What were the birth control options 100 years ago?


Someone asked us:

what were the birth control options 100 years ago?

What an interesting question! One hundred years ago, it was 1914. Woodrow Wilson was president; American women couldn’t vote; and getting birth control was a major hassle that was impossible for many.

Available birth control methods at the time included abstinence (not having any kind of sex at all), withdrawal (pulling out before ejaculation), outercourse (no penis-in-vagina sex), fertility awareness-based methods, condoms (made from sheepskin or vulcanized rubber), and diaphragms.

But it was also illegal to use birth control — in fact, it was illegal to even TALK about it. So using birth control was a risk not many were willing to take. The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, went to jail for distributing birth control and information about preventing pregnancy.

Thankfully, a lot has changed since then. Birth control is legal and widely available, and there are a lot more options to choose from. Planned Parenthood health centers see nearly 3 million people every year, and 99 percent of sexually active women* between 15 and 44 use birth control at some point in their lives.

In fact, now birth control is more accessible than ever before. Because of the Affordable Care Act, people with health insurance can now get birth control without a copay.

And yet, our work is never done. The Supreme Court is now deciding whether companies can refuse to cover birth control in their health insurance plans based on their religious beliefs. Learn more at the Planned Parenthood Action website.

-Mylanie at Planned Parenthood