Contraception: Freedom from Fear

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the young whose complexions and dispositions benefit from the pill. Many a woman entering menopause, confident that soon she can forget about contraception, is advised to stay on the pills because they postpone many of the stigmata of age—dryness and wrinkling of the skin, sagging bosom, edginess and depression, and a reduction of vaginal secretions that may make intercourse too painful.

The most recent canard about the pills, fostered by the birth of octuplets in Mexico, is that after a woman stops taking them she is more likely to have a multiple pregnancy. This is not true.

Whatever their shortcomings, the pills are unquestionably superior to all other contraceptives. The condom, still the bestseller (almost 2 billion sold all over the world, 400 million in the U.S. last year), is unesthetic. Even more than the diaphragm, it requires interruption of a normal progression to perform an antaphrodisiac rite.

5,500 Per Lifetime. For every American woman who has rejected the pills because of conscious doubt or uncon scious fears and guilt, a dozen have accepted them. Says Dr. Richard Frank, medical chief of Chicago's Planned Parenthood clinics: "More than five million women can't be wrong about the acceptability of the pills." This impressive total, according to the 1965 National Fertility Study,* means that of all white American women using any form of contraception, 24% are on the pills. Broken down, it shows 27% pill use among Protestants, 22% among Jews, 18% among Roman Catholics. This last figure may be low because some Catholics say they use the pills for reasons other than contraception. The use rate among Negroes is only slightly lower than among whites.

For married couples whose religious beliefs interpose no moral problem, the pill is indeed a boon. Biologists have computed that under a dictum of St. Augustine, permitting "only those sexual relations which are necessary to procreation," a man could not expect to have intercourse more than 55 times in his life. But the late Alfred C. Kinsey's studies indicated that the average American has intercourse 5,500 times, leaving coitus with procreative intent at a mere 1%. Dr. S. Leon Israel of the University of Pennsylvania believes that this is ten times too high—that conception is specifically planned in no more than one incident of coitus out of a thousand. In a logical deduction, Dr. Edris Rice-Wray, who conducted the first pill tests in Puerto Rico in 1956, declares: "Ninety percent of all people are caused by accidents."†

Four Little Indians. Typical of the woman who has had all the children she wants and dreads that "menopause baby" is an Atlanta mother of three, aged 44, who says: "I'm getting too old to start looking after another baby. I've been taking the pill for almost two years with no side effects, and it's much simpler than any other method I've tried." To the neurotics who complain that it is too difficult or too much trouble to take a pill a day, a 34-year-old mother in Oak Park, Mich., responds: "I have my hands full running after four little Indians, and if I had another I'd die. The mere thought of having an unwanted baby is enough to make me remember to take my pills."

The pill is equally helpful to the newly married who want babies at times of their choosing. Says a

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