Some Compelling Evidence of the Pill’s Harmful Effects

ru486

Because of these substances, Lance Armstrong’s cycling victories were taken from him and he was disqualified from further competition; Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire were publicly reprimanded; numerous congressional hearings were held to assign blame regarding their use. We do our best to protect athletes from these dangerous substances while, at the same time, encouraging women to put them in their bodies.

What are these substances? Steroids.

Oral contraceptives (commonly known as birth control pills) are steroidal hormones. These drugs manipulate hormones to prevent conception, just as performance-enhancing steroids manipulate hormones to enhance physical size, strength, speed and athletic performance. Both result in physical changes. Birth control pills, as demonstrated by the following extract from the Mayo Clinic’s website, alter women’s bodies in a variety of ways:

Oral contraceptives work by stopping a woman’s egg from fully developing each month…. Sometimes a woman’s egg can still develop…. In almost all cases when the medicine was taken properly and an egg develops, fertilization can still be stopped by oral contraceptives. This is because oral contraceptives also thicken cervical mucus at the opening of the uterus…. In addition, oral contraceptives change the uterus lining just enough so that an egg will not stop in the uterus to develop.

Meddling with hormones causes physiological (and psychological) changes because it disrupts the body’s natural balance, a universally accepted medical fact when it comes to athletes. Yet, when it comes to women’s health, the risks and dangers of oral contraceptive steroids—though well-documented in the medical literature—are routinely covered up by physicians, the mainstream media, health insurance companies, and others.

I will outline some of this evidence using credible sources, and I am under no illusions about what the immediate reaction will be among some readers. After all, birth control pills are a part of our modern society. But keeping an open mind is crucial: everyone was convinced the world was flat until they were presented with contrary evidence. As the writer Flannery O’Connor once said, “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”

First, it must be stated that all steroids, oral contraceptives included, can have medicinal purposes. But in the vast majority of cases, they are not used as a health remedy, just as most people do not use marijuana for its alleged medical properties. Generally, contraceptive use is a lifestyle choice, not a medical necessity. Based on the medical literature, when they are taken this way, they are more harmful than beneficial to women’s health, causing both physical and psychological harm.

While many physicians understand the risks of oral contraceptives, few are willing to swim against the tide. One physician who is not intimidated is Angela Lanfranchi, M.D., F.A.C.S., a professor of surgery at New Jersey’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Lanfranchi, who heads up the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, has been outspoken about the health risks associated with the use of contraceptives, such as blood clots, cancer, and injections that turned out to be lethal in some cases.

Her claims are consistent with the findings of many medical practitioners, organizations, and numerous studies. In 2005 the World Health Organization (WHO) classified birth control pills as a Group 1 Carcinogen (the highest-risk category of carcinogens). According to WHO, this classification is used only “when there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans.” Tobacco and asbestos are two well-known carcinogens in this category. Thus it should not be surprising that, according to WebMD, “A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women with a strong family history of breast cancer may have up to an 11 times higher risk of breast cancer if they have ever taken the pill.”

Since birth control pills are in the same carcinogenic classification as tobacco, why isn’t there a warning for contraceptives as there is for cigarettes?

WHO’s statement corroborated the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) findings in 2003, which noted a “significant increase” of the risk of breast cancer and an increased risk of cervical and liver cancers among oral contraceptive users. Regarding liver cancer, the NCI’s tip sheet states: “Several studies have found that oral contraceptives increase the risk of liver cancer in populations usually considered low risk.” The NCI’s tip sheet does mention that oral contraceptives reduce the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers, but this should provide little solace to women given the elevated risk of breast and liver cancers.

Moreover, an article in Science Daily (October 30, 2006) titled, “Oral Contraceptives Increase Risk of Breast Cancer in Some Women, Meta Analysis Finds,” notes that “a meta analysis (which builds on many studies with similar findings) published in the October edition of Mayo Clinic Proceedings indicts oral contraceptives as putting premenopausal women at significantly increased risk for breast cancer, especially women who use them prior to having a child.” Another Science Daily article (October 26, 2009) titled, “Increased Stroke Risk from Birth Control Pills, Review Finds,” points out that “birth control pills increase the risk (of stroke) 1.9 times.”

In addition, according to the latest research, contraceptives affect not only the body but the mind as well.

The September 28, 2010 edition of Scientific American published an article by Craig H. Kinsley, a neuroscience professor, and Elizabeth A. Meyer, a post-doctoral fellow and instructor, titled “Women’s Brains on Steroids.” Drawing from a study in the journal Brain Research, the authors described how contraceptives alter the structure of women’s brains. This finding should not be surprising given that the psychological impact of steroids on the brains of athletes who use these drugs is well-known, including behavioral changes such as irascibility and wild mood swings.

So what is the alternative to the pill? There are, of course, many artificial contraceptives that are available, but all of them carry some type of risk. The only risk-free method is Natural Family Planning (NFP), whereby women use their natural cycles to control their fertility. When done correctly, NFP is 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, which is higher than any artificial methods. Conversely, it can also help women whose goal is to become pregnant. Whatever the goal, NFP enables women to gain knowledge and control over their bodies, while keeping their bodies free of chemicals and other potentially harmful agents. Fortunately, information on NFP is becoming increasingly accessible through various organizations, the Internet, churches, and even some physicians’ offices.

The data presented here represents only a tiny fraction of the medical literature demonstrating the potential ill effects of contraceptives on women’s health. There is significantly more evidence available from studies performed by credible and reputable medical associations, scientific bodies, universities, and independent medical researchers. It is important to use these resources to learn the facts about birth control pills because women, like professional athletes, deserve to know the truth about the substances they are putting into their bodies.

Zachary Krajacic

By

Zachary Krajacic has written for numerous publications, including Marketwatch/WSJ, Christian Science Monitor, Washington Times, Washington Examiner, San Francisco Examiner, Boston Globe, and National Public Radio. He earned his MBA from Canisius College in 2001.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    A small correction (though unimportant) to a fine article: Canseco and McGwire were not stripped of their baseball records, unfortunately. The only blemish on their careers – other than the fact everyone knows they cheated – is that they will never get into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    • TheAbaum

      I’m not sure Canseco would have gotten in even without his disreputable disclosure. 462 Hrs, but with a .266 BA and being a lousy fielder.

      Dale Murphy 398 HRS (when they were harder to get), 265 BA, 5 GG – not in.

      • Objectivetruth

        Mike Schmidt….the last home run king that didn’t have the suspicion of steroid use.

        • TheAbaum

          Yep. My childhood hero and my brother-in-law’s classmate (no personal connection) in college.

          I remember when he retired, I was in a funk for a month.

          • Objectivetruth

            Was great with the glove at third also, several Golden Gloves.

            • TheAbaum

              Yes. the fielding was as impressive as the 548 HRS.

          • Objectivetruth

            A University of Ohio Bobcat, I believe?

            • TheAbaum

              Yes, indeed.

              • John Viril

                Mike Schimdt was horrible in the playoffs. He was overpowered by good pitching. Give me George Brett who could win games that mattered.

                • DE-173

                  Give me George Brett who could win games that mattered.

                  You mean like the 1980 World Series where Schmidt’s horrible play earned him the MVP?

                  • John Viril

                    Yeah. The ONE series where whiff master Schmidt played well in the post season—out of what 11 or 12 series? It’s hardly as if Brett choked in that series hitting .375 with a 1.090 OPS.

                    You’re welcome to Schmidt’s .304 Obp and his middle infielder like .690 in his annual shrivel against quality cmpetition. Schmidt’s stardom was clearly a product of talent dilution.

    • Objectivetruth

      Ask the average American who is the all time home run king and they’ll say Hank Aaron, not Barry Bonds.

    • Crisiseditor

      Dr. Williams,
      Thanks for the correction.

  • lifeknight

    Very excellent article on the dangers of the Pill. Sadly, many women are under the impression that the Pill will help “regulate” their cycles, and are convinced by health care providers that the Pill is a necessity. NFP offers individual information that can be used by the woman to understand her cycles. It takes more “work,” but can allow women tremendous freedom and knowledge of self.

    • WSquared

      Agreed.

    • Angela Goudman

      Not only that, but NFP can also allow you to pick up on reproductive problems. Some women are prescribed the Pill for issues such as infrequent or heavy periods, or severe PMS. The Pill does NOT treat the problem – it merely treats the symptoms. There are other medications and treatments available that are safer, more effective, AND treat the actual problem.

  • TERRY

    Pope Paul VI was right.

  • D Hunnell

    Studies in both Europe and the United States show a marked increase in aggressive breast cancer in women between the ages of 25 and 49. The increase parallels the increased use of hormonal contraceptives as well as the increased frequency of abortions. Both abortion and hormonal contraceptives have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Yet those in the medical community with a strong allegiance to unfettered sexual activity and abortion on demand refuse to acknowledge the connection. In addition, hormonal contraceptives were found to double the transmission rate of HIV. Yet, organizations like the Gates Foundation insist on promoting hormonal contraceptives in Africa where there is inadequate medical infrastructure to cope with the subsequent increase in breast cancer and AIDS. This suggests their motives have less to do with women’s health and more to do with a Malthusian ideology of population control. As I wrote here, http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/ideological-bias-risking-the-lives-of-young-women, ideological bias is risking the lives of women.

