The importance of contraception in a post-Roe v. Wade world

importance of contraception
© Dragan Andrii

With reproductive rights under attack in the USA and possibly UK, gaining control of one’s menstrual cycle and sexual activities is more important than ever before

Living in the 21st Century, many of us like to think that as the decades pass, our societies are becoming more and more progressive – this sadly does not appear to be the case.

According to the UNFPA’s 2022 State of World Population report, almost half of all pregnancies worldwide are unintended, and over 60% of these may end in abortion and with the landmark overture of Roe v. Wade in America proving just how precarious human rights especially women’s are becoming – we must now be even more careful when concerning sexual activities and the importance of contraception.

The future of male contraceptives

The high failure rate of condoms and the unreliability of vasectomy reversals highlight the need for alternative effective male contraceptive options. Progression in the creation and dispersal of a male oral contraceptive has been slow – however steps in the right direction are finally being taken with 2 male contraceptive pills showing promise in early testing stages.

Splitting the contraceptive responsibility between genders more equally would be a massive step toward reproductive equality, and takes pressure off those who are able to get pregnant.

Access to birth control and contraceptives

Now that abortion care is no longer protected by the U.S. constitution, many Americans are wondering where bodily autonomy stands — and if the Supreme Court keeps to its word, the overture of Roe v. Wade may just be the beginning.

Contraceptives in the USA like Plan B and IUD and possibly the contraceptive pill are looking to be at risk from the Supreme Court.

Sources have reported a number of states attempting to use the Supreme Court decision on Roe as grounds for banning emergency contraception (Plan B, morning after pill). According to EBN Louisiana has already tried to pass a bill criminalizing the use of IUDs and Plan B, calling both treatments abortion methods, and equating abortion to homicide.

importance of contraception
© Joe Sohm

The importance of contraceptives

According to a piece in the National Library of Medicine, “Oral contraceptives not only prevent pregnancy, but they also reduce the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer and protect against acute pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancies.”

Contraception has more positives other than protecting against pregnancy such as:

  • The regulation of one’s menstrual cycle
  • Can make periods less painful
  • Can help with acne
  • Reduces risk of uterine cancer
  • Reduces the risk of Ovarian cysts
  • Help manage endometriosis

With these factors and so many more proving the importance of contraceptives for women in particular – the access and availability of contraception is key.

The UK is not safe from abortion regulation

As of June 2022, several MPs have used their platform to call on the UK government to strengthen domestic rights to abortion care following the changes in the United States.

The 1967 Abortion Act allows for people in the UK to gain access to abortion if permission is granted by two doctors – the act provides protection from prosecution under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act. What this means is that as of today it is still technically a criminal act in the UK.

Recently, Britain’s leading clinic that provides abortions –the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) stated that they are anticipating “assaults on abortion law in Parliament” and we should prepare to protect ourselves from a rollback.

The UK is desperately in need of a new law that fully decriminalised abortion allowing bodily autonomy and reproductive rights to all. Labour MP Stella Creasy stated she would table an amendment to the forthcoming British Bill of Rights to give women the fundamental right to have an abortion.

“Most women in the UK do not realise abortion is not a right but there is only a law giving exemption from prosecution in certain circumstances,” she said. “What the US teaches us is that we cannot be complacent about entrenching those rights in law.”

Now is the time for the UK government to show that they care about the reproductive rights of the nation – writing the access to abortion into law is a key step in doing this.

With women and those who are able to become pregnant around the world not understanding where they stand concerning their body autonomy and right to abortion access, the importance of contraception access has never been higher.

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