Many people in this present society accept as a truism that women's liberation necessitates access to contraception. In fact, contraception is almost synonymous with feminism. I disagree with that assessment because I feel that contraception is rooted in the misogynist views of female inferiority, and the idea that women are inherently flawed, and that we need pills, surgeries, and devices to "fix" us. Throughout the ages, throughout many cultures, men have treated women as objects to be manipulated and controlled, rather than as persons to be respected and loved. Men have often believed that women were objects whose purpose was to satisfy men's sexual "needs". Hormonal contraception, by chemically manipulating and controlling women's bodies, stems from and in turn reinforces the notion that women are objects to be controlled and manipulated.
A common complaint of feminist literary critics is that in much of the canon of Western literature, female suffering is not presented as real human suffering and that female suffering is justified as long as it aids the development of male protagonists. Similarly, I believe that in a society in which women are not valued, whatever side effects women suffer from the manipulation of their bodies by hormonal contraception will be justified as long as it ensures our sexual availability to men whenever they desire to have us, as our purpose is to satisfy "men's needs", even though a natural and effective alternative exists in Natural Family Planning. (For a description of NFP, please view a previous post).
Contraception was designed by men for men. In her book, The Bitter Pill, Dr. Ellen Grant informs that when scientists first developed the pill, they designed it to be taken by men. In their first human test group, one male had slight shrinkage of one testicle, and so they called the whole thing off and redesigned the pill to be used by women. In that first test group, three women died from it and all they did was readjust the dosage. Women and girls are still dying from use of the pill.
For these reasons, I believe that no authentic liberation for women can come until people first recognize that women are inherently equal to males--even in our most natural state.