CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers - Position Paper: Is the Pill Safe?

English Language Arts, Social Studies
3 to 4 lessons
To support a position in writing
Using a variety of web-based resources, students will research and write a position paper about whether or not they believe the birth control pill is safe.

Lesson Plan


Birth control is a sensitive issue for many reasons, and there are many opinions on the subject. The use of the birth control pill raises the issue of health and safety, and students will address this issue during this activity.

Be sure to review with students the key elements of a position paper. You might also consider qualifying the term 'safe.'

The Task

Students will write a position paper about whether or not they believe the birth control pill is safe. They will first review the clips on the topic The Birth Control Pill, on the CBC Digital Archives website, ending with the clip "The most conclusive study on the pill declares it safe".  Students can do further research using the internet and any other relevant resources. From their research, students should decide which position they support, and then write a 750 to 1000 word essay on whether or not the birth control pill is safe to use.

The Process

Students should take extensive notes as they research, and keep accurate records of sources consulted and cited. Students will work individually on this paper.

There are many online resources available for this assignment. Direct students toward government and health-care based websites, and away from sites sponsored by commercial corporations. Senior students should have the ability to discern, with support from their teacher, what sites are credible and what sites are not.


Hold an informal discussion with students and allow them to share what they learned through their research, what position they chose to support, and why they chose that position.

Download PDF

Related Content

The Birth Control Pill

One tablet, once a day: that routine is followed by as many as 80 million women worldwide to p...

Dr. Carl Djerrasi ('mother of the pill') refl...

Dr. Djerrasi talks about his contribution to the birth control pill.

Longer interview with Dr. John Rock on the pi...

An in-depth visit with Dr. John Rock, considered the inventor of the contraceptive pill.