Pill, IUD or elephant dung!

Some ancient alternatives that make today's contraception look pretty good.

Published March 3, 2006 8:24PM (EST)

Underwhelmed with the birth control options we have today? NARAL Pro-Choice America has some cheeky reminders of the really bad old days of contraception, in the form of four e-cards. It's part of a campaign to defend access to birth control by spreading the word that 98 percent of American women use contraception at some point in their reproductive years.

Here are some long-lost methods for preventing pregnancy: spitting in the mouth of a frog three times; putting half a lemon you-know-where; ingesting or applying elephant dung, leaves, seaweed or mercury. That's right, mercury, which we now know causes brain damage in developing fetuses. And our favorite long-lost family-planning method: jumping backward seven times after sex.

This is one of those times to be grateful that we've left the "wisdom" of the ancients behind.

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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