Feminists and Contraception

Aleandra DeSanctis

In January 2023, an article by New York Post columnist Rikki Schlott surveyed a striking trend: a growing wave of young women opting out of hormonal birth control. The writer herself is one such malcontent. "Recently, after six years on it, I decided to stop taking the pill," she says. "But it isn't just me. Many of my friends are independently doing the same, whether it's driven by concern for their mental health, desire for something more natural--or curiosity about what the world looks like when you're not in a hormonal fog." She argues that an increasing number of her peers are declining oral contraception because they have "an intuitive sense that hormonal birth control might be messing with us, and our brains."

Lest readers dismiss Schlott and her friends as a tiny fraction of today's women, she bolsters her article with input from professionals. "I have noticed that many patients prefer non-hormonal birth control," Dr. Taraneh Shirazian, a gynecologist at New York University's Langone Health and director of the Center for Fibroid Care, told the Post. "Many are keen on limiting their body's exposure to outside hormones so that they can feel more natural and like themselves."

Schlott also interviews Sarah Hill, a research psychologist who wrote the 2019 book This Is Your Brain on Birth Control: The Surprising Science of Women, Hormones, and the Law of Unintended Consequences, a project she began after her own experience quitting the Pill. "It seems to me that there is this belief that birth control as an issue facing women has been solved: We have the pills, and so what's all the whining and fussing about?" Hill told the Post. "Drug companies and others who could be investing in trying to find something better for us are mistaking the fact that so many women are on it for the fact that we don't need something better."

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