“The pill is the only drug that was developed to be given to a woman who was healthy to create a diseased state.”

In the wake of the fallout produced by the release of multiple Planned Parenthood videos proving that the organization is profiting from the sale of aborted baby bodies and parts, feminists are beginning to fight back and to do so under the oft repeated claim that they are motivated by the need to protect and promote women’s health.

Just this week, two women, reportedly driven by this need, have gone to extreme and radical lengths, to raise awareness.  

The first was Kiran Ghandi, drummer for a band called MIA:

I felt kind of like, Yeah! F— you!,” she said. “I felt very empowered by that. I did.”

You can see for yourself what she did at the link.  Be warned, it’s frankly disgusting and over the top but no more over the top than Rosie O’Donnell, who went out of her way to defend Ms. Ghandi’s actions and suggested she’d like to do more.

“I’d like to take my period blood that I no longer have and write, ‘You’re all a**holes.’ I’d like to smear it all over some people’s faces.”

That should go along way toward convincing people of the rightness of your views Rosie.

All that I use as background to a woman’s health issue ignored by the Kiran Ghandis and Rosie O’Donnells of the world:

“The pill is the only drug that was developed to be given to a woman who was healthy to create a diseased state.”
Dr. Marguerite Duane, a family physician and professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine, Birthcontrolpillsdescribes perfectly the contradiction — the conundrum — that has existed since the advent of the modern oral contraceptive — the pill — some six decades ago.
Oral contraception is almost universally prescribed today, despite the fact that its dangers are now indisputable. The World Health Organization places the estrogen-progestogen pill on its list of Group 1 carcinogens, the most toxic rating it can impose, even as governments, international agencies and pharmaceutical companies push countries across the globe to embrace a contraceptive culture.
Many physicians, pharmacists and biologists have warned about the risks to women’s health posed by oral contraceptives, but their concerns have been ignored or suppressed by groups determined to use the pill as a tool of ideology, money and power.
One of the greatest surprises, for example, is that while it is one of the most heavily prescribed drugs in the world, oral contraceptives have almost never been the subject of medical and research experts coming together to discuss what exactly contraceptives do to the human body — most so women’s bodies. That fact alone made the research symposium entitled “Contraceptive Conundrum,” held in conjunction with the Edmund D. Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University on Aug. 8, so remarkable. As Dr. Kevin Donovan, director of the Georgetown Bioethics Center, said at the opening of the symposium, part of the goal of hearing from first-class researchers on oral contraceptives was to correct this massive gap in scientific inquiry.
Health hazards
There are, of course, profound moral questions pertaining to the use of contraception, but there is also an obligation to encourage the scientific and medical community to grapple with the mounting evidence of the impact of the pill on health.
Hormonal contraceptives are tied to lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, reduced immunity, increased susceptibility to sexually transmitted diseases and blood clots. Even more alarming are the documented medical realities that women who take oral contraceptives face, as they are twice as likely to develop cervical cancer and 10 to 30 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than women who never took the pill, a risk that lasts for more than a decade after a woman ceases to use the drugs.
The many disturbing risks were detailed at the start of the symposium by Dr. Chandler Marrs, who wrote a report, “Birth Control, Big Money and Bad Medicine: a Deadly Trifecta for Women’s Health.” A noted research scientist, writer and women’s health advocate, Marrs argued that “we underestimate the risks of synthetic hormones by ignoring the vast reach hormones have on health.” And yet, as her talk documented, the vast majority of women between the ages of 25-44 are prescribed contraceptives by their physicians as a panacea for virtually every health problem even though the pill does not actually treat most of those conditions. Prescribing contraception for such a wide variety of medical issues makes, she says, no pharmacological sense, but she spoke convincingly about the dominance of the pharmaceutical industry in encouraging the world-wide distribution of the pill without detailing its many side effects.

There is much more and if you’re a woman, or a man who cares about women, you’d be doing good things by reading the entire thing and passing it along.

