In search of birth control to stop the induced

In the 19th century the birthrate
fell dramatically, especially among white, middle-class women. Many women where
in search of birth control to stop the induced abortions and the killing of
children produced from rape by Europeans or creole men. Most states in the 1890
had made abortion a crime, and the Comstock Act drastically curbed the birth
control information available to women. Women of course still found ways around
the law, although many suffered from very unsafe contraceptives and unqualified
abortion providers. “A woman’s primary job was to raise and to nurture the
young, and any attempt to sabotage or avoid that obligation was regarded either
as a personal failure or as a moral affront.” (Zorea 29) Birth control provides
a historical background of premodern practices, and discusses all currently
available types of contraceptives systems, including both artificial and
natural methods. From the mid 1800’s to present day in America, has birth
control been modernized where a woman has a consciously choice whether she will
or will not be a mother?  

Birth control has changed
drastically. “Around 3000 B.C the first and only type of birth control was “condoms”,
which were made from such materials as fish bladders, linen sheaths, and animal
intestines.” (Our Bodies) In 1838 condoms and diaphragms were made from
vulcanized rubber. The Comstock Act passed in the United States prohibiting advertisement,
information, and distribution of birth control and allowing the postal service
to confiscate birth control sold through the mail. In a case involving Margaret
Sanger, a judge lifted the federal ban on birth control, bringing the Comstock
era came to an end after twenty long years. The famous birth control pill was
created in 1960.  

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Margaret Higgins Sanger was an American
birth control activist, writer, and nurse. When Margaret Sanger died in September
1966, she was highly praised as “one of the history’s great rebels and
monumental figure of the first of the twentieth century.” Sanger was from
Corning, New York, she grew to fame and influence as the world’s leading propagandist
for the artificial control of human reproduction. She began by defying old
conventions and ended the lionized champion of new ones. History records few
examples of such successful advocacy of important social change.

 By the time of her death, millions of women
all over the world regularly took oral contraceptives. Before sanger, “Feminist
asserted a new, radical vision of sexual freedom. They claimed that divorcing
sexuality from its reproductive consequences was necessary for women’s
emancipation. Others argued that birth control and smaller families would lead
to greater economic security and mobility for working-class Americans.”
(Hoffman 308)  

In the 1920’s, Margaret Sanger
became many woman’s hero. Sanger initiated a campaign to challenge the legal
restrictions on birth control devices and information. Thousands came to rally
when she was arrested for opening the first birth control clinic in 1916. Thousands
came to rally for her cause and a mass movement for the reproductive rights was
born. The type of birth control Sanger had used were diaphragms, also known as
womb veils, became a popular method of birth control.

 Decades later, Margaret was in her 80s, she
underwrote the research necessary to create the first human birth control pill.
She raised $150,000 for the project. Ten years after Sanger raised the money, the
pill was finally created and released to the market. In the 60’s birth control
was difficult to receive. In today’s world, there are three different smart
phone apps that allow you to order birth control. You can now order the birth
control to be delivered to your doorstep or the nearest pharmacy. The three
different apps are called, Nurx, Maven, and Lemonaid. Every individual has
access to any type of birth control. Birth control over the past few years has
been changed to an affordable price and often free to women.

In 1960, there were only two types
of birth controls, condoms and diaphragms. In which condoms were made from vulcanized
rubber. The condom was created by Charles Goodyear in 1839, and patented five
years later. Now in modern day there are about eighteen different birth controls,
all with different effective rates. A few of the popular and most effective
ones are the implant, patch, pill, shot, and the vaginal ring. They are range
from a 99% effective rate to a 91% effective rate. The implant birth control is
the most effective and it is a very small rod inserted under the skin of a
woman’s upper arm to provide birth control. Its invisible and prevent pregnancy
for up to 4 years. The implant works by releasing progestin, a hormone that
keeps ovaries from releasing eggs. Another popular birth control is the vaginal
ring also known as NuvaRing. NuvaRing is only 91 % effective. NuvaRing works by
stopping sperm from meeting an egg. The rings hormones stop ovulation. NuvaRing
is used for a month then taken out for a few days during the time a woman
usually has their period. Then after a few days a new refrigerated ring is

Condoms, a popular and
non-prescription form of barrier contraception available for both men and
women, provides moderate protections from pregnancy and STIs. The male condom
is a latex, polyurethane, or natural skin sheath that covers the erect penis
and traps semen before it enters the vagina. The female condom is a soft,
loosely fitting polyurethane tube-like sheath that lines the vagina during sex.
Female condoms have a closed end with rings at each end. The ring at the closed
end is inserted deep into the vagina over the cervix to secure the tube in
place. Female condoms protect against pregnancy by trapping the sperm in the
sheath and preventing entry into the vagina. Used correctly, condoms are
between 80-85 percent effective in preventing pregnancy and the transmissions
of STIs. Rick that decrease the effectiveness of condoms include incorrect
usage, slippage during sexual activity, breakage. Natural skin condoms used by
some males do not protect against the transmission of HIV and other STIs. In
the past ten vaginal intercourse events 58.1% of women used a condom and 79.1%
of men used a condom the last 10 vaginal intercourse events.

            Ideally, birth
control should be a shared responsibility between a woman and her partner. In the
U.S., almost 2 million pregnancies each year are unplanned. Unplanned
pregnancies position women, men, and families in a precarious situation that
has social, economic, personal and health consequences. An unintended pregnancy
leaves a woman and her partner facing pregnancy termination, adoption, or
raising an unplanned child, often times under less-than-ideal conditions. With
a lower economic status, many couples could not afford the birth control needed
to prevent unwanted pregnancies. In the 1800’s birth control was only available
to the middle working class and better economic standing. In today’s world
birth control is everywhere and very affordable. The movement now is to get
birth control completely free to the population. Contraceptive technologies and
research developments in the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases
represent increased opportunities for not only controlling fertility but also
improving safe sex practices. With the many changes to birth control, all the
new and updated versions of birth control, and the price drop to possible
becoming eventually free, I would have to say women are free with their choice
if they want to be a mother or not.