(LifeSiteNews) – As a pro-life person, I am morally opposed to many forms of so-called “birth control” not simply on religious grounds, but on ethical grounds. Many forms of hormonal birth control have the capacity to function as abortifacients and can end the life of a child at a very early age – something nearly all users are unaware of and something many medical professionals deny. For those interested in the facts on this, Alexandra De Sanctis penned a very helpful explainer at National Review titled “Yes, Some Contraceptives Are Abortifacients,” and the pro-life educational organization Live Action has a very thorough reference guide on that subject that you can peruse here (and if you have any questions, I strongly recommend taking a look).
With that aside, there are many other practical good reasons to avoid birth control that ethicists and academics have been highlighting for years, most notably perhaps in Dr. Janet E. Smith’s popular and prescient presentation “Contraception: Why Not?” As usual, it has taken secular observers some time to catch up with religious scholars on this subject, committed as they are to “reproductive healthcare” that serves the function of enabling the sexual revolution’s commitment to facilitating sex without procreation. The latest comes from New York Post columnist and News Features reporter Rikki Schlott, who covers campus culture, Gen Z, higher ed, and women’s issues in a column titled “Why more women, like me, are abandoning the pill over emerging health concerns.”
Schlott writes that she, like most girls her age, started taking the pill in high school as a treatment for acne. During the pandemic, after six years taking it, she started wondering what effect it was having on her. She decided to stop taking it. “Many of my friends,” she writes, “are independently doing the same, whether it’s driven by concern for their mental health, desire for something more natural—or curiosity about what the world looks like when you’re not in a hormonal fog. For more and more Gen Z women, there’s an intuitive sense that hormonal birth control might be messing with us, and our brains. And research is backing it up, showing correlations between the pill and a decreased sex drive, as well as higher rates of depression and suicide, and even stress reactions similar to PTSD survivors.”
Schlott then refers to a 2019 book by research psychologist Dr. Sarah Hill titled This is Your Brain on Birth Control: The Surprising Science of Women, Hormones, and the Law of Unintended Consequences, which she wrote after discovering how different she felt after she stopped taking the pill herself. She suspects that many other women are feeling the same way, citing a nine percent drop in oral contraceptive use between 2002 and 2017, and doctors anecdotally observing women wanting something different. Viral social media videos and TikTok and elsewhere feature women talking about the impact of the pill on their health, driving a long overdue conversation. Many, ironically, find that the pill was killing their sex drive – a side effect that academics like Smith have been talking about for years.
“We are moving, culturally, toward a place where we’re recognizing that putting a bunch of chemicals in our body isn’t necessarily a great idea,” Hill said. “People are looking for more natural approaches.” Schlott cites a wide range of examples of women who found their lives dramatically improve upon abandoning the pill – and many found that they were even attracted to different people once the pill was not impacting their minds. Most noted that their mental health changed markedly.
Hill noted that her research shows alarming and far-reaching effects: “We should be alarmed by the fact that the stress hormone profiles of women who are on birth control look more like those belonging to trauma victims than they do like those belonging to otherwise healthy young women.”
Over the past several generations, taking the pill has become normative even for girls as young as 13 and 14, and Dr. Hill believes we may be seeing a generational shift. “This generation of women is demanding they get information about what’s going into their body,” she said. “A younger generation of women are saying, ‘Hey, wait a minute. You can’t just tell me what to put in my body and expect me to blindly obey.’”
It is ridiculous, Hill says, not to expect hormonal birth control to impact brain development – and yet, there’s been little to no discussion about those consequences outside of primarily religious circles until now. “To be honest with you, I don’t know how anyone could predict anything other than that, because the puberty transition is when your brain is remodeling itself from its childlike phenotype into its adult version of itself. It’s hard to believe that, by some miracle, it wouldn’t affect brain development.”
As Schlott writes:
Researchers also found birth control use during adolescence is associated with a “small but robust” increase in the risk of major depressive disorder later in life. Girls who start the pill early are disproportionately likely to be prescribed antidepressants and diagnosed with depression. And a study of half a million women in Denmark revealed early hormonal contraceptive use may even be associated with a tripled risk of suicide. This risk of lifelong mental health issues and even suicide is not only startling, it’s been largely underreported despite how many young women continue to be prescribed hormonal birth control with little to no warnings.
Unsurprisingly, the conclusion of Schlott’s column still emphasizes the fundamental necessity of contraceptives to female thriving. That conclusion is premised on the idea that the sexual revolution was a good and necessary thing – a conclusion that, fortunately, is attracting its own critics.
Most recently, feminist writer Louise Perry published a scathing takedown of the world the sexual revolution created for women titled The Case Against the Sexual Revolution. If we are to truly see a generational shift in how we approach this issue, we will need to start chipping away at the rotten foundations these practices were built on, to begin with. When that happens, many will be forced to see that the religious critics were right all along – and that much pain and suffering could have been avoided if their warnings had been heeded.