This year we acknowledge an unfortunate anniversary: the infamous birth control pill – which itself has been responsible for preventing so many births – turns fifty. It was in 1960 that the Food and Drug Administration first approved the contraceptive pill for use in the United States. Nine years later, with the passing of Pierre Trudeau’s infamous Omnibus bill that also legalized abortion, contraception was decriminalized in Canada. Now, with half a century of distance, the terrible effects of the birth control pill, and the disastrous mentality it produced, are all too clear.

The birth control pill, of course, had its own parents. Spawned by the 19th-century pseudo-science of population projection, and the equally out-dated feminist ideology of the early twentieth-century, the pill was designed to avert a demographic crisis that never occurred. At the same time, it was intended to “free” women from the consequences of sexual contact.

In the distorted view of its promoters, the pill would liberate women from their traditional roles, turning them into wombless clones of men. The family was not, in their view, an institution of divine design, but was, rather, a paternalistic social structure which had formed around a biological necessity of life. According to their ideology of unbridled progress, “society” and “family” were both historically conditioned realities, which could be drastically altered with a revolution.

And, indeed, the revolution came. The pill – a product of the contraceptive mentality of its creators – soon spread this attitude throughout the globe. And, while the alarming physical side-effects of the pill can be avoided by not taking it, the mentality which the pill created is a side-effect from which most women now suffers.

When mid-century feminists made fertility the enemy of women, they put women at war with themselves. The pill, as a means of suppressing pregnancy, did nothing to liberate women: instead, it put them at the mercy of the very technology which was to have set them free.

As soon as reproduction became a decision, the relationship between men and women was radically changed. Now that women were free not to have children, the act of bringing a child into the world became a decision.

And, when childbearing became a decision, the child itself became a choice, to be either affirmed or denied, welcomed or rejected. The pro-abortion movement calls itself “pro-choice” for a reason: it taps into the contraceptive mentality created by the widespread use of the pill. Abortion is the inevitable product of this perverse attitude towards children. Abortion negates the procreative consequence that the pill was unable to prevent.

So, instead of fulfilling the promise of temporary infertility, that could be turned on and off like a switch, the pill has made infertility the default option for women. The pill has made romance and marriage – which, after all these years, is still the hope and the dream of all little girls – into a union which men do not have to enter. Uncommitted carnal couplings are now the place where women must attempt to find emotional fulfillment and lasting happiness. The pill made it possible for women to be reduced to erotic automatons of male desire; childbearing, and the companionship and enduring commitment it invites, is now entirely optional.

The pill has made the needs of women into the choice of men: women who seek more from their companions than mere sexual satisfaction now appear to ask for too much. Indeed, the “equality” which the pill promised is inherently masculine: women are now free to act like men, but, ironically, they are not able to fulfill their own desires.

Thus, although women today seem to have more options available to them, they are not, therefore, more free. The contraceptive mentality has made their own fertility, their own emotions, and their own hearts’ desires, into obstacles to be overcome. Enslaved by the “liberation” offered by the pill, women are less free now than they were before oral contraceptives were easily obtained. It is not a coincidence that, in the decades following the widespread use of the pill, the incidence of teenage pregnancy and single parenthood rose so dramatically. These phenomena are evidence of the failure of the pill: the former illustrates the failure of contraceptives, while the latter is evidence of the failure of the contraceptive mentality, as some women still bravely make the decision to embrace the maternity which the world derides as a mere choice.

Fifty years ago, feminists told women that the pill would make them free. In the wake of their atrocious ideological experiment, it is time for women to liberate themselves from their self-appointed liberators. It is time for women to expect more from men. It is, indeed, time for women to turn their backs on a pill which, with the illusion of perpetual pregnancy, turns their own bodies into broken promises. The natural cycle of female fertility is a miracle to be embraced; the noble ideal of fruitful, committed, married love is a dream which should be honoured and fulfilled.