People use contraception for a range of reasons. In this article, let us talk about the benefits of contraception, including individual, community and societal benefits. Contraception can be used to plan when women and couples have children and how many children they have. This includes choosing
- when they want to begin having children
- how far apart they want their children to be
- when they want to stop having children.
It is used to prevent pregnancies especially in persons who do not intend to have children yet. There are two type of contraceptives. This is based on the use of devices to prevent pregnancies. They are natural contraceptives and artificial contraceptives.
Natural contraception or natural family planning is a method of contraception where a woman monitors and records different fertility signals during her menstrual cycle to work out when she is pregnant. The natural family planning methods do not include any chemical or foreign body introduction into the human body. Most people who are very conscious of their religious beliefs are more inclined to use the natural way of birth control. Some want to use natural methods because it is more cost effective. Some of these methods of natural contraception are
- Coitus interruptus
- Calendar method
- Basal body temperature
- Cervical mucus method
- Symptothermal method
- Lactation amenorrhea
- Ovulation detection method
This is the use of different devices, drugs, techniques, or devices; birth control. Therefore, contraceptives are the various drugs, techniques, or devices which are used to prevent pregnancy. Examples are
- Intrauterine device
- Vagina cap
The contraception argument
The moral case for contraception is largely based on the absence of any good reason for considering birth control morally wrong. This is view of supporters of the use of contraceptives. But there are many positive reasons why people believe that it is right to allow people to practice birth control. There seem to be two sides on this issue, for and against.
Those in support
Human rights benefits
- It’s essential for “procreative liberty”
- If people are not allowed a choice over whether or not to have children, their autonomy and freedom to control their lives is seriously restricted
- Health benefits
- It prevents the conception of unwanted children and so reduces the number of possible abortions
- It enables women whose health would be at risk if they conceived, to continue to have sex
- The use of condoms helps prevent sexually transmitted diseases and HIV
- It prevents the conception of children that a family cannot support
- It enables people to avoid having more children than they want
- It improves marriage because
- It enables couples to enjoy the unitive function of sexual activity without being anxious about conceiving a child
- It enables couples to have fewer children and thus spend more time together and with the children they do have
- It reduces the cost of marriage (children are expensive)
Benefits for women
- It promotes gender equality and the autonomy of women:
- Pregnancy and child-rearing affect women much more than men
- women should have the right to choose or avoid these activities
- any restriction of birth control is therefore sexual discrimination
- it promotes gender equality and the autonomy of women:
- it enables women to enjoy sexual activity on the same basis as men
- any restriction of birth control is therefore a denial of women’s right to sexual autonomy
- it promotes gender equality and the autonomy of women:
- without contraception a woman may find herself having regular pregnancies
- this leads her to remain economically dependant on her partner
- it enables women whose health would be at risk if they conceived, to continue to have sex
It enables world population to be controlled and thus protects the environment and reduces poverty. Many people think this is a dubious benefit, and point out that fairer use of the world’s resources would be a better way of reducing poverty and more environmentally friendly behaviour would be a better way of protecting the environment.
Those who are against
Those who say contraception is morally wrong do so for a variety of reasons.
- Contraception is inherently wrong
- Contraception is unnatural
- Contraception is anti-life
- Contraception is a form of abortion
- Contraception separates sex from reproduction
- Contraception brings bad consequences
These are consequentialist arguments against contraception.
- Contraception carries health risks
- The “contraceptive culture” is dangerous
- Contraception prevents potential human beings being conceived
- Contraception prevents people who might benefit humanity from being born
- Contraception can be used as a eugenic tool
- Contraception is often misused in mass population control programmes in a racist way
- Mass population control programmescan be a form of cultural imperialism or a misuse of power
- Contraception may lead to depopulation (This sounds odd to an age concerned about overpopulation but for substantial parts of the 1800s and 1900s this was a real fear).
- Contraception leads to “immoral behaviour”
- Contraception makes it easier for people to have sex outside marriage
- Contraception leads to widespread sexual immorality
- Contraception allows people (even married people) to have sex purely for enjoyment
Is age a determinant for the use of contraceptives?
Young people can safely use any contraceptive method. Age is not a medical reason for denying any method to adolescents. Young women are often less tolerant of side effects than older women. With counseling, however, they will know what to expect and may be less likely to stop using their methods. Unmarried young people may have more sex partners than older people and so may face a greater risk of STIs. It is important when counseling young people to consider STI risk and how to reduce it.
Effective of contraceptives at preventing pregnancies
How effective your contraception is depends on the type you use and whether you use it correctly. Some methods are more effective than others. You need to follow the instructions and use your contraception correctly for it to be as effective as possible. With some methods, such as the implant, there’s no need to remember to take or use them. These are known as methods with “no user failure”. No contraceptive is 100% reliable, and some can have side effects. Find out about all the methods available so you can decide which contraceptive is right for you.
Contraceptives, to use or not to use
There is a divide on this matter. A lot of people advocate for the legalization of artificial contraceptives in many parts of the world and many others oppose it. The reason for this divide is based on varying reasons; chief among them is for religious and moral reasons. Therefore, the debate is still on: to use contraceptives or not, that is left for you to decide.