Opinion | Sexuality

Perplexed by the Pill

How birth control pills—which turn 50 this year—led me to believe I was in control of my life and my body.

The Pill turned 50 this year, and Time magazine commemorated the anniversary last week with Nancy Gibbs's cover story, "Love, Sex, Freedom and the Paradox of the Pill." Gibbs thoroughly and thoughtfully provides a scientific and sociological history of birth control, while addressing some of the ethical questions raised by the little tablet, swallowed by more than 100 million women worldwide every day. Gibbs sets up a strong contrast in how people respond to the Pill: "Its supporters hoped it would strengthen marriage by easing the strain of unwanted children; its critics still charge that the Pill gave rise to promiscuity, adultery, and the breakdown of the family."

As a Christian who has taken the Pill intermittently for over a decade, I find myself on both sides of the divide, caught between an ethic of hospitality and of stewardship, between individual responsibility and collective consciousness, between traditional family values and feminist theory. Reading Gibbs's article didn't answer ...

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