The war against women, which in reality, is a war against humanity, is real and I think Pope John Paul II describes that war more than adequately:

“The heart has become a battlefield between love and lust. The more lust dominates the heart, the less the heart experiences the nuptial meaning of the body. It becomes less sensitive to the gift of the person, which expresses that meaning in the mutual relations of the man and woman.”

Crossposted at Brutally Honest.

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  • Paul Hooson

    Sadly, nearly all drugs have side effects that cause symptoms far beyond what they are intended to do. The Pill was seen as a great medical and social advance because it would give women more freedom to choose when to express their sexuality without the fear of pregnancy. Sex is how adults play. It’s supposed to be a fun activity for both parties where fears of pregnancy, even among married couples should not overshadow the relationship bonding component of sex. When a couple decides to have a child, that child has a right to be a wanted child, not some child that was a result of an unplanned accident.

    • James

      A common side effect of the Pill is decreased libido, which kind of defeats the purpose.

      • Paul Hooson

        Hormones are sensitive to chemical changes such as this.

  • WHO’S THE BUSTER

    On behalf of all men who came of age in the sixties and seventies, thank you for inventing the pill.

  • WHO’S THE BUSTER

    Paul is right, all drugs, that is right, all drugs have side effects as they are essentially toxins.

    As far as danger, NSAIDS, which includes aspirin, ibuprofen, Aleve, etc. ), either from G.I. bleeding or cardiovascular events (the 5th leading cause of death, or at the same rate as leukemia). A healthy person who takes an NSAID increases their chance of having a cardiac event by 80% and most of them are available over-the-counter.
    Some say that if aspirin was submitted today to as a prescription drug that it would have difficulty getting approved due to the aforementioned reasons in addition to dramatically increasing the incidence of cataracts, while NSAIDS alone are a leading cause of hearing loss.
    Don’t birth control pill lower the incidence of abortion (

    • James

      Strictly from a health perspective, it is far healthier to wrap it up than to tinker with hormones.

      • WHO’S THE BUSTER

        People that are married, or simply in a monogamous relationship sometimes may want to opt for not “wrapping it up”, especially as they are most likely not at risk for an STD.

        Additionally, the pill is far more effective than a condom.

  • JWH

    Whatever decision a woman wants to make about birth control — whether to take it or not, whether to assume the risks thereof or not — ought to be that woman’s decision. Not mine. And certainly not Rick’s.

  • James

    So far, all the comments praising the Pill have been from men.

    • Paul Hooson

      Our input, or rather, putting in, seems that important to us…

    • Commander_Chico

      All of the comments here about anything are from men.

