Sunday, April 12, 2015

Getting off the pill

A friend of mine confided to me that her teen-aged daughter was on the pill. The reason? she belongs to the Cadets, a version of the military for teens, and having her period would be really inconvenient when she goes to camp for six weeks. Take the pill, and she can schedule her period for a more convenient time - when camp ends.

This got me thinking of how many young girls must be on the pill for similar reasons. The demands of sports on teen girls probably results in many mothers requesting the pill for their daughters. After all, who wants to compete in a figure-skating event while having her period and who would want to be a competitive swimmer during her menstrual cycle?

Take the pill, and voila problems over. Plus the added benefits of clearer skin, less greasy hair, larger breasts, there seems to be a lot of pros to taking the pill.

When I expressed concern to my friend, she replied "oh don't worry, she is on the lowest dose and once camp is over, she will come off it." But just until the next time she needs to be the one telling her body when and where to follow its natural cycles.

There is a price to pay, a physical price as countless studies are showing. And there is a psychological price, one that is difficult to measure. But I know that it is all too common for young girls to become sexually active because they are on the pill and therefore feel safe from getting pregnant. And their boyfriend is all too eager to pressure them to take the relationship further. So easy to do, and the social pressure is there from all sides. From their girlfriends, from the prevailing culture with its acceptance of sex whenever and wherever you want it.

So it is refreshing to get another viewpoint and to get it from someone who is not pushing her morality on anyone. In fact, she seems to have come to this purely from her own experience of the downside of being on the pill.

Holly Grigg-Spall has a website and a soon-to-be released documentary on the pill and why it is better not to use it.

This is welcome advice in this age of widespread acceptance of hormonal contraception. I fear that we are going to pay a very high price for the invention of the pill, both in women's health and in the moral health of our society.

As Howard Kainz wrote:
A Catholic proponent of NFP would prefer to see an emphasis on the natural law, and would view the problems chronicled by Grigg-Spall as empirical manifestations of flouting that law. But like St. Thomas Aquinas, who emphasized that we should appreciate the truth no matter what its source, we should regard this movement, which focuses on one of the most potent snares of the sexual revolution, as a step in the right direction.

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