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The Pill's Impact, Past and Present

A birth control pill container designed to look like a makeup compact. (AP)

Fifty years ago next month, the F.D.A. signed off on the birth control pill.

One tiny pill, every day – and thousands of years of awkward human grappling with the chance of pregnancy were essentially history.

Within minutes, it seemed, it was called simply “The Pill.”  It was that big.

It drew a new freedom around sex. And it helped give women a new freedom to step out into the world, especially the working world.

Many loved those new freedoms. Some didn’t. But the impact of the pill keeps unfolding.

This Hour, On Point:  Sex, society, and fifty years of the pill.

Guests:

Nancy Gibbs, executive editor of Time magazine. Her new article is “The Pill at 50: Sex, Freedom and Paradox.”

Elisa Ross, obstetrician, gynecologist and staff physician in the Women’s Health Institute of the Cleveland Clinic. She has advised women on family planning and the use of contraceptives for more than 20 years.

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  • Brett

    I don’t know what the Catholic Church has to say about the pill in this age; but, when I was a kid, women in my family were told by their priests that it was a sin.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    This topic somehow needs to be linked to last week’s show on women and pay: without the birth control pill, that question might never have been asked.

  • cory

    Can’t see the downside of women having control of their fertility. I’m sure someone will tell me though!

    By the way, I don’t know any Catholic women of child bearing age who believe birth control is a sin. The church may as well let that one go.

  • Gary

    The main problem with the pill is that it is being used by the wrong sex. To have real birth control, create an effective pill for men, and you will see birthrates plummet worldwide.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Book recommendation: “The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World,” by Michelle Goldberg (New York Times bestselling author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Chrhistian Nationalism), Penguin Books 2009.
    Almost any page I open to seizes me. “Given that so many abortion bans are artifacts of colonialism, it is particularly ironic…” (p. 41). There seems to be discussions of pre-pill methods of “family planning,” and here is George H.W. Bush in 1973, who “as a congressman, Bush earned the nickname “Rubbers” for his enthusiastic interest in family planning.” (also p. 41)
    I see the result of the Pill in the developed world. The way women proceed in the rest of the world is my interest, and this book has it.

  • Ed

    In the Catholic Church artificial birth control is still a serious sin. The society makes it seems obvious, but those who avoid it – and the damage it does to women’s bodies, the damage it does to the inherent meaning of the marriage – gain great benefits. And natural family planning is more accurate. And it doesn’t pollute the waterways with estrogen. See Dr. Janet Smith’s talks on the subject.

  • frances

    Gary – I don’t really get your point… Do men somehow have more invested in not having children? Everything that actually happens in the world seems to contradict that. I’ve often thought about how much better my mental and physical health would be if my partner could undergo hormone therapy instead of me, but if he’s not the one who gets pregnant and has to carry the baby, possibly birth and raise it, what exactly is his incentive to stay on top of taking his pill?

    And also, doctors have been able to do vasectomies for decades. I don’t see a whole lot of men jumping on that bandwagon. Because the reality is, they love making little mini-me’s, regardless of whether they want to take care of it or not.

    And yes, this is full of gross over-generalizations, but the idea that women somehow hold off on the pill purposefully (I’m assuming to ‘trap’ their men? I can’t say what other reason that comment is referring to) is also an over-generalization, and an offensive one.

  • Gary

    @frances You sure did read a lot more into that than I posted..even to the point of male contraception being offensive.

    IMO – What is hidden can be dangerous for those who do not trust or comprehend, and much power is derived from what is hidden…so if that power were undermined by another unseen control, then I can assume that offense would be just one of many emotional reactions.

  • Ed

    Margaret Sanger was not connected to the Catholic Church in any sense. She was a eugenicist.

  • Elihu Judd

    A wonderful liberation in so many way. Alas, some of the freedoms it engendered disappeared after just a few decades as new STDs, and drug-resistant strains of older ones, became prevalent. Failure to use condoms in many intimate situations has evolved from being merely lifestyle-threatening to life-threatening. The situation provides an eerie parallel and a salutary warning re the our society’s incautious overuse of antibiotics.

  • Lily

    Downside of the pill? I can name a few. I was faithfully on the pill for twelve years and it was great with absolutely no major side effects. The downside, however, was when I chose to stop. I experienced horrible depression, violent mood swings, etc. that lasted for almost a year(confirmed with my OB/GYN)until I learned how to manage my hormone fluctuations. I wish someone would have warned me of the problems that inevitably occur AFTER stopping the pill! My spouse and friends would have much appreciated that!

  • Ellen Dibble

    The pill liberated women from their mothers in this way. In 1960, a woman was trained to cook, take care of children, become a model wife. I know because at about 14 my periods stopped, and my mother must have been pretty concerned. I hadn’t noticed, hadn’t cared, but I was hauled from specialist to specialist until estrogen was prescribed for me, and I took ever-increasing dosages until I was about 20, when my periods began interrupting the prescribed cycle, and I switched to my own hormones.
    I do blame those estrogens for breast cancer (in part) 20 years later.
    In the 1960s, it was still not really acceptable even for a well-educated woman to do anything other than marry and become a mother.

  • ejd

    the pill creates an artificial continuous sex drive that is never satisfied by it’s natural conclusion…pregnancy

    and as a man…all the sex without the success…i should/could have had children by now

  • Susan McIntyre

    I graduated from high school in May 1960. When I was in college the pill was a big subject of discussion. I knew several people who took the pill to regulate their cycles. The big concern was that it caused terrible nausea.

    I refused to take the pill for several years after I was married because I was worried about the side effects and the nausea. When I did start taking it did cause me to feel sick, or pregnant. I never really cared for the way it made me feel.

    After two children I had the band aid tubal ligation which was brand new in the early 70′s.

  • Ed

    Please don’t attach this to the Catholic Church in any way, thanks.

  • Matt

    Anything to do with Margaret Sanger is suspect. She once referred to black people as “weeds”, implying their numbers needed to be reduced.

  • Ed

    One thing that the pill does is that it puts the woman in a state of false pregnancy. This affects her body, and affects how she reacts with men, and how they react with her (see Janet Smith).

