Is Birth Control A Health Issue?

Carrying over an energetic discussion from my Facebook page.

Pat writes: ” This may dismay some folks (I’m used to it though), but while pregnancy is a health issue, what makes birth control one? Because a pill must be prescribed? Well, it doesn’t have to be. A doctor was never part of our practice of birth control. Neither were pills, synthetics, or contraptions of any type. Well, a thermometer. The words “not right now”. I believe people’s reliance on medicine and doctors for just about everything these days has been detrimental to our evolution.”

My questions: What about the morning after pill (or termination) in the case of rape/incest? What about couples who wish to have sex without wanting to procreate? (Thermometers and “not right now” aren’t surefire pregnancy preventers, as millions can attest.)  What about women for whom it would be unhealthy to carry a child, or who for whatever reason have decided against biological children? Do we really have to anticipate and legislate all these exceptions (and others like them)? Wouldn’t it be simpler, fairer and simply more sensible to have birth control readily available?


  1. Well, some details as to the origination of my question are in order. My wife and I, at her insistence, practiced Natural Family Planning (NFP) as our method of birth control. This is acceptable in the Catholic Church, and doesn’t involve doctors, poisons, condoms, or other artificial devices. It is safe in every way. It is a team effort, and a bit of a pain in the tookus. HOWEVER, we got pregnant when we wanted to, prevented pregnancy when we wanted to (yes, 100% of the time), and even used NFP to increase the odds of having a boy (or we just got lucky, and I will admit I wanted our first to be male). Doctors were never needed, nor was any level of government.

    While there are exceptions, as noted by Arlene, they are at the rare end of the spectrum. So, when did birth control become a health issue, and why? Why does the current administration believe it has the authority to order a private enterprise to provide birth control for free? As you must know, NOTHING Is free. The insurance company will get paid, one way or another, for this “free” service. And the employers will be the ones paying, at least the same portion of it that they pay for the plan as a whole now, followed by the plan beneficiary, who will pay the rest.

    Try and convince me. Use logic and reason, not emotion, and you have a chance.

    1. The problem, Pat, is that even those who practice NFP (or other non-drug, non-prescription methods) still get pregnant. According to various studies, even those who practice it perfectly become pregnant up to 9% of the time, and those who practice it imperfectly up to a quarter of the time. That’s a lotta unwanted babies. That prenatal care, presuming those pregnant moms can get it, not to mention caring for those babies once born, puts a lot of strain on our health system. That’s ond reason why – in addition to my questions above – this is a health care issue.

      1. I’ve never seen, nor looked for, the studies you cite, Arlene. I just know it worked 100% for us. I will acknowledge that it is not for everybody. The rest of your questions really don’t add up, at least to me, to birth control being a health issue. I don’t know how many rapes or incest cases result in pregnancy, but almost every abortion law exempts those situations, so it is a non-issue. As far as couples who wish to have sex without wanting to procreate, well, who doesn’t? I’ll even add that, though the words “not right now” were offered, 16 years ago, after a trip to CA that included a visit to see you, I hadn’t seen my wife in 3 weeks, and I was unwilling to hear “not right now.” The result is a future major league baseball player! Does any of this mean the government has the right it claims it has right in this issue – I’d offer a resounding no! For women for whom it would be unhealthy to carry a child, or who for whatever reason have decided against biological children, there are options that are safer, and they certainly are a health care option. So, I guess I am looking for more. Sex is related to health? I just don’t buy it. Once pregnant, absolutely. Government involvement being necessary? I just don’t think there is any way you’d be able convince me.

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