Health Care & Public Health Physical Health Reproductive and Sexual Health

Controversies of Contraception

Contraception is everywhere these days; you simply can’t avoid it. It’s in the dorms, in the health centers, in the news, and, hopefully, in your mind. Why should it be? Because it’s an extremely important and controversial issue that affects not only your sexual lives but also your financial, social, and political lives.

What Is Contraception?

First of all, what is contraception? Contraception is any sort of measure that prevents pregnancy. This includes male condoms, female condoms, birth control pills, cervical caps, contraceptive patches, etc. Notice how I didn’t mention abortion, because abortion is not contraception. Abortion is terminating an existing pregnancy, not preventing one. Prevention is most certainly not treatment, and equating the two is fallacious.

What’s So Controversial?

There are a few reasons why contraception is such a hot topic. One of them is its relevance to our political and economic landscape. As stipulated in the Affordable Health Care Act, affectionately dubbed ObamaCare, companies are required to provide contraceptives as part of health insurance to their employees. This mandate conflicts with the religious beliefs of many companies, causing controversies about the First Amendment and the federal government’s power to force people to act against their religious beliefs. Another controversy surrounding contraception is the notion that an increase in contraception will lead to a corresponding increase in frivolous sexual behavior, which raises moral issues with some and epidemiological issues with others.

In Defense of Contraception

While it is important to acknowledge the implications of contraception law and use, it is erroneous and even harmful not to accept contraception as an important part of health and society. While people should be allowed to exercise their religious beliefs within reason, these beliefs should not infringe upon common health concerns like pregnancy and STI’s. I mean no disrespect to any religion or moral system that prohibits contraception use, but these codes must be adapted to modern practice. If an employee chooses to not use contraception, it is his or her right, but it is wrong to prevent someone else from doing so. In addition, those who claim that contraception will increase pregnancy and STI rates because they encourage people to have multiple sexual partners may have a point (it’s hard to prove causation), but they are also missing the big picture: contraception will greatly prevent the transmissions of STI’s and unwanted pregnancies. So even if the promiscuity were to increase (I don’t know if it does), it would not necessarily cause more adverse effects. To those who have social qualms against promiscuity and its moral implications, all I can say is that everyone has the right to practice their belief system so long as it does not harm others, whether it involves multiple sexual partners. If people are concerned about the effect of contraception on morals, I would suggest focusing on spreading their message instead of preventing everyone from using contraception.

The Limits of Contraception

While contraception is a necessary tool in our society, it is not the end-all-and-be-all of solutions. It is not a replacement for quality sex education that encourages people to think before engaging in sexual activity. I’m not here to judge anyone’s sexual activities, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to talk with your partner before sex. Sex is mentally, emotionally, and physically significant, and it’s foolish not to consider the consequences of sex beforehand. Remember that knowledge is power, even in the bedroom.

Article by Billal Ahmed

Feature Image Source: Synap