  • Kirsten

    My mother went to get the pill when it came out and was told she needed to have her husband’s permission! She wasn’t married. She insisted and the pharmacist finally relented. It wasn’t the feminist utopia for her that everyone believes when it first became available…

  • http://moniqueortiz.com Monique Ortiz

    I’ve been on the pill for about 20 years (I am 37). My primary reasons for my mother putting me on the pill were severe acne and endometriosis. The pill ended my trips to the emergency room and my acne went away within a week. It seemed like a miracle. However, now that I’m 37, I’ve been having a lot of problems with numbness in my extremities, migraines, and my hair has thinned significantly. I’m currently trying to figure out if this is a side effect of long term use of the pill or a thyroid condition, or a little of both. I don’t hear much about the dangers of the pill. And because the acne and the endometriosis was so physically and emotionally painful, I’m afraid to stop taking it.

  • Wait one minute…

    Ed,

    The Catholic Church does not object to the pill because of the damage it does to women’s bodies. The object to the pill is based on the same objection the Catholic Church has to masturbation or any non-procreative sex.

    Right wingers are very quick to point to the eugenics movement. If you read the trajectory of scientific racism you will see how republicans transformed the eugenics movement into a anti-equal rights movement that had the legitimacy of “science.” Funny how those same rightwingers rarely note that abortion was outlawed in fascist Italy.

  • Ed

    The Church’s teaching against artificial contraception is based on lots of things. It’s not wrong to avoid children for serious reasons, is OK. Yes, the use for other medical reasons is acceptable. The problem with artificial birth control is that it makes the marital act a lie: it should be an act of total giving from one to the other, the artificial contraception changes the meaning of the marital act.

  • CHRIS M

    Margarte Sanger was one of the few women who would actually speak up for the rights of woman in controlling their own fertility. No wonder men didn’t like it. To most men, women were only good for a couple of things homemaking and babymaking.

  • Todd

    Indeed, Sanger’s involvement was motivated by eugenics.

  • CHRIS M

    Ed, we are quite aware your only view of woman is as walking uterus. Until YOU can get pregnant and carry a child, keep your self-surving opinions to yourself.

  • Wait one minute…

    Yeah Ed,

    The problem is that the marital act for men only lasts a couple of minutes.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Monique, I would like to know about results of long-term use of estrogen as well. Are numbness of extremities, falling-out hair, and migraines DELAYED side-effects, decades later, or side-effects of long-term use? Or just a speculation?
    By the way, the estrogen I took for 14-20 did not help my acne at all. It did nothing at all.

  • miriam

    In 1972 I hitchhiked to a Planned Parenthood clinic to get birth control pills. At 14 yrs old I was the youngest one there. As a troubled teen I owe much to Planned Parenthood and the pill for not becoming a pregnant teen. I was on the pill less than two years. The pill was so strong back then that it took more than a year for my periods to return and I was scared that I had lost my fertility. I hadn’t!

  • Pro-pill

    Ed, If you had to have a menstrual period once every month, lasting 5-6 days, and if you felt crappy for 1-7 days beforehand, then had bad cramping for 2 of those days, and every few months you had to spend one whole day in the bathroom because of the continuous clotting, wouldn’t you want to take a pill that makes all those symptoms go away?

    I’ve been on and off the pill for decades because I did have kids, and had to stay off it while I nursed them, and I can tell you that I can function better as a mother, wife, and employee when I’m on the pill than when I’m off.

    This is the real life of women we’re talking about, not a book.

  • Chris

    What about advancements in ectogenesis and the many ways it would free women? If the concern is that employers hesitate to hire or promote women because they might become pregnant and leave then there is no better way to empower women by removing the need to be pregnant completely.

  • marion

    If procreation is the only valid reason for marriage … does that mean that my marriage is invalid because I never had any children? That women who marry (or re-marry) post-menopause have created an invalid marriage? That infertile men should never marry? That couples who lose their child to illness or accident have lost the validity of their marriage?

    Marriage exists for many reasons besides procreation. I’m glad I’m a Jew: we believe that G-d approves of sex as a bonding tool, and love is a perfectly reason for marriage, with or without children.

  • Erica

    I am a woman who got pregnant while on the birth control pill in college 8 years ago. Not from missing a dose or two but from taking a course of antibiotics. I was prescribed the antibiotics by the university health center for a sinus infection, and was ignorant of the interference antibiotics can cause to the absorption of the hormones. The event changed my life dramatically. I used to be angry about it. I now realize that we are surrounded with vagaries like the phrase “when taken properly” and that we must strive to understand in full anything that we care about.

  • David Paquette

    My mother, a nurse, worked for many years with the wife of Dr. John Rock, the principle investigator who did the testing of the very first birth control formula. Two significant ironies here: The Rocks were devout Catholics, and they had eleven children. There were many jokes about Dr. Rock’s true motivations to do the studies because of that last fact, but I think that both his religion and his large family defused potential criticisms of his work on this medical and cultural sea change.

  • Bobbie Hitchcock

    The sexual freedom that birth control allows is having repurcussions for some in my son’s generation. (He is 20.) He and his friends have looked forward to pursuing and courting women who catch their fancy. He is confused and somewhat disheartened by the women who throw themselves at him, expressing interest in having sex without any friendship or relationship preceding the sexual activity. When he sees women engaging in casual sexual couplings he interprets that as women not valuing themselves very highly. It is a turnoff to him.

  • Ed

    The medicine can certainly be perscribed for medical reasons like the ones listed. And marriage is not only for procreation at all, but it has to be open to life. There is a movement back to natural family planning in the Catholic Church which is very healthy, and successful.

  • Wait one minute…

    Hey Ed,

    I agree with you though, let’s do birth control the natural way- homosexuality.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I don’t recall birth control pills in the 1970s being offered that much for birth control; I believe it was considered to cause weight gain. There were intrauterine devices and so on for better results.
    Also, not to put too fine a point on it, an unwanted pregnancy (by the time of Roe v Wade, 1974?) could be terminated, but herpes (or later AIDS) cannot be terminated. So women continued to be careful, as much as ever, as far as my awareness.

  • Chris

    At 17, I had a baby and gave it up for adoption. I was a “good girl” talked into sex by an older boy to “prove” my love for him. He skipped out immediately upon finding out “my problem”. I went through it all on my own and paid for it all out of my own pocket. After that, I started on the pill and took it for over 12 years before starting my family after graduating from college and working for a number of years. The pill gave me a sense of strength in myself and my destiny. It made me look beyond the traditional roles for woman and allowed me to work for my benefit alone. Women aren’t put on the earth to serve men. We are strong in our own rights and it’s is really not surprisung men do not like strong women who make their own destiny (they have such great names they have for them).

  • Patrick

    Is there a relationship between the number of women who participated in the workforce/military complex during WWII and the Korean War to the development and usage of the pill?

