Conflict: Using Birth Control When You Want Kids

Are the new abortion restrictions being passed in some U.S. states relevant for us here at Childless by Marriage? As you probably know, Texas recently passed a law prohibiting abortion, for any reason, after the sixth week of pregnancy, about the time a heartbeat can be detected. At that point, many women don’t even know they are pregnant. Even if they do, by the time they make arrangements, it may be beyond the six weeks. In practical terms, most abortions are therefore illegal. At the moment, the Texas ban has been blocked while it goes through court challenges, but there does seem to be a trend toward more restrictive abortion laws.

I’m not going to argue pro-life vs. pro-choice here. I’m Catholic; you can guess how I feel, but I also realize that many women are going to seek abortions no matter what the law says, so why not make it safe for them to do it?

What does this have to do with being childless by marriage?

While researching my Childless by Marriage book, I discovered that far more women had had abortions than I ever suspected. For some, the abortion ended their only chance at motherhood; later circumstances kept them from having children. Some had abortions because their partners insisted that they did not want them to have a baby, at least not then.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are 189 abortions per 1,000 live births and 11.3 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years. More than half of those women are in their 20s, and most of those abortions are performed at around the 13th week of pregnancy.

Abortion is sometimes used as a method of birth control for those willing to take a chance that they will not get pregnant and that they can abort if they do. Now the women in Texas and other states where regulations are being tightened to the point of prohibiting most abortions may be feeling there is no way out.

Most of us have used other forms of birth control, including contraceptive pills and patches, IUDs, diaphragms, and condoms. These methods require at least one partner to take responsibility. Ideally, they should both agree that they want to use birth control. Diaphragms and condoms require the cooperation of both parties. The pill and the IUD may have negative effects on the woman’s health. They can also be discontinued without the male partner knowing. How many of us whose partners have been hesitant to make babies have been told by well-meaning friends or relatives to just stop taking the pill and have an “oops” baby? Most of us, I’ll bet.

We’re far from the days when our ancestors could only prevent pregnancy by giving up sex, but it can still be a touchy situation, especially when we want to have children and know that pill we’re taking every morning or that condom we’re using every time we have sex is making it impossible.

So I ask you:

1. How do you feel about conservative politicians eliminating abortion as a birth control method? Does that have anything to do with your situation?

2. If you’re using birth control, how do you feel about it? Do resent that pill, hate that condom? Does your partner insist you use them or just assume that it’s “take care of”? Are you able to discuss it freely with them?

Please share in the comments. You can be completely anonymous. This blog does not work without your input.

Thank you all for being here.


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4 thoughts on “Conflict: Using Birth Control When You Want Kids

  1. Sue,

    I’m a native Texan living in Florida. I’m
    Presbyterian and I’m very pro choice.
    I believe that women should be in control of their reproductive health. I defend pro life groups’ right to voice their opinions as well. When I was sworn into Marine Officer Candidate School, I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies forgiven and domestic. I defend everybody’s rights, even those I don’t agree with. The issue of reproductive rights is one that I don’t think will ever be settled to everyone’s satisfaction.

    Take a deep seat because we’re in for a long ride.


  2. Sue,
    This is a very interesting point that I often think about. My husband had a vasectomy 20+ years ago so I know logically that there is no chance of a natural pregnancy occurring. However I can not bring myself to get onto birth control (as recommended by my Dr for health reasons). Somehow in my mind I feel like that is me, making the decision to not have children. And even though I work in medicine and logically know there is zero chance, I still feel like being on any form of birth control would take that chance away (even though I know there isn’t one). I know that doesn’t make much sense. My husband is more than understanding and simply says that it’s my body and my choice. But every month or so I go through a series of feelings. Kind of like the stages of grief all over again. Because it’s yet another month that my body is not being allowed to do what it is meant to do. I often wonder if anyone else feels that way during that time of the month? Just my thoughts. Needless to say I still can’t bear to make the decision to go on birth control and still struggle with it often. Part of the frustration with going to the dr is the constant questions of could you be pregnant? Are you sure? How many pregnancies have you had? Live births? Etc. is this something that all of us experience? Thanks in advance.


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