  • yetanotherjohn

    The opening quote is interesting, but hops through a couple of very limiting hoops to arrive at “the only one”. First, healthy people tend not to take drugs. Start thinking about the number of drugs designed to be given to healthy people period. It is when we are unhealthy that we tend to need drugs.
    Of course there are several OTC drugs that fit the profile described. A good example is alcohol. A drug (defined as non-natural substance intended for human body consumption) for healthy people (assume the drinker is healthy) designed to create a diseased state (mild to severe drunkenness, alcohol poisoning, etc). The state is more temporary (usually) than birth control, alcohol has been around a lot longer, and it is not specifically oriented to women.
    There is also the question of the definition of healthy. From a body functioning point of view for birth control this tends to be correct. There are issues like menstrual cycle regularity that the pill can be prescribed for, but generally it is healthy fertile women who want to not be fertile for at least a period of time. The motivation can vary between the unmarried who doesn’t want a child out of wedlock, young married who want to wait to have children, married who are going through rough financial times and need to wait, married who have enough kids given their financial or other conditions, situations where pregnancy could create life or health threatening situations (of course there you could argue this is an unhealthy woman), those who just don’t think they should have children because of what sort of parents they would make ( I had a Catholic friend in college who got a vasectomy for this reason), etc. All but the first don’t have anything to do with promiscuous sex. While abstinence would have fewer drug side effects and lower risk of pregnancy (assuming you could keep abstinent) is anyone going to argue that long term abstinence is good for a married couple?
    The emotional, financial, psychological, physical reasons that non-promiscuous married women would want to have sex but not risk having children is varied and legitimate. Add for all of those reasons plus the person who does want to have sex who isn’t married or promiscuous outside of marriage and you start to understand why so many comments have been supportive of the pill.
    All of this brings me back to one of the beginning tags for the post “Catholic thought”. I can understand the religious idea against the pill. The pill tends to enable us to focus on the “I” and away from God and others. “I” don’t want to have children at this time is a selfish thought. Further, we are trying to impose our will over God’s as to when and if to have kids. None of this is the stuff of people who are dying to self to live for Christ and submitting to God’s will. Of course God extended grace to us while we were yet enemies of God. We are justified (our sins forgiven) immediately, though sanctification (perfectly setting ourselves aside for God) is an on going process that is never fully achieved until the second coming.
    To a certain extent you can say all drugs/medicine is encouraging the “I” and place our will over God’s. On the other hand, you can also look at them as means God provides to relieve human suffering. A lot of what Jesus did during his ministry was to relieve human suffering in ways we try to do with medical procedures and drugs. If anyone thinks they can truly set their will above God based on medicine, then you aren’t paying attention.
    So this brings me to two issues I have with Catholic thought on birth control. First is expecting people who aren’t in a relationship with God to act as if they were by following God’s rules. If you aren’t in a deep relationship with God already, the idea of dying to self so that Christ can increase in you is strange to say the least. The idea of submitting to God’s will, no matter the consequences to you in this world would also not make sense. These are ideas that build on you and don’t come immediately. If the Catholic church took the position that all sin is bad (not playing God to favor some sins over others) and all believers should try to reduce/eliminate sin in their life, I don’t know many denominations who would fault them (OK, some denominations are so re-actively against any Catholic thought they would probably find a way, but that sort of thinking is diminishing over time). Setting up birth control as one of the many ways in which we put self over God is tending to build a hierarchy of sins (but if we break one law we break them all).
    The problem is not loving God with our whole heart, body and soul. Birth control is just one of many symptoms of that problem. No one is perfect in solving that problem except for Jesus. Birth control can be a blessing from God in some of the situations described above where as God’s people we are trying to be in this broken world yet not of it. It can also be us trying to escape the consequences of our sin when we are of this broken world and not just in it. As with alcohol, moderation and thought may be the best answer when it comes to deciding if birth control is right for you. Yes, the thoughts and motivations behind birth control are not all pure, but if anyone thinks they or anyone else has all their thoughts and motivation purely aligned with God, then the truth is not in them.

    • The opening quote is interesting, but hops through a couple of very limiting hoops to arrive at “the only one”. First, healthy people tend not to take drugs. Start thinking about the number of drugs designed to be given to healthy people period. It is when we are unhealthy that we tend to need drugs. Of course there are several OTC drugs that fit the profile described. A good example is alcohol. A drug (defined as non-natural substance intended for human body consumption) for healthy people (assume the drinker is healthy) designed to create a diseased state (mild to severe drunkenness, alcohol poisoning, etc). The state is more temporary (usually) than birth control, alcohol has been around a lot longer, and it is not specifically oriented to women.

      I’m missing your point. Forgive my slowness. I believe you’re equating alcohol (which is not a prescribed drug needing medical authorization) to birth control pills (which are). If they’re on a par as you seem to be suggesting, then either alcohol should be prescribed or the pill should not be. Which is it? In any case, it would seem to invalidate the comparison.