  • Ellen

    Speaking of pre-1960, there was something women took that prevented conception as far back as 1947. I know of one person who took something for who knows what after a particular delivery in 1947, and didn’t give birth again till she ceased taking that in 1953, whereupon she had five children in rapid succession. Apparently the doctor had KNOWN the suppressive effect. The fascist doctors of the 1940s.

  • John

    I don’t care whatever nonsense the Catholic Church wants to make its own followers believe and do regarding reproduction but I strongly object to their imposing their morality on the rest of us. Their ban of condoms in AIDS ravaged Africa is criminal.

  • Beth Souza

    I was a college student in the 60′s and we all learned that if we went to the health center and sought the pill ‘to regulate our periods’ we could leave with a prescription. Loads of us did so, and it wasn’t to regulate our periods, but to liberate us from the threat of pregnancy. For us (myself included), there was a definite correlation between the pill and the sexual revolution.

    Also, the gentleman caller’s comment about the proliferation of std’s (he referred to ‘venereal diseases’ with greater sexual freedom is undeniable and bears consideration. Just consider the skyrocketing HPV rates in this country. Barrier methods in conjunction with the pill can reduce this incidence, and of course vaccines…

  • Ed

    There is a pill for men: abstinence during the woman’s time of fertility.

  • CHRIS M

    ED, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH

  • Andrea

    I think it’s a shame that there are so many types of birth control, but the pill is the one most heavily advertised and is therefore still the one most young women go for. There are so many better options – both for women and for the environment! Peronsonally, I prefer the copper IUD: it contains no hormones that (might or might not) do crazy things to my body and the environment, it lasts up to 12 years, and I don’t have to worry about it (much less take remember to refresh it every day). Where are the fancy, flashy TV ads for IUDs?

  • Chris

    For an interesting look at a very exciting new male birth control method read up on RISUG (Reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance) currently in Phase III trials. You get one simple, non-surgical treatment and you are infertile for up to 10 years (or more). Another simple, non-surgical treatment can also reverse the condition with no ill effects. Sounds better than the vasectomy I had!

  • Wait one minute…

    Hey Ed,

    Did you ever think that maybe is was God’s will to make women bisexual? There have been many studies demonstrating that bisexuality, or even a greater attraction to the same-sex, is stronger in women than men. If you do believe in intelligent design, isn’t it possible that God intended women to share their lives with other women and only join with men for procreaction? If you believe the natural world is an expression of God’s intent, it would seem that lesbian relationships are God’s answer.

  • Ann

    Another great show…lots of balance in the short time of the show. The guests said a lot, articulately.

    RE: the last caller’s comments (is her name Dinca?)….RIGHT ON!….I’ll say that I called in last Friday, when the topic was Equal Pay for Women. I suggested that all workers only be allowed to work 20 – 25 hours per week. It would allow men and women, or same sex partners to equally raise their children while also working, without exhausting themselves & bankrupting themselves with the payments they have to currently make to fill in the gaps. People with and without children could help the elderly and disabled and ill (family members, friends, or people in the community) if they had more time. People could invest more energy in hobbies, some of which might be so creative and innovative that they open up new economic opportunities that could help whole regions or the entire country. People could volunteer more; they could practice some environmental things that they might otherwise short-cut when pressed for time now. Etc., etc., etc. Also said that our personal incomes would be less compared to the incomes worldwide, which would help keep our jobs here, rather than their being outsourced. I forgot to mention that the one REQUIREMENT would be that we have national health coverage for ALL.

    The guests on the show LAUGHED at my comment (mercifully, I did NOT hear the laughter while I was speaking), but, when I read the Comments later, at least three people wrote in saying that they would like further discussion of my idea. One writer said that he had seen such a set-up actually work in Honduras!

    Anyway, I concur with Dinca’s POV and that belief is part of what underlies my thinking, above.

    Thanks Dinca! You said something important brilliantly!

  • Mari

    “In the 1960s, it was still not really acceptable even for a well-educated woman to do anything other than marry and become a mother.”- Ellen

    You are so right, Ellen. As a member of the last group of females who were only offered “Home Economics” as a course of study- in public schools- I was at a disadvantage when the culture shifted to what it is today, one that DEMANDS & REQUIRES that all women go out and work for their own basic living requirements.

    I envy my mother and grandmothers. They never had to drop family responsibilities in order to keep a roof over their kid’s heads and food on the table. We are like an entire generation of widows, in many ways, ending up alone in midlife, raising the kids we choose to have in wedlock with willing fathers who then opt out.

    The pill freed American men to be more promiscuous and less responsible than they already were, in my opinion. It never freed women to be anything other than “womb-keepers”, widows and wage-slaves.

  • Todd

    “What about advancements in ectogenesis and the many ways it would free women?.”
    Posted by Chris

    Oh yes, ectogenesis! Just what the brave new world needs to free itself! I think Huxley used the term “decanting” to refer to that. Sick.

  • Clarissa

    I just have a little note on birth control. I once knew a Catholic health worker in a developing country. Since she couldn’t give out birth control pills, she gave women sleeping pills to give to their husbands (without their knowledge, I suppose).

  • Todd

    “Did you ever think that maybe is was God’s will to make women bisexual?…If you do believe in intelligent design, isn’t it possible that God intended women to share their lives with other women and only join with men for procreaction?”
    Posted by Wait one minute…

    @ Wait:
    No.

  • Maggie

    We used Natural Family Planning for over 10 years and it was good for us both physically and emotionally. After three (planned)children, we struggled with the idea of being contraceptive in mind– using NFP to avoid pregnancy– and how that was any different than being contraceptive using a condom or a pill.

    Once using the pill, we were more life giving to each other and to our children without the stress and fear of wondering if we were pregnant. This has been so much better for our family.

  • Tabitha

    In addition, the Catholic church teachings recognize that the sexual act of intercourse is important to the union of the couple– not just to procreate. And that in marriage we are called to be life giving to each other, to children (not just your own), and to the community.

  • Chris

    Why is ectogenesis “sick”? It is simply the next advancement in the science of human procreation.

    There are women in the world who give birth in dirt shacks without any medicine at all, and the infant death rate is incredibly high. If you asked them they would probably consider giving birth in a cold, sterile hospital infused with drugs and surrounded by strangers “sick”. They would consider the act of keeping premature babies alive and healthy in incubators “sick” or a “twisting of nature”.

    I find this innate horrific reaction to new technologies sad. Thankfully more logical minds tend to prevail and we get technological advancement.

  • justme

    Andrea: I would suggest that it’s b/c it’s a “once and one” type of item. No recurring prescriptions to purchase month after month, so no recurring revenue.

