As the Daily Wire reported yesterday, a new study shows that the birth control pill increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 38%. This may be a new study but it’s not new information. It’s always been understood that women are taking profound risks with their bodies when they ingest hormones for years on end. Understood, at least, by medical professionals. Whether this information is reliably communicated to the patient is another question entirely.
We are living in a strange time. Americans — younger Americans in particular — are obsessed with organic food, and grass fed beef, and free range chickens, and so on. We try our best to avoid “chemicals” and anything that we have judged to be “artificial.” We want desperately to live a “natural” and “simple” lifestyle. Yet, for the most part, we have not extended this principle to birth control. We laugh like Cecile Richards at natural forms of family planning while insisting on the natural form of everything else.
The modern woman thinks nothing of consuming a class 1 carcinogen, but she is quite careful to use organic makeup. The modern man encourages his wife to pop a pill filled with artificial hormones, but he is very upset at farmers who feed artificial hormones to their cows. We all seem very concerned with health and wellness, but we give a pass to the thing that Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, a breast surgical oncologist and co-founder of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, calls a “molotov cocktail” of dangerous chemicals. We won’t eat carbohydrates or high fructose corn syrup, but we dismiss the dangers of a medication that increases your risk of brain cancer and blood clots and heart attacks and strokes, and ends up pumping hormones into the water supply for good measure.
And this is to say nothing of the deep and lasting psychological effects of the pill, which include a higher risk of suicide and depression. More commonly, birth control changes how women view men, pulling them towards the softer, more effeminate, girly types. Of course, the real trouble starts when a woman goes off birth control after getting married, and then realizes that she accidentally married Justin Bieber.
In turn, the pill makes women less attractive to men because it changes a woman’s face and voice in a way that men find subtly unappealing. Perhaps it’s no surprise that human beings watch 4 billion hours of porn every year. We just aren’t attracted to real people anymore.
It may be argued that all medications have side effects. This is true. But few of them come accompanied by such a vast buffet of physical, emotional, and psychological hazards. Tylenol may give you stomach pains and nausea but it probably won’t ruin your love life, make you depressed, and give you cancer to top it all off. More to the point, it is harder to justify the side effects of birth control medication because it is not medication. It’s primary purpose is not to heal bodily dysfunction, but to cause it. The question is whether it will also cause other dysfunctions that you didn’t intend.
The only thing the pill “cures” is the natural and healthy workings of the human body. A woman’s ability to get pregnant is, as they say, a feature not a bug. Birth control pill attacks fertility as if it’s a bug, a disease, and warps how her body functions in order to enable a more convenient sex life. It’s incredible that our society, with its emphasis on doing things “organically,” would encourage women to avoid pregnancy by taking a drug for 15 or 20 years that tricks her body into thinking its pregnant, sabotages her reproductive process, and suppresses ovulation by pumping artificial hormones into her system. All in the pursuit of an end that can be achieved in far simpler, healthier, and cheaper ways.
It seems that trying to live chemical-free while popping hormone pills to stop your body from doing what it’s supposed to do is a bit like drowning your salad in French dressing. You’re still getting the lettuce and the carrots, but you’ve defeated the point. And for what? “Freedom” from your own biology? Well, okay. But we should all understand that it is not an organic freedom. Or a particularly safe one.