      There is also the question of the definition of healthy. From a body functioning point of view for birth control this tends to be correct. There are issues like menstrual cycle regularity that the pill can be prescribed for, but generally it is healthy fertile women who want to not be fertile for at least a period of time. The motivation can vary between the unmarried who doesn’t want a child out of wedlock, young married who want to wait to have children, married who are going through rough financial times and need to wait, married who have enough kids given their financial or other conditions, situations where pregnancy could create life or health threatening situations (of course there you could argue this is an unhealthy woman), those who just don’t think they should have children because of what sort of parents they would make ( I had a Catholic friend in college who got a vasectomy for this reason), etc.

      That Catholic friend is seriously out of step with Catholic teaching on the subject. Seriously.

      All but the first don’t have anything to do with promiscuous sex. While abstinence would have fewer drug side effects and lower risk of pregnancy (assuming you could keep abstinent) is anyone going to argue that long term abstinence is good for a married couple?

      I guess we’d have to define long term. The Catholic Church’s position is rather clear that periodic abstinence can indeed be good for married couples, a completely counter-cultural position admittedly in this age of sex, sex and more sex.

      The emotional, financial, psychological, physical reasons that non-promiscuous married women would want to have sex but not risk having children is varied and legitimate. Add for all of those reasons plus the person who does want to have sex who isn’t married or promiscuous outside of marriage and you start to understand why so many comments have been supportive of the pill.

      I’ve not seen any comments on this thread that took that tack. And again, understand that your what you deem to be legitimate reasons for birth control use and what the Catholic church deems to be legitimate reasons are at odds with each other.

      All of this brings me back to one of the beginning tags for the post “Catholic thought”. I can understand the religious idea against the pill. The pill tends to enable us to focus on the “I” and away from God and others. “I” don’t want to have children at this time is a selfish thought. Further, we are trying to impose our will over God’s as to when and if to have kids. None of this is the stuff of people who are dying to self to live for Christ and submitting to God’s will. Of course God extended grace to us while we were yet enemies of God. We are justified (our sins forgiven) immediately, though sanctification (perfectly setting ourselves aside for God) is an on going process that is never fully achieved until the second coming.

      To a certain extent you can say all drugs/medicine is encouraging the “I” and place our will over God’s. On the other hand, you can also look at them as means God provides to relieve human suffering. A lot of what Jesus did during his ministry was to relieve human suffering in ways we try to do with medical procedures and drugs. If anyone thinks they can truly set their will above God based on medicine, then you aren’t paying attention.

      If you’re suggesting that pregnancies are examples of the kind of human suffering Christ came to relieve, then again, understand that your perspective and the Catholic church’s perspective are in serious conflict with each other.

      So this brings me to two issues I have with Catholic thought on birth control. First is expecting people who aren’t in a relationship with God to act as if they were by following God’s rules. If you aren’t in a deep relationship with God already, the idea of dying to self so that Christ can increase in you is strange to say the least.

      Of course, that’s not the Catholic perspective in any way. The Church expects those who call themselves Catholic to follow her teachings. Not those that do not. Your premise is a non-starter.

      The idea of submitting to God’s will, no matter the consequences to you in this world would also not make sense. These are ideas that build on you and don’t come immediately. If the Catholic church took the position that all sin is bad (not playing God to favor some sins over others) and all believers should try to reduce/eliminate sin in their life, I don’t know many denominations who would fault them (OK, some denominations are so re-actively against any Catholic thought they would probably find a way, but that sort of thinking is diminishing over time). Setting up birth control as one of the many ways in which we put self over God is tending to build a hierarchy of sins (but if we break one law we break them all).

      Catholics do believe in a hierarchy of sins. There are mortal and venial sins. All needing repentance and forgiveness of course but some meriting more serious consequences.