    Also many women equate “IUDs” with the Dalkon Shield tragedy of the early 70′s, which was more of a fatal design flaw than an overall problem with IUDs like the “copper 7″.

  • Todd

    “Why is ectogenesis “sick”? It is simply the next advancement in the science of human procreation.”
    Posted by Chris

    @ Chris:
    Anyone who describes human procreation as a “science” would not be able to comprehend the answer to that question.

  • Priscilla Young

    Spirituality is an experience. Religion is a heiarchy and set of dogma. Religions separate us. Experiencing the spiritual is what helps us to see our connection.

  • Chris

    Science has an enormous impact on human procreation. The whole topic of the discussion today is how science (the pill) had an impact on human procreation.

    New medicines and new technologies have allowed humans to procreate in ways that are safer and healthier for both the mother and child. Prenatal vitamins. Formula with nutritional supplements. Fetal heart monitors. Sonograms. C-sections. Incubators. Infant Tylenol!

    It is hypocritical to accept some advancements in science just because they don’t poke your “against nature” nerve and denounce others as “sick” because they do.

  • Wait one minute…

    Todd,

    Maybe you should.

    People want to call upon nature to justify what is a religious institution- marriage. When women and men are not forced into “natural” roles and start to evaluate the truth of human desire, we are going to live in a better world, one that will include homosexual relationships. Child bearing and rearing will look very different in the future because gay marriages are going to lead to some serious rethinking of roles- long overdue.

  • CHRIS M

    Apparently religious people have no problems accepting science when they need fertility treatments to get pregnant. Why can’t they just accept “God’s will” that they won’t have children. Maybe god is saying “choose a kid that is already here”. You can’t pick & choose which science is OK & which isn’t depending upon what you need at any given time.

  • Laurie

    I am wondering what research has been done on birth control for men?

  • Todd

    “Science has an enormous impact on human procreation. The whole topic of the discussion today is how science (the pill) had an impact on human procreation.

    New medicines and new technologies have allowed humans to procreate in ways that are safer and healthier for both the mother and child. Prenatal vitamins. Formula with nutritional supplements. Fetal heart monitors. Sonograms. C-sections. Incubators. Infant Tylenol!

    It is hypocritical to accept some advancements in science just because they don’t poke your “against nature” nerve and denounce others as “sick” because they do.”
    Posted by Chris

    @ Chris:
    Actually, the converse is more the case: human procreation has had an enormous impact on science. For good or ill, science is merely a tool. And there is nothing hypocritical in using one’s reason to discern between good and ill. The proof can be measured in the results. Has science (e.g., the pill) improved us as a species? “Better life through chemistry”? Overall, I think not.

    Moreover, the specific technologies that you cite above are more properly related to post-creative remedies, not innovations of the procreative process itself. To numb one’s “nerve” to the extent that one blindly follows any novelty of science without question is pure folly. Wisdom considers the long-term consequences and prefers to err on the side of caution.

  • Wait one minute…

    Laurie,

    Science has been moving in the opposite direction by creating Viagra in order to keep men capable of procreating longer.
    I believe there was a male pill in the works that would keep men from ejaculating. I think there was an Onpoint show about it several months ago.

  • Brett

    “The problem is that the marital act for men only lasts a couple of minutes.”
    -Wait one minute

    As much as I agree with most of your views on many topics, come on, at least put men’s participation to at least a little more than “a couple of minutes”! …Mowing the lawn accounts for something! ;-)

  • Brett

    “There is a pill for men: abstinence during the woman’s time of fertility.” -Ed

    You left out chastity belts!

  • Mary LIz

    Margaret Sanger’s speeches supporting eugenics are not well known – but she definitely did meet with like-minded groups like the Indiana KKK, and she did specifically recommend reducing “lower classes”

  • Mary Dee

    Loss of Libido.
    This is something that I haven’t read in these comments or heard on the air. I am 41 and my was on the pill for > 20 years. After going off the pill, I experienced REAL sexual desire that I had never felt before. The pill removes us from our natural hormone fluctuations, both good and bad.
    Talking with friends that have stopped taking the pill have had the same experience – increase in libido once going off the pill – which is a beautiful thing.

  • Carl

    The doctor who could not talk to a young woman about the Pill, because he was a catholic, had really ended up in the wrong place. He should have been a priest instead, where he could work with holy smoke, holy water and holy spirits instead. On a good day he even may get to twiddle with some altar boys, like the rest of them.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Mari, maybe I missed it, but I think you are the only one who mentions the way divorces spiked immediately in the wake of the pill, and the Women’s Lib. Mari refers to the “freedom” secondary to birth control to be wage-slaves (arguable, since historically I believe women did most of the work up until about 1850 or some such; not paid labor but anyway), and the freedom of men, secondary to the Pill to be unfaithful (secondary to female emancipation? the idea that women can work if need be, can hope for sexual fulfillment or other fulfillment in marriage?)
    Sorry for the grammar. To me the grammar of the question sort of splays. Promiscuity on all sides, marriages collapsing all over the place. The roles of everyone getting redefined and compressed. Were there suddenly no teenage mothers? No single parents? Quite the contrary. Formerly married parents became single. I’m not quite sure why.
    Oh. Expectations changed. Society may still frown on things falling apart, but society began to expect happiness in nuclear families, as well as cohesion. Women may divorce husbands not for infidelity but for not taking their parenting seriously enough, for working too hard and too long, and for leaving the home responsibilities exclusively to the mate. That used to be the norm.

  • Chris

    @ Todd:
    Actually, the converse is more the case: human procreation has had an enormous impact on science.

    I strongly disagree. Humans can and will procreate with or without science. Science impacts procreation by improving the outcome. The outcome we are striving for is a healthy mother and infant(s). We have advanced far in achieving this outcome, but we can go even further.

    Would you call “sick” an implant attached to the umbilical cord that filtered all harmful chemicals from reaching the fetus? Where do you draw the line with technologies that are “sick” and ones that are good?

    @ Todd:
    not innovations of the procreative process itself.

    So you consider in vitro fertilization and surrogacy “sick”?

  • Chris

    Laurie,,

    Research RISUG (Reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance). Very promising reversible sterilization technique for men, currently in Phase III trials.

  • john

    Just an fyi, there was a program on the PBS show “Nature” this week about how there is so much birth control that is not absorbed by the human body and is being flushed into our waterways. This has led to birth defects of frogs being born with no legs, etc. Also there are many species of frogs that have been born as males and because of all the atrizin in the water, they have changed into females. Quite disturbing news because these amphibians are red flags as to what is going to happen to the world on a bigger scale.

