Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ode to Birth Control

Sometimes people write in to Mothers in Medicine with guest posts, asking, "Should I become a doctor?" Whatever the answer to that question is for you, the truth is that none of us would be doctors and this blog wouldn't even exist if not for one thing:

Birth control.

My great-great-grandmother had ten children. She wasn't so much thinking about whether OB/GYN or family medicine was the right decision for her. I don't know if she worked but she sure wasn't considering a career that involved nearly a decade of intense training. It wouldn't have been possible.

The earliest female physicians such as Elizabeth Blackwell were unmarried and didn't have to worry about children. Most women with any sort of career were unmarried. Being pregnant nonstop and caring for a brood of children makes it very hard to have a career outside the home.

I think it's easy to forget that up until recently, birth control wasn't a given. As recently as the 1960s, many states actually prohibited use of contraception. In 1965, the Supreme Court ruled that a Connecticut law prohibiting the use of contraceptives violated the "right to marital privacy." It wasn't until 1972 that the case of Eisenstadt v. Baird expanded the right to possess and use contraceptives to unmarried couples. That's only 40 years ago!

Think about what your life would be like if birth control wasn't available to you. What would your career be like if you had ten children like Great Great Grammy McFizz? And what if birth control was suddenly taken away from you? How would that affect your career and your family?

So I have to say a great big thank you to birth control. And express my anger that there are people out there, potentially in positions of power, who would like to take it away.

19 comments:

  1. Dear Paraguard,
    THANK YOU !!
    love,
    resident doctor

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  2. I have pledged my everlasting love to Mirena.

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  3. This post is wonderful!

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  4. Ha, I read that today too and almost fell out of my chair. Nice response. Mirena is fantastic.

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  5. I am really shocked/baffled that Santorum did as well as he did in Iowa. I guess people don't know anything about him. Or have even typed his name into google and gone to the first search result.

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  6. Thank you for this post!!! And for the many, many options that we have nowadays when it comes to birth control - the NuvaRing, the IUD, the pill, the Depo shot, etc etc etc. I don't love pharmaceutical companies, but I am definitely glad that they keep pushing the envelop when it comes to contraception and better ways to provide it for all!

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  7. Absolutely- choice for women in the first world starts with control over reproduction- both contraception and access to safe TOP. Unfortunately for women in the third world affordable safe access to reporductive healthcare dreams a dream. I hope those who choose to vote see through your candidates for what they are really trying to do and don't vote back in someone whose platform is all about controlling women.

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  8. Great post Fizzy.

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  9. But if great great granny would have used contraception, maybe YOU wouldnt have existed at all LOL.. I do love the option of contraception but wouldnt criticize those who choose to bear kids and manage the home only over having a career or both.

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  10. Dear Anon above (12:55),
    Did this post criticize anyone about choosing to bear children or manage the home? Nope. It rightly credited birth control with opening up career possibilities for women. That's it, so don't be so defensive.

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  11. I think if a family wants to have 10 kids and the mom wants to stay home, that's great for them. All I'm saying is that we should have a choice. I think most rational people would agree with that. Some people want to inflict their outdated sensibilities on an entire nation.

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  12. Contraception was half of the liberation of women. The other half was technology: vacuum cleaners, washing machines, dishwashers, etc

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  13. you have a point, but .... , just to throw another argument in the round - there might be a possibility that a woman can study, go through residency and work and still have children, and definitely more than two. it is a question of priorities of society, and of what women truly demand of themselves - and their workplace! why should one just accept a few weeks of maternity leave and then 60 hour weeks? why is this normal??? other countries and societies (with different salaries... ) show that it is possible not to sacrifice everything on the career or work slope.

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  14. Kellie (General Surgeon)January 10, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    I believe that only something like 5% of eligible voters voted in the Iowa primary. Likely due to the stellar candidates fielded by the GOP.

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  15. Contraception also aborts half you new patients. Also, all of my friends - dozens - have had kids on the pill. My business partners and friends who have used natural birth methods have kids well spaced apart. Hmmm.....

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  16. @anonymous (the last one) That's hillarious! Do you know what the word "abort" means?... Where to start....? Ok, I know I'm just being mean now, but that one... whoa... I'm totally speechless. Stop trolling.

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  17. Haters gonna hate...rock on, Fizz! It's all about choices :)

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  18. "Anonymous said...

    Contraception also aborts half you new patients. Also, all of my friends - dozens - have had kids on the pill. My business partners and friends who have used natural birth methods have kids well spaced apart. Hmmm....."

    You need to properly use birth control for it to be effective. Some women think they are but don't. Also, I know of one woman that has had three children while on the natural method.

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