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The Pill and 50 Years of Misery

Isn’t it interesting that as the United States of America approaches the 50th anniversary of this nation’s most popular recreational drug, the birth control pill, special interest media is ginning up the presses—or in this case, the web sites—with all sorts of ideas for the next 50 years. A sampling of what America’s birth control worshippers are saying may give one pause to rethink.

For example, on May 3, the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) announced “that it has received $1.5 million in grant funding to study a contraceptive for men that uses a combination of two hormonal gels applied to the skin of the arm and abdomen.”

The report explains:

The Food and Drug Administration approved the birth control pill on May 9, 1960, giving women greater control over their reproductive choices and their lives.

Drs. Christina Wang and Ronald Swerdloff are LA BioMed principal investigators and directors of one of only two of the National Institutes of Health centers dedicated to clinical research on male contraceptives. They have conducted several studies of male contraceptives, including the current one.

Dr. Swerdloff, the director of the LA BioMed at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center’s Male Contraceptive Clinical Trials Center, says the development of a male contraceptive will change men’s view of their health and their role in reproductive decisions.

“Just as women gained greater control over their reproductive choices and their health with the advent of the birth control pill, a male contraceptive would get men more involved in their personal health care and would give them greater reproductive choices,” said Dr. Swerdloff.

If one is to believe these comments, then the pill is celebrated today as a drug that gives women “control” over their ability to conceive or not to conceive a child, depending on their whims and fancies. Or to put it another way, in blunt but honest terms, the unveiling of the birth control pill in 1960 invited females and their male counterparts to consider, for the first time in our brief history, the idea that fornication and adultery could be a group sport because this little chemical concoction was going to do away with the possibility of conceiving a child. At the same time, the pill created the idea, perhaps subconsciously, that all those who used it would no longer be put in the unpleasant position of having to accept responsibility for their actions. This life-changing prescription meant not having to live with the consequence of—God forbid—being with child (i.e. pregnant). In other words, the pill changed everything, turning the truth about human sexuality—waiting until marriage to engage in relations and welcoming a child as a gift—on its head and then denying those truths because they were merely old-fashioned, outdated ideas.

Now clinical research is investigating the possibility that men should perhaps no longer carry little packages containing latex in their hip pocket or army boot but rather a prescription gel, so that they are always prepared and can take charge of the situation with less delay. Sounds almost like the scientists are arming men for war games with females.

In my humble opinion, any man worth his salt would never consider using a chemical that could, as has been the proven case with the birth control pill, result in a heart attack, a stroke, cancer or even death. On the other hand, proponents of these various chemicals do not admit to the fact that not only does the birth control pill abort on occasion; it is also not what one would describe as a health benefit. If those concerned with the health and wellbeing of humans were truly consistent, they would point out that no recreational drug is actually healthy, whether one is discussing cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, cigarettes or birth control chemicals.

In addition to the research devoted to men, there are other voices with different bones to pick about the pill’s 50th anniversary.

Susan Reimer’s opinion piece in the Baltimore Sun laments that the pill “didn’t stabilize marriages that might be stressed by too many children or sexual tension. Divorce has only increased since 1960, impacting almost half of all marriages. The pill didn’t stabilize populations in developing countries or control disease, famine and political unrest. The women in those countries couldn’t get the pill.”

“And it didn’t prevent unwed pregnancies, either. Those numbers have nearly tripled.”

But what she says the pill did create was more women in the workforce. Huh?

Reimer suggests that the enormous number of women in the workforce was a byproduct never projected by the lofty promise makers of the 1960s. But she doesn’t seem to get the point that, while the pill made it easier, perhaps, for women to enter the job market, it also, almost simultaneously, created a breakdown in the family. As more and more women entered the workforce, leaving their children in day care and their husbands to fend for themselves, the family unit started to decay to a point where today the television or the internet is the babysitter that nobody could have imagined. The pill has been among the most sociologically damaging instruments in history.

But these are the sort of things to which Reimer cannot admit.

Oh yes, and then there’s Geraldine Sealey, who hasn’t got a good word to say about the pill, about her life, about her sexual libido or frankly about anything at all. She is an angry woman, whose article carries the very appropriate title, “Why I hate the pill.” I thought I might be about to read an exposé on what the pharmaceutical companies have done to deceive women, using them as human guinea pigs and lying to them.

But no, that is not where Sealey went in her diatribe.

She just wants women to have more choices. And she wants the industry to do something about it because she is positive that all those “unwanted pregnancies” are happening because there still are not enough choices for females who want desperately to have sex but certainly don’t want to be troubled with a child.

She tells readers:

The birth control pill didn’t just magically appear in women’s medicine chests one day. Its creation was a hard-won victory for women, by women, specifically, Margaret Sanger and Katharine McCormick, the activist duo most responsible for its development. As Elaine Tyler May describes in her new book, America and the Pill, these heroines began their fight in the early 20th century against the same sexist forces that once prevented women from voting, as well as conventional wisdom that equated birth control with vice and immorality, but ultimately managed to get the pill introduced here decades later.

Oh, come on, lady! Let’s face facts and tell it straight for a change. Why do women want the pill along with as many other selections on the sex-at-any-price menu as they can get? Because, quite simply, they have become infatuated with the idea of never having to be accountable for anything they do in order to satisfy their sexual urges. It is as if sex alone was worth denying everything that is moral and good about being faithful, pure and chaste before marriage as well as after it. Those values have become near-artifacts in the history of the human race.

Chastity and fidelity are the focus of sneers, derision and mockery. And yet, after nearly 50 years and only God knows how many damaged women, men, families and dead babies, many in our midst are still racing ahead, demanding more … more misery, more heartbreak, more death, more perversion.
Pope John Paul II in his remarkable Gospel of Life (Chapter 1: 13), explained this societal negativity:

It is frequently asserted that contraception, if made safe and available to all, is the most effective remedy against abortion. The Catholic Church is then accused of actually promoting abortion, because she obstinately continues to teach the moral unlawfulness of contraception. When looked at carefully, this objection is clearly unfounded. It may be that many people use contraception with a view to excluding the subsequent temptation of abortion. But the negative values inherent in the “contraceptive mentality”—which is very different from responsible parenthood, lived in respect for the full truth of the conjugal act—are such that they in fact strengthen this temptation when an unwanted life is conceived. Indeed, the pro-abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church’s teaching on contraception is rejected. Certainly, from the moral point of view contraception and abortion are specifically different evils: the former contradicts the full truth of the sexual act as the proper expression of conjugal love, while the latter destroys the life of a human being; the former is opposed to the virtue of chastity in marriage, the latter is opposed to the virtue of justice and directly violates the divine commandment “You shall not kill”.

But despite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree.

Until that tree is uprooted, tossed aside and killed, the problems that confront mankind will not soon disappear. The honest response to the pill-loving in our midst and their hackneyed celebratory yammering should be that 50 years of deceit, misery and death is enough.