Birth control pills are often touted as something wonderful for women’s rights, giving them freedom and control over their lives, but this is a false delusion. To my disappointment I see many women in the eco-conscious, sustainable, natural lifestyle realm advocating for the use of hormonal contraceptives. One popular sustainable lifestyle blogger boasted about how she donated to Planned Parenthood. Another popular so-called “wellness” magazine urged women to stock up on birth control pills because under Trump’s presidency they may not become so easily accessible. One time, a brand offering an organic/natural women’s care subscription box requested a collaboration with me. But I declined to work with them since on their blog they had articles in favour of birth control use.
These are just a few examples of what I think is confused thinking. On the one hand these people are concerned about women’s health and that of the planet, but on the other hand they are in favour of something that is detrimental to women’s bodies and the environment. The argument that birth control pills lend to women’s independence and freedom is not even a sufficient one, as it actually makes women dependent on a foreign substance to control their fertility.
Hormonal contraceptives are deceptively marketed as “feminist”, but when we look at a broader perspective they are actually against women’s best interest.
FERTILITY IS NOT A DISEASE
The purpose of taking medication should be to try to cure or alleviate a symptom or illness. Fertility is not an illness, in fact it is the opposite. For a limited time in a woman’s life, the ability to conceive is an indication of good health, even if you do not want to have children.
If a female is not fertile at an age when she should be, that means something is wrong with her health. Even synthetically manipulating your body to remove the quality of fertility through sanctioned pharmaceuticals undermines your health and the proper functioning of your body, which is discussed in the next section.
When we advocate the use of “medicine” to remove fertility, what we are saying is that there is a female quality that needs to be “fixed” and eradicated. Is that not an anti-feminine stance? As if nature is wrong and so oppressive to make us fertile.
Research shows that the side effects of birth control pills include nutrient depletion. Among women who take oral contraceptives, there is a depletion in key nutrients such as folic acid, vitamins B2, B6, B12, vitamin C and E and the minerals magnesium, selenium and zinc.
If that isn’t alarmingly concerning on its own, think about how much worse it must be in combination with these two factors ; 1) our food sources are already depleted in nutrients through industrial agriculture and 2) we live in a culture that promotes debauchery and excessive drinking which compromises gut health and absorption of nutrients.
Such nutrient depletion affects your ability to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy in the future. Some professionals in alternative medicine say that women should take two years of recovery from the pill if they wish the get pregnant and have a healthy baby. What a shame that this isn’t common knowledge, and that motherhood in general is being discouraged in the minds of young women.
But beyond pregnancy, there are serious concerns even for women who would like to opt out of parenthood ;
increase risk of cervical and breast cancer
lower bone mineral density
heart disease, plaque buildup
fatal blood clots and stroke
Given all these negative associations it is really disturbing that we live in a world where it is just taken as a given that once you turn a certain age as a female, you’ll most likely take birth control pills. Doctors don’t think twice about it, and even worse not even the parents.
Hormonal contraceptives excrete estrogen into the environment and water supply. This contributes even further to the problem of estrogen pollution that we already have from other sources such as petrochemical residues from plastics, food additives, pesticides, heavy metals and household cleaning products.
Drugs contaminating our water supply are known to harm fish and wildlife. Estrogen is linked to breast cancer and may even be related to prostate cancer in men. A study from the International Agency for Research on Cancer demonstrated that in areas where there were high rates of prostate cancer, there was also a high rate of oral contraceptive use.
INDEPENDENCE AND LIBERATION?
Those who advocate for the use of birth control pills say it allows a woman to have control over her fertility. But how is this so if she is actually dependent on pharmaceuticals to control her fertility?
The use of hormonal contraceptives discourages women from being in touch with the functioning of their own bodies. It removes them from the knowledge of their natural cycles and thus from self-ownership. This is really sad because fertility cycles are not a mystery.
Taking pills suggests that we should not have to think about how our bodies work and that we should not have to be responsible for our actions, like an actual adult. In this sense, it is disempowering for women.
The ability to have sex indiscriminately without consequence is not a natural human right that needs to be fulfilled by a governing institution. Hyper sexuality is only a luxury and decadence of civilizations, and has been shown to be a mental addiction. Any type of indulgement that is addictive is not liberating, and since birth control pills inadvertently promote such behaviour, they are not a tool of liberation. No one would say the alcoholic is free because he can drink all he wants.
“MY BODY, MY CHOICE”
Of course, and luckily in the Western world, we do not have laws stating that women MUST have children.
Given the information about the damage to nature caused by excreting hormones into the water supply, we can see that it goes beyond one’s own personal choices to take hormonal pills.
If you want to exercise your right to choose to not get pregnant, you can do this thing called abstaining when fertile. It’s really not rocket science and nature has done this wonderful thing to make it easy for you by making a clockwork schedule in line with the moon, of when you will be able to conceive for only 5 days of every month. I really can’t think of anything more basic that a woman should know about herself than her own menstrual cycle.
I understand that some people believe they need to take birth control pills for reasons other than contraception, but there are resources out there for balancing your hormones naturally through a holistic and nutrient dense diet.
TUNE IN WITH NATURE
The eco-friendly and natural approach to birth control is one where women are in tune with their natural cycles and have self-determination through knowledge of their own bodies, as our ancestors did.
One menstrual cycle is literally one lunar cycle! We should equip young women with self-empowerment through knowledge of these natural rhythms and prudence in planning.