By the time I was growing up the Pill was already a fact of life, albeit a new one. I certainly used it, and I believe that on the whole I, personally, benefited greatly from it. But that doesn’t mean it was an unmitigated plus in all respects…
he Pill plus Roe v. Wade changed all that. One would think that with the former there would hardly be any need for the latter. But if one thought that, one would be wrong. The advent of easy and extremely effective contraception has brought with it a cavalier attitude towards it. This is partly because abortion is also seen as so relatively easy, safe, and available; partly because unwed motherhood has turned into something so acceptable and is even romanticized as desirable; and partly because sex is now ubiquitous even for the very young and very irresponsible.These things are not coincidental to the Pill—they are at least in part a direct result of what Sanger envisioned, the freeing of women to enjoy sex without its previous built-in consequences. But, as with so many things, consequences follow us around nevertheless; they are just different consequences….
There were terrible costs to the bad old pre-Pill days. But there are huge problems today as well, and they are not limited to teens—women who delayed pregnancy for so long that they find their biological clocks have run down, for example, or those who have a long series of meaningless relationships in a chase after that elusive and perfect (and non-existent) sexual partner who will fulfill their every desire. When we have more choices, we must bear the consequences of the decisions we do make.
I’m younger than Neo, and the pill was as much of a fact of life as penicillin by the time I came of age. Like Neo, I’m sure that it has been, and continues to be, positive for my life. (Without it, it would certainly have been more difficult to earn a J.D. during my marriage!) But I agree that we make a mistake when we consider it an unmitigated good thing. We should not ignore the consequences and social changes that the pill has at least partially brought. That doesn’t mean that it is a negative thing or that it should not be used, it just means that we should pay attention to the unintended consequences.