  • Bostonian

    We are having a “Women’s Health Day” at my high school alma mater on Saturday, with an (M.D.) alum who is going to speak on breast cancer…It will be interesting to hear if she will acknowledge these points….Great article – that deserves widespread publication and forwarding.

  • http://eisbrener.info/blog Michael Eisbrener

    Have you promoted your steroid use today? Healthcare … ain’t about health anymore. Those who need to read this article will condemn the content, the author and the source.

    • o

      You do understand the use of “steroids” treats influenza, asthma, and several other diseases and illnesses. Medical steroids are not the same thing as the street drug… I didn’t know that had to be spelled out for people.

      • fredx2

        What, no swearing?

  • David

    Surprised that writer did not refer to books of Dr CG Grant, The Bitter Pill in 1985 and Sexual Chemistry, Understanding Our
    Hormones, the Pill and HRT in 1994,

  • Tony

    People have been saying that everyone, at all times, is “growing” cancer cells, but almost always they are done away with by healthy means. But they are given an advantage by extrinsic influences that tend to grow cells generally — steroids.

  • Cybercrabman

    A good article that will get no one’s attention, because it has all been heard before. People are in denial. However, there is more and more evidence point to the pill and the rise in Autism. When science confirms this apparent fact, the use of the pill will be in peril. Will the power to be allow it? Clearly they are keeping these studies quiet. I challenge Crises to blow this horn.

    • Blah Blaah

      I fear that the ‘solution’ to pill-related autism will not put the pill in peril but will be be an in utero test for autism and – inevitably – abortion of the possibly autistic child.

    • nasicacato

      Can you give me a citation for the pill/autism link?

    • Tony

      I’ve been saying that the Structure of Pedophilia is pretty simple: the sexual gratification of adults is trumps. It trumps the common good, the doctrines of the Church, marital vows, decency, and especially the welfare of children.

  • fredx2

    The scariest potential effect of the pill is even more insidious. There are studies that indicate that women on the pill tend to select the wrong men as mates. Apparently the two immune systems have to match, and when women are on the pill, this does not happen. As a result, the marriage probably can’t last, so the pill has a built in divorce problem as well.

    From Scientific American: Nov 26, 2008. ”
    Birth Control Pills Affect Women’s Taste in Men

    “Could birth control be to blame for some of these [divorces]?

    Recent research suggests that the contraceptive pill—which prevents women from ovulating by fooling their body into believing it is pregnant—could affect which types of men women desire. Going on or off the pill during a relationship, therefore, may tempt a woman away from her man.

    It’s all about scent. Hidden in a man’s smell are clues about his major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes, which play an important role in immune system surveillance. Studies suggest that females prefer the scent of males whose MHC genes differ from their own, a preference that has probably evolved because it helps offspring survive: couples with different MHC genes are less likely to be related to each other than couples with similar genes are, and their children are born with more varied MHC profiles and thus more robust immune systems.

    A study published in August in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, however, suggests that women on the pill undergo a shift in preference toward men who share similar MHC genes.”

    And question: Why are there all these autistic babies all of a sudden? could birth control be involved there as well?

    • Boone’s On Parade

      Seasonal passing yardage totals in the NFL have ALSO gone up in the same time frame. So, clearly, autism leads to a change in offensive production…

      • fredx2

        Seasonal passing yards in the NFL are not at all linked to childbearing, so that’s just dumb.
        Putting steroidal hormones in your body, ones that are classed by the WHO as carcinogens, and are shown to have other negative effects, could possibly affect you child. I raised it as an issue. Perhaps it is because women are dumping their kids in daycare a few weeks or months after they are born. There are lots of possibilities

    • o

      HAHAHAHAHA ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING OH MY GOD ARE WE ANIMALS

      • James

        Yes, yes we are. Do you think humans are plants? fungi?

        Hormones matter.

      • fredx2

        By all means, don’t pay any attention to science.

    • o

      if this was true why isn’t men’s deodorant taboo “It’s all in the scent” HAHAHAHA people ACTUALLY believe this oh my god. Big words =/= scientific proof or any form of evidence. I cannot cope with the fact that people actually believe this shit.

      • fredx2

        Thank you for swearing. It provides all the information we need to judge your comment. As to men’s deodorant – if you read the article you would have seen that smells are not involved here.

  • Vinnie

    “In addition, oral contraceptives change the uterus lining just enough so that an egg will not stop in the uterus to develop.”

    That should state, “fertilized” egg as in a new human being.

    • lifeknight

      correct—thank you

    • DJ Hesselius

      Actually, a “fertilized” egg doesn’t remain one for very long; it rapidly becomes an embryo. It is the embryo that implants. Or in this case perhaps we should say an embryonic human being, or human being at the embryonic stage, etc.

      • Bono95

        Right, because your body’s cells multiply more rapidly between conception and birth than at any other time in your life. After birth, your cells only double 4 more times before reaching adulthood.

  • med student

    Author didn’t do enough basic medical research to learn that “steroids” are a class of lipids with a massive variety of crucial roles in living organisms, and his purposeful mislabeling of anabolic performance-enhancing steroids with the steroids prescribed in hormonal birth control (the hormones the body naturally produces are also steroids) makes me wonder if he also decries the existence of cholesterol and OTC anti-inflammatory drugs. Essentially, he’s full of crap and pushing an ideology without even the faintest clue about the terms he’s throwing around to do it.

    • Tony

      My sister, the head of Infectious Diseases at an enormous hospital and consortium of hospitals and clinics in PA, has been telling me for more than 20 years that the Pill is carcinogenic. Med Student: the dose of estrogen fools the body into a false pregnancy. What happens when a woman is pregnant? She grows cells … cells in the breast undergo changes … The author is suggesting that just as synthetic testosterone is carcinogenic, synthetic estrogen is carcinogenic, and for many of the same reasons. Of course he is quite aware that women produce estrogen and that men produce testosterone. The question is, “What happens to a woman who pumps extra estrogen into her body, regularly, in order essentially to simulate pregnancy?” That is similar to asking what happens to a man who pumps extra testosterone into his body, in order to “fool” it into “thinking” it needs to build muscle at all cost. In both cases you’ve got something unnatural and wholly unnecessary.

      Or: if you don’t want a kid, you know what to do, don’t you? Or rather what not to do?

  • NML

    I could not respect a husband who asked me to sacrifice my health in such a way…
    That being said, what are the harmful medical effects of barriers?
    (I concede that they block the procreative and therefore damage the unitive meaning of marital relations).

    • ForChristAlone

      Do you know how many men would take a pill in order to contracept? That’s exactly right.

    • Bono95

      Exactly right, Ma’am. The pill is not “liberation”, it’s a tool by which shameless men can use and abuse women without having to take any responsibilities for them and for any conceived children (unless the contraception fails).

  • Elwin Ryan Ransom

    I agree that we too easily put too many chemicals in our bodies. I also understand the slippery slop that easily available birth control leads to the levels of promiscuity around today. I also understand how promiscuity has been part of the destruction of the family and the spread of STDs. BUT… There was an old joke, “What do you called married couples that use NFP? PARENTS!”

    All joking aside, I get bothered by what seems to be a semantics game in church doctrine sometimes (I deeply believe in my Catholic faith, but I also believe that the church is not above criticism and that she should be challenged in some ways at times). How is NFP actually different from say a diaphragm or a condom? In both cases the goal is to have sex without conceiving children. There is a chance of pregnancy with a diaphragm, so in a sense one is open to the possibility of children. And how do we address people like my mother, 6 pregnancies in 8 years. She said if my father LOOKED at her cross-eyed, she got pregnant. They used NFP. She was already pregnant with her second at her 6 week follow up from birthing her first child. Cried the whole way home. Was deeply riddle with stress and depression by 30. My parents started using birth control and denied themselves communion until 5 or 6 years later. How many Catholic parents have 6, 8, 10, or even 13 children any more,
    so I am pretty sure that almost ALL Catholic husbands and wives are
    using birth control these days.

    I want someone to explain specifically how NFP is not an attempt to have sex without conceiving and how that is specifically different from using a barrier birth control method to have sex without conceiving.

    • LLM

      Hope this helps. It’s not a full explanation but it’s a start. http://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/why-is-nfp-not-contraception

    • Scott W.

      Briefly, the goodness or badness of an act must be evaluated according to 3 criteria:

      1. The objective–this is the rightness or wrongness (or indifference) of an act in and of itself. (Examples: murder is objectively bad, almsgiving is objectively good.)

      2. The subjective–this is the intent of the one doing the act (called the agent). Note that a good intention does not make an objectively evil act good, and that an evil intent can render a good act evil. (Such as giving alms in order to trick people into thinking you are pious).

      3. The relative–this is all the surrounding circumstances and the actual result of the act or the end achieved. These do not change the objective goodness or badness of the act in and of themselves.