  • Brett

    Todd,
    Your terse snipes notwithstanding, considering your posts over time in their totality, ostensibly, you believe (at the least) that science has no place in procreation. It seems more than a little pretentious of you, a male, to consider yourself as having any inherent understanding of life, birth, creation or the mysteries of the universe beyond an academic one. It must be great to have absolute certainty and consider your views sacrosanct. Leave it to you to relegate reasonable practicality to misguidedness and see “God’s Will” as paramount.

    I suppose we should all desire to go back to those days of high infant mortality rates, or mothers frequently dying in childbirth, or high incidences of birth defects, or poor pre-natal care because of lack of “science”? Now there’s a strong reactionary libertarianism we should all embrace! God must’ve had a plan in those instances, right? No trampling of individualism, there, huh? It must be grand not having to be part of the real world; it makes for an easier time in clutching at a belief system.

    When you referred to some of the advances in pre- and post- natal care that Chris cited as “the specific technologies..more properly related to post-creative remedies” clearly one can see you are against any medical procedures that can potentially help with fertility, that this is somehow interfering with nature without any potential for good. Many medical advances seem to carry both positives and negatives; what stands are the ones in which the plusses outweigh the minuses.

    Yet, you appeal to anyone reading your comments to see those comments as nuanced (yet being devoid of such) while criticizing those which do not fit your ideology as absolutely one-sided and one dimensional. Example: when you rhetorically asked “Has science (e.g., the pill) improved us as a species? ‘Better life through chemistry’?” And you then responded to your own absurd supposition, “Overall, I think not.” Therein lies the crux of your game. According to you, it has to be a sweeping change in us as a “species” or it is absolutely invalid (nothing subtle there), but when Chris points to improvements in birthing children, you are dismissive of that by putting it in a category of “blindly following any novelty of science.” Isn’t that just a tad bit of ridiculous pseudo-intellectualism?

    The Pill, like anything, carries consequences and benefits; we could now probably make a list of each column and its benefits might not seem so clear-cut. We would be looking at its inception and early rise in popularity, though, with a knowledge lens that didn’t exist then, so this would hardly be fair. But, doesn’t it fall a little flat to hear a male say it hasn’t benefitted society, particularly hearing from one who seems to see men’s and women’s roles as being somewhat narrowly defined by some bygone era/religiosity? While stroking a professorial, 19th-Century beard, you might ask, “if the Pill had never been invented, wouldn’t we now be better off as a society?” Well, I would venture to make a guess that the answer is: no, we would not, overall, especially for women; unless, of course, one sees the various problems in society as the result of diminishing chauvinistic paternalism.

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    Birth Control can help Women on their menstraul cycle, prevent Acne(pimples),pregnancy and prevent from cancer of the Uterus etc etc.

    2 of my ex girfriends used Birth Control pills. they were not even young. they were old enough to have babies but they were not ready yet.

    Birth Control has a lot of positive effectd for women not only to avoid pregnancy but surely help the female gender from other sickness.

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    Depo-Provera is another birth control via injection that prevent pregnancy for 6 months. Triphasil brand pills is highy prescribe by Adolescent Gynecologist or Gynecologist to women.

  • mry

    my mom was married in 1959 and had 6 children by 1966. she was totally overwhelmed and exhausted with having 4 children in cloth diapers. those were also the days of sterilizing bottles, so besides feeding us, she had alot of laundry and dishes to do. anyway, the family practitioner in our town would not prescribe the pill for her. she had to seek out an ob/gyn in cincinnati who very gently told her that God gave her 436 eggs but He did not mean for her to fertilize every single one of them:) my parents enjoyed a happy marriage without any more children until she turned 42 and had a “caboose”—-she thought, incorrectly, that she was through menopause! thanks for the program

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    Birth Control is Not Bad or A Sin.

    Roman Catholic Church should fix their Molestation case before having another issue about birth control pills

    “It is a sin take birth control pills but molesting a child is not” which for doesn’t make any sense at all.
    I am 100 percent Roman Catholic I don’t usually listen to their sermon about some non sense.

    Take the morning after pill, Depo-provera or birth control pills and be proud about it.

    IT IS NOT A SIN!

  • Todd

    “I strongly disagree. Humans can and will procreate with or without science. Science impacts procreation by improving the outcome. The outcome we are striving for is a healthy mother and infant(s). We have advanced far in achieving this outcome, but we can go even further.

    Would you call “sick” an implant attached to the umbilical cord that filtered all harmful chemicals from reaching the fetus? Where do you draw the line with technologies that are “sick” and ones that are good?

    not innovations of the procreative process itself.

    So you consider in vitro fertilization and surrogacy “sick”?
    Posted by Chris

    @ Chris:
    You use the term procreation rather loosely. Humans do not procreate WITH science. You can accuse me of splitting hairs, but—strictly speaking—procreation is the human sexual act between two persons of opposite genders which results in fertilization; it does not involve or need scientific intervention. Remove the sexual aspect, via the manipulations of science, and it is no longer even proper to refer to it as procreation, much less to label it an “improvement” of same. The so-called advances that you cite in pre/post natal treatments are not part of the procreative process. Even IF they are attributed with “improving the outcome,” they are merely ancillary procedures, upon which procreation is not dependent.

    There is a razor-thin line between the view you express regarding the role that science should play in procreation and the agenda widely espoused by those who promote eugenics. As with any tool of scientific innovation, it cuts both ways—and too often the wrong way. Use all due caution in believing that science is the panacea for all human woes; more often than not, one scientific “solution” only results in the creation of an even more difficult problem. I think the line drawn between good and sick technologies must be based upon not only the intent of their use, but also upon whether the “need” for their development is derived from a more deeply rooted problem, which—by the band-aid use of technological innovation—is allowed to be ignored, left unaddressed, and increase.

    Regarding your example of the chemical filter for the “umbilical cord,” I think any society which needs such a device to achieve healthy fetal gestation is indeed sick. Gee, weren’t the human liver and kidneys supposed to be able to perform this physiological function at one time? To hell with finding cures; find the causes instead and we won’t need cures. But then, there isn’t a lot of material profit to be made from healthy people, is there? Most of modern society has been so far removed from a natural state of health for so long, that it no longer even knows how to properly define the term. Health isn’t merely the absence of disease. However, it should be obvious that human health was never meant to entail the placement of artificial devices in the womb.

