Birth control was deemed a way for women to liberate themselves from spending a large portion of their adult lives having babies. Liberation. Equality. While there are several options available to women in regards to birth control, by far the most popular one has been “the pill”. A seemingly simple solution to unwanted pregnancy. A small tablet that allows women to dictate when and how often they get pregnant. This has been the case for many decades. Of late, as is often the case when it comes to women and their health, it has become apparent the so-called solution is not without its risks. Risks to womens’ health. Serious ones.
Now this excellent and revealing pull back the curtain documentary directed by Abby Epstein (Weed the People, The Business of Being Born) attempts to show that the pill is not the miracle it has been marketed to be. Or thought to be. Bad things have happened as a result. Cover-ups in the form of marketing have been put in action by the producers of the pill. Money is the name of the game here. Don’t think otherwise. The goal is not to help women and their health (physical and mental) but to keep them using the pill. For better or worse.
The shocking truth comes forward. Focus on the word truth in that sentence. The truth is that the pill does stop pregnancy but also can kill. That is a fact. Women who have been on the pill have died as a result of it. Not one woman. Not two. But many. And they don’t want women to know or even seem to care that they are dying because of taking it.
A complex relationship. That is what revealed to be the truth between hormonal birth control and women’s health. Throw in feminism and you’ve got totally murky waters. Treacherous waters. We should not be surprised as the mental or physical health of women has never been number one for the medical industry or pharmaceutical companies.
It is heartbreaking to watch a series of parents talk about the daughters they have lost. Daughters who have died because they were on the pill. We see that there are women looking for an alternative. Holistic and ecologically sound alternatives to the pill. Something that works that they can present to the over 12 million American women and hundreds of millions around the world who at some point are on the pill. They are also fighting for justice, reproductive justice, for women.
The documentary was inspired by the book Sweetening the Pill by Holly Grigg-Spall. Using it as the jumping off point to show the over 60 year history of the pill, brings to light the real risks of taking the pill, how the history of contraception has always been a racist one, and how it has been used as a weapon against the most vulnerable of females. An eye opener, hard to watch at times due to the pain, but a necessary watch.