Disturbing term: Birth control

I can’t sleep again this morning. So I browsing my twitter around and found tweet about abortion. I am not going to write about abortion though, I am more interested in birth control something that the tweet do not mention but I am sure it related.

I look at to find reference on the term. It said that Birth control involves one or more actions, devices, sexual practices or medications followed to intentionally prevent or reduce the likelihood of pregnancy or childbirth. The three main routes of birth control to prevent or end pregnancy include contraception (the prevention of fertilization of the ovum by sperm cells), contragestion (preventing the fertilized egg from implantation – morning-after-pill), and the chemical or surgical induction of abortion of the developing embryo/fetus. The term emergency contraception is often used instead of contragestion.

I feel the term “birth control” somehow disturbing for some reasons. In my language, Indonesia, birth control means simply controlling the birth. Who can gave birth? Women. So the term has the assumption that the best way, although not the only way, to control birth is to control women’s uterus. There are 3 contraception method for men available out of 17 in modern birth control methods. There is effectiveness, risks, side effects and benefits of each method. There is assumption that a person, especially women, need to use contraception or other means of birth control only when they are in a serious relationship. Because there is strong value that birth must or should happen in a marriage or long-term relationship. So in my country and maybe in many other countries, sex education and contraception only widely available and supported by government for married couples.

Contraception for me is a less-value laden medical term. It means the deliberate prevention of conception or impregnation by any of various drugs, techniques, or devices. The term control is somehow disturbing because the existence of medical technology of contraceptive doesn’t mean that women have the decision power to access it, use it, and endorse it. The term birth control seems to serve the paradigm of population control where poor women’s fertility are the main target.

It would be great if I can write a paper about it. I wish I had the time and chance to do it.

Malang, 10 Oktober 2015

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