    Yes, I do consider in vitro and surrogacy to be highly disordered (i.e., sick). If a couple cannot conceive by natural means, then perhaps it simply isn’t naturally meant to be.

    Be well!

  • Todd

    “Birth Control is Not Bad or A Sin….I am 100 percent Roman Catholic I don’t usually listen to their sermon about some non sense.

    Take the morning after pill, Depo-provera or birth control pills and be proud about it.

    IT IS NOT A SIN!
    Posted by akilez

    @ alilez:
    No, not quite, The only thing you’re 100% of in this instance is 100% wrong. If you can’t accept what the RCC teaches, then it’s hypocrisy for you to claim to be 100% Catholic. There are valid theological reasons why the Church teaches that birth control is a sin. The Church’s teachings aren’t served cafeteria style; it’s not merely an option for Catholics to follow this teaching. Just sayin’.

  • CHRIS M

    Well, according to your code Todd, it appears the RCC approves of pedofiles and child molestation and making men choose to be unnaturally celibate when all normal biological habits would preclude this type of behavior. The only reason they don’t believe in birth control is because they feel it is women’s ONLY role to be perpetually pregnant and they want to populate their church with as many followers as they can. How convenient for them.

    The male-dominated mysogonistic RCC has a lot to learn about people including that keeping people ignorant and intolerant is no way to “enlighten” them.

  • http://www.mortgagedoom.com/ Kelly

    Just an fyi, there was a program on the PBS show “Nature” this week about how there is so much birth control that is not absorbed by the human body and is being flushed into our waterways. This has led to birth defects of frogs being born with no legs, etc. Also there are many species of frogs that have been born as males and because of all the atrizin in the water, they have changed into females. Quite disturbing news because these amphibians are red flags as to what is going to happen to the world on a bigger scale.

  • Todd

    “Well, according to your code Todd…”
    Posted by CHRIS M

    @ CHRIS M:
    Well, thank you for gracing us with such an obviously informed, substantive, and unbiased perspective. In case you aren’t aware, being Catholic is a choice. No one’s forcing you, or anyone else, to be a Catholic—or to parrot the anti-catholic propaganda the mainstream media peddles. Things are not always what they appear; and fools ridicule what they don’t understand.

  • Chris

    Todd,

    Procreation, as defined by Webster, is “to bring forth offspring”. The way you define it, as a “human sexual act between two persons of opposite genders”, is incorrect. Even single-cell prokaryotic organisms can procreate. In vitro fertilization is just as much procreation as “knocking boots” is.

    You say “Gee, weren’t the human liver and kidneys supposed to be able to perform this physiological function at one time?” Well then I assume you don’t take any medicines, right? I mean, why take insulin if you’re a diabetic? Wasn’t the human pancreas supposed to be able to perform this physiological function at one time?

    I can go even further. Why build a house to live in when there are perfectly nice caves around? You do it because a house has many more advantages that make living easier and more comfortable. Why take aspirin for that headache when you can just suffer through it? Why wear shoes when you could just toughen your feet up? Why use that prosthetic limb when you could just use a wooden peg?

    I laugh every time I hear someone mention reverting back to a “natural state of health” or a natural way of living. Go kill a deer with a stick, make your clothes out of it’s hide, and live in a cave and then you can talk to me about a “natural state of health”. I’ll be enjoying the outdoors thanks to the antihistamines I’m taking.

    Ectogenesis is simply a way for two humans to bring about an offspring in a way that is far healthier and safer for all involved than the current method. The Pill was a way for women to take control of the birth control process in a way that was far healthier and safer than the current method at the time. Your revulsion at these processes seems to be a result of either religious zeal or ignorance.

  • sarah

    Thank you Tom for caring enough about this topic.

    I’m a psychotherapist who encounters the pain and suffering unplanned pregnancy causes, every day. Even now, most young women I see are ignorant about their own anatomy, STDs, and contraception. Yet, these young people intimately know the shame surrounding these topics that my grandmother’s generation knew. How long before we see a significant change?

  • Todd

    “People want to call upon nature to justify what is a religious institution- marriage. When women and men are not forced into “natural” roles and start to evaluate the truth of human desire, we are going to live in a better world, one that will include homosexual relationships. Child bearing and rearing will look very different in the future because gay marriages are going to lead to some serious rethinking of roles- long overdue.
    Posted by Wait one minute…

    @ Wait:
    You are correct to cite marriage as being a religious institution. As such, it is the purvey of religion, not the state, to define what constitutes a marriage. And, theologically, it is still defined as the union of a man and woman. So, tell me, why would those who hold such a disdain for religion desire even a secular legal right to partake in a religious institution? Those “natural” roles to which you refer are exactly that, natural—and said roles are fully supported by the natural physical ability of the opposite sexes to conjugate/procreate.

    The “truth of human desire”? Since when has human desire become either proof for the truth, or justification for fallacy? As for the balance of your prognostication, only time will tell. In the meantime, you can hold your breath while I hold my nose.

  • Kate Nestor

    This a great topic. I love everything On Point talks about. I have to be on the pill. I am a 21 year old college student with Celiac disease,which causes me to have majorly irregular periods without it. I have had to switch brands of pills several times because of the pills not working enough,or giving me cysts. However, I would never not be on the pill. I have to be if I want to make sure my womanly organs still work, so when I want to have children, I wont be infertile.

  • sarah foudy

    I have never lived in a world without this magic pill, however I don’t use it because the side effects are STILL serious and dangerous for women. Many women I know do not use for the same reason. Many men I know, including my own partner, worry and don’t want female partners on the pill because they love them and care about long-term risks.

    Despite the potentially fatal side effects for women, post release of the pill there has been shockingly little research that’s been done to come up with a safer alternative that gives men and women same freedom, without putting women at risk.

    I deeply feel that if the reverse was true, if men’s lives were put at risk because of the pill, there would be outcry and $$$$ behind developing better safer birth control.

  • Kate Nestor

    And why should the Catholic Church have anything to do with the little pill I take every day? They shouldn’t. the Catholic Church has a right to it’s opinion, but honestly it needs to be scrapped. There are tons of Catholic women around the world that take that tiny little pill every day without batting an eyelash…

  • Ruth

    I would love it if your guests could address the issue of reduced libido among women who have been on the pill for a long time, and particularly the finding that the libido doesn’t rebound after you stop taking the pill.

