Area:    Feminism
  Msg:    #367
 Date:    12-30-94 11:05 (Public) 
 From:    Donna.                   
 To:      Chris Czech              
 Subject: Contraception            
 > There are too many ways not to get pregnant. Unwanted pregnancies would
 > probably be a fraction of what they are, if people used more common
 > sense. All forms of birth control are readilly available, just not
 > readilly used.

Probably because they're not readily useABLE.  Check out the below, and 
tell me how much has changed since it was first posted here.  Then perhaps 
we could discuss (1) how many parents prepare their kids with even with 
this kind of information, (2) how many school systems are permitted to 
mention this stuff in school, and (3) how readily available this 
information is to folks who grew up without being told about it by either 
their parents or their teachers.  

Nov 1988 


> Birth-control is amazingly simple.  If you can't depend
> on the man to do his share then you can either use the
> pill or refuse to have sex with him until he complies.

Comments like that show such an AMAZING naivte' about birth control that I 
think it's time to post a little information on the subject. 

This is going to be rather long, but I urge everyone who is not familiar 
with the effects and effectiveness of various forms of birth control -- 

The information is taken from a pamphlet entitled "Information About the 
Pill" from Mead Johnson Laboratories (Ovacon brand "detailed patient 

"Oral contraceptives ('the pill') are the most effective way (except for 
sterilization) to prevent pregnancy. They are also convenient and, for most 
women, free of serious or unpleasant side effects. Oral contraceptives must 
always be taken under the continuous supervision of a physician. 

It is important that any woman who considers using an oral contraceptive 
understand the risks involved. Although the oral contraceptives have 
important advantages over other methods of contraception, they have certain 
risks that no other method has.  Some of these risks may continue after you 
have stopped using oral contraceptives.  Only you can decide whether the 
advantages are worth these risks. . . . 


"A. If you have any of the following conditions, you should not use the 
pill: (1) Clots in the legs or lungs. (2) Angina pectoris. (3) Known or 
suspected cancer of the breast or sex organs. (4) Unusual vaginal bleeding 
that has not yet been diagnosed. (5) Known or suspected pregnancy. 

"B. If you have had any of the following conditions, you should not use the 
pill: (1) Heart attack or stroke. (2) Clots in the legs or lungs. 


"Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious adverse effects on the 
heart and blood vessels from oral contraceptive use. This risk increases 
with age and with heavy smoking (15 or more cigarettes per day) and is quite 
marked in women over 35 years of age. Women who use oral contraceptives 
should not smoke. 

"D. If you have scanty or irregular periods or are a young woman without a 
regular cycle, you should use anther method of contraception because, if you 
use the pill, you may have difficulty becoming pregnant or may fail to have 
menstrual periods after discontinuing the pill. 


"If you do not have any of the conditions listed above and are thinking about 
using oral contraceptives, to help you decide, you need information about the 
advantages and risks of oral contraceptives and of other contraceptive 
methods as well. 

"This leaflet describes the advantages and risks of oral contraceptives. 
Except for sterilization, the IUD and abortion, which have their own 
exclusive risks, the only serious risks of other methods of contraception are 
those due to pregnancy should the method fail. Your doctor can anser 
questions you may have with respect to other methods of contraception. . . . 

"1. What Oral Contraceptives Are and How They Work. Oral contraceptives are 
of two types. The most common, often simply called 'the pill', is a 
combination of an estrogen and a progestrogen, the two kinds of female 
hormones. The amount of estrogen and progestrogen can vary, but the amount 
of estrogen is most important because both the effectiveness and some of 
the dangers of oral contraceptives are related to the amount of estrogen. 

"This kind of oral contraceptive works principally by preventing release of 
an egg from the ovary. When the amount of estrogen is 50 micrograms or more 
of mestranol or 35 micrograms or more of ethinyl estradiol, and the pill is 
taken as directed, oral contraceptives are more than 99% effective (i.e., 
there would be less than one pregnancy if 100 women used the pill for 1 
year). Pills that contain 20 to 35 micrograms of estrogen vary slightly in 
effectiveness, ranging from 98% to more than 99% effective. 

