March is Women’s History Month! And in addition to celebrating the many women who have helped advance society, health care, and education, this month is the perfect time to learn how women’s health care, namely contraception, has impacted women’s history since the prehistoric era. Read on to learn more!
Early Birth Control Methods
Women and contraception go way back. Compared to the rest of human history, modern forms of birth control such as IUDs, birth control pills, and latex condoms are still very new. Prehistoric fertility figurines, such as the Venus of Willendorf, indicate that people in the Paleolithic age were concerned with the process of reproduction and birth and may have sought a way to control these processes through ritualistic practices.
There are also records of ancient Egyptian and Greek methods of contraception, such as the use of natural spermicides or the withdrawal method. Both of these findings indicate that family planning and birth control have been a concern for, like, as long as humans have been reproducing.
Thanks to women like Margaret Sanger and Katherine McCormick, we have reliable forms of birth control that are safe and effective. And although these methods of birth control are now widely available, it wasn’t always the case. Birth control remained illegal to use in many states across the country until the landmark cases Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) and Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972) granted married couples and single people the right to privacy–therefore making it unconstitutional and illegal to deny them access to contraceptives.
Continuing to Support Women
And although we’ve come a long way in increasing access to birth control, there are still many women who find it unaffordable or are unaware of their options. Women may also face health-care bias from a healthcare provider who feels they are not in need of contraception due to her health status, race, or previous decisions to wait on using birth control.
It’s important that we continue to build health literacy, share resources, fight health-care bias, and get the facts on what birth control methods are accessible and compatible with a person’s health and life goals. That way, women can continue to stay healthy, happy, and make history!
Check out the resources below to get the facts about contraception, women’s history, and more.