      The problem is not loving God with our whole heart, body and soul. Birth control is just one of many symptoms of that problem. No one is perfect in solving that problem except for Jesus. Birth control can be a blessing from God in some of the situations described above where as God’s people we are trying to be in this broken world yet not of it. It can also be us trying to escape the consequences of our sin when we are of this broken world and not just in it. As with alcohol, moderation and thought may be the best answer when it comes to deciding if birth control is right for you. Yes, the thoughts and motivations behind birth control are not all pure, but if anyone thinks they or anyone else has all their thoughts and motivation purely aligned with God, then the truth is not in them.

      Agree with much of that though I believe the Catholic Church would strongly quibble with this notion that God would bless the use of birth control pills for some of the examples you cited. Scroll down to the “WHAT DOES THE CHURCH SAY ABOUT METHODS OF BIRTH CONTROL?” section of this particular piece to learn more about Catholic teaching on this.

      • yetanotherjohn

        The main point I was making is that the quote sounds good on first reading, but then starts to fall apart as you think about it.

        We don’t tend to give drugs to healthy people. So that restriction takes out most drugs for comparison. I tried to come up with the closest analog I could which was alcohol (which actually required a prescription to purchase legally during prohibition), I wasn’t arguing that either, both or neither should be prescribed or OTC. Just trying to make the point that singling out birth control in the way the quote does isn’t a reason by itself to ban the pill because it is a unique drug in the sense that drugs just aren’t given to healthy people anytime.

        My Catholic friend was seriously out of step with Catholic doctrine. He still considered himself Catholic and attended mass regularly. I don’t know if he ever confessed the vasectomy or not. I’m not up enough on Catholic confession practices to know what the response would be. I don’t think he was repentant so in theory that should be a bar to the priest granting absolution from what I know.

        I guess long term is a relative statement. Let’s say as long as you would be on the pill. A quick google search says about 70% of childbearing age are at risk for unintended pregnancy (the other 30% want to conceive, or aren’t sexually active). That puts it at about 3 decades on some sort of contraceptive with time off for conceiving or being sexually inactive. Call it two decades to three decades of abstinence to achieve the same results as the pill. While shorter bots of abstinence may indeed be beneficial, decade long stretches don’t sound like a good idea to me. Your mileage may vary.

        I was pointing out that several other comments were positive. They tended not to give any reason. But the reasons why people take the pill probably vary over time. As I explained below, all are “I” centered, but many are very reasonable reasons from a worldly perspective. I understand that the Catholic teaching on this subject has very little, if any, wiggle room. My understanding is that even in life threatening situations the Catholic church teaching is to put priority on the unborn child’s health over the health of the mother (I may be wrong on this).

        My point is that all drugs use tends to be “I” motivated. “I” hurt and don’t want to hurt so I take an aspirin. I don’t consider that maybe God doesn’t want me to take the aspirin, that His will is best served in my suffering. I don’t know God’s will, but my sense is that He doesn’t want us to suffer needlessly (though because we live in a fallen world suffering can’t always be avoided). When you read the Gospels, there are many accounts of Jesus healing the sick. The Bible also teaches that this was a sign that Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus could have given many potential signs (e.g. fishes and loaves) other than healing, but healing seems to be his go to miracle when dealing with people. There are some Christian denominations that want to place themselves so totally in God’s hand that they refuse modern medicine so that they rely totally on God to heal them or not. Most Christian denominations and I believe Catholics too reject this extremism. I recognize that Catholic teaching doesn’t recognize the reasons why people might take the pill ever justify it’s use, but that means the Catholic church is setting itself up as God saying these reasons are valid to take these pills (e.g. headache/aspirin), but these reasons are not (pregnancy issues from above/the pill). My denomination leaves that to the individuals conscience. It would discourage pill use motivated by promiscuity, but then that is because it discourages promiscuity.

        On the issue of Catholic teaching, let me post something from Catholic.com, which I believe is an official site of the Catholic church.