      Plugging the above in it becomes abundantly clear that NFP is NOT morally equivalent to artificial birth control (ABC) and that the Church’s teaching is entirely consistent.

      By the way, the techniques of NFP are not really an act, it’s information gathering. Having marital relations is the act. So:

      1. The objective–Abstaining from sex is in and of itself morally indifferent (not doing something is never wrong unless there is a duty to do something). Putting barriers between couples in the marital act or rendering the womb hostile to life with chemicals is objectively wrong. (Doing something and deliberately thwarting the proper, natural and good consequences of that act.) NFP passes gate #1. ABC does not, so it goes down as morally unacceptable up front. NFP passes, but is not quite out of the woods yet ’till we get to:

      2. The subjective–as stated above, good intentions do not make objectively evil acts good. Here we can see that with an NFP-practicing couple, there is a possibility of evil intent which would render abstinence evil, but obviously it is hard for outsiders to judge others, because ta-da! it is subjective. (We can have a giant debate about what constitutes bad intent, but here I’m just dismantling the NFP=ABC canard.)

      3. The relative–and here is the cause of much of the contentiousness regarding this teaching. We are living in the age of a widespread mental blindness that denies the existence of #1 (objective right and wrongs), that everything is #2 and #3, and says the ends justify the means (consequentialism). So people look at the ends: ABC=no pregnancy, NFP=no pregnancy, and wrongly conclude they are morally equivalent. T’ain’t so.

      So while one can lodge all kinds of complaints against the Church’s teaching on contraception, logical inconsistency or “distinction without a difference” with ABC should not be among them.

    • Mary

      Elwin, I love an analogy that Jennifer Fulwiler uses when discussing the differences between contraception (including barrier methods) and NFP. She says “that the contraceptive worldview is like saying that loaded guns can be used as toys as long as you put blanks in the chamber; in contrast, the Catholic view says that guns are not toys, and should always be handled with grave respect.” (http://www.conversiondiary.com/2012/04/contraception-the-discussion-has-begun.html)

      And I’d like to clarify – the Catholic Church is not against birth control. She is merely against contraception. NFP is a form of birth control…and a very effective one at that. However, it is a method that respects the power and meaning of sex while the other methods do not.

      • Mary

        Also, Fr. Erlenbush has this to say:
        “There is nothing contraceptive
        about natural family planning. We must first understand what the word
        “contraceptive” means. “Any action which either before, at the moment
        of, or after marital intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent
        procreation, whether as an end or as a means” is contraceptive (Humanae
        Vitae 14). Contraceptive means just that: against conception.
        “Now,
        to be very clear, there is nothing in any way contraceptive about
        natural family planning. Neither before, nor during, nor after sexual
        intercourse has a couple practicing NFP done nothing at all to prevent
        procreation or to render the act infertile. The sexual act may in fact
        be infertile (i.e. it may not be possible for the woman to conceive at
        that time), but the couple has not done anything to make the act
        infertile.”

        There is a great distinction between doing something
        to make oneself infertile and simply waiting until one is infertile.
        Much like there is a great distinction between murdering one’s wealthy
        but ailing father and simply waiting for him to die.

        • slainte

          But can one engage Natural Family Planning indefinitely for the sole purpose of not increasing one’s family size if there is no legitimate medical reason to do so?

          • ForChristAlone

            No

            • Slainte

              Many in my home parish insist you can, and at least one woman in my bible study claims this broad interpretation of NFP is taught in pre-Cana classes.
              .
              In the parish where I attend the EF Latin mass, the topic is never discussed. The families are larger and I am uncertain whether these families practice any form of family planning.

              • TheAbaum

                “least one woman in my bible study claims this broad interpretation of NFP is taught in pre-Cana classes.”

                You’re a lawyer, take her apart like a cheap Happy Meal toy, if she is advocating, not noting or lamenting such a thing.

                • slainte

                  I did correct her…she was an intelligent woman with a post graduate degree. NFP is not fuly understood by many women; its instructors should engage men and women attending pre-cana classes with more concise facts.
                  .
                  And I don’t “take people apart”…not my style.

                  • DE-173

                    By “take her apart” I mean dissemble her arguments. Post-graduate degrees come with heaping portions of hubris and indoctrination. There’s reason they say “Piled higher and Deeper”.

                    • slainte

                      Hmm, what does CPA stand for? : )

                    • DE-173

                      Can’t Pass Again.

              • musicacre

                They probably aren’t upset by having families, so why would they?

          • jonnybeeski

            The reasons a couple has for using NFP must be just, serious reasons. Those reasons may relate to nonmedical situations or conditions as well. The couple should be making reference to responsible parenthood in their prayerful discernment of whether to utilize NFP; that is, they should be discerning 1) to what God is calling them, and 2) their responsibilities to their spouse, to their existing family, and to society. The Church entrusts to the couple this discernment.

          • James

            The reason need not be a medical reason.

            As for whether a couple has a “legitimate reason” to avoid pregnancy, that’s between them, God, and possibly a confessor or spiritual adviser.

            • slainte

              Thanks James.

            • musicacre

              Yes that’s what we’ve always taught people when we teach Billings NFP.

      • musicacre

        The Catholic Church has never supported “birth control”. Chesterton commented on the impossibility of that phrase, literally. You can’t control a birth. The eugenicists came up with that term as part of their anti-Catholic rhetoric and we should not adopt the term to use as Catholics. If a person is freaked out by the natural outcomes of marriage, the church approves of planing in terms of Natural Family Planning…not as a lifestyle, but as a stop-gap when it is needed.

    • AnthonyMa

      You are right in your belief that almost all Catholic husbands and wives are using birth control, I know of no families in my parish with more than 4 children. When I was growing up, families of 8 or more were not uncommon.

      • ForChristAlone

        Your parish must have long lines at the confessional or short lines for Holy Communion. Which is it?

        • AnthonyMa

          Opposite, the faithful appear to have decided to disregard Church rules on birth control. Is it different in your parish? As for confession, I think once the modernists decided to go with face-to-face confession the confessional lines shortened. Maybe it’s different in those SSPX parishes, I don’t know.

          • ForChristAlone

            Not just the rules on contraception, but also the rules on reception of Holy Communion.

            • AnthonyMa

              Now me, I’m one of those Catholics who grew up in the Vatican 2 or Protestant Catholic Church, but would the use of birth control be considered a mortal or venial sin? If I remember my catechism teachers correctly, one only has to refrain from receiving Holy Communion if guilty of a mortal sin, is that incorrect?

              • ForChristAlone

                Contraception is a venal sin. Your conscience is best informed by the Catechism and Humanae Vitae.

                • Stephanie

                  Artificial contraception is a mortal sin. NFP is not a sin.

                  • DJ Hesselius

                    All contraception is sinful, artificial or not. (NFP is not a contraceptive.)

                  • ForChristAlone

                    I agree. I said it was a VENAL sin. But thanks for your attentiveness.

                • DJ Hesselius

                  How can something that is described in a Papal Encyclical (Castii Canubii) as “intrinsically evil and vicious” be considered anything other than a mortal sin?

                  • AnthonyMa

                    I’ve been going to Mass for my entire life, been to Parishes all over the US and in Asia, I’ve never heard a Priest or a Bishop ever preach against contraception or refer to it as a mortal sin. In fact, from JP2 to Benedict to Francis, I don’t remember hearing a Pope speak out about this issue.

                    • ForChristAlone

                      Read more Catholic stuff. And if you’re guilty of having contracepted, I’d recommend confession to an orthodox priest (although you might have trouble finding one in some dioceses). Perhaps you can Google “How Can I Find An Orthodox Catholic Priest.” You might come up with a name or two.

                    • DJ Hesselius

                      No, priests do not tend to speak about this topic. I am not entirely sure why, but fear of what will happen to the collection plate comes to mind. Nevertheless, it is considered a mortal sin.

                    • AnthonyMa

                      You may be right, but if no Priest, no Bishop, not even the Pope himself tell the faithful, how would they know? Is it something the laity should just assume? If the Church believes contraception is a mortal sin but almost every Catholic couple is using birth control what does that mean? The next time you’re at Mass, look at the families, 1 or 2 kids, 3 tops with the very rare 4th child.

                    • Bono95

                      4th, etc. children aren’t that rare in Catholic circles. I have 5 brothers, and 1 sister, and in my parish we have several families with 5 or more kids. And remember, sometimes God only gives a couple 4 or less children naturally.

                  • ForChristAlone

                    I did NOT say “VENIAL,” I said “VENAL.” I think that the Catholic Church does teach that it is a mortal sin.

                • James

                  Where does rash judgment fit in?

                  From the comments it appears that this sin is not being discussed in some of the more conservative parishes.

          • slainte

            The black box confessionals are very popular in the church where I attend the EF Latin mass; the families are large; and the lines for the confessionals are long on Saturday afternoon.

            • TheAbaum

              Demography is destiny.

      • Stephanie

        Not all women are fertile enough to have more than 4 children. My mom’s friend and her husband wanted 12 kids and they only had 4. Her husband died last year, and their youngest was 10 at the time so they hadn’t had kids in a while even though they wanted them.

