The Pill Bomb

Hormonal contraception is bad for people and the planet

Topics

Life Issues

The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki obviously resulted in widespread civil chaos from which there was no rapid recovery. Fast-forward to 1960, when scientists unleashed another kind of bomb, The Pill. Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood funded the research leading to its commercial development. One of its developers, George Rosenkranz, recently died in San Diego at age 102. He was a brilliant biochemist who escaped Nazi Germany, as did many other Jewish scientists during the early 1940s, to continue research and work here in America.

However, from his efforts to decode steroids, it seems all the evils of Pandora’s Box flew out. The Pill’s original formulation produced serious physiological side effects such as amenorrhea, venous thromboembolism, nausea, vomiting, bloating, fungal infections, migraines, diarrhea, skin rash, weight gain, gallstones, breast cancer, and hair loss, as if from a strong dose of radiation poisoning.

The new 4th generation Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill (COCP) has minimized those side effects. Physicians can now use it to treat fibroid tumors, acne, endometriosis, endless hot flashes, mood swings, and colorectal cancer. Proponents reason that any transient side effects still encountered are far outweighed by the presumed positive benefits. Avoidance of unwanted pregnancies, and the freedom of sexual expression without burdensome social consequences, has given young women unprecedented opportunity to pursue careers beyond motherhood.

The unheralded chief benefit of COCP is that it’s a hassle-free eugenics device. Reducing an overcrowded human population and its carbon dioxide emissions is the rallying cry of Green Party liberals who contend that hormonal contraceptives combat global warming. They call it “the greenest technology” ever, an economic remedy to overpopulation, pollution, plagues, and famine.

However, the claim is false that it’s far more effective than natural methods for preventing pregnancy. Comparing a modern natural method with COCP (perfect-use failure rate 0.3%, typical use 9%), the perfect-use rate for the NFP Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) is 0.4%, and the typical-use rate is 1.8%. STM is the one natural method that has proven itself to be four times more effective, without the monthly expense of COCP pills. But STM requires much more discipline and patience, virtues much lacking these days.

Furthermore, it’s a dark secret that the COCP has had a serious detrimental effect on the natural environment. Hormonal concentrations in the water flushed down toilets are now affecting wildlife in effluent-treated streams. Endocrine disruptors affect the sexual development and reproduction of wild fish populations. A British study supported the hypothesis that sexual distortions and mutations of fish significantly correlated with such high hormonal concentrations.

In the explosive political climate of our time, studying the unintended impact on humans of such contaminated water is scarcely even possible.

The birth control pill’s rapid adoption in the late 1960s was highly lucrative to Big Pharma, and wreaked an enormous cultural impact. So much so that “The Pill” was Time Magazine’s April 1967 cover feature. Never has human sexual activity been so divorced from reproduction per se. That distortion of nature heightened philosophical debates over the moral and health consequences of pre-marital sex and promiscuity.

Theologians lamented that sexual intercourse had deteriorated into a non-committal expression of carnal desire or a risk-free pursuit of physical pleasure, or both. Marriage was no longer being honored as a sacramental tradition for intentional reproduction through parenthood. The corruptive influence of Hollywood films after the 1960s with their soft porno scenes worsened marital and sexual norms.

Of course the Catholic Church re-emphasized its stated teaching on birth control in the 1968 papal encyclical Humanae Vitae. But pedophile clergy scandals in the latter half of the century seriously undermined its credibility.

Mormons, Lutherans and Baptists agreed with the long-established Catholic doctrine that artificial contraception distorts the nature and purpose of sex. However, Anglicans, Presbyterians, and the Evangelical Church in Germany, along with most other Protestant denominations, accepted the contraceptive pill. Divisions multiplied.

After the turn of the century, a growing body of research evidence suggests that hormonal contraception might also have an adverse effect on women’s psychological health. A 2013 Danish study of over 800,000 female adolescents of reproductive age associated COCP with a significantly increased risk of depression. A 2018 Swedish study shows COCP use leads to greater use of psychotropic drugs such as Oxycontin, opium, and Valium. Researchers have also found that COCP could have a negative effect on female sexual attractiveness and on a woman’s ability to sense male pheromones, which influences her selection of a mate.

Polyamory, homosexuality, transgenderism, pedophilia, and pornography are all symptomatic of the notion “What’s in it for me, right now?” Our prosperous culture has allowed lust, greed, and gluttony to overcome it. There won’t be an easy resolution or rapid recovery from the cultural devastation caused by The Pill Bomb.

 

Richard M. DellOrfano spent ten years on a cross-country pilgrimage following Christ’s instruction to minister without possessions. He is completing his autobiography: Path Perilous, My Search for God and the Miraculous.

From The Narthex

Pity the Poor Pragmatist

America, it’s said, is the land of the free and home of the brave. It’s…

What Are We Doing?

What are we doing? When philosophers ask that question, they’re looking for an act-description. An…

In Defense of Anger

In what may be his most prophetic book, The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis examines the…