Prevention first (but not last)

Today is NARAL’s Prevention First action dayClick here to take action.  It’s easy to get so focused on what’s going on in South Dakota that we forget that basic access to birth control is under attack as well, with the FDA still delaying on approving emergency contraception, pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions, and the NIH apparently sharing inaccurate medical information.

I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about the ways in which society hasn’t changed as much as I think it should.  But it’s important to also remember how much it has changed.  And while I reject the claim that second wave feminism was simply a by-product of the pill, I’m not sure it’s possible to overstate the impact of reliable birth control on women’s lives.  Today, when childbearing is often postponed until the 20s or 30s (or foregone entirely), and when women can expect to live for decades past menopause, it’s hard for me to imagine what it must have been like to spend essentially your entire adult life either pregnant or breastfeeding.

4 Responses to “Prevention first (but not last)”

  1. rachel Says:

    Women in the classical world had more control over their own fertility than is commonly supposed. None of their methods were as safe and effective as what we have now, but still! They had methods for both prevention and abortion — hell, they left unwanted children exposed on hillsides! As late as the Middle Ages, a fetus was not considered to have a soul until it “quickened” (that is, the mother felt it move), and one could abort up to that point.
    Not that the poster doesn’t have a point! But I think women’s control of fertility actually backslid between classical times and the present.

  2. Moxie Says:

    I’m not sure I consider leaving “unwanted children” to die of exposure prevention or abortion or control of fertility. But I get your point, and wonder at what point the theoretical started to outweigh the preactical in human life. The industrial revolution? Or something else?.

  3. Mieke Says:

    That NIH report is MADDENING!

  4. Beanie Baby Says:

    I can see how spitting in a frog’s mouth 3 times would prevent pregnancy:
    1) it would take a lot of time. By the time you’d done it, the mood would be gone. And what would you do if you didn’t happen to have a frog in your purse? You’d have to catch one first, and that can take a lot of time.
    2) It would be pretty gross. Once you’ve spat three tiems in the mouth of a frog, what guy is going to want to kiss you?
    Odd, but effective.
    (This moment of levity brought to you by a Canadian who has no idea what to say about what’s happening south of the border these days.)

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