  • KC

    Young women need to be better educated about about health risks and the emotional toll of taking the birth control pill. Both men and women need to be involved in contraception when having intercourse. The pill has created an atmosphere where men expect women to be on the pill, creating a repressive relationship in which women have to suspend their normal ovulation to engage in sexual activity. I find the current trend to promote the pill to be more anti-women these days. Women and their partners need to be involved and supportive. Condoms work when used properly and protect against STDs.

    Has anyone investigated the emotional component of taking the birth control pill? There is immense pressure in a relationship where the man is expecting the woman to take the pill regularly. It’s stressful! When taking the pill, a woman may not absorb the hormone if you have an upset stomach or god forbid you forget on day.

  • KC

    Has anyone studied the side effects of suspending ovulation for many years? And why does the uterus still shed? Was the pill designed to make a pretend period to follow religious views about premarital intercourse?

  • Tina

    NO! Women still worry about unintentional pregnancy even when taking the pill! You can still get pregnant especially if your body happens to not absorb the pill one day!

  • Rogue

    I travel to Central and S American very often and have not dated American women for many years. No woman who I have dated there uses the pill. It is like living in the 1950′s so I guess the pill has been limited to only some women.

  • Ann

    Your representation of the Yaz pill (and your use of it as an example of current birth control marketing) to be terribly ill-informed and poorly research.

    This pill was originally marketed as a pill to relieve typical symptoms of menstruation–mood changes, primarily. The ad you played on air is one of the ads touting these benefits. You went on to use that ad as an example that the non-contraceptive benefits of the pill are increasingly being marketed these days.

    Unfortunately, you failed to point out that Bayer (the manufacturer of Yaz) was forced to remove these sorts of ads from the airwaves and replace them with ads that clarified that Yaz actually counteracts the symptoms of PPMD, not PMS. The old ads themselves were misleading, and suggested that women could take these pills if they experienced symptoms of PMS.

    But for you to use this as a ‘cultural norm’ is just poor/misleading reporting. The original ad campaign was untrue, and the removal of these ads was in the news and made explicit in the new Yaz ads–and I find it irresponsible that you didn’t mention this in your story.

  • Cathy

    Why is there still so little health literacy regarding the pill? For example, about 30% of women experience a significant decrease in sex drive. My cousin got pregnant because she did not know that antibiotics make the pill ineffective. Also, I recently learned that many African American women do not take the pill due to medical mistrust.

  • Todd

    @ Chris:

    “Procreation, as defined by Webster, is “to bring forth offspring”. The way you define it, as a “human sexual act between two persons of opposite genders”, is incorrect. Even single-cell prokaryotic organisms can procreate. In vitro fertilization is just as much procreation as “knocking boots” is.”

    ***But, we weren’t referring to prokaryotic procreation, were we? If you find petri dishes preferable to “knocking boots,” then suit yourself. I happen to think decanting is for wine, not people.***

    “You say “Gee, weren’t the human liver and kidneys supposed to be able to perform this physiological function at one time?” Well then I assume you don’t take any medicines, right? I mean, why take insulin if you’re a diabetic? Wasn’t the human pancreas supposed to be able to perform this physiological function at one time?”

    ***You’ve quoted me out of context. But, if you’re satisfied with “cures,” then so be it. I’m not. I find that approach totally inadequate. Better to find the cause of disease and have no need of cures. That was my point.***

    “I can go even further. Why build a house to live in when there are perfectly nice caves around? You do it because a house has many more advantages that make living easier and more comfortable. Why take aspirin for that headache when you can just suffer through it? Why wear shoes when you could just toughen your feet up? Why use that prosthetic limb when you could just use a wooden peg?”

    ***Done properly, a cave can be quite a cozy abode. Yes, we do build houses for the sake of our convenience; so life can be easy and comfortable. After all, that’s the point of life isn’t it? To make things as easy and comfortable for ourselves as possible. Having everything so easy is what’s made our society great, right? No, I don’t take aspirin, or any other medication. Shoes? I’m as bad as any woman when it comes to shoes—I don’t think I could give up shoes. Maybe socks, but not shoes. Have all my limbs, thus far; but I’m in awe of those that can do more with only one leg or one arm (sans prosthetics!) than I can do with two of each.***

    “I laugh every time I hear someone mention reverting back to a “natural state of health” or a natural way of living. Go kill a deer with a stick, make your clothes out of it’s hide, and live in a cave and then you can talk to me about a “natural state of health”. I’ll be enjoying the outdoors thanks to the antihistamines I’m taking.”

    ***I wouldn’t laugh too loud, there are people who are happily doing pretty much what you’ve described. As for me, I haven’t eaten meat for 30 years, so I won’t be needing any sticks for killing anything. Other than that, I’m actually quite attracted by the thumbnail sketch of the lifestyle you depict.***

    “Ectogenesis is simply a way for two humans to bring about an offspring in a way that is far healthier and safer for all involved than the current method. The Pill was a way for women to take control of the birth control process in a way that was far healthier and safer than the current method at the time. Your revulsion at these processes seems to be a result of either religious zeal or ignorance.”

    ***Far healthier and safer? Then why isn’t everyone going in vitro? Why aren’t doctors recommending it for every couple? After all, what couple would want a child conceived by their act of love together, when they can opt for the deep emotional “procreative” relationship between their fertility doctor and a petri dish? Silly me! The Pill’s safety—even today—isn’t beyond reproach by any means; it has done more damage to women’s bodies over the years than its Big Pharma manufacturers will ever be held accountable for. And my revulsion, it’s a result of having common sense.***

    Have a nice day!

  • Brett

    “As such, it [marriage] is the purvey of religion, not the state, to define what constitutes a marriage.” -Todd

    Not when “the state” determines better tax benefits, medical insurance recipients, arrangements in wills, who can visit patients in ICU’s, etc. All of these, that are NOT in the purview of religion, also define marriage. Your sentiment that “marriage is a religious institution” seems to conveniently exclude those very real aspects of marriage. I’d say that you were getting sloppy, but you’ll just say that God’s law trumps man’s law…

  • http://michiganradio Darcy Rumbaugh

    I have a friend that is a studying to be a midwife. In school, in one of her classes, they talked of a study that showed women were attracted to different men after taking the pill? Has anyone else heard of this study?

  • Todd

    @ Brett:
    Yes, go on…

  • carol

    Until I got on the pill at age 21, I suffered for 11 years with heavy weeklong periods and severe cramps. After getting tubal ligation at 39, the misery started again until I got on estrogen at menopause. When I went for the pill (as a promiscuous 21 year old in 1967), four of us went in. I was the only one given the pill because I lied and said I was getting married. Believe me, none of us were prepared for parenthood. In fact, had any of us gotten pregnant, we would probably have not known the name of the father. The pill saved this very messed up adult from either having to have a baby or an abortion. And actually the cramps and periods were so bad that my life would have been miserable without the pill. I have older friends who had unnecessary hysterectomies to stop the misery. One of them to this day does not understand why I did not have surgery for this purpose.

