As someone who's been on one form of birth control or another since I was 18, I often take it for granted. I take for granted that although the very first oral contraceptive, Enovoid, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1960, it was far from perfect and created physical complications. I take for granted the fight that came with making the Pill legal and accessible (a fight that still continues). And, as much as it embarrasses me to admit this, every time I pop the Pill in my mouth, I take for granted the privilege that comes with having access to birth control in a world where far too many women don't have that access because they don't have autonomy. Autonomy and access to birth control should not be a privilege; it should be a right.
"Part of agency and determining one’s path is the ability to control if, when and how to have children," Dr. Marisa Nádas, an OB-GYN at Jacobi Medical Center, NY and a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, tells Bustle. "Taking away that control from women means taking away their agency, ultimately making reproduction a barrier to education, economic independence, and self-determination."
On this International Contraception Day, it's time to take a serious look at just how paramount birth control is. It doesn't just save lives, especially in nations where access to proper medical career is minimal, but it allows women to choose when they're ready to have a family and, in doing so, promotes prosperity, giving both mother and child a chance at success and happiness — something we all deserve.
Here are seven statistics that show just how important birth control is on not just an individual level, but on society as a whole.