View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A bitter pill to swallow

New warning on contraceptive-cancer link

Rome, Aug. 03 ( - The World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (WFCMA) has called attention to a new study showing that the use of oral contraceptives increases a woman's risk of cancer.

In a study backed by the World Health Organization, a team of 21 scientists from 8 countries studied estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives, and concluded that the Pill belongs on a list of known cancer-causing agents. The study, conducted under the aegis of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyons, put the estrogen-progestogen on the list of "Group 1" carcinogens.

The international study "sheds new light light on the prophetic value of Paul VI's Humanae Vitae (doc)," the WFCMA observed. The Rome-based group added that it "encourages Catholic doctors to spread the methods for natural family planning."

Roughly 100 million women worldwide-- about 10 percent of all women of child-bearing age-- use the Pill. The WHO study shows that the Pill is linked to higher risk of cancer of the breast, cervix, and liver.

Let’s see. The pill is bad for women’s health. Abortions are bad for women’s health. RU-486 is bad for women’s health. IUDs are bad for women’s health.

And the pro-choice, pro-contraception folks say they are pro-woman?


Blogger Talmida said...

Lee, I appreciate your comments, but I wonder if it's fair to put birth control in the same basket with abortion or abortifacient methods of birth control. Having 12 or 15 kids is not great for a woman's health either.

Not being able to turn to your spouse and make love when you want to isn't great for the health of your marriage, or for your stress levels. Wasn't there a study saying that stress causes cancer too?

There is nothing wrong with regulating or spacing the births of your children. It would be nice if there were a way that was 100% safe, natural, effective AND convenient, but so far, there isn't.

So women choose the risks they're prepared to bear. It's a shame men don't get pregnant. Then maybe they could understand how "increased risk of cancer" really stacks up against the alternatives.

Being "pro-woman" is about a bit more than extending our lifespan -- it's about wanting to live that life, being happy and in control of one's own future. It's about freedom.

12:15 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

I've been a user and supporter of Natural Family Planning for years (no, it's not the rhythm method!).

The short periods of abstinence to avoid pregnancy - a few days each month - were not a burden.We were adult enough to be able delay gratification.

Actually, it led to a couple of Whoopie! nights when the coast was clear!

In most marriages, the couples have to abstain when the wife is having her period or when one of them is sick - does that hurt their marriage? Not if it's healthy.

Moreover, NFP forces the man to be more aware of and attuned to the cycles of his wife. It's a joint project that can help to increase intimacy.

By the way, the tally was three kids - without birth control.

When used correctly, NFP has a success rate as high as the pill.

The good thing about it is that you can use it to help get pregnant when you want to.

And, it is all natural.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

By the way, I don't mean to sound flip about the potential health problems connected with pregnancy and birth. Carrying and delivering a child can place an incredible burden on a woman's body, and women have and still die.

Second, the point of my post was not to attack people who use birth control - I leave that to them, God and their confessors.

Rather, I was trying to echo (with my pro-woman crack) the sloganeering of many of the folks who promote birth control. They are often the same people who promote abortion - Planned Parenthood in the U.S., for example. They seem to view pregnancy as an illness to be prevented (birth control) or "cured" (abortion).

9:38 AM  
Blogger Talmida said...

I support NFP, too Lee. I even used it for 15 years. I just don't think it's the best choice for all couples -- the first choice, certainly, but not necessarily the best.

Short cycles. Irregular cycles. Small children. Breastfeeding. Menopause. Couples who travel for work. Illness.

Is it part of a healthy marriage not to have sex for 3 months? for 6? for a year? for 2 years? At what point does NFP become enforced celibacy?

My point is that birth control (whether NFP or otherwise) is a GOOD THING for women. Otherwise marriage (for women) can become a slavery to children.

When these rules were first written, did anyone suspect that married couples might live together for 60 or 70 years? That if you had 12 or 15 or 20 children, that ALL of them were likely to survive? I don't think so.

I appreciate that the Pro-birth control are often the same as the pro-abortion crowd, but unfortunately, the anti-abortion crowd often comes across as the anti-woman crowd.

12:24 PM  
Blogger jordan said...

"The contraceptively liberated discover sadly that pursuit of easy gratification rarely leads to deep and enduring intimacy. Marriages and families are notoriously unstable and children suffer, often in the midst of extraordinary advantages and opportunities."
Leon Kass

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Connie said...

OK, Jordan, that's Leon's opinion. What makes him correct???

12:08 PM  

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