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'Archaic, revolutionary': An OBGYN's complicated feelings on the pill

An original package of Ovral birth control pills. (Flickr/Benjamin Stone)
The terms pro-choice and pro-life are so common in our current political discourse that they barely need an explaination. But as the 2012 election cycle heats up, it seems the use of the word "choice" as the terminology of women's reproductive rights appears firmly planted in discussions about abortion only.

Dr. Crystal Goldsmith joins The Paper Machete this week to provide the history of a form of birth control so popular it got its own nickname, and argues that "choice doesn’t just mean 'abortion.' It means having options for contraception and support in obtaining those options."

Read an excerpt or listen:

"Every morning, as a doctor -- an OBGYN -- I get to go upstairs and I get to make my post-partum rounds and I check on all my patients who just had lovely little babies and I say the same thing to all of them: What can I get you for birth control?' And invariably there is some woman -- many women -- who say, 'Um, I think I'm just going to use the pill.' And this makes me want to gauge my eyes out.

And I look at her and I smile and I say, 'Okay, you just had your third C-section in three years, but I will happily write you that prescription for the pill...although there are some better options.' 

It's true. As an OBGYN, hearing women say they want to use the pill is sometimes like hearing nails on a chalkboard.

The pill is archaic. It’s cumbersome. And women are notoriously bad at taking it.

And nonetheless, despite all that baggage, it's pretty darn revolutionary."

The Paper Machete is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It's always at 3 p.m., it's always on Saturday, and it's always free. Get all your The Paper Machete Radio Magazine needs filled here, or download the podcast from iTunes here.

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