        Also, couples can use NFP/periods of abstinence to space births. Some couples have a good reason to avoid pregnancy, especially in this economy and the increase in the cost of food and education.

      • James

        Delayed marriage makes a big difference. Get married at 20, having 8 children is not uncommon. Get married at 30, having 8 children is highly unlikely.

        No matter the family size, it is not uncommon to see the last child of a Catholic family born when the mother is in her late 30s/early 40s.

    • TheAbaum

      And there are couples that try for years to have (more) children, but don’t.

      I know several-here are three:

      Couple A. Eventually adopted three. Extensive testing of both husband and wife revealed no diagnosable impediments, the doctor told them that fertility is poorly understood, and perhaps something in any two individuals biochemical make-up makes them infertile together.

      Couple B. Also received extensive fertility testing. Weeks after starting transnational adoption proceedings, the stick turned blue. They have one biological and several adoptive children.

      Couple C: Married for 20 years, accepted infertility until first and only child conceived when parents were 43.

      Not everybody is fertile Myrtle. Children always have been, are, and will be gifts.

      • Bono95

        I wonder if fertility is poorly understood because the “experts” waste more time trying to find ways to destroy it rather than to understand, appreciate, and give thanks for it. :-/

        • TheAbaum

          Good point.

          Maybe a political analogy fits those “experts”. Any jack*** can kick down a barn it has no hope of building.

          • Bono95

            Yes, precisely. After all, “they didn’t build that”. :-D

    • ForChristAlone

      Keep your chemicals out of my drinking water. Let’s protect the environment from hormonal pollutants.

    • RufusChoate

      The principle reason why most families don’t have large number of children in a family has to do with both the Contraception mentality and late marriage that produces widespread sterility, low testosterone and general effeminacy in Males.
      Fertility rates are down everywhere in the West. We are a dying culture and most who think like you are too vapid to understand it.

    • hombre111

      Thank you, thank you. Yours is the experience that I have encountered over and over again. But sadly, you are looking for compassion and empathy on the wrong thread. Your mother reminds me of my mother. As a witness to her struggle, I cannot parrot the usual moral abstractions. Good job.

    • http://batman-news.com Richard A

      Well, a simple specific difference would be that practitioners of NFP would not be having sex some of the times they would really really want to.

      Artificial birth control methods all must be premised on the view that pregnancy is the (only) problem with sex. Therefore, make a mechanical or chemical (i.e., unnatural) adjustment to the body of either the man or the woman to have the sex without the pregnancy. Determining to abstain from sex when pregnancy is likely to result naturally respects the fact that procreation is the reason that there is sex at all. If procreation is undesirable at the time (because one is not married or for the reasons contemplated but not defined in Humanae Vitae), don’t do the sex.

    • fredx2

      It sounds as if your mother was using the rhythm method, not NFP. They are not the same

  • Angelo

    Everybody did not think the world was flat — EVER. I know this is not the main point of your article, but please. Do not use that erroneous example and perpetuate one of the largest lies in all of history. People during the middle ages DID NOT think the world was flat. The debate at the time of Columbus was about how large the circumference of the earth was.
    Columbus was wrong, which is why, when he saw the New World he thought he found India.

  • hombre111

    Maaaybe this article, written by an MBA instead of a medical doctor, is an embarrassment to Crisis. Did you have a competent MD check this article out before you published it?

    • Scott W.

      This vague broadside is beneath even you. Specify your problems with the content please.

      • ForChristAlone

        He cannot. He has a serious compulsion to defend contraception. It’s his 8th sacrament.

    • Beth

      Just stop where you are “father” Hombre. You are so far out of your league but then, that’s never stopped you before. Just hush!

      • hombre111

        My opinion on this subject has been formed by dealing with real people in real situations. I admire people who do NFP. I also realize that some people are not able to handle that approach. I am not convinced by the rationalism of Humanae Vitae, which, aware of its own inner weaknesses, had to appeal over and over again to the authority of the Magisterium. ie, “Do it because I say so, and don’t ask any more questions.” I doubt if Pope Pius XI or Pope Paul VI knew as much about the subject as I do, after fifty years of pondering the question and after 50 years of hearing confessions. As I have said over and over again, Humanae Vitae is a rational argument, with no real support from Scripture. And a rational argument must stand on its own terms. A better perspective, new facts, and more compelling logic will bring it down.

        • ForChristAlone

          “I doubt if Pope Pius XI or Pope Paul VI knew as much about the subject as I do, after fifty years of pondering the question and after 50 years of hearing confessions.” Where does the Magisterium that comes from the Petrine office come through for you. It’s only Scripture or your own personal opinion that matters? Do you subscribe to the notion that the Holy Spirit works in and through Peter? And is isn’t it a but more than hubris (pride) when we consider yourself superior to Peter. We’re not talking about how well one can speak a foreign language; we’re tlaking about the teaching authority of the Church.

          • hombre111

            The Magisterium that comes from the Petrine office is not automatically an expert in things sexual, especially not expert in the relationship between husband and wife. In this day and age, an argument from authority is only as strong as the point of view, facts, and logic of the person making the argument. I trust married people living their sacrament. When the hierarchy finally gives them a say, then I will be content.

            • Stephanie

              Individual priests and bishops can error but the official teaching is protected by the Holy Spirit. When the pope speaks ex cathedra (almost never happens), councils, etc. There is no reason to be Catholic if you don’t believe that because no human authority is perfect. You might as well start your own Protestant community where everyone is their own pope, nobody can correct each other, and people who disagree branch off into their own group. Hence, the 40,000+ Christian denominations.

              Discipline can change (head coverings, married priests) but teachings on faith and morals (contraception, adultery, fornication/cohabitation, homosexual acts) cannot. Sometimes the faith develops over the centuries (example: some of the teachings about Mary) but it was not in error.

              • ForChristAlone

                Hombre IS his own denomination. It’s called the “Church of Hombre111.” Check it out. It’s been around for 50 years.

              • hombre111

                An infallible teaching on faith is one thing, but infallibility on a matter of morals is much riskier. For centuries, the Church condemned collecting interest for a loan. Until the 1800′s, the Church considered some forms of slavery morally acceptable. For centuries, the Church condemned democracy and freedom of religion. The argument about artificial birth control is only a few generations old.

                • fredx2

                  As I understand it, the church still condemns usury. Prior to the emergence of free market economies there was virtually no situation in which lending money at interest benefited both parties. Once business loans became common, it was clear that it benefited both, and so it was allowed – but usury is still condemned,
                  Second, the Popes spoke out against racial slavery from the beginning. The only type of “slavery” that they allowed was just title slavery which was usually allowed only because the alternatives were much worse.

                  • hombre111

                    Usury meant charging interest, period. In these days, we have re-defined the term to mean charging excessive interest. The thing that changed the Church’s mind was the invention of a money economy. I am not aware of any pope speaking out against slavery in the early centuries of the Church. But I do know that, in the early 1800′s, when inter-racial slavery was the only slavery that still existed, a pope wrote a natural law argument justifying slavery. And when I was in the seminary, our Moral theology prof still taught that natural law argument as acceptable Church teaching.

            • ForChristAlone

              We’re talking about morality. And you, a celibate priest, are more informed about sexuality than the Pope. Nice! Your contentment is irrelevant. The salvation of your immortal soul, however, is very germane to this issue.

              • hombre111

                I am sure the pope spent hours thinking and praying before coming to his conclusion. But he did not attend the discussions of the group of outstanding lay people and conservative bishops he himself had convened, a discussion that changed the minds of all the bishops who did attend. He listened, instead, to two cardinal bishops who were part of the advisory group, but who also did not attend: Ottaviani, and Woltilja. Why ask for advice when you do not plan to listen?

                • jonnybeeski

                  Or, Paul wanted to hear the best arguments the other side could present, and he found them wanting. Do you think St. JP II never heard any confessions from married couples in his time?

                  • hombre111

                    I think we hear from our core psychological perspective. St. JPII was almost certainly a “J.” That is, he made choices from the perspective of abstract logic. He was also a mystic heavily influenced by the mysticism of St. John of the Cross, which is a highly spiritualized perspective about love . At the same time, I am an “F.” I make choices based on my own feelings and the impact on the feelings of others. My sense of love is not abstract. I have living people in mind. I think our experience of confession would be very different. Our saint pope did not hesitate to call people to martyrdom. I would be aware of the weaknesses of someone called to push a boulder uphill.
                    My turnaround moment came during confession when I was a very young priest, a moment I remember as if it was yesterday. I pulled back the slide in the dark confessional and heard a man whose voice was tinged with tension and anxiety. His wife had just had their fifth child, and the doctor had warned her that her life was in danger if she had another. Their income was stretched to the limit. Could they practice birth control.
                    Being young and inexperienced, I gave him the company line. It was immoral. He and his wife could abstain, or they could practice rhythm, which did not have the precision of NFP. It was so uncertain people jokingly called it Vatican roulette.
                    The man broke into tears, and I realized I was one of those Pharisees who had just piled a huge burden onto another man to carry, a burden which would cost me nothing but the expenditure of hot air. I saw the entire issue in a new light. The man had come to me for permission to spare him and his wife some desperation. I realized that it was not my right to give him permission. I could only give him advice, in the name of the Church. He was then free to take that advice, listen to his wife and her doctor, stir in their own concrete situation, pray together, ask the Holy Spirit to help them live their sacrament, and make up their own mind about what they were going to do. This is the wisdom and behavior of an adult.
                    So many of the readers of Crisis have not taken that step into adulthood on the sexuality issues, although they happily think for themselves when it comes to listening to the Church’s counsel about the way we treat the poor, or about war or capital punishment. As I have said many times, I admire people who have the pluck and the knowledge to practice NFP. But I have a sneaking hunch that, when they get to God, he will thank them for their sacrifice, and then he will say, “But it really did not have to be that hard. You were the ones who were married. Popes Paul and John Paul were only well meaning voices from the bleachers.”

