Effects of Birth Control on Women's Lives Essay

The Effects of Birth Control on Women’s Lives On May 9, 1960, the Food and Drug Administration approved a drug that would revolutionize women’s lives. The life changing drug was an oral contraceptive, commonly known as “the Pill,” that would prevent pregnancy if taken correctly. Several other birth-control methods have been developed in the past ten years that are just as effective. Birth control has had effects on women’s mental, physical and social lives since its debut in the United States fifty years ago. One of the most researched drugs is the birth control pill.

A great deal of information has arisen to improve the drug but there is one aspect that has not been studied as thoroughly, its effect on mood. The least publicized mental effect of the pill is that many women developed depression, until recently. There has not been any direct proof to back up the statement that hormonal contraceptives are the cause. Enovid, the first birth control on the market in the 1960’s, acknowledged in their packaging that there were cases where psychic depression occurred, but also declared that the relationship between the two were not clear.

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This is the only identified mental side effect that is thought to be associated with birth control. There are several physical effects that birth control has on women’s lives. The medical side-effects are commonly known because of commercials. These side effects include nausea, headaches and possible blood clots. The pill not only prevented pregnancy but it also relieved painful menstrual problems like cramps and migraine and also helped with acne. Some other side-effects from the pill were altered sex drives and sex lives and unplanned pregnancies were lowered.

The most questioned is the alteration of sexual urges. Some research shows that it can increase a woman’s sexual urge and others have revealed opposite results. Many factors are involved in sexual desires besides a hormonal contraceptive such as a woman’s age, stress and the culture in which she grew up. One effect that is solid is the lowered likelihood of unplanned pregnancies. When used correctly the pill is almost one hundred percent effective. Other methods are not as effective.

Perhaps one of the most liberating side-effects of birth control is its effects on a woman’s social life. Birth control has done more for woman than imaginable. The pill has let women escape poverty, increase their earning potential and limit family size. Each of these let a woman be in control of her life. By being on the pill women are able to get a better education and a higher-paying occupation. With women postponing having children they give themselves time to be financially secure and not end up in poverty.

The pill also helps with limiting family size. It let women be the one in charge of the amount of children they had and when they had them. From depression, libido and financial security the pill has a wide array of side-effects on women’s lives. Since its debut fifty years ago the pill, and other variations, is still impacting society in a mostly positive way and helping prevent over population and unwanted pregnancies. What more can a woman ask for?


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