This morning Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, asked the question “Can one little pill change the world?” She asked this because today, August 1, 2012 women in the U.S. will begin to access free birth control with no co-payments.
With greater access to birth control beginning today, I would like to share some information on how the pill changed the world.
The pill - what’s the big deal. I’m in high school or college and it’s useful for not getting pregnant or for other health reasons. Why not use it? Everyone does, even a large number of 12 year olds.
I know this is a sensitive topic, but bear with me as this will be an introduction to looking at the impact of the pill . . .
Let’s begin with the following question regarding the safety of “the pill”: how is it that the pill is a cancer-causing carcinogen recognized by the U.N. International Agency on Research of Cancer and the National Toxicology Advisory Panel?
The following information comes from the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute’s booklet called Breast Cancer: Risks and Prevention put together by Dr. Lanfranchi and Joel Brind Ph.D.:
“For example, women are exposed to elevations of estrogen levels with each menstrual cycle, so the more menstrual cycles a woman has, the higher her risk. This is why going through menarche (a woman’s first menstrual cycle) at a very young age and menopause (the end of a woman’s menstruation) at a very old age will increase that woman’s breast cancer risk. Women are also exposed to high levels of estrogen in hormone replacement therapy and birth control pills, injections or patches. Many new drugs devised to prevent or treat breast cancer act by blocking estrogen receptor sites in breast cells (e.g.Tamoxifen), or cause our bodies to produce less estrogen (e.g. Arimidex).“
Furthermore, at an American Life League conference this summer Dr. Lanfranchi spoke of the pill’s ability to cause abortions. Dr. Lanfranchi explained the pill can prevent an abortion unknowingly by:
- the thinning of uterus lining which can prevent already created embryos from implanting
- biochemical interferences that can prevent a successful implantation process
Not to say that pill is THE cause of breast cancer or that it always causes abortions; however, based on quite a bit of scientific evidence, the pill has significantly increased the number of cases of breast cancer today and can cause an abortion.
In 2011 the USA Today reported Breast Cancer cases for 1980 at 640,000 and in 2010 at 1.6 million according to University of Washington researchers. All the while, use of birth control pills has significantly increased over the same period of time.
With links between the pill and breast cancer being clear, the correctness and common sense position of the Catholic Church on artificial contraception is quite evident. Men, women, teens, and adults often believe the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception is hateful, judgemental, and oppressive. I would probably think so too if I didn’t understand the reasons, both scientific and spiritual, for which the Church bases its position.
Just 44 years ago in 1968 Pope Paul VI published the Encyclical Humanae Vitae. At the time much was to be discovered of the physical implications of the pill, but much was shared of the spiritual. What people do not recognize is that at the heart of the Church’s teaching on sexuality is love. The Church has shown overwhelming love for the human person’s body both physically and spiritually. In my next blog I will highlight some of the key points in Humanae Vitae.
All those years ago was the church really wrong, or are we just not aware of all the ramifications of the pill. Going back to the question of the day. . . “Can one little pill change the world?”
Yes! Even if you’re not taking it to prevent pregnancy.