WOMEN
03/04/2014 10:34 am ET Updated Mar 04, 2014

Yes, The Birth Control Pill Has Side Effects. For Instance, Better Sex.

Justin Horrocks via Getty Images

Reliable, female-controlled contraception, such as the birth control pill and IUDs, is easier than ever to get. Obamacare mandates that your insurance cover it without a copay, and over-the-counter access to emergency contraception has been steadily improving. (The Food and Drug Administration just ruled in favor of putting generic emergency contraception out on shelves, which will help lower the price.) So it's no wonder, then, that there's been an uptick in misinformation and scare-mongering about contraception, and not just from conservatives who claim to believe, against medical evidence, that the pill and the IUD are tantamount to abortion. There's also been a wave of self-identified feminists attacking hormonal contraception by portraying it as far more dangerous than it is and making it sound like taking the pill gets you only a horror show of every negative side effect under the sun. Now even Ricki Lake is getting involved, making a documentary out of Holly Grigg-Spall's poorly argued anti-pill scare book, Sweetening the Pill, which Lindsay Beyerstein thoroughly demolished on Slate last year.

In response to all this, OB-GYN Jessica Kiley felt it was necessary to remind readers of Pacific Standard that there are many positive side effects (in addition to the main effect: contraception!) that women experience with the most controversial (which just happen to be the most female-controlled, in a remarkable coincidence) forms of contraception: lighter or nonexistent periods, reduced menstrual pain, reduced acne, and lower rates of ovarian and endometrial cancer. Of course, the contraceptive effects are great, too, as she emphasizes. Women who have effective contraception have healthier babies, because they choose when to get pregnant. They experience better life outcomes, too: "Birth control allows women to achieve education and career goals, benefiting their families and society."

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