"The second type of oral contraceptive, often called the 'mini-pill', 
contains only a progestogen. It works in part by preventing release of an 
egg from the ovary but also by keeping sperm from reaching the egg and by 
making the uterus (womb) less receptive to any fertilized egg that reaches 
it. The mini-pill is less effective than the combination oral contraceptive, 
about 97% effective. In addition, the progestogen-only pill has a tendency to 
cause irregular bleeding which may be quite inconveninet, or cessation of 
bleeding entirely. The progetogen-only pill is used despite its lower 
effectiveness in the hope that it will prove not to have some of the serious 
side effects of the estrogen-containing pill (see below) but it is not yet 
certain that the mini-pill does in fact have fewer serious side effects. The 
discussion below, while based mainly on information about the combination 
pills, shuld be considered to apply as well to the mini-pill. 


"As this leaflet will explain, oral contraceptives have several serious 
risks. Other methods of contraception have lesser risks or none at all. They 
are also less effective than oral contraceptives, but, used properly, may be 
effective enough for many women. The following table gives reported 
pregnancy rates (the number of women out of 100 who would become pregnant in 
1 year) for these methods: 


Intrauterine device (IUD), less than 1-6 
Diaphram with spermicidal products (creams or jellies), 2-20 
Condom (rubber), 3-36 
Aerosol foams, 2-29 
Jellies and creams, 4-36 
Periodic abstinence (rhythm) all types, less than 1-47 
(1) Calendar method, 14-47 
(2) Temperature method, 1-20 
(3) Temperature method--intercourse only in post-ovulatory 
phase, less than 1-7
(4) Mucus method, 1-25 
No contraception, 60-80 

These figures (except for the IUD) vary widely because people differ in how 
well they use each method. Very faithful users of the various methods obtain 
very good results, except for users of the calendar method of periodic 
abstinence (rhythm). Except for the IUD, effective use of these methods 
requires somewhat more effort than simply taking a single pill every morning, 
but it is an effort that may couples undertake successfully. . . . 


#! rnews 3675
From: (Donna.)
Newsgroups: fido.feminism
Subject: Re: Merlin
Date: 30 Dec 1994 21:26:16 GMT
Organization: FEMINISM Echoes 'R' Us
Lines: 55
Message-ID: <3e1tto$>
X-Comment-To: Butterfly 
X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.2 PL2]


 > I'm wondering if there is a decreasing human interest in perpetuating the
 > species.  Or whether there is no difference except the current 

 * Message split, to be continued *

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 * Origin: FEMINISM Echoes 'R' Us (1:114/113@fidonet)

 Area:    Feminism
  Msg:    #368
 Date:    12-30-94 11:05 (Public) 
 From:    Donna.                   
 To:      Chris Czech              
 Subject: Contraception...part 2   
 * Continuation 1 of a splitted message *

 > technolgoical feasibility of population control.  I'm speculating that 
 > there *is* a decreasing interest . . .  that the interest in offspring is 
 > dwindling.  
 > Maybe you're right. Maybe it's not ontological dread after all.  Maybe 
 > its economic reason.  But it's my impression that a lot of people are 
 > making the no-offspring decision (via multiple means) for alotta reasons,
 > and often can't articulate any.

You're asking, and they can't answer?  How are you asking?

My impression of childfrees is that there's a whole litany of reasons for 
being childfree, and many of them know just what those reasons are, but 
they're tired of facing public negativity for their "selfish" choices and 
so don't often comment on those reasons unless they're sure it's safe to 
"come out".    Maybe I just attract childfrees cuz I tend to be so 
outspoken about it.  When I look at the question from the other direction 
-- why do people want to have children? -- I find more "but that's what 
we're put on earth to DO!", "doesn't everybody?", and "oh, you know, it's 
just instinct" answers than any other kind of answer that might reflect an 
actual, solid desire to have children.  Every once in a while, I've run 
into very puzzled looks and the suggestion that I'm crazy for even asking 
such a question.

