May 5, 2010
“The Pill” and Cohabitation
By Mike McManus
ago FDA approved the “Pill” to give women a nearly fool-proof way to avoid
cover story said the Pill was “the means by which women untied their aprons,
scooped up their ambitions and marched eagerly into the new age.” Indeed,
in 1960 the average woman had 3.6 children; by 1980 the number dropped to
2. Seventy percent of women with children under 6 cared for them at home in
1970, and 30 percent worked. Those numbers have since reversed.
Sanger’s mother died at age 50 after 18 pregnancies, which inspired her to
create what became Planned Parenthood to help women plan their families. She
also found the Harvard researchers and secured the funding that led to the
development of Enovid, the Pill.
It is hard to
believe now, but through the 1960s, oral contraceptives were sold only to
married women. When Estelle Griswold, head of Planned Parenthood in
Connecticut, and a Yale professor opened a clinic to dispense contraceptive
information to women, they were promptly arrested. Birth control was a
That led to a
famous case, Griswold v. Connecticut, that went to the Supreme Court
in which the Justices voted 7-2 that the Bill of Rights implicitly included
a right to privacy, which overturned bans on contraceptive use by married
couples. That case was cited in 1973 by the Court in its more famous ruling,
Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion.
TIME concluded, “By the 1970s the true
impact of the Pill could begin to be measured, and it was not on the sexual
behavior of American women; it was on how they envisioned their lives, their
choices and their obligations…The fashion for large families went the way of
That’s only partly correct. When women could control whether they’d get
pregnant, their vision did change, but so did their sexual behavior.
1970, college grads were marrying at age 23, but by 1975, as use of the Pill
by single women became more common, that age jumped 2.5 years. In 1963, four
of five Protestant college women wanted 3+ children. That plunged to 29
percent by 1973.
However, the Pill also unleashed the Sexual Revolution. While many assumed
that the Pill would reduce abortions and unwed births, the absolute opposite
In 1960 there were 224,000 births to
unmarried women, 5 percent of births. By 2008 that jumped 8-fold to 1.73
million births, 40.6% of all births.
In 1972, a year before Roe V.
Wade, there were 587,000 abortions. That rose to 1.6 million in 1990,
but has dropped to 1.2 million.
Cohabitation has soared 16-fold from
439,000 in 1960 to 6.8 million in 2008.
wrote to the Corinthians, “Flee fornication,” in KJV version. What is
but fornication raised to the
100th power? The Pill spawned irresponsibility. By separating
the sexual act from birth, millions regarded sex as fun, not the glue of
marriage. Sadly, more than half of unwed births are to cohabiting couples.
Yet have you
ever heard a sermon on cohabitation? Likely not.
answer is that two-thirds of those getting married are cohabiting. And
churches are marrying four out of five couples. Many clergy are quietly
complicit in this moral deterioration of our culture. Pastors are flummoxed
by this widespread immorality. They don’t know what to say to a cohabiting
couple. Here are some answers.
them facts about their risky behavior. Nine out of ten cohabiting couples
will break up, either before the wedding or afterward. Of the 6.8 million
cohabiting in 2008, only 1.4 million married, i.e. 80% broke up before the
wedding. This is such a traumatic experience that the number of
never-married Americans tripled from 21 million in 1970 to 63 million.
those who married after living together are 61% more likely to divorce than
those who remain apart.
them you won’t marry a cohabiting couple unless they move apart.
If they say,
“We can’t afford to live separately,” give the answer of Rev. Jeff Meyers of
Christ Lutheran Church in Overland Park, KS: “Susan, we have widows in this
church who would love to have you move in until the wedding. They probably
wouldn’t even charge rent.”
four of five move apart. And not one woman asked for a widow’s name!
couples in healthy marriages to mentor premarital couples by having them
take a premarital inventory of 150+ issues for a relationship assessment,
and discuss their answers. Teach couple communication skills.
Paul wrote: “Test everything.
Hold onto the good. Avoid every kind of evil.”
is evil. Mentoring is good.
Pill’s 50th anniversary is opportune time to reflect on how our
culture has strayed so far from Scripture and what’s in the best interest of