                    • Beth

                      And you believe God will say,” yes, I left you to be slaves to your physical passions. I didn’t want you to be as strong as Me, able to overcome physical passions of the flesh.”

                      Isn’t God calling us to do hard things; that suffering has merit? Really, Father? And you say that using contraception is an ADULT way of life? Really?

                      NFP users=pluck and knowledge?? Are you not supposed to be a teacher? Why can’t you teach your people? Are they not capable of ‘getting it’. You certainly speak down to the unwashed masses in your realm. You have incredibly low expectations which of course leaves you the big man on top.

                      Are you retiring soon?

                    • hombre111

                      Old priests never retire in this day of the priest shortage. I live in a deanery with 200,000 people, 7 parishes, and six priests. I am happy to work on and would not mind if I died in the saddle.

                      I did not say using contraception is an adult way of life. We are adults when we operate out of our internal authority. I am not talking about egotistical subjectivity. Always, we listen first to external authority, in this case, the teaching of the Church. We make every effort to understand and respect what the Church is trying to say, and why. But in the end, an adult makes his/her final choice based on the decision of a prayerful, well-informed conscience. This is the voice of internal authority.

                      I am rarely consulted about birth control in the confessional. I do not preach about it because: a) I believe Humanae Vitae is based on flawed logic, bad facts, and an inadequate perspective. It would violate my conscience. When I preach, I am compelled to speak in the name of the Church, not offering my own opinion. And so, like most priests, I don’t mention the topic at all. b) When I face a congregation, I am a celibate telling people how to live a sacrament I don’t really understand, because it is not my sacrament and I don’t live the life. I face the strong and the weak. I refuse to pile burdens on those who are weak. c) If somebody asks me about birth control, I will ask first for the circumstances that cause them to ask the question. Then I will accurately explain the Church’s teaching. I will talk to them about carrying a cross with Christ and will remind them that sacrifice is part of every vocation. I will tell them it is wrong to run away from our crosses. I will teach them about the meaning of the sacrament of marriage. I will ask talk to their spouse, prayerfully consult God who knows our lives, ask for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, and follow their conscience.

                  • hombre111

                    I don’t doubt that he did. I hope, and suspect, that his presence in the confessional as the healer of souls was much more benign than his presence on the Chair of Peter, when he was local tyrant.

    • ForChristAlone

      I was wondering if you’d pipe in. We can all predict how you’d weigh in on contraception, Father.

      • hombre111

        I am willing to take the word of a good discussion of this subject by MDs, not MBAs. If the doctors who know the science agree the pill is harmful, I will buy it. But this article does not do a very credible job. When I went on Google to check some of the “facts” the article began to look a little bizarre.

        • ForChristAlone

          But even if there’s a possibility of its doing harm to a woman, I would expect that you would caution against its use for health reasons, if not for moral ones.

        • Bono95

          Father, Google and Wikipedia are not the most honest, accurate, or unbiased of sources. At least, it’s a whole lot easier to find information on and in support of liberal objects of affection than it is to find anything objectively critical of or opposed to these objects. I learned that the hard way when I Wikipedia-ed St. Thomas More. Liberals do not like people like St. Thomas who defend and stand for truth, the Catholic Faith, and the indissolubility of heterosexual marriage to the very end.

          • hombre111

            I agree that Wikipedia is not a sterling resource. But Google is about information. When I googled pro-life, all I got was references to pro-life articles and institutions. Even the Wikipedia articles were favorable.

    • Bono95

      Dr. Angela (cited in the article) isn’t a competent MD?

    • Bono95

      I’ve heard these facts stated in several other places, and stated quite consistently. Medicine is about using beneficial substances to make a sick body system work properly. Contraception is about using harmful substances to make a healthy body system dysfunctional. It’s not even worthy of being called bad medicine, because it has no beneficial or health-giving effects. It messes up other body systems besides the assigned reproductive system, and while it messes the latter up most severely, it does not do so completely in the intended way. On the one hand, a woman on the pill can still get pregnant, and on the other hand, a woman who has been the pill may have difficulty conceiving later on, even if she has utterly quit using the pill. Mr. Krajacic is a good enough authority for me. In fact, I rate him higher than most MDs, since most MDs, as he says, are hiding or ignoring the harmful side effects of the pill.

      • hombre111

        And you know about most MDs through what credible source?

        • Ned

          Since you claim to be a Catholic priest I suspect you have heard about the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Thomas Hilgers is an amazing MD and far more credible then you are when it comes to the harmful effects of the pill on a healthy body. I urge you to contact him, http://www.popepaulvi.com, and he can show you the science on the dangers of artificial contraception, the beauty of NFP, and just how right Pope Paul VI was and how Humanae Vitae was truly an amazing document.

          • hombre111

            Like I said, I am willing to be schooled by any competent MD. But Pope Paul VI’s argument was about the evils of artificial contraception, not the danger of the pill. I do not doubt the beauty of NFP, and applaud those who use it. But a prayerful couple can use other, non-abortive means.

            • Bono95

              What sort of other, non-abortive means? I don’t think there are any, really. Many if not all contraceptives can be abortifacients, because none are 100% effective, so a child can be conceived and then killed without his mother ever knowing he was there. We know that at least 55 million children have been killed by abortion in the US, we will NEVER know how many were killed or prevented by contraceptives. As has been said above, NFP is not contraception. It is a form of abstinence. People using contraceptives are rarely abstinent. They use the birth control so the can make love without making babies. NFP users are refraining from making love, and so no babies are made (or destroyed.)

              • hombre111

                I won’t take time to do it again, but last time I googled the subject, I discovered that not all birth control pills could cause an abortion. A condom doesn’t. Neither do some others. I once encouraged an NFP group when I was a campus minister. They were guided by a teacher couple that came from a large city nearby. Within two years, six of the eight couples involved had unplanned pregnancies. Five of the six couples accepted the pregnancy, but I am sure that the other mother literally willed her baby dead. The irony was that she and her husband were the ones who brought the group together. Their marriage did not survive that experience. I agree that NFP is the best way to go, but the couple has to be well informed and highly motivated from a religious point of view, with a faith-filled understanding of the meaning of the cross.

                In that university setting, I also heard of non-religious couples who practiced NFP because they did not want to contaminate their bodies with chemicals.

                • James

                  The real scandal isn’t the Vatican’s view of contraception, but many conservative Catholics disdain for science. It discredits the whole Church.

                  No, the Pill isn’t an abortifacient. This mechanism has been theorized for years, but there is no evidence that it actually happens. Condoms are clearly not abortifacient.

                  Nevertheless, there are plenty of reasons not to use them, as the article discusses. Taking steroid drugs when there is nothing medically wrong with you probably isn’t a good idea. Many women simply don’t like the side effects. Anthropologically, the way contraceptives are marketed heavily implies that women’s bodies are “defective” in their natural state—not good. And yes, Pills have a failure rate—about 8% under typical use. Condoms are even higher. I think you give contraceptives far more credit than they deserve.

                  This suspicion of science can extend to NFP culture. Some NFP courses are awful and of dubious scientific accuracy. Very few put much effort into teaching effectiveness. One Catholic NFP group taught us a method that ended up being a method optimized for trying to achieve pregnancy used “backwards”. Another taught us an outdated method that was little more than a complicated version of the rhythm method. It took a secular science book on the subject to get us to figure out what was going on.

                  Couples receive poor instruction in NFP then unintentionally get pregnant. Not surprisingly, a few of them feel duped. I also think the “NFP culture” puts a great deal of pressure on Catholic couples to be perfect Catholics in matters of sex and family size right away, even though most Catholic couples aren’t spiritually or relationally ready for that. Not that they won’t ever be able to do that, but that they can’t do that right now. (And even the ones who do want lots and lots of kids, probably have other spiritual issues that need addressing.)

                  Nevertheless, the method works and with proper instruction, it’s a relationally and physically healthy way for couples to space children. Good instruction is out there. Better methods are in development.

                  The Church is right, despite the many failings of individual Catholics.

                  • hombre111

                    Marvelous reply. I feel like I have been to school.

                    • DE-173

                      Everyday must feel like school to you.