        “Pope Paul VI predicted grave consequences that would arise from the widespread and unrestrained use of contraception. He warned, “Upright men can even better convince themselves of the solid grounds on which the teaching of the Church in this field is based if they care to reflect upon the consequences of methods of artificially limiting the increase of children. Let them consider, first of all, how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality. Not much experience is needed in order to know human weakness, and to understand that men—especially the young, who are so vulnerable on this point—have need of encouragement to be faithful to the moral law, so that they must not be offered some easy means of eluding its observance. It is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anti-conceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion” (HV 17).

        No one can doubt the fulfillment of these prophetic words. They have all been more than fulfilled in this country as a result of the widespread availability of contraceptives, the “free love” movement that started in the 1960s, and the loose sexual morality that it spawned and that continues to pervade Western culture.

        Indeed, recent studies reveal a far greater divorce rate in marriages in which contraception is regularly practiced than in those marriages where it is not. Experience, natural law, Scripture, Tradition, and the magisterium, all testify to the moral evil of contraception.”

        Maybe there is some language in there that I am not catching, but it seems to be complaining about “widespread availability of contraceptives” not just use of contraceptives by Catholics. Citing “far greater divorce rate in marriages which contraception is regularly practiced than in those marriages where it is not” would seem to speak to non-Catholics as my understanding is that the Catholic church doesn’t approve of divorce. These seem to me, and I may be wrong, the Catholic church looking to condemn the use of contraceptives outside of adherents to the Catholic church.

        The Catholic teaching on a hierarchy of sins is one of the reasons I’m not Catholic. The Bible specifically says that to break one of the laws is to break the whole law. When you come down to it, all sin us rooted in us wanting to be God from the original sin to every other sin where by sinning we are saying that we don’t submit to God’s will on sin, but rather substitute our will for God’s will (i.e. we want to be God). I understand the teaching from the Catholic church on a hierarchy of sins, I don’t agree with the reasoning behind making the hierarchy. One consequence of the hierarchy is it promotes holding oneself superior to others. In secular terms I could say I only broke a misdemeanor and you broke a felony, therefore I am not as much a criminal as you are. But we would still both be criminals. Any sin makes us a sinner, doomed to die because of our sin not matter what the sin is. Who can save us from this wretched state? Jesus and his sacrifice which washes away all of our sins (not just the little ones).

        I know that the Catholic church teaches no wiggle room on contraception. My denomination does. About 100 years ago, my denomination held that faithful members could not hold insurance (e.g. fire, theft, life, etc) because to do so said you were relying on the insurance company if there was a problem and not relying on God. They changed that stance as the issue was discussed because there was no clear Biblical directive for or against insurance. Using paper money was relying on the government (though at least the government was under God’s control) rather than God. As has happened around the world, when the government failed the paper money was worthless. I have a one hundred trillion dollar bill in my wallet from such a failed government. So relying on insurance was no more rejection of reliance on God than any of a multitude of other things we rely on to function in our day to day lives. About 80 years ago my denomination similarly moved away from a teaching on contraceptives similar to the Catholic church to one that allows it’s use. A good part of that reasoning to change is all the other medical procedures we support to relieve all sorts of ills aren’t that different from contraceptives being used to relieve us from all sorts of ills associated with pregnancy. I recognize that Catholic teaching doesn’t match my denomination teaching (on a host of issues).

        There are reasons I’m not a member of several other protestant denominations also, because they have doctrines that I disagree with. I don’t agree with every doctrine in my own denomination, but there are certainly fewer disagreements. I suspect that the only doctrine I really think is wrong will be changed in my denomination in 20 to 50 years. I suspect it would take a lot more years, if ever, for the Catholic church or other protestant denominations to change their doctrines either. Not that anyone is bound to change their doctrine, including my own denomination, just because I disagree.

        • Scalia

          I suspect that the only doctrine I really think is wrong will be changed in my denomination in 20 to 50 years.

          What doctrine is that? Just curious.

          • My suspicion initially was the prohibition against gay marriage but I’m thinking that’ll happen sooner.