  • charlotte

    In my opinion, men will never be in charge of birth control. It is the woman, after all, who carries (and is left with) the baby.

  • Brett

    “I haven’t eaten meat for 30 years, so I won’t be needing any sticks for killing anything.” -Todd

    Of course, there is nothing “natural” about farming, so unless you’ve subsisted on wild vegetables, you’ve participated in a manipulation of nature.
    “Done properly, a cave can be quite a cozy abode.” -Todd

    Of course, you don’t live in a cave, it’s just that it can be done, right, so conventional houses are therefore a sign of a flawed society because they represent a life that is too easy? Well, I’m probably just taking your thoughts out of context, if that helps you. If you are so attracted to living in caves and eating scrub weeds, then why, pray tell, do you not lead such a life? Your armchair bravado and lack of applying your logic equally to yourself as you do others is typical of neo-libertarianism. What? Can’t give up shoes? Was walking barefoot supposed to be easy? Further evidence of a decaying, shoe-wearing society?

    Oh, and the kicker was in your being awestruck over all of the amazing things those missing an extremity can do. I suppose it’s that can-do spirit of the legless that is missing from this mollycoddled society? Sans prosthetics, you say? Hmm? Given your aversion to anything unnatural, anyone would interpret this as your view of rugged individualism. “Damn the prosthetics, let them learn how to cope with a missing limb, like back in the olden days! Why, I saw a man playing piano with his nose, and he was fabulous!”

  • joshua

    In china, the doctors refused to give my gf pills–talking her out of it-saying it was really bad for her health. At first I was shocked, and outraged. i thought they were just being ignorant fascists as usual, and cursed them, saying no wonder this ignorant country is so damn overpopulated, but when i calmed down (my rage was in inward), I started to realize that I have never heard any debate about the health of the pill in the west, not just hormonal disruption, but other serious side-effects. Knowing that the FDA is in bed with BIg Pharma, and thinking about all the crap drugs they shove down or throat and the numerous side-effects. When I started to think about the fact that Big Pharma is one of he biggest industries in the world, and Americans the biggest consumers of lies, and that BIg Pharma has turned American doctors into slaves of the industry and we have no real health care in America, I started to wonder how dangerous these birth pills might be…

  • http://tombstone001.blogspot.com MOHAMMED N. RAZAVI

    A discussion of the pill and the ensuing sexual freedom is disingenuous, without the discussion of the fallout and the consequence and costs related to it. The costs of this so called freedom ( ask Tiger Woods). One of the posts here did mention the spread of STD’s but none talks about infidelity, murders, assaults, cancers, hospitalizations, institutionalization , broken families, child abuse, all related to this so called sexual liberation. The emotional cost of going through a life never being sure of and secure in a relation, always wondering where your mate may be and what they may be up to, getting dumped because your partner found some one else better than you in bed or provides better oral sex.And always wondering that there is someone else out there luckier than you.

    While we chide Arabs and Muslims for there child brides our children are experiment with sex at younger and younger age, we need an honest and sincere discussion about the high costs of sexual freedoms and approach the subject with eyes full open,

    and of course a case can be made for forced population control
    http://tombstone001.blogspot.com/2009/07/case-for-population-control.html
    Posted by MOHAMMED N. RAZAVI, on April 27th, 2010 at 12:41 AM

  • The Intellectual Advocate

    I agree with Gary’s post. We need a male birth control pill. If men could take a pill that were as effective as the female pill, unplanned pregnancies would drop precipitously and men would have more control over their lives. (Men can’t have abortions in the case of unintended pregnancy.)

  • Rogue

    The male birth control pill will enable men to finally put an end to paternity fraud.

  • Todd

    “Oh, and the kicker was in your being awestruck over all of the amazing things those missing an extremity can do.”
    Posted by Brett

    @ Brett:
    Only a “kicker” for those with both legs, right? Brett, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one with too much time on both hands. :D

  • Amy

    After taking the pill from 18-21, I stopped as soon as i found out I was pregnant. I never missed a pill and was not taking any antibiotics. I find that the IUD’s are more effective and do not harm the body in any way. The idea of having the option to wait for children is amazing for the female gender. Also, when my boyfriend found out about the pregnancy, he wanted to abort and I refused. I feel that the idea of a birth control for a man would be a great invention, but also there is the point, that the man will refuse to have children. They feel a certain resentment havign to take care of their offspring. They feel trapped, The men I know love tehir children and would do anything but find that their lives are forever changed and resent the responsibility of a child.

  • Brett

    “Brett, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one with too much time on both hands.”
    -Todd

    Hehe! ;-) Of course, if people got paid for doing handstands, you’d be rich!

  • Rachel

    An often overlooked aspect of birth control for women is that there are very few alternatives for women who cannot take hormone-based control. In many ways, I think a sense of complacency has developed within the gynecological community in the field of reproductive control as a result of the wide-spread success of hormone-basd methods. There are very few alternatives available to women, and non-hormone based options are often only available to women who have already have had children. This is not to assert that the pill has not had an enormous effect on women’s health, but many women who do need to be on birth control for medical reasons are often at a loss when hormone-based options are not a viable choice.

  • Soozi Scheller

    Thanks for covering the Pill! Please continue the conversation and include voices from the research and development end of successful alternatives. We have a vibrant community of families in the Evansville, Indiana area using the Creighton Model Fertility Care System for birth control and women’s health. We use it to space births, time conceptions, pinpoint treatable hormone imbalances, avoid pregnancies when high risk to the mother’s health and even deal with infertility issues. Google the Pope Paul VI Institute, Dr. Thomas Hilgers, Director. Or contact our local leader, Emily Snipes through Evansville Catholic Charities, http://www.charitiesevv.org/contact.html.

  • Kathi Levitan

    This was a great show on a topic that should be in the news. Thanks, Tom.
    Those who are looking for a non-hormonal means of contraception should get Toni Wechsler’s book, “Taking Charge of Your Fertility.” This is a great book for anyone who is interested in learning practical lessons about a woman’s menstrual cycle. It’s great for those who are trying to get pregnant, as well as those who are trying to avoid pregnancy. There is so much ignorance and so little taught about a woman’s natural fertility cycle, that this book would make a great subject for a future show.

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