) kept the issue alive. Both dissents emphasized marital privacy as the reason for striking the Connecticut law. Harlan made clear in Poe that “[t]he right to privacy most manifestly is not an absolute. Thus, I would not suggest that adultery, homosexuality, fornication and incest are immune from criminal enquiry, however privately practiced. So much has been explicitly recognized in acknowledging the State’s rightful concern for its people’s moral welfare.”
    The same Connecticut statute came back to the Court in 1965 in a similar test case, then called Griswold v. Connecticut. The Justices struck down the Connecticut criminal prohibition on the marital use of contraception and announced, for the first time, a general constitutional right of privacy. Griswold quickly became the Supreem Court precedent that spurred the litigation campaign against state abortion statutes, led in large part by Attorney Roy Lucas, who authored one of the first major law review articles attacking state abortion laws on constitutional grounds in 1969.
  • A constitutional right to contraception was pushed in the courts for a decade before it succeeded between 1965 and 1972. After the Griswold decision in 1965, the drive for a right to contraception then merged with a drive for a right to abortion.
  • Since certain portions of the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2012, birth control has become free for many American women, since the law requires most insurance plans to cover contraception without charging individuals. According to the CDC, roughly 62 percent of American women of childbearing age used some sort of contraception as of 2013. Yet according to a report by a company that tracks the pharmaceuticals industry, women aren’t necessarily using more birth control. For example, the number of prescriptions for the pill—the most popular form of contraception—has only increased slightly the past half decade, rising from 93 to 95 million between 2009 and 2013.
    Theoretically, more affordable birth control might lead to fewer unintended pregnancies. It’s still unclear how the Affordable Care Act will affect this number; the latest data available is from 2010, when roughly 37 percent of births were either unintended or mistimed, according to the CDC.
  • Birth control should be resorted to only in cases of extreme necessity, such as the wife's ill-health owing to constant births. Imam Abu Hanifa holds it makruh (abominable).
    • M. Imran: Ideal Woman, Delhi 1994 (1981), p.66.
  • I similarly appraise the right of men and women to full knowledge of all that the sciences of nature and man have established regarding sex and reproduction, and to decide for themselves upon the number of children they want and the intervals at which they want them.
    • Horace M. Kallen, “An Ethic of Freedom: A Philosopher’s View”, ‘’N.Y.U.I.R 31:1167 (November 1956). Cf. Glanville Williams, “The Control of Conception”, in The Sanctity of Life and the Criminal Law, New York 1957, pp. 34-74
  • Enforcement of sharply-differentiated concepts of the roles and choices of men and women underlay regulation of abortion and contraception in the nineteenth century.
    Nineteenth-century contraception and abortion regulation also reflected ethnocentric fears about the relative birthrates of immigrants and Yankee Protestants.
  • In Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance (Harvard University Press, 1992), Riddle proposed that effective contraception began in the ancient world: "the ancients discovered what we only recently rediscovered". In Eve's Herbs he concentrates on the period from the Middle Ages to the present day, arguing that contraceptive knowledge gradually became less easily available to women because the witch-hunts killed the wise women. He again makes extensive use both of comparative studies of world-wide plant folklore and of laboratory work on the chemical efficacy of the materials used.
  • Desired or undesired, sex usually entails pregnancy. Even when contraception is used conscientiously and skillfully, it only reduces the risk of pregnancy; it does not eliminate it. Small risks taken repeatedly become large risks. Even a woman who uses a contraceptive that is 95% effective has a 70% probability of pregnancy over ten years. Even surgical sterilization is not absolutely reliable, and one “sterilized” woman in 25 will become pregnant if she continues to have intercourse over a ten year period. “Thus, in the absence of improved contraceptive technology unwanted childbearing and abortion will occur in response to contraceptive failure.”
