Alright ladies, pour yourself a latte, cause Auntie Alison wants to chat with you about something important.
A confession: I turned 30 this year. I know, right? I don't look a day past . . . Well, let's not go there. Turning 30 gets a lot of hype, but I think you're only as old as your middle school youth group makes you feel when they're still chattering away at 4:17 a.m. at a lock-in.
When I was 20, 4:17 was just a kind of late night for me. I would slug gallons of vanilla coke and coffee and regularly function on minimal sleep, cranking out term papers AFTER my Resident Assistant shift ended at 1:00 a.m. Over the years, however, I've stopped drinking soda and I try to limit my coffee consumption to the morning. I'm hardly a health nut, but being a good steward of my body is one way I honor God.
I think this is a pretty normal trend ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâ‰Ûù with maturity comes better decisions about our health. We realize fruit and granola makes a better breakfast than doughnuts and mountain dew and preservatives that enable food products to last until the year 3000 (I'm looking at you, Twinkies) should probably be consumed in moderation.
A glaring exception to this is our culture's enthusiasm for hormonal contraceptives, or 'the Pill' as it's known on the streets. If you're like me, you hear 'pill' and think something that's good for you and will help you feel better, like Aleve for a headache or Nyquil for a cold. Hormonal contraception, however, contain hormones that prevent a woman's body from releasing an egg (ovulation) and — without getting into too many details — make her cervix and uterine wall hostile to sperm and implantation.
This is in case ovulation occurs (in spite of the hormones telling your body not to) and the egg is fertilized. In this case, the five to seven day old baby won't be able to attach to the wall of the uterus, causing a chemical abortion. (For a more thorough explanation of this, visit thepillkills.com)
The Cancer-causing Pill
The Catholic Church is opposed to contraception as a means to prevent pregnancy because of the barrier it creates between husband and wife and because it can cause chemical abortions. But you should know that the Catholic Church isn't the only one with strong feelings about this. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (these are guys in lab coats, not church people) 'lists combined oral contraceptives as Group 1 carcinogens. ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâèÏGroup 1' includes carcinogens in which ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâèÏthe agent (mixture) is definitely carcinogenic to humans'' (taken from www.1flesh.org).
Other items on this 33 page list (that you can read here) may be things you've heard of – Asbestos, mustard gas, plutonium, lead-based paint, radium, and gamma radiation to name a few. Think about it ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâ‰Ûù any chemical strong enough to override the already powerful hormones that occur naturally in our bodies would have to have side effects. One of them appears to be cancer. You don't need to go to the Vatican's website to learn this, either. Pick up any magazine with advertisements for contraception and flip to the next page ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâ‰Ûù the part with all the warnings.
And then there’s the mutant fish
Yeah. That’s right – mutant. The University of Pittsburgh's Cancer institute Center for Environmental Ecology discovered that hormones ingested in oral contraceptives are making their way back into public water supplies. Fish that are exposed to these chemicals are developing 'intersex characteristics' ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâ‰Ûù sexual mutations. These chemicals are not eco-friendly, but I'm still waiting for an infomercial with a Sarah McLaughlin soundtrack to share this alarming information with the general public.
These are actually just two examples of how hormonal contraception is basically the opposite of anything you would want to do to your body. There are many other ways that hormonal contraception is wreaking havoc on the bodies of women, our society and our environment. Check out www.1flesh.org for more information.
You deserve better
What if your doctor suggests that you take hormonal contraception for acne or painful menstrual cycles? While it's not sinful for girls to take these hormones to treat these or similar conditions, every year we're learning more about just how powerful the pill is. Don't hesitate to find a second opinion with another physician (see a list of physicians who don't prescribe the pill here).
To summarize: Twinkies, doughnuts and mountain dew in moderation. Carcinogens should be avoided completely.
If a doctor disagrees, show them the side effects of what they're trying to prescribe and explain that you'd like to reach 30 — and beyond — without adding the drama of an increased risk for cancer, blood clots, nausea, weight gain, or mood swings (to name just a few).
You deserve nature as God intended it.