New documentary explores scary side of hormonal birth control

Though there are many different kinds of contraceptives out there to prevent women from getting pregnant, the most popular form of birth control for women is the pill. Interestingly enough, however, the birth control pill is not only a contraceptive; it is a form of medication. As of now, 100 million women around the world use oral contraceptives, but are these women truly informed about what it is exactly the pill does to their body?

Director and producer Abby Epstein has partnered up with actress Ricki Lake once again after their successful documentary The Business of Being Born to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding and awareness for their latest project Sweetening the Pill, a documentary inspired by Holly Grigg-Spall’s book, to inform women of their current choices of contraception and to investigate the future of our options.

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“We believe that the birth control pill was one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century,” the producers tell Kickstarter, “but we think women deserve more and better options, not less of them. Hormonal birth control often dominates the conversation, but, like a hospital birth or cesarean, it’s not always the best choice for all.”

More: The history of birth control

When a woman goes to her gynecologist and is asked by her doctor if she is using any form of contraception, it is common for only two options of birth control to come to mind: condoms or the pill. If you are not using one, you are most likely using the other — sometimes both in order to avoid risk of pregnancy. But there are so many options including the NuvaRing, diaphragm and female condom that are not being talked about.

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Oftentimes our precautions are taking a toll on our bodies. There are often many side effects when taking oral contraceptives including, but not limited to, nausea, mood swings, depression, headaches, abdominal and/or chest pains. It is because of these side effects that women are quickly opting to stop taking the pill, almost as quickly as they decide to go on it. We use birth control to do just that: control when or when not to reproduce. A hormonal imbalance should not be the result of a woman taking control of her body.

In order to heavily investigate a woman’s options and produce the film altogether, Epstein and Lake are asking for donations. “This documentary will explore what technological and medical advancement might mean for birth control in the 21st Century. Together we will investigate, informatively and realistically, the next women’s health revolution.”