  • These pressures to engage in sex are often accompanied by pressures “not” to use contraception. Some of these involve physical danger: the most effective contraceptive, the pill, poses long-term health risks, while safer methods have higher failure rates. Contraceptive materials and information are sometimes hard to get, particularly for the teenagers who are a third of the women who abort. Contraception is sometimes stigmatized: “Using contraception means acknowledging and planning the possibility of intercourse, accepting one’s sexual availability, and appearing non-spontaneous.” The issue of power arises again, since many men dislike contracepetives and discourage the women they have sex with from using them. “Sex does not look a lot like freedom when it appears normatively less costly for women to risk an undesired, often painful, traumatic, dangerous, sometimes illegal, and potentially life-threatening procedure than to protect oneself in advance.” In short, women’s consent to the risk of pregnancy is as dubious as Bailey’s consent to the risk of being put on the chain gang.
  • " [s]ince contraception alone seems insufficient to reduce fertility to the point of no-growth, . . . we should permit all voluntary means of birth control (including abortion).
    • National Abortion Rights League, Speaker's and Debater's Notebook Excerpt (c. 1972) (on file with Schlesinger Library, Harvard University, The NARAL Papers).
  • It is "one of the fundamental tenets of Islam -- namely, to multiply the tribe."
    • Saeed Naqvi: Reflections of an Indian Mus¬lim (Har-Anand, Delhi 1993), p.32.
  • See Siegel & Siegel, supra note 268, at 1028 (observing that the government’s compelling interest in providing employees access to contraception “encompass[es] not only core concerns of the community in promoting public health and facilitating women’s integration in the workplace,” but also “crucial concerns of the employees who are the intended beneficiaries of federal law’s contraceptive coverage requirement—interests that sound in bodily integrity, personal autonomy, and equal citizenship”). As the Department of Health and Human Services explained: “Researchers have shown that access to contraception improves the social and economic status of women. Contraceptive access . . . allow[s] women to achieve equal status as healthy and productive members of the job force.” Group Health Plans and Health Insurance Issuers Relating to Coverage of Preventive Services Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 77 Fed. Reg. 8725-01 (Feb. 15, 2012). Cf. Hobby Lobby, 134 S. Ct. at 2779-80 (discussing the government’s asserted interests in requiring employers to provide employees insurance for contraception, including “‘public health’ and ‘gender quality’” (citing Griswold, 381 U.S. 479)).
  • Sanger never accepted rhythm as a legitimate form of birth control because of its high failure rate and because it dictated when a couple could or could not have sex. “I disagree with it violently,” she told a friend in 1953. Yet when preparing the program for the Third International Conference on Planned Parenthood in Bombay in 1952, Sanger invited Rock to give a paper on rhythm to placate public health leaders in India. She might have sought Rock’s insights into the topic because he had just published a paper that concluded the rhythm method offered a “satisfactory degree of protection” only to “rigorously selected and carefully instructed wives.” For all others, Rock and his co-authors wrote, “the effectiveness of the method in preventing conception is not considered adequate.” Whether or not Rock was aware of Sanger’s strong views on rhythm, he declined the invitation because he was “pressed for time.” He added that “I thoroughly believe in the work you are doing,” an acknowledgment, perhaps, that he had expanded his advocacy of birth control beyond its use for medical reasons. (Sanger to Edward Steele, Mar. 31, 1953 [quote 1]; Sanger to Rock, June 14, 1952; Rock to Sanger, Aug. 28, 1952 [quotes 5 and 6] [MSM S37:966, S39:409, S41: 197]; Christopher Tietze, Samuel R. Poliakoff and John Rock, “The Clinical Effectiveness of the Rhythm Method of Contraception,” Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey 7:2 [April 1952]: 299-302 [quotes 2-4].)
For centuries, historians paid no attention to ancient accounts that claimed certain plants provided an effective means of birth control. . . . Modern laboratory analysis of various plants [including silphium, asafetida, seeds of Queen Anne's lace, pennyroyal, willow, date palm, pomegranate, inter al.], however, gives us reason to believe that the classical potions were effective, and that women in antiquity had more control over their reproductive lives than previously thought. ~ John M. Riddle
  • Since the 1970s, drugs that interfere with the synthesis, secretion, or peripheral actions of progesterone have been tested as emergency contraceptives because progesterone and its effects on the endometrium are critical for the successful implantation and establishment of a pregnancy. Because of the variability in timing of the administration of the drug, if the emergency contraceptive worked only to prevent ovulation and interfere with fertilization, it would have limited success, so according to researchers,
    to achieve the highest possible efficacy, the ideal emergency contraceptive drug needs to act interceptively; that is, it should be capable of interfering with a physiological event that occurs after fertilization—during the period of early embryonic development prior to implantation. (Von Hertzen and Van Look 1996)
  • In 1965, the Supreme Court, in Griswold v. Connecticut, forced the last holdout state to comply with an overwhelming national consensus when it struck down Connecticut’s law banning the use of contraceptives by married couples, the only law of its kind in the nation still on the books. Because popular support for banning contraception had eroded, the Griswold decision was embraced by Congress, the White House, and the country as a whole.
