Experts in medicine, theology and minority issues warned that although the birth control pill is widely used by women in America, its adverse effects are being seen throughout the country today.
“It’s just assumed that the pill is good,” said Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, a board-certified breast cancer surgeon and clinical assistant surgery professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
She explained that despite these assumptions, studies have repeatedly shown that the pill increases the risk of deadly blot clots, stroke and breast cancer.
Lanfranchi spoke at a June 2 symposium in Washington, D.C. Hosted by the American Life League, panelists at the symposium examined the social, medical and spiritual impact of the birth control pill on American life.
Birth control has become a heated topic in recent months, as a mandate issued by the Obama administration will soon require employers to offer health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs free of charge.
Lanfranchi said that both the National Toxicology Advisory Panel and the U.N. International Agency on Research of Cancer have acknowledged the pill as a cancer-causing carcinogen.
While the pill does lead to lower rates of ovarian and uterine cancer, it is not even close to being a trade-off, she said, because these cancers are already far more rare than breast cancer, which is significantly more likely for women on the pill.
Unfortunately, major cancer societies refuse to acknowledge the data, she said. In need of donations, they succumb to public pressure to avoid controversial or unpopular positions and choose instead to ignore or even deny the link between the pill and cancer.
Lanfranchi also spoke about the pill’s ability to cause abortions, a fact that many women do not realize.
The pill thins the lining of the uterus, which can lead an already-created embryo to have difficulty implanting, she explained. In addition, the pill can cause biochemical interference with the implantation process.
Ethicist and moral theologian Dr. Pia de Solenni explained that while Church teaching on sexuality is often ridiculed and viewed as restrictive, it is actually “about love at its fullest.”
The Church recognizes that sex is good and natural, intended to communicate unity, intimacy, trust and love, she said. In communicating authentic love, which is “living for the other,” sex must properly offer a complete gift of self, including the body, mind and soul.
Using contraception, however, is withholding one’s fertility and failing to give “a complete gift of self,” she explained. This “lessens our ability to love” and objectifies the other person by seeking intimacy and pleasure without offering a full gift of love.
Gloria Purvis, who chairs Black Catholics United for Life, explained that the modern contraception mentality is rooted in the eugenics movement, which believes that “the unfit should not reproduce” and considers many poor minority populations to be “human weeds.”
Margaret Sanger, who founded the American Birth Control League in 1921 – which eventually became Planned Parenthood in 1942 – was a “proponent of eugenics” and considered African Americans to be “human waste,” she said.
Using rhetoric of “family planning” and “better health,” Sanger promoted contraception among black communities, she explained. Sanger managed to fool many prominent African American leaders, who embraced her message and adopted what seemed to be “noble goals.”
The real goal, however, was to “eliminate the black family” because it created a drain on society, she said.
Sanger succeeded in spreading her message, and contraceptive use came to be seen as responsible, she observed, adding that even today, minorities are highlighted as an example of people who benefit most from the pill.
Although they may not realize it, many doctors in America have been “very much influenced” by the eugenics movement, Purvis argued.
She and all of her African American friends experienced “pressure” from the medical community to abort their children for various reasons, she explained.
Once pregnant, she said, “it was like running a gauntlet to get to delivery.” She added that women without resources could easily feel as though they had an “obligation” to society to abort.
While the doctors may present their message “in a caring way,” they – like many Americans – have been deceived by Margaret Sanger and “the pill mindset,” she said.