Urgent Evoke

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Women and Contraception- is Access all that matters?

The UNFPA reminds us that this weekend will mark FIFTY years of the birth control pill. But more than 200million still lack access.

My grandmother had 6 kids in 8 years before my grandfather finally went and got surgery to stop the onslaught of infants. She wanted one or two children.

This woman in Haiti has 10 children (if not more, now,) but only suggests having 2.

My grandma didn't have the pill, but the Haitian woman didn't like the pill's side effects, her boyfriends refused to condoms, and so both of their families grew far beyond what they were comfortable with.

As a woman, I also have gone off the pill because of it's side effects. I am incredibly grateful that the pill exists, but I know so many women who refuse to take them because of the havok it causes in our bodies.

Is it enough for us that the Pill exists, and should we concentrate only on trying to give it to everyone, or should we continue innovating and finding methods of contraception that don't cause problems for the women? Too many babies certainly degrades quality of life for everyone in the family, but extreme moodiness, weight gain, risk of blood clots, stroke, heart attack and cervical cancer, plus a general fatigue, foggy thinking and feeling "off" effects women as well.

The fact is that many women, like the one in the video above, have access to birth control and want to limit the size of their families, but still choose not to take it. Part of a woman's freedom of choice is the freedom to not have to pick between the lesser of two perceived evils. We should continue our innovation of birth control methods for women, which do not adversely affect her body and mind, but ALSO we need to work even more with the men and their methods of birth control. Along with a "pill" for men (PLEASE, PLEASE, scientists!) we need to address the general hatred of condoms. Continuing to work on the design and "feel" of them, along with working on removing the social stigma and misinformation of contraception within all genders.

A study from 2009 tells us that across Asia and Africa, many women who have access to the pill, but believe that it's only meant for married women, or that it may affect their future fertility, or that you only have to take it right before sex, or in some cases, their partner threatened them with violence against using it.

The pill brought successful family planning to millions of women around the world, and this 50th anniversary should be recognized by all for the huge impact it has had on the world. But along with that, we should keep in mind the distance we still need to go where women aren't punished physically or socially for using it, and men take up equal responsibility in family planning, and everyone is well educated on everything to do with their reproductive health.

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