Birth control is an important part of any woman’s life. By choosing when and where to have a child, and with whom, a woman can ensure that her children have the greatest chance to succeed, and that she will be there to provide them with the love, care and attention that they need. Various types of contraceptives have been practiced since before the dawn of civilization, and study after study shows that women who wait until they are ready will have children who are smarter, wealthier and more successful than those who do not.
The most common and basic form of birth control is simply abstinence. By abstaining from vaginal intercourse, pregnancy is quickly rendered impossible. It is still possible to engage in other forms of sexual activity, such as oral sex. This method of birth control is universally accepted and generally promoted as being “right” and “natural.” While it certainly is natural, and effective, it is sometimes impractical, especially as a woman’s sexual health and sexual activity is essential for her good mental health.
Many women attempt to break from abstinence by “counting days” with the intention of having sex only when they are infertile. This is doomed to fail, however, as it is impossible even when using advanced hormone monitoring methods to determine when a young woman in her prime is in fact not fertile. It is thus preferable to use physical barriers such as condoms and diaphragms when engaging in sex. These have the added benefit of preventing STDs.
For many married couples, however, condoms are an inconvenient and often impractical solution. For centuries, women took various herbs and medicinal compounds in an attempt to make themselves temporarily infertile, however it was not until the 1960s that true birth control pills were developed. These pills work by sending hormone signals to the ovaries that they should not release eggs for fertilization. This has the added benefit of getting rid of a woman’s monthly period, since the entire reproductive process is prevented. Such pills are often covered by health insurance and state medical plans.
However, there are sometimes situations where a woman failed to keep up with her pill regimen or failed to use a physical barrier. In those cases, there are what are known as “Plan B” medications which prevent an egg from being fertilized even if both the egg and the sperm are present in the uterus. Despite demonization from some religious groups, these pills are not “abortion pills” and in fact will only work within crucial early hours before the egg becomes fertilized and attaches to the wall of the uterus. They are covered by most health plans, and available for free to most rape victims.