Birth control is not a woman’s responsibility. Unfortunately, at this point in time, the pill version of birth control — and, according to many rabbis, one of the only halachically acceptable versions of contraceptive — is available for women only. But that doesn’t make fertility a woman’s-only issue. I would be the one who would get pregnant, but it would be our child. Ultimately I’m the one swallowing the pill, but he can and should be just as responsible for reminding me to take it.
Leading up to marriage, this thought didn’t occur to me. I simply added the pill to my daily regimen of meds, and took it on time as often as I could remember. The pill was mine; it didn’t even cross my mind that Jeremy would take it on as an equal responsibility….
Unfortunately, the fact that the contraceptive is usually taken by the woman — at least when it’s not a condom, which for Modern Orthodox women it usually can’t be — means that the entire responsibility of birth control often falls to the woman. That might make sense when the woman is not in a committed relationship, when she might actually end up being solely responsible for raising any resultant child, but in a marriage, birth control should be equally shared by both spouses, as much as that’s possible. The child belongs to both, why not the responsibility for birth control?
~ Simi Lichtman (pictured above, with husband Jeremy), seemingly concerned that Orthodox Jewish women use “lawful” birth control but not so worried about “unlawful” sex outside of marriage, The Jewish Daily Forward, September 7
The Orthodox Jewish beliefs on observing personal sexual purity as laid out by the halakha are listed here.
[Photo via forward.com]