Micaela Balie

Contraceptivos: Family Planning

What we initially thought as progress for women’s reproductive rights, reclaiming our bodies and deciding when we wanted to have children actually started out with quite a dark history. The concept of family planning had its beginning as a way to prevent poverty (as more lives being brought into the world required more food, money and care). Scientists tried to create a solution to prevent unwanted pregnancies produced out of wedlock and prevent the increase in illegal and harmful abortions. Scientific studies of course needed experimentation. At the time birth control was seen as illegal to be distributed or researched. Research trials were hidden and done secretively. The first birth control pill to ever be used was tested on Puerto Rican women who had no idea that they were guinea pigs. They were given no safety information and experienced severe side effects like blood clotting and nausea due to the pill containing much higher doses of hormones than today’s modern birth control pills.

“Women who stepped forward to describe side effects…were discounted as ‘unreliable’. Despite the substantial positive effect of the pill, its history is marked by a lack of consent, a lack of full disclosure, a lack of true informed choice, and a lack of clinically relevant research regarding risk.”

Pamela Verma Liao, MD and Janet Dollin, MD

My artwork/s deem to mourn the lack of consent and proper healthcare of those brave Puerto Rican women. As well as the side effects modern birth control still carry.