                    • hombre111

                      Aah, the conservative mind: only answers. No questions.

                    • DE-173

                      Ahh, the liberal mind. Simultaneously devoid of substance and disordered.

                      Don’t make me angry, Mr. McGee, You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

                  • DE-173

                    Whattya know? The former James 1225 is back.

                  • Bob

                    Read my reply to hombre. You are dead wrong, Inform yourself before you attempt to teach others. ALL contraceptive methods except the condom and diaphragm act as an abortifacient
                    if fertilization takes place. They are designed that way. No
                    accident. I refer you to http://www.all.org, and http://www.priestsforlife.org.
                    Search their sites for “the pill”. This information has also been
                    available in the Physicians Desk Reference (PDR) for many years. Don’t
                    just ask a doctor. I saw a video recently where a pro-life doctor
                    believed as you do and was surprised to learn the facts. They are too
                    busy to read the fine print.
                    Please don’t persist in culpable ignorance.

                    • James
                    • Bob

                      James,

                      I read the article which you referenced. If you read the
                      article critically, you will see that it is an artful attempt to
                      justify the pill. You’ve heard the saying “there are lies, damn
                      lies and statistics”. The authors dazzle us with statistics.
                      Statistics are not science. They give the game away by basing
                      their conclusions on ideal conditions while admitting that the
                      results are far different in “typical” usage. They also admit
                      that they don’t really know whether the altered endometrium can
                      support implantation. Would you take the word of a pharmacist
                      who works for Ortho-McNeil? “The cervical mucus slows down the
                      sperm. And if that doesn’t work, if you end up with a
                      fertilized egg, it won’t implant and grow because of the less
                      hospitable endometrium.” See
                      http://www.aaplog.org/position-and-papers/oral-contraceptive-controversy/birth-control-pill-abortifacient-and-contraceptive/.

                      In other words, the pill was designed to abort in case of an
                      unintended pregnancy. This is also true for other hormonal
                      contraceptives, and the IUD.

                      It must also be noted that any
                      doubt regarding such a grave matter as the life of a person must
                      be resolved in favor of preserving life. This is fundamental
                      christian ethics.

                    • James

                      The “hostile endometrium” mechanism has been theorized for years, but never proven.

                      This mechanism only comes into play when a woman has ovulated while on the pill. Otherwise, there is no embryo to attach, no matter how “hostile” the endometrium is. In these cases, the pill has failed. The hormonal changes leading up to ovulation also impact the endometrium.

                      The link you sent me is a perfect example of scientific illiteracy among pro-lifers. It discusses the impact of the pill on the endometrium in normal cases (where their is no ovulation and no embryo to attach) but not the unusual cases where there has been ovulation and a possible embryo. It also ignores the possible impact of synthetic progesterone on the cervical mucus, which would reduce the chances of conception-the article I posted claims sperm are blocked 80-90% of the time. It also doesn’t factor in timing of sexual relations that could lead to pregnancy.

                      Most damningly, it neglects the reality of natural early pregnancy loss, assuming that all ovulations while on the pill that do not result in pregnancy are the result of the abortifacient effect. Yet, even if a couple is actively trying to conceive, a significant number of pregnancies fail before the woman even knows she is pregnant. Statistically, the number of pill pregnancies is about what one would expect if one takes the total number of ovulations – natural early pregnancy loss. The article I cited factors natural pregnancy loss into the equation and finds no post-conception effect.

                      Instead, the article you cite is weak on scientific analysis and heavy on social analysis from Mother Teresa to Justice Antonin Scalia.

                      Does the science conclusively prove that the pill has no post-conception effect? No, but there is no evidence that it has one either, and if it does that this effect is so small that it cannot be proven. If a woman takes ibuprofen late in her cycle, she is far more likely to cause harm to a developing embryo than by taking the pill.

                      There are plenty of good reasons not to take the pill. But this isn’t one of them. Furthermore, such an position not only discredits the pro-life movement as a whole, but serves to confuse and distress women who do need to take the pill to manage a medical condition, such as endometriosis.

                    • Bob

                      These discussions would be more constructive if you actually read
                      the references before you criticized them. Lets take it point by point.

                      (The “hostile endometrium” mechanism has been theorized for
                      years, but never proven.)
                      It has never been disproven either. And the pharmaceutical
                      companies either support it outright or as one of them says
                      it may be true.

                      (This mechanism only comes into play when a
                      woman has ovulated while on the pill. Otherwise, there is
                      no embryo to attach, no matter how “hostile” the
                      endometrium is.)
                      No kidding?

                      (In these cases, the pill has failed. The
                      hormonal changes leading up to ovulation also impact the
                      endometrium.)
                      The pill is designed to override the natural changes.

                      (The link you sent me is a perfect example of
                      scientific illiteracy among pro-lifers.)
                      The author is William F. Colliton, Jr., M.D., FACOG, Clinical Professor of
                      Obstetrics and Gynecology, George Washington University
                      Medical Center.
                      A scientific illiterate?

                      There are also 26 co-signers. Mostly OG-GYNs. Some of them professors
                      of medicine.

                      Scientific illiterates?

                      (It discusses the impact of the pill on the
                      endometrium in normal cases (where their is no ovulation
                      and no embryo to attach) but not the unusual cases where
                      there has been ovulation and a possible embryo. It also
                      ignores the possible impact of synthetic progesterone on
                      the cervical mucus, which would reduce the chances of
                      conception-the article I posted claims sperm are blocked
                      80-90% of the time. It also doesn’t factor in timing of
                      sexual relations that could lead to pregnancy.)
                      All irrelevant. None of this impacts the reality that the
                      pill alters the endometrium as it was designed to do. If
                      the sperm are blocked 80-90% of the time, then ergo, they
                      get through 10-20% of the time. There are hundreds of
                      millions and it only takes one.

                      (Most damningly, it neglects the reality of
                      natural early pregnancy loss, assuming that all ovulations
                      while on the pill that do not result in pregnancy are the
                      result of the abortifacient effect.)
                      There is no such assumption.

                      ( Yet, even if a couple is actively trying to
                      conceive, a significant number of pregnancies fail before
                      the woman even knows she is pregnant. Statistically, the
                      number of pill pregnancies is about what one would expect
                      if one takes the total number of ovulations – natural
                      early pregnancy loss. The article I cited factors natural
                      pregnancy loss into the equation and finds no
                      post-conception effect.)
                      The article you cited states “From the pre-clinical,
                      especially the pre-implantation perspective, the answer
                      must be sought by evaluating indirect data, since there is
                      no direct data regarding these loss rates available for
                      users of COCs.” My own calculation based on the
                      statistics shows about twice as many expected pregnancies off the pill
                      as on the pill.

                      (Instead, the article you cite is weak on
                      scientific analysis and heavy on social analysis from
                      Mother Teresa to Justice Antonin Scalia.)
                      In a 2600 word article, approximately 800 words concern
                      the views of Mother Teresa and Justice Scalia. The author
                      has an updated paper which has more extensive references.
                      http://www.all.org/article/index/id/MjUxNg

                      (Does the science conclusively prove that the
                      pill has no post-conception effect? No, but there is no
                      evidence that it has one either)
                      When dealing with human life, you had better be sure or
                      play it safe.

                      (If a woman takes ibuprofen late in her cycle,
                      she is far more likely to cause harm to a developing
                      embryo than by taking the pill.)
                      Can you cite a reference that ibuprofen is an
                      abortifacient?

                      (There are plenty of good reasons not to take
                      the pill. But this isn’t one of them. Furthermore, such an
                      position not only discredits the pro-life movement as a
                      whole, but serves to confuse and distress women who do
                      need to take the pill to manage a medical condition, such
                      as endometriosis.)
                      It is well understood that a woman can use hormonal
                      therapy for medical conditions requiring them, but she
                      should be advised to not have sexual intercourse while on
                      such medication, just as she would be advised to not have
                      sexual intercourse if she was taking a medication that
                      might cause birth defects.

                      Randy Alcorn has written a small 210 page booklet,
                      “Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?” with 140
                      references on this topic. It can be downloaded for free
                      at http://www.epm.org/store/product/birth-control-pill-book/

                      In the book he relates the following:
                      Dr. Larimore also told me that when he has
                      presented this evidence to audiences of secular
                      physicians, there has been little or no resistance to it.
                      But when he has presented it to Christian physicians
                      there has been substantial resistance. Why? Perhaps
                      because secular physicians do not care as much
                      whether the Pill prevents implantation and therefore
                      tend to be objective in interpreting the evidence.
                      Christian physicians very much do not want to believe
                      the Pill causes early abortions, and therefore tend to
                      resist the evidence. This is understandable.
                      Nonetheless, we should not permit what we want to
                      believe to distract us from what the evidence indicates
                      we should believe.

                      I’m sure that this same psychology explains much of the debate on this issue among pro-lifers.

                    • James

                      You’ve not addressed any of the paper I cited which was written in response to the one you are citing.