  • The historic fertility declines in Western countries that occurred prior to diffusion of modern contraceptives were achieved primarily through induced abortion, abstinence, and use of traditional methods of contraception, in particular withdrawal. While these alternative means of fertility regulation have also contributed to contemporary fertility declines in developing countries, modern contraception seems to have taken the center stage in the scientific literature and policy debates. Indeed, fertility declines in developing countries have been highly correlated with the diffusion of modern contraception. Sub-Saharan Africa is no exception to this general pattern, although, as is typical in the beginning of fertility transitions, the relationship between fertility decline and contraceptive use is still relatively loose in the region (Westoff and Bankole 2001). It thus seems especially important to consider the role of alternative means of birth control, including traditional contraceptive methods and periods of sexual abstinence or inactivity, in the case of contemporary sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Some research has been conducted on the role of traditional methods in regulating births in the early stages of the fertility transition in contemporary developing countries, most notably on the relationship between induced abortion and contraception (Bongaarts and Westoff 2000; Marston and Cleland 2003; WHO 2011). These studies have generally found that in Latin America, Asia, and North Africa, abortion rates increased during the first phases of fertility decline, as growing demand for fertility regulation outstripped the diffusion of modern contraception, and then declined at later stages when modern contraceptives were more widely used. There is also evidence that a similar pattern is playing out in contemporary sub-Saharan African, with a number of country-specific studies indicating that abortion rates are currently highest among urban women, a finding explained by these women’s greater demand for birth control and the many obstacles remaining to contraceptive use in the region (Singh et al. 2005; Singh et al. 2010; Basinga et al. 2012; Levandowski et al. 2013; Bankole et al. 2014; Sedgh et al. 2015).
  • The use of traditional contraception has received less attention than either abortion or changing patterns of abstinence. The lack of substantive research on these methods likely stems from the fact that traditional methods are both less effective and less often used than modern methods. Contraceptive efficacy is one of the most important aspects of method choice and promotion, and, with typical use, periodic abstinence and withdrawal (the two most commonly used traditional methods) are less effective than nearly all modern methods (Trussell 2004). Moreover, use of these less-effective methods is generally low throughout contemporary regions. According to regional estimates from the United Nations (UN), in sub-Saharan Africa only 5.4 percent of women aged 15–49 in union use traditional methods (periodic abstinence, withdrawal, or other informal methods of contraception), a level that is comparable to Asia (5.6 percent) and Latin America and the Caribbean (6.1 percent) (UN 2013). Within sub-Saharan Africa, however, the prevalence of traditional method use is particularly high in Central Africa, where 12.0 percent of women of reproductive age report using a traditional method. According to the same UN estimates, modern contraceptive prevalence is 19.7 percent for sub-Saharan Africa, which is significantly lower than modern method use in Asia (61.2 percent) or Latin America and the Caribbean (66.6 percent). As a result, traditional method use constitutes a much larger proportion of overall contraceptive use in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Central Africa, and may play an under-appreciated, and certainly under-studied, role in Africa’s fertility transition.
Birth control is the first important step woman must take toward the goal of her freedom. It is the first step she must take to be man’s equal. It is the first step they must both take toward human emancipation. ~ Margaret Sanger
  • Had the monster of 'Birth Control' as an instrument of state policy raised its head in the days of the Holy Prophet, he would surely have declared Jihad against it in the same manner as he waged Jihad against Shirk (polytheism). ... The Qur'an says that 'Children are an ornament of life' and Hadith literature views with favour larger families for the greater strength of Ummah, and as such birth control / family planning cannot be in any way compatible with the Shari'ah.
