What’s wrong with contraceptives?

By Amy Scheuring, Executive Director, Women’s Choice NetworkBirth Control Pills

The recent barrage of news coverage following Susan B. Komen for the Cure’s proposed defunding of Planned Parenthood, as well as the Roman Catholic Church’s response to President Obama’s proposed healthcare mandate have many wondering: What’s wrong with contraceptives?

For over 50 years, we’ve heard that pills, injections, devices, and hormones will prevent “unwanted” pregnancy, protect women’s health and stop everything from AIDS to acne, creating a happy, healthy, and sexually fulfilled generation of men and women.  

After more than 40 years of government-subsidized contraceptives, why shouldn’t we welcome additional healthcare packages that require an assortment of miracle drugs and preventative hormones to be offered by every employer? Part of the answer lies in the stunning facts about the collective failure of these products to deliver on their promises:

  • According to Planned Parenthood’s Guttmacher Institute, 53% of women obtaining an abortion were using birth control when they got pregnant.  
  • At the Women’s Choice Network Centers, almost 65% of our pregnant clients were using birth control when they got pregnant.
  • Hormonal birth control methods do not prevent STIs or AIDS, and condoms are virtually useless against many viral forms of STIs, such as Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
  • Teens using birth control pills and injectables feel safer, leading them to engage in sex more frequently than peers who are not using birth control.
  • One highly touted study indicates that 99% of sexually active women ages 15-44 have used at least one form of birth control, but the fact remains that half the pregnancies in the U.S. are still “unintended.”

As we consider whether our future health care should include contraceptives, let’s remember that many who suffer because of a previous abortion or STI have relied on their false promises. The pursuit of true sexual intimacy—joyfully building a family and strengthening a lifetime commitment—has been replaced by a false notion that, given the proper health care, we can control or eliminate the inconvenient “outcomes” of sex.  

So, what’s wrong with contraceptives? Before we even enter into the moral, economic, or social arguments, the answer is clear: They simply don’t work as promised.

While contraceptives entrench themselves as the gateway drug to abortion, birth control proponents are still stuck in the mid-20th century, clinging to the hopeless assertions that if we just spend more, educate earlier and use birth control “better,” the desired outcomes will one day kick in.

After four decades of government-funded birth control, and all our best efforts to create a world where sex has no consequences, are we any better off? You decide.