                      As for the ibuprofen issue:

                      http://www.theguardian.com/society/2011/sep/06/ibuprofen-warning-to-pregnant-women

                      It is well understood that a woman can use hormonal
                      therapy for medical conditions requiring them, but she
                      should be advised to not have sexual intercourse while on
                      such medication, just as she would be advised to not have
                      sexual intercourse if she was taking a medication that
                      might cause birth defects.

                      Except that two Popes have said it is morally permissible for a married woman to have sexual relations if on the Pill for medical reasons.

                      Pius XII: See http://www.pamphlets.org.au/docs/cts/australia/html/acts1454.html

                      Paul VI: See Humanae Vitae 15.

                      A woman who needs the pill for medical reasons has a very unhealthy reproductive system. In many cases, she stands a far greater risk of a miscarriage if she pursues alternative treatment (including NaPro) or no treatment than if she is on the Pill.

                      Why does your recommendation for women who need to be on the Pill stricter than that of two Popes?

                      Dr. Larimore also told me that when he has
                      presented this evidence to audiences of secular
                      physicians, there has been little or no resistance to it.
                      But when he has presented it to Christian physicians
                      there has been substantial resistance. Why? Perhaps
                      because secular physicians do not care as much
                      whether the Pill prevents implantation and therefore
                      tend to be objective in interpreting the evidence.
                      Christian physicians very much do not want to believe
                      the Pill causes early abortions, and therefore tend to
                      resist the evidence. This is understandable.

                      Perhaps there is no controversy precisely because the secular physicians don’t care either way?

                      And for those who do address it, they are pretty much laughing at you. If you want to know what the “other side” is saying, take a look here: http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2008/08/22/much-ado-about-nothing-prolife-misconceptions-about-contraception/

                      In conclusion, any post-conception effect of the Pill has not been proven nor disproven. To say “the birth control pill causes abortions” implying that this is a proven fact is dishonest. For women who only need the pill for contraception, they should avoid the pill (though there are many reasons not take medicine if you aren’t sick). For sexually active women who need the pill for non-contraceptive reasons, the risks of the medicine should be weighed against the risks of alternative treatments or no treatment.

                    • Bob

                      James, you amaze me.

                      A few days back you were dismissive of a paper that I referenced, saying that it was “a
                      perfect example of scientific illiteracy among pro-lifers”, although it
                      was authored by a prominent member of the medical community and
                      cosigned by 27 others. You then reference a blog authored by a person
                      without credentials and without references. It refers only obliquely to
                      an article written by four OB-GYNs, an article which was refuted by 28
                      of their colleagues .

                      The Blog begins with a lie and ends with a lie.

                      The beginning lie is that pregnancy begins with implantation. This
                      claim only dates to 1965 when the medical community elected to change
                      the definition for political and monetary reasons. It is recognized by
                      ALL biologists that life begins at conception or fertilization, i.e.,
                      when sperm meets egg.

                      The ending lie is that NFP or Natural Family Planning is unreliable. The fact is that NFP is more reliable (abt. 99.5%) than the pill.

                      In between these lies she repeatedly says nobody really knows if
                      implantation is blocked, but it isn’t. If I picked up a gun and said I
                      have no reason to believe it’s loaded, would you allow me to point it in
                      your direction and pull the trigger? Yeah, I know, it’s not a great
                      analogy, but it makes a point. It’s okay to play Russian roulette with
                      the human embryo.

                      At least now I know where you are coming from when you reference a pro-choice (pro-abortion) feminist blog.

                      If you want an honest look at this issue, you have to look elsewhere.

                      Thanks for the info on Ibuprofen. Clearly, a pregnant woman should not use it.

                      As far as the teachings of Popes Pius XII and Paul VI, the documents say that a women may use medication that prevents ovulation
                      in order to cure bodily diseases. Surely an abortifacient would not be
                      allowed for a sexually active woman given the churches teaching on
                      abortion.

                      Finally, it is surely dishonest to say that there are no abortifacient
                      effects when there are significant reasons to believe there are and NO
                      science to prove otherwise. No other drugs or devices would be approved
                      without proof of safety and efficacy. An abortifacient drug or device is not safe for the embryo.

                    • James

                      When you engage in hominem fallacies, I know you aren’t interested in science. You’re more interested in what you think my views are than in what the pill does or does not do.

                      You don’t like the pill, therefore you believe the worst about it. That’s not science and that’s not honest.

                    • Bob

                      “They are far less likely to lose a pregnancy on the pill.”
                      Considering that the purpose of the pill is to prevent a pregnancy, this seems a ridiculous statement.

                      “When you engage in hominem fallacies, I know you aren’t interested in science.”
                      I am in fact a scientist. I know the difference between fact and conjecture. The claim that contraceptives never cause abortions has not been shown to be factual. The people that manufacture them can’t make that claim. Quite the opposite.

                      What ad hominem fallacies?

                      “They do and they are mocking you.”
                      Mocking someone is often the last resort when you don’t have the facts to support your own position.

                      “a response to your assertion that secular people don’t care about the issue.”
                      I never made any such assertion. That is a total misreading of a statement attributed to Dr. Larimore.

                      No, my mind is not made up. I would be overjoyed to learn that there were no abortifacient effects in contraceptives. The facts are not there.

                      But I agree, this conversation is going nowhere.

                    • Michael Kocian

                      Bob, it’s clear James doesn’t actually respect science or objective truth for that matter. He does what Protestantism aims to do, that is put one’s self in the place of God to decide what faith and morals are, what truth is. Never has worked… never will.

                  • Michael Kocian

                    James, the pill is indeed an abortifacient in two means. There are four way the modern pill works, and two are after conception.

                    Even if it were not, the Church is right on contraception being an intrinsic evil.

                    If you knew Scriptures, you would also see how God has always opposed contraception.

                    • James

                      Hormonal contraceptives are useful as hormone replacement therapy for a small number of women. (The Catholic Church has no problem with this use.) They are horribly overprescribed and there are far healthier ways of preventing pregnancy in healthy women.

                      Whether you believe that contraceptives as a whole are are moral or immoral, this does not mean that hormonal contraceptives are abortifacient.

                • Bob

                  You are dead wrong, ALL contraceptive methods except the condom and diaphragm act as an abortifacient if fertilization takes place. They are designed that way. No accident. I refer you to http://www.all.org, and http://www.priestsforlife.org. Search their sites for “the pill”. This information has also been available in the Physicians Desk Reference (PDR) for many years. Don’t just ask a doctor. I saw a video recently where a pro-life doctor believed as you do and was surprised to learn the facts. They are too busy to read the fine print.

                  Please don’t persist in culpable ignorance.

                  • hombre111

                    Sounds like we both have to depend on the sources we read. Even Focus on the Family, which is against contraception, admits that some of the pills could possibly be an abortifacient, but they say the effect has not be demonstrated directly.

                    • Bob

                      Hombre111,

                      You may be interested in my reply to James.

                      James,

                      I read the article which you referenced. If you read the
                      article critically, you will see that it is an artful attempt to
                      justify the pill. You’ve heard the saying “there are lies, damn
                      lies and statistics”. The authors dazzle us with statistics.
                      Statistics are not science. They give the game away by basing
                      their conclusions on ideal conditions while admitting that the
                      results are far different in “typical” usage. They also admit
                      that they don’t really know whether the altered endometrium can
                      support implantation. Would you take the word of a pharmacist
                      who works for Ortho-McNeil? “The cervical mucus slows down the
                      sperm. And if that doesn’t work, if you end up with a
                      fertilized egg, it won’t implant and grow because of the less
                      hospitable endometrium.” See
                      http://www.aaplog.org/position-and-papers/oral-contraceptive-controversy/birth-control-pill-abortifacient-and-contraceptive/.

                      In other words, the pill was designed to abort in case of an
                      unintended pregnancy. This is also true for other hormonal
                      contraceptives, and the IUD.

                      It must also be noted that any
                      doubt regarding such a grave matter as the life of a person must
                      be resolved in favor of preserving life. This is fundamental
                      christian ethics.

            • Aldo Elmnight

              Dr. Thomas Hilgers

              • hombre111

                Thanks. I will look him up.

        • Tony

          Father, my sister, a faithful Catholic, is the head of Infectious Diseases for the largest hospital and consortium of clinics between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. She has her M.D. from Dartmouth and Johns Hopkins. She’s been telling me about the pill-cancer link and the abortion-cancer link since about 1990. Now it turns out that the hormone is being flushed into our water supply …

          Father, you know that I respect you for your calling and your faithful obedience. I’m speaking to you as somebody who has lived through the sexual revolution. It is dreadful. It’s ruined so many lives, destroyed innocence, poisoned the relations between men and women (which are going to be difficult for a lot of people even in the best of circumstances), debased the culture — and left in utter loneliness and hopelessness a lot of young people who try to do the right thing. Don’t let the advocates fool you. They won’t tell you the dirty details.

          • hombre111

            I am not defending the pill. I simply criticized a poor article. You are right about the sexual revolution. As a campus minister, I fought the annual fight with “Sex Week,” sponsored by the college version of Planned Parenthood. I am famous for reminding the students that the sexual revolution has turned the hookup culture into a disease ridden sump.