    • M. Samiullah: Muslims in Alien Society, p.90-97.
  • There are three classes of people who have always been objectors to any form of birth control, and who have always opposed any measures which would enable parents to have children by choice rather than by chance. These are, first, the war leaders; second, the church leaders; and, third, the leaders in the commercial world who have wanted cheap labor.
    • William Hawley Smith, Children by Chance Or by Choice, and Some Correlated Considerations (1920), p. 260
  • “Well, birth control’s easy. The first thing you have to know is that it doesn’t work.”
    “Not consistently. No matter how careful you are, every time you play hide-the-salami with the boys, you’re running the risk of ending up with a belly full of consequences.”
    “Contraceptive spells are never entirely reliable. That’s because their power comes from the Mother, and the Mother wants children. Each cantrip has its loophole, every fetish its flaw. Ultimately, contraception is just a way of luring you into playing her game.”
    “You mean that sooner or later it’s going to fail me?”
    “That’s not what I said. It works well enough for enough of us that the rest will take their chances. But the odds are never going to be as good as you’d like them to be. There are no guarantees.”
  • Islam is one of the few religions that allow for birth control.
    • Yoginder Sikand: "Bogey of family planning and Islam", Observer of Business and Politics, 27-2-1993, with refere¬nce to B.F. Musallam: Sex and Society in Islam (Cambridge 1933). Quoted from Elst, Koenraad. (1997) The Demographic Siege
To improve conditions so that dirt, poverty, and disease will disappear is, of course, the ideal solution. But that, to put it mildly, will take time, involving long-term medical and economic campaigns on a dozen fronts. Birth control, in the meantime, offers immediate help. Its advocates point out that at least the family without much to eat ought to have the choice as to whether it wants to bring another high chair to the table. Birth control, they say, can help to stop the infant and maternal carnage and in the end build a healthier and perhaps even a larger population. ~ Don Wharton
  • I look back in history, and there was a time when many states had laws making contraception illegal. The Supreme Court in ’65 ruled (in Griswold v. Connecticut) that there is a right of privacy and that married people have the right to use contraception. And then the Supreme Court in Baird vs. Eisenstadt (1972) said that right of privacy to decide whether you want to bear or beget a child, and therefore the right to use contraception, is [for] married and single people. So, I thought that this would be a case where Roe vs. Wade would be accepted, maybe not just right at first, but within a few years. And that we could go ahead and move on to work on other issues.
  • Catholic theologians argued that contraception contravened natural law in several ways. First, it separated sex from its natural purpose of procreation. Second, by attempting to prevent the formation of new human life, it challenged God's authority as the Creator. Finally, it treated human life as something to be prevented rather than valued. Contraception introduced a "deadly...cheapening of human life," the Jesuit magazine America charged in 1924. Those who promoted contraception "would destroy the law of God and the law of nature by interfering with human life at its inception. For they would teach the custodians of human life how to frustrate life before birth. In the views of Catholics, this was only a short step removed from abortion. "Does artificial prevention of life stand on any higher moral ground than the artificial taking of life?" Edward J. Heffron, executive secretary of the National Council of Catholic Men, asked in 1942.
    Birth control advocates, including Sanger, disagreed. They saw contraception as an anti-abortion measure, since women would likely have fewer illegal abortions if they had a more convenient and safer way to limit their fertility Catholics disputed this claim. They argued that legalized birth control would actually increase the abortion rate, because people who had been encouraged to try and avoid pregnancy would resort to any means at their disposal-even an illegal abortion-if their contraceptive devices failed. Birth control had "created the mentality which abhors births," Jesuit priest Wilifrid Parsons declared in 1935. It's "inexorable outcome will be the killing by abortion of unwanted babies."
  • To improve conditions so that dirt, poverty, and disease will disappear is, of course, the ideal solution. But that, to put it mildly, will take time, involving long-term medical and economic campaigns on a dozen fronts. Birth control, in the meantime, offers immediate help. Its advocates point out that at least the family without much to eat ought to have the choice as to whether it wants to bring another high chair to the table. Birth control, they say, can help to stop the infant and maternal carnage and in the end build a healthier and perhaps even a larger population.
