Women don’t choose birth control because they are trying to hurt their bodies. Women don’t choose birth control so their families will suffer. Women don’t choose birth control because they want to harm the planet. Women choose birth control because they want to make responsible, healthy, and loving decisions about their bodies, families, and planet. These are important desires and noble goals, and they must be affirmed.
The people who bring attention to the negative side effects and risks associated with birth control also have valuable intentions.
Most women are grateful for the surge of information and the increasing candor of the dialogue about birth control. The recent development of a male contraceptive injection has sparked a particularly fascinating conversation about the side effects from artificial hormones and dangers women have suffered, often in silence, for decades.
Women are amazing. We will accept all sorts of side effects and risks if we believe it is for the good of our families. Women will bear just about anything for those we love.
Women also want to make well-informed choices. Today, this often means that women are incredibly knowledgeable about the side effects they may suffer and the risks they bear by being on birth control. But simply telling women that birth control is dangerous is not enough to encourage them to reexamine their choice to use it.
We are getting better at the “well-informed” part of the equation, but not the “choice” part.
How can we call it a choice without accurate information about alternatives?
Women will only be empowered to step away from the harmful effects of birth control if there is another option we can choose with confidence. An effective option. A realistic option. Fertility Awareness-Based Methods of family planning (FABMs) are that effective and realistic option. But they often don’t appear to be.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports very inaccurate information about the effectiveness rates of FABMs. How did the CDC come up with incorrect information? It has to do with the study they cited, which was based on surveys where women were asked to recall what family planning method they were using when they got pregnant. The study that the CDC used lumps all natural methods of family planning into one statistic. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that there are many outdated and ineffective natural family planning methods out there (including, most notoriously, the rhythm method). In fact, 85% of the women who participated in this study reported using one of these outdated and ineffective natural methods. By quoting one effectiveness rate for all natural methods, the CDC fails to report the actual effectiveness rate for any natural method. Click here to learn more about the study the CDC cited.
If you’re interested in exploring this further, please check out the FACTS website. FACTS is the Fertility Appreciation Collaborative, a group comprised of physicians, other health care professionals and educators working together to Teach the Science of FABMs. It’s the best resource if you’re looking for the highest quality research about the effectiveness of FABMs and how and why they work. You can access the website by following this link: http://www.factsaboutfertility.org/
When you learn the truth about FABMs, you are empowering yourself to make a choice. An important choice….an informed choice. Only then will the choice be yours.
 For contraceptive purposes. There are some women with health conditions that necessitate their use of certain forms of birth control for health reasons, not contraceptive ones.