Birth control has been around for as long as people have associated sex with pregnancy. Early forms of birth control consisted of the pull-out method, douching, and the rhythm method. Nowadays, there are dozens of ways for women to control their fertility from the pill, to the patch, to the ring.
Studies show that more than 80 percent of U.S. women will use some form of birth control during their lifetime, but many of those women are unaware of the non-contraceptive benefits associated with modern forms of birth control.
Here are 20 serious and not-so-serious reasons other than pregnancy prevention why women should have access to birth control:
20) Better Vacations
One major advantage of taking birth control pills is that a woman can “start” her period a few days earlier or a few days later. It can be very helpful if you are going on a vacation and want to enjoy time by the pool instead of worrying about unwanted leakage.
19) Clearer Skin
Birth control pills are a great way to treat teenage or adult acne. Acne is often caused by a hormonal imbalance, and birth control pills can help regulate that imbalance and eliminate the origin of acne.
18) Prevention Against Ovarian Cysts
Birth control pills reduce the risk of developing ovarian cysts. An ovarian cyst is a fluid filled growth that can develop in the ovary during ovulation. Over time, the cyst can enlarge greatly or even burst and may require surgery. Birth control pills prevent ovulation and so the cysts have less chances of forming in the ovaries.
17) Regulation of Menstrual Cramps
It is a well-known fact that for some women, menstrual periods are accompanied by painful cramps. Birth control pills help to regulate the flow of your period. In fact, the pill was first marketed in the 1950s not as a contraceptive, but to regularize menstruation. Even Pope Pius XII approved this use of the drug. By preventing ovulation, birth control pills decrease the pain that usually accompanies this process, and can help women survive menstrual periods with less pain.
16) Prevents Excess Hair Growth
Oral contraceptives suppress the hormones androgen and testosterone which cause excess facial hair and darkening of the skin.
15) Protection From Various Forms of Cancer
In addition to protecting against cysts and other serious health conditions, oral contraception can prevent ovarian and Colorectal cancer. Studies show that the risk of developing uterine cancer reduces considerably after 1 year of using the pill and the risk of ovarian cancer is reduced with just 3 to 6 months.
14) Increases Fertility
One of the common causes of infertility in women is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID is a serious bacterial infection of the fallopian tubes and uterus that causes severe pain and can often lead to infertility. Birth control pills thicken the cervical mucus which acts as a barrier that helps to prevent the bacteria that causes infection from entering the cervix.
13) Healthier Moms-to-Be
Using contraception can also give women a chance to get healthy before they conceive — to stop smoking, lose weight, or lower their blood sugar.
12) Fewer Miscarriages
Studies show that short periods between pregnancies have been associated with increased risk of higher mortality for children under age 5, low birth weight, preterm births, stillbirths, miscarriages, and maternal death. Birth control lets women space out their pregnancies resulting in healthier babies.
11) Bigger Boobs
Depending on the level of hormones in your contraception, taking birth control can give women’s bust size a boost. (Now that’s a benefit that both women and men can appreciate).
10) More College Educated Women
Birth control helps women plan their families so they can focus on their education and their careers. Before the landmark Griswold v. Connecticut decision in 1960, which established the right to marital privacy, only 35% of college students were women. Today women represent at least 57% of students on most college campuses.
9) Fewer Mood Swings and Temper Tantrums
All variations of modern birth control contain some amount of estrogen. Certain pills have higher doses which can reduce severe mood swings and bloating that some women get before their monthly periods, usually referred to as premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD.
8) Fewer Abortions
In countries where women have limited access to contraception, abortion rates are higher than in countries where it is easier to obtain. When contraception was banned by an executive order in Manila — the capital of the Philippines — the rate of abortion increased by more than 10%.
7) Fewer minivans
The math is simple: More babies equals more space needed in your home and in your car. If you have more than three kids, a minivan is surely in your future. Contraception allows women to control their reproduction so you can keep that BMW 3 series.
6) Teaches responsibility
It is not a stretch to assume that those who seek to make safe, informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health will also be more likely to get tested for STDs and diseases. Which brings us to number 5…
5) Prevents Sexually Transmitted Diseases
When someone says birth control, people usually think the pill, the ring or the patch, but condoms – both male and female — are a widely used form of contraception. When used properly, condoms can be 98% effective against STD infection.
4) What Happens in the Bedroom, Stays in the Bedroom
Contraception allows women to have safe sex with their partners without anyone knowing. Seven years after Griswold vs. Connecticut granted right to privacy for marital couples, the Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972) decision extended that right to unmarried couples.
3) Fewer Menstrual Migraines
Sixty percent of women with migraines link their attacks to menstruation. Studies indicate that menstrual migraine occurs in 8–14% of women. Certain birth control polls can decrease the hormonal fluctuations that trigger certain migraine attacks in women.
2) Promotes an Active, Healthy Sex Life
Contraception, when used effectively, can take the worry out of sex, meaning that women and their partners can enjoy the pure act of sex without the consequences of pregnancy or STD’s.
1) And the number one reason why women should have access to birth control is because it will piss off Rush Limbaugh!
Rush Limbaugh has been one of the loudest critics against access to birth control, calling one woman who wanted her contraception covered a slut. Contraception gives women control over their own bodies and fertility. Some women will use birth control to prevent pregnancy and others will use it for any of the 20 reasons documented on this list, but no matter what the reason, the decision to use contraception belongs to a woman and no one else.