One a day keeps the babies away
Happy 50th! A young woman's ode to The Pill
A sage woman once told me of what an epic time it was to be alive after the invention of birth control and before the AIDS epidemic.
I may have missed that boat, but I can still appreciate The Pill.
The little blue (and beige and green) pill has given me so much, I almost feel like popping champagne in its honor (don't worry, Mom and Dad — I'm talking about the group Halloween costume I've got planned for this year. It's me and six friends dressed as the Nuvaring synchronized swimmers, and I'm thinking we can bring a kiddie pool.)
We've come a long way (in terms of safety and of convenience) since the first pill hit the market, but we've got a long ways to go.
On a day that I'd like to be commemorating what amounts to the emancipation of women, I can't help but bemoan measures like that taken in Missouri (where I lived for four years) just this month. The swing-state's House of Representatives voted to allow pharmacies in the state to refuse to stock emergency contraception. Worse, pharmacists can refuse to give women seeking the morning after pill information on where to find it.
Because I fear I'm too young to have anything insightful enough to say, I'll leave it to Carol Brite, Interim CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois via the Chicago Tribune:
'The pill, as it quickly came to be known, was more than just a pill -- it was a pathway for women to seek higher education, enter the work force and to plan the timing and spacing of their children. Moreover, in the past 50 years with the help of the pill, the percentage of women who died as a result of pregnancy dropped by half. During that same period, there was a threefold decline in infant deaths. The percentage of unplanned pregnancies also declined, despite the fact that too many still occur. And as access to contraception has increased, the rate of abortion has decreased. […]
My Planned Parenthood colleagues and I know many women who are successfully balancing both a family and a satisfying career, and this fact is likely attributable to their ability to decide the right time to have children. It would be easy for someone who did not witness the changes experienced by American women and families in the decades following the approval of the pill to take for granted that women are now able to have both families and careers. But as we celebrate the pill's golden anniversary, we must remember that many women in the U.S. still do not have access to affordable, effective birth control.