France: The contraceptive pill, “deceptive” symbol of women’s freedom

Publié le : 30 January 2013

 With controversy surrounding the pill as a result of recent health scandals, the weekly Famille Chretienne has re-examined this method of contraception, the need for which could be eliminated through "training young people."         

The magazine interviewed Dr Gwénola Dubrule who explains that "when I practised in a country area I remember that I often had visits from girls as young as 13 who wanted to take the pill. Even before having a boyfriend." She adds that, most of the time, the girls were accompanied by their mothers "who regarded this as a rite of passage: their child was becoming an adult." Finding that these "decisions were not always preceded by serious thinking," Dr Dubrule "took the time to explain to the mother and the girl that the pill is a medication which has secondary effects," an aspect that "many young people have not grasped." On this point, France, a girl aged 17, told the magazine: "in the 3rd year in secondary school we were told about all the methods of contraception.[…] But I have no recollection of my Life and Natural Sciences teacher telling us that it could provoke undesirable effects. I had not understood that it is a medication." She added that "many of her friends around her take the pill because they have pimples or painful periods: it seems so natural!"
The magazine points out that, "rather than pressure being brought, it is probably fairer to talk about the wrong information being given on this subject." Céline Lavaste, a general practitioner who wrote a thesis on the natural methods of family planning, explains that "this ignorance is political, ideological and historical. But whereas this means of contraception has for many years been presented as liberating, many women are turning away from it today."          
For example, "after observing the disastrous effects of this misinformation (in 2004, over 13,400 abortions were carried out on girls under 18), Gwenola Dubrule became a TeenStar trainer", a form of training that "encourages teenagers to take pride in their bodies and listen to its language." Marie, 16, took this training course in 4th class and points out: "It enabled me to ask the right questions, to think about the sexual act and the methods of contraception. I defend my own values." Dr Céline Lavaste says that "it is essential for education in knowledge of oneself to begin at the earliest age." She adds: "my youngest daughter is 3 and she knows that a woman has cycles, and she has already seen sanitary towels. When they are young, children are not hampered by their bashfulness and they can understand many things." Confirming the views of Céline Lavaste, Dr Gwénola Dubrule says that "some parents may be reticent in tackling these intimate subjects with their children, but when they reach 18 it is already too late to educate girls." Dr Dubrule concludes: "this training has to be given long before then!
 

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