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Happy Birthday to the pill, from the 'culture of Death'

December 3, 2010 - 04:00 PM
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Death in a box? (Photo: Associated Press)

It's the birth control pill's 50th birthday, and Daily Caller reporter Caroline May is celebrating with a story on how preventing pregnancy may kill you.

May cites a new poll commissioned by Human Life International, an organization dedicated to "fighting the culture of Death around the world" and bringing "Americans the truth about human life, the beauty of children and the devastating and harmful physical and spiritual effects of contraception in America." HLI executive director Jenn Giroux told the Daily Caller that she is concerned "from a women's perspective" that young women are being prescribed the pill —for cramps, naturally—without being made aware of a purported link between hormonal birth control and breast cancer. So she drew up a poll to help spread this womanly concern to others.

A note on cancer and the pill: Outside human-life circles, the verdict on the pill's link to cancer is more nuanced. Some studies show that use of the pill is related to a "slightly elevated risk" of breast cancer. Others don't reveal a link. Because some studies show that pill users are more likely to be diagnosed with an earlier stage of breast cancer than are non-users, some researchers speculate that the uptick in cancer cases could be a sign of early detection instead of (or in addition to) increased risk of cancer. Studies have also consistently shown a link between pill use and a decrease in ovarian cancer risk.

Moving on: HLI's online poll [PDF] asked women if they are aware of a link between pill use and "increased risks of breast cancer." Only 19 percent of women answered in the affirmative (perhaps because the issue is far from resolved). Then, the poll posed a hypothetical: Say "new evidence" emerged "to suggest that taking hormonal contraceptives may increase the risk of breast cancer." Would that affect their pill use?

Poll respondents were split on that issue: 44 percent "concluded they would be less likely to take them," while 44 percent "said such research made no difference to them." The poll then asked women if they'd change their mind if a "definitive" link to breast cancer were established, and about ten percent of women switched camps to "less likely" to take the pill.

Interestingly, though, 3 percent of women said they would be more likely to take the pill if they knew it could give them cancer. I like to think of that as the culture of capital-D Death factor: Perhaps 3 percent of women are just deathly sick of thinly-veiled scare tactics targeted at increasing their baby production.


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