  • Many African-Americans, particularly physicians and feminists, found black-genocide arguments utterly unconvincing. Dr. Jerome Holland of Planned Parenthood emphasized that legalized abortion would prevent unnecessary deaths of black mothers and babies. An African-American physician, Edward Keemer, worked with NARAL in a Michigan abortion test case pursued in 1971. Shirley Chisholm of NARAL called the black-genocide argument “male rhetoric, for male ears.” In the early 1970s, popular advice columns in the Chicago Defender advised African-American women about how and why to seek contraception or support the repeal of abortion bans. Yet many African-American women appeared afraid that abortion or even contraception would be used against them. For example, one Planned Parenthood worker reported: “Many Negro women have told us, ‘There are two kinds of [birth control] pill-one for white women, and one for us . . . and the one for us causes sterilization.”
  • This book began as a project about sexuality and contraception in which maternity had no part. This is how sexuality has been constructed in Western cultures since the mid-twentieth century, but this was the first period in which it was possible for heterosexual women to separate physical sexual activity from the reality of frequent conceptions and births. Even those few who were infertile lived in a society dominated by this experience. The importance of this became obvious during the research and the physical impact of motherhood upon birth rates and hence upon female sexuality has become central to the book. However, although historians had produced valuable research focusing on the impact of eugenic thought and the state on concept of motherhood during the early twentieth century there is no evidence that the pressure this placed upon women had any impact upon birth rates. Birth control was almost entirely a matter of self-help and levels of use of contraception rose persistently from the 1890s when survey records began. When birth rates altered during the twentieth century, it was not according to the desires of eugenicists and population controllers.
    • p.4
In 1962, Population Council gave Guttmacher a grant “to travel around the world to assess what methods of birth control they should back.” He reported that conventional contraceptives were not working and advised the council to invest in development of the IUD. ~ James Reed
  • In 1962, Population Council gave Guttmacher a grant “to travel around the world to assess what methods of birth control they should back.” He reported that conventional contraceptives were not working and advised the council to invest in development of the IUD. The council invited forty-two clinicians to a conference on intrauterine contraception. Tietze remembered the “conspirational air” that surrounded the conference “It was a very exiting period. . . . we were working with something that had been absolutely rejected by the profession . . . we had a great feeling of urgency to produce a method that worked. It seemed to work. Now we had to establish it. And we had to start from scratch.”
    The council invested more than $2.5 million in the clinical testing, improvement, and statistical evaluation of the IUD, which proved to be highly effective for the approximately seven out of ten women who could retain one. Tietze, an unusually candid man with the habit of precise expression, recalls the care with which clinicians were recruited and the effort poured into making sure that their records were accurate.
    There was such a feeling of urgency among professional people, not among the masses, but something had to be done. And this was something that you could do to the people rather than something people could do for themselves. So it made it very attractive to the doers.
    Armed at last with a method that was inexpensive and required little motivation from the user beyond initial acceptance, family planning programs began to have an effect on birth rates in South Korea, Taiwan, and Pakistan. By 1967 a review article in Demography criticized the over optimism of the Population Council technocrats about the prospects for controlling world population growth. Other social scientists claimed that population control was getting too much of the development dollar and pointed out that population control was no substitute for social justice. Lower birth rates did not guarantee a better society. Whether or not world population growth could be controlled remained an unanswered question.
    • p.306-307
Contemporary studies show that, out of a list of eight reasons for having sex, having a baby is the least frequent motivator for most people (Hill, 1997). This seems to have been true for all people at all times. Ever since the dawn of history, women and men have wanted to be able to decide when and whether to have a child. Contraceptives have been used in one form or another for thousands of years throughout human history and even prehistory. In fact, family planning has always been widely practiced, even in societies dominated by social, political, or religious codes that require people to “be fruitful and multiply” —from the era of Pericles in ancient Athens to that of Pope Benedict XVI, today (Blundell, 1995; Himes, 1963; Pomeroy, 1975; Wills, 2000).
Of course, the methods used before the 20th century were not always as safe or effective as those available today. ~ Planned Parenthood

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