Recorded history of personal lives is filled to the brim of women trying 
to reduce the number of children they bear.  Is it coincidental or causal, 
the correlation that's been found time after time that, where women are 
educated and have any sort of a choice, the birthrate reduces?

To be honest, I don't know of any time or place in history when folks have 
=had= the option and then chose, in massive numbers TO have children.  Even 
upper-class women, during Victorian times, managed to effect their own 
crude sort of birth control by feigning "female weakness" and, in doing 
so, turned their husbands toward concubines (letting other women bear most 
of their husbands' children) or abstinence.  Sociobiology tells us that 
human production is such a major investment that it's the reason women go 
to such great lengths to find mates who can and will provide for them and 
their brood (and also why we're more monogamous than men[1]); 
evolutionary biology, on the other paw, tells us that non-human species 
which invest heavily in each instance of reproduction tend not to 
reproduce so much; perhaps the question of who to believe will be 
determined by one's own opinion on whether or not homo sapiens are 
very different from other animals on the planet, instinct-wise.  

[1] My_Bias Notice: I tend to recoil from any theory that includes the 
supposition that women are "more monogamous" than men, cuz I have a 
really hard time believing that we are.  Actually, it's a little more 
accurate to say that I tend to recoil from any theory that includes any 
supposition about homo sapiens' monogamy =or= polygamy, thanks to decades 
of reading one theory after another, every one of which set my BS-o-meter 
a-clanging.  IOW, it's rather a Pavlovian reaction. . . .
#! rnews 1121
From: (Donna.)
Newsgroups: fido.feminism
Subject: Re: Turn Down The What??
Date: 30 Dec 1994 22:03:02 GMT
Organization: FEMINISM Echoes 'R' Us
Lines: 23
Message-ID: <3e202n$>
X-Comment-To: Butterfly 
X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.2 PL2]

 >  > Yes, me too.  Perhaps its the accompanying 
 >  > assumption that arrives with 
 >  > some of these messages that reciprocity *is* 
 >  > forthcoming.   
 >  D> But you know what I think is =really= sick?  I was 
 >  D> taught to make those 
 >  D> same assumptions when I was growing up!   
 > ??How so?

"Guys always wanna get laid."

"If [a woman] goes there/does that/says this/wears that color/blinks 
twice/looks at [a man] in nudge-nudge-'that-way'/etc. she's looking 
for nookie."

That sort of thing.  

(At least, I think that's what I was thinking about when I wrote the 
above.  Went back to my original but it doing so didn't jiggle any 
memories loose.  Sigh.)
#! rnews 1255
From: (Donna.)
Newsgroups: fido.feminism
Subject: Re: Internalized sexism
Date: 30 Dec 1994 22:13:33 GMT
Organization: FEMINISM Echoes 'R' Us
Lines: 18
Message-ID: <3e20md$>
X-Comment-To: Janet Goldstein 
X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.2 PL2]

 > PC> You could always throw them off by saying "That's a silly
 > PC> question.  The
 > PC>  same way you did!" (provided they are)  Then give them a really big 
 > PC>  smile.
 > That would definitely not work for one of them as he is not at all
 > technical. The other one.... well, I don't know how HE got to be so
 > technical, and I suppose I could just throw the question back at him.

I think the important thing is to internalize that =you= ARE technical, 
period.  Nothing questionable about it, nothing odd about it, nothing 
to wonder about -- it's who you are and how you are, and that's just 
how life is.  End of story.  

Easier said than done, I realize, but then: those folks will someday be 
part of your past, but what you've managed to internalize will forever 
be part of your present.  

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