    • RufusChoate

      You’re comically inclined in you undying faith in Medical Doctors. Apparently you missed the 60 years of mass misdiagnosis and wildly inappropriate treatment of Peptic Ulcers by Physicians in the West that created multiple multi-Billion dollar International Pharmaceutical Empires solely on the treatment of one symptom of digestive ulcers.

      It was left to a lone researcher and a Medical Doctor in Australia to discover that a bacterial infection of Helicobacter pylori produced Peptic Ulcers and discover the simple permanent cure.
      Most Physicians don’t have a clue about the nature of the drugs they prescribe.

      • hombre111

        Yep, the world is full of mistakes, and the medical model is not the only way to treat illness and discover human flourishing. But medical research offers us enormous insight our bodies, and has provided incalculable relief for us in our afflictions. If your man in Australia had been a librarian instead of a physician trained in research, the old school thought about ulcers would live on. But maybe not. The whole scientific enterprise challenges conventional wisdom, and if not some guy in Australia, then maybe some guy in Singapore. Were it not for such research, most of us would have died long ago.
        My own personal physician is a PA nearing retirement. I am endlessly astonished by the breadth of his knowledge, which can only come from continuing study. When he prescribes some medicine, it is obvious that he has a good grasp of the nature of that particular potion.
        Any priest gets a degree in philosophy, which then becomes the foundation for his studies in theology. I look back with some gratitude at my training in Neo-Scholastic philosophy, because it at least gave me a foot in the door. But I have dedicated my whole life to continued study of the humanities, scripture, various schools of psychology, and etc.. One of the things that appalls me about some of my fellow priest is their lack of curiosity. One of the things I enjoy about Crisis is that it forces me to go back to the books on some topics.

    • fredx2

      You have to be an MD now to write an article about contraception? Please. He cites reputable people – MD’s in fact.

      • hombre111

        I think the most important person to consult would be an MD with expertise in that area, or some biologist who has research the question.

  • Boone’s On Parade

    The “group 1 carcinogen” conclusion you’re trying to make is bunk, per someone who actually UNDERSTANDS stats:

    “The phrase “group one carcinogen” is only relevant in an argument over whether the risk is zero or non-zero. Its use in other contexts suggests that someone doesn’t know what it means, or perhaps hopes that you don’t.”

    http://www.statschat.org.nz/2013/07/01/whats-a-group-1-carcinogen/

    Secondly, at no point do you address any counterclaims in your article – you’ve cherry-picked the hell out of your supporting studies and papers. Scientific publishing suffers from a “no-results/no-publish”” bias: studies that show no link or no flashy results are less likely to be published, so of course, more attention will be paid to results that surprise or alarm. Your arguments are very hard to take seriously as a result, mostly because I can’t believe you in good faith attempted to weigh the evidence you disagree with in the same way you did the evidence that supports your beliefs. This is pretty disingenuous.

    • ForChristAlone

      So I gather you would be inclined if you had a wife and daughter(s) to encourage their use of the pill?

      • Boone’s On Parade

        My wife and I made the decision to do so before we got married, and I plan to educate my hypothetical daughters in such a way that they can make that decision for themselves when the time comes. So, yes, I suppose you could say I’d “encourage” their use.

        • Aldo Elmnight

          You should start donating now:
          ww5.komen.org

          • Boone’s On Parade

            Yeah, no thanks. I’ll donate my money where it can actually do some good; Komen is very bad at what they do.

        • Michael Kocian

          You’re rejecting God. Marital love is about self giving. No one who is on the pill can completely give of their self when contracepting, i.e. you I give all of myself except fertiltiy. Like it or not, you’re encouraging fornication – you and your wife, and your hypothetical granddaughters. You’re not encouraging the holy love of God in marriage, but to use one another for pleasure… You’re not near as smart as you think you are.

  • GoDark

    Two comments on birth control: (1) My wife was just diagnosed with breast cancer at age 67. There has never been another instance of breast cancer in her linage on both sides … and the women in her linage typically lived into their 80s and 90s. The difference? She was on birth control pills for seven years and they were not. (2) The “pill” promotes promiscuity. The evidence? My teenage daughter related that her close friend (whom we also knew well), told her that because she was on the “pill” she could have sex with anyone she wanted. A little tabulation and it looks like she had at least five boyfriends in just one semester of her senior year in high school. These examples are anecdotal but they are repeated in millions of personal experiences in Western culture. The “pill” drives the “hang out and hook up” culture that is eroding the prospects for successful marriage … the willingness of males to make commitments and females to stay faithful. When promiscuity goes amiss, the child is all too often aborted as if terminating an unborn baby’s life was no more significant than taking a cure for the common cold. As one pundit recently and erroneously put it, promiscuous sex (driven by a “pill-based” culture) is a victim-less crime … because there are no consequences. A demonstrably false statement on multiple levels!

    • ForChristAlone

      Your daughter’s friend ought to go to the Church of Hombre where she’ll likely get a pass on all behavior.

    • Tony

      Let’s all promise to pray for Mrs. Go, tonight. God bless you, sir.

  • RufusChoate

    Apparently this society places more importance on limiting the enhancement of performance by adults who play children’s game for a living than the lives of Women and the lives of their children. .

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  • Arthur

    Along the lines of the article, here’s a link to a recent study showing that the ratings of attractiveness of Tour de France male cyclists by women Not on the pill correlates with the successful performance of the Tour de France cyclists. Meanwhile, if men or women on the pill rate Tour de France male cyclists for attractiveness, there is little correlation to race performance. A link to a Washington Post Article on this and also to the full study is below.

    Washington Post commentary article on the above –>
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/women-found-faces-of-riders-who-performed-better-at-the-tour-de-france-more-attractive/2014/02/10/e619a5f4-8f64-11e3-84e1-27626c5ef5fb_story.html

    full Tour de France study on the above–>
    http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/10/2/20130966.full.pdf+html

    and a study on how pill use changes women’s mate selection –>
    http://www.thestranger.com/images/blogimages/2009/10/07/1254931423-tree_final_proofs.pdf

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  • portlandcatholic

    Information I wish I had been given 30 years ago.

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  • Ohso

    Psychiatrist Keith Ablow: I’ll keep speaking out against transgenderism despite death threats
    WASHINGTON, D.C., January 28, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Dr. Keith Ablow, M.D., has been the target of death threats for his view that so-called ‘transgenderism’ is unproven science that puts vulnerable children at risk of unnecessary surgical procedures and lifelong confusion.But the Massachusetts-based psychiatrist told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview that he’ll keep speaking out on the issue despite the dangers.

    “I have had to make a decision about whether to say what I think and try to be empathetic to everyone, despite those threats and despite the calls from many people for me to be stripped of my academic credentials,” Ablow told LifeSiteNews. “It’s important to keep speaking out on this issue because, apparently, in America, there are thousands of children who are being prepared for extensive, life-changing plastic surgery who may or may not need it.”

    Ablow said that what causes a person to feel ‘trapped in the wrong body’ is a question that needs to be “reopened” by the psychiatric community. “We don’t know as psychiatrists precisely where any fixed and false belief comes from,” Ablow said. “And if it turns out that people who think they are locked in the wrong gender body could have been approached with something other than a scalpel, then we’ll be responsible as a field for not having been more diligent in seeking those answers as to where this comes from.”http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/psychiatrist-keith-ablow-ill-keep-speaking-out-against-transgenderism-despi

  • adevar@hotmail.com

    Thank you….

  • Sarah

    I was put on the pill at 16 because of a severe hormone imbalance. NFP could never have worked for me. I have just celebrated 40 years of marriage and never had sex with anyone else. You would really have to cross reference this article to several neutral scholarly articles to prove your point.

    • fredx2

      I think the church allows use of the pill to correct a medical condition.

    • Michael Kocian

      God’s one Church permits the use where necessary to treat authentic medial conditions, like yours. God’s one Church opposes contraception, which you were apparently not doing. Along the way, was there a better way to treat your imbalance, though. Look up Dr. Hilgers, who founded the Pope Paul VI Institute for reproductive health… he could help the imbalance.

  • SMH

    These aren’t the only negative effects of the pill. What about my lost siblings? My life spent virtually as an only child whose siblings were contracepted into oblivion? What about the marriage I thought would lead to happiness but since I was on forced contraception led only to heartache and the feeling that I was only good for one thing, but not motherhood?

  • Timothy Black

    If I may self promote a bit, we set up a website for our archdiocese with info and classes if you happen to be here. It also aims to be a resource for NFP as well. I intend to put a link to back this article, too

    http://nfpsst.org

  • John Smith

    The British Medical Journal reported an unintended pregnancy rate of 0.2% in a study of nearly 20,000 women in India using Natural Family Planning. http://showersonwheels.org/british-medical-journal-nfp/

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  • Mark Oshinskie

    Also, these steroids are excreted and end up in streams and rivers where they feminize/malform aquatic life.

  • musicacre

    Great article! Missed it I guess because it was around the time my father passed away so I’ve been away from Crises magazine/computer for a few weeks.

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