The EngenderHealth News Blog
EngenderHealth on YouTube EngenderHealth on Twitter EngenderHealth on FaceBook The latest news from and about EngenderHealth, a leading international nonprofit working in sexual and reproductive health. For more information, visit our web site or join us on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The 50th Anniversary of the Pill: A Moment to Reflect and Recommit to Expanding Options

By Lynn Bakamjian, Director, RESPOND Project

The flurry of media attention around the 50th anniversary of the oral contraceptive (popularly known as “the pill”) has been a great reminder to those of us who came of age during this time of the advances that women in the United States were able to make once they had the means to safe, available, and (mostly) affordable contraception.

On a personal level, having the pill as an option provided me with the knowledge and comfort that whenever I needed to, I had the means to manage my fertility and pursue my education and career without worrying about a poorly timed or unwanted pregnancy. As I reflect on what the pill has meant to generations of women, including my own, I cannot imagine how different my life might have been without it.

And while there are many blog posts and news articles about the impact that this female-controlled, easy-to-use contraceptive had on women’s lives here in the United States, I am reminded that this is, unfortunately, not yet the case for many women and couples in developing countries.

More than 200 million women around the world have a desire to use contraception but are currently not using any effective method. This unmet need is largely due to lack of available and affordable options, to fear and concerns about safety due to misconceptions about contraceptive methods, and sometimes even to opposition by husbands or family members.

There are many options that can provide women with a choice that meets their particular family planning needs—while the pill is great, it’s not the only method. In many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, many women exceed their desired family size by one or more children, which points to a greater need for options beyond short-acting methods such as the pill, especially underutilized options like intrauterine devices, implants, and sterilization. In most developing countries, however, contraceptive choice is elusive; rarely do women have the range of methods available to meet their needs.

As we mark this milestone in American history, let us remember the hundreds of millions of women who are living today, like American women were a half century ago, in fear of unintended pregnancy, and let us honor them with renewed commitment and action to bring them not only the pill, but the whole wide range of family planning methods that all women deserve.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As community based areas,in our developing countries,pills now a days short-acting contraceptive methods,less popular currently,avoiding most of times.Gaining more best methods like intrauterine devices & sterilization.Now need of new contraceptive methods as safe, available,affordable & effective with all groups espcially youngers.