But isn't this unfair? When a child is conceived, a man can literally run from the situation. A woman is stuck with a (possibly unwanted) child growing inside of her body. Conceiving a child does not necessarily physically disrupt anything that the man is doing. While the child is developing and growing, it is possible for him to continue to go about his life as he was. On the other hand, pregnancy can have drastic effects on a woman's life. Both the man and woman have new responsibilities, but a woman has the additional burden of the child effecting her very body - a burden that is unavoidable once it has begun (save the option of abortion).
Oral contraception levels these inequalities. It helps a woman to fully express herself sexually without the fear of an oppressive unwanted pregnancy.
Other types of contraception can do this, but oral contraception is much easier and uninvasive. In light of the social freedoms it gives women, those who are against its use must be misogynists who want women to remain oppressed.
In short, oral contraception is important and necessary to the full liberation of women.
But liberation from what? Liberation from the slavery of their own female bodies.
The slavery of the woman is that sex can lead to conceiving and bearing a child. Oral contraception is the solution to this problem of the woman's body. It is designed to cure the disease that is it's natural functioning. But in actuality, it is the oral contraception that makes the woman's body operate as though it is diseased (aka unable to conceive). And the diseased operation of the woman's body is often preferred to the natural operation of the woman's body.
Contraception is often held up as a way that women can gain equality with men. But what the use of contraception is really saying is that the woman's body is problematic and that women need to fix their bodies so that they actually function more like a man's body (aka not have to bear a child). The woman needs to deny who she is as a woman. The woman is not good as she is. Instead, the ideal is functioning as a man. This is not true equality with men. This is the degradation of women by saying that they are equal when they change their bodies to be more like that of a man.
But the woman's body is not inherently diseased. It is wonderful and beautiful and has a dignity in its own right that is equal to and distinct from men.
Our country has made desperately needed progress against sexism, especially sexism in the workplace, and still has more work to do. But such progress should not come at the expense of devaluing the woman's body. True equality is achieved when we show respect for the inherent and distinct dignity of both sexes and create a system that allows for their unhindered participation in all spheres of society as men and women.
There is another way in which contraception is bad for women. Pope Paul VI wrote in Humanae Vitae:
"Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection."
As I have explained in more detail in a previous post, sex has two purposes: unity of the couple and the procreation of children. These are actually two sides of the same thing. Full unity comes from full self-gift, and full self-gift occurs only when a couple is fully open to the possibility of procreation. Thus, when a couple purposely disrupts the procreative aspect, they are unwittingly also distorting the unitive aspect. When sex no longer has either aspect fully, lust often fills the space. Both persons can use the other, but most often the woman is the one who ends up being used by the man for his own sexual gratification.
Being a man is good.
And being a woman is good.
In devaluing the inherant goodness of a woman's body, the use of oral contraception is not liberation but is true misogyny.
"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." - Isaiah 5.20