The Birth Of The Pill Essay

The Birth Of The Pill Essay

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For thousands of years, people have used various birth control methods to limit the number of children in their families. Birth control encompasses a wide range of devices along with rational and irrational methods that have been used in an attempt to prevent pregnancy. It has been and remains controversial. Today, birth control is an essential part of life. In fact, 99% American women of childbearing age report using some form of contraception at one time or another (NIBH). In his book, The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution, author Jonathan Eig writes "For as long as men and women have been making babies, they 've been trying not to” (Gibson). He reports that early contraceptive options offered an array of creative choices that included innovative options in barrier devices, spermicides, and oral contraceptives. According to Eig, the list of ancient contraceptive methods of birth control is impressive. He says, “it includes withdrawal by the male, pessaries designed to form an impenetrable coating over the cervix, diaphragms, caps, or other devices which are inserted into the vagina over the cervix and withdrawn after intercourse, intrauterine devices, douching after intercourse designed to kill or drive out the sperm, condoms, and varieties of the rhythm methods” (Gibson). All of these techniques were practiced in the ancient world and in modern pre-industrial societies. Several influential developments in birth control have given it a long and colorful history.
References to birth control methods is found in the writings of ancient Egyptian and Greek priests, philosophers, and physicians. In fact, the earliest reference is found in the Old Testament and is still a method that is i...


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...ut it is surprising to see that some of the ancient methods, such as the basic withdrawal method and condoms, are still used today as effective means of birth control. As Margaret Sanger declared in 1937, “there is no further question as to the rights of women in regard to contraception, the birth control movement is free!” In the last 4,000 years, safe and effective birth control has come along way. No longer do women have to drink poisonous teas or risk their health with painful douches. Men don 't have to paint their penises with pitch as they did in Egypt, heat their testicles as they did in Rome, or cut openings in the base of their penises to spill semen outside of the vagina during ejaculation as they still do in Australia (Riddle). Today, people do not have to fear having more children than they can afford or of endangering health with a high-risk pregnancy.

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