Starting a Healthier Conversation about Women’s Health

How Feminism and Big Pharma Are Failing Women and What You Can Do about It

When the Pill came out in the 1960s, it was feted by feminists as something that would liberate women from the constraints of their fertility, and it caught on fast. Today an estimated twelve million women are on it, and an estimated 80 percent will use it at some point. It was originally FDA-approved for short term use expressly as birth control, but pharmaceutical firms later began marketing it directly to consumers as a lifestyle drug. Today, many take it for decades, starting in adolescence. Might that be a problem?

Filmmakers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein are the latest to go on record saying, yes. However, since feminists and Big Pharma have so successfully tied the Pill to women’s “liberation,” it’s hard to have a fact-based conversation about it. So, they made their case in a film.

In The Business of Birth Control, they present information about hormonal contraceptives in three areas. The film: (1) explains how hormonal birth control works in the body; (2) discusses common side effects and risks up to and including death, some of which have been known but underreported (or misreported) for decades, and (3) explains alternative natural methods that eliminate them all.

How the Pill Works

The Pill is often prescribed as a means of regulating a woman’s menstrual cycle, but that’s not really what it does. A typical 28-day pack contains synthetic hormones to be taken for twenty-one days followed by seven days of placebo. At the end of the twenty-one days, she will usually experience some blood flow, but it isn’t a normal menstrual bleed. It’s called a “withdrawal bleed” because the abrupt drop in synthetic hormones mimics the normal, healthy cyclical drop in natural hormones.

The synthetic hormones do not perform the same functions as the natural. If she were to take the synthetics continuously, every day of the month, month after month, she would never have a period. Given that menstruation is inconvenient, that might seem like a good thing, but it isn’t. When operating naturally, the female hormonal cycle is like a well-orchestrated, body-wide symphony. The Pill prevents pregnancy by suppressing ovulation, and in putting that system on mute, it also switches off other natural ovarian functions.

One unstated presupposition behind widespread Pill usage, says Lara Briden, author of Period Repair Manual, is that ovulation serves no purpose other ovulation. She says that’s crazy. Ovulation is how the female body makes its own natural estrogen and progesterone, and these hormones affect many bodily functions including bone development, breast, brain, and cardiovascular function, even mood and libido. Shutting down this natural, healthy biosystem and introducing synthetic substitutes can have system-wide effects. Following is just a brief overview of side effects Lake and Epstein explore.

Side Effects

After going on and off the Pill twice, UK journalist Vicky Spratt wrote My nightmare on the pill in 2017. Later that year, she reported the results of her own and others’ investigations. Here are a few of the findings:

  • 93 percent of women ages 18-30 had taken or were taking the pill
  • Of those, 45 percent had experienced anxiety and 45 percent had experienced depression
  • 46 percent said taking the pill had decreased their sex drive
  • 58 percent believed the pill had a negative impact on their mental health; 4 percent believed it had a positive effect.

In addition, a Copenhagen ObGyn study found an 80 percent increased risk of depression for women who started oral contraceptives between ages fifteen through nineteen. That could be more related to the emotional complications of teen sex than to the Pill – something I’ve covered in Salvo from many angles (see related articles below) – but women of all ages reported depression and anxiety related to the Pill.

Other side effects Lake and Epstein draw out include painful sex; nutrient depletion; migraine headaches; weight gain; insomnia; fibroid tumors; polycystic ovarian syndrome; pulmonary embolisms and other blood clots; higher risks for