OSU study: Contraception used to control when families have children, not prevent them

By: - July 11, 2022 4:00 am

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In the U.S., contraception is being used for pregnancy prevention along with other medical conditions. Meanwhile, an Ohio State University study showed other countries are using birth control not as a way of avoiding having children, but as a way of inserting control into the family planning process.

The report, which was published in a recent edition of Studies in Family Planning, pored over data going back 50 years in health surveys done in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia.

Analysis of the surveys showed 10% to 15% of the increase in contraception use came from women who wanted to have children in the next two years, according to the study’s lead author, Mobolaji Ibitoye, a postdoctoral student with Ohio State’s Institute for Population Research.

The evidence refuted a so-called “contraception revolution” in those counties, which argued that contraception was being used for the sole purpose of reducing the amount of children parents are having.

“The revolution is that women can now carry through on what they want because of modern contraceptives,” said study co-author and OSU sociology professor John Casterline, in a release announcing the study.

The survey didn’t touch on other medical uses for oral contraception. Women’s health advocates are concerned that future abortion bans, including those in Ohio, may impact contraception since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. 

Contraception can be used to decrease the risk of ovarian cysts and pelvic inflammatory disease, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Medical studies have also shown certain contraceptions can decrease the risk of endometrial cancer, ovarian, ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy in which the egg implants outside of the uterus, making it inviable.

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Susan Tebben
Susan Tebben

Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow (KY) Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.