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Recent Opinion Pieces

Why Is Birth Control Still So Controversial

41 years ago, when all methods of controlling reproduction finally became legal throughout the US, most observers believed that the issue was finally settled. For most people, the ability to plan and choose family size was a necessity of modern life. Why then are Americans still fighting about this? So many other progressive sex-and-gender reforms, such as gay rights and women’s freedom of dress, have support even among conservatives, but not this one—even though birth control is used by 98 percent of the US population. A bit of history can throw some light on this conundrum, and in the process explain where the Tea Party and the ultra-Right wing Supreme Court are coming from. Twice, once in the 1800s and once in the 1970s, a combination of opposition to women’s rights and economic motives fueled an anti-birth-control movement.

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