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History Of Birth Control Essay

1696 words - 7 pages

Whatever an individual's beliefs, it can be said that birth control issues have helped shape our society and other societies around the world. It is important for humanity to examine the history behind various birth control methods to truly appreciate our modernization today. From ancient Egypt to modern America, people have attempted to control the human reproductive process. With all the trials and tribulations conducted on birth control methods, the invention of the birth control pill still surfaced. Studying the history and uses of potions, barrier methods and withdrawal methods that were traced back from thousands of years ago allow us to learn and understand the past so that we, as a society, can value and appreciate our future.Ancient Egyptian and Romans had a difficult time revealing the truths about the human reproductive system. Without the education needed for human anatomy, their methods for preventing births were mainly trial and error. Egyptian papyruses dated from around 1850 B.C. show recipes for vaginal suppositories thought to be effective in preventing a woman from conceiving while ancient Romans sought birth control because they did not feel that hoards of children fit with their highly civilized urban lifestyles (Clemitt). Like us today, the ancient Greek and Romans wanted a better understanding and more control over their lives. Later in 200 A.D., a Greek gynecologist named Seranus coined the much needed discovery of the term ovulation as the period of time when women were fertile, occurring during a menstruation cycle (Oyler). With these new findings and many questions on prevention, Seranus suggested that women smear olive oil, pomegranate pulp, ginger or tobacco juice around the vagina in order to kill sperm. He also suggested simpler methods such as drinking the water that blacksmiths used to cool metals in and jumping backwards seven times immediately after intercourse to dislodge sperm. Even with the new discoveries in menstruation, professionals in their time still couldn't accurately prevent births. In Europe, families wished only to expand their families during times of prosperity from the 800s to the 1900s. Here, women of the time would attempt to prevent pregnancy using agents they called douches and purges which contained salt, honey, oil, lead, mint juice and cabbage seed (Clemitt). From the ancient Romans and Greeks to the Europeans, further discoveries and education were greatly needed to more accurately and safely prevent pregnancies.With lack of knowledge and a growing want to prevent births, ancient evidence suggests that women attempted to not only prevent pregnancy, but to also abort unwanted births with potions and concoctions with a wide array of ingredients. There were indications of potions known to cause termination of pregnancy such as the notable mixture calling for some paste of mashed ants, foam from camels' mouths and tail hairs of black-tailed deer dissolved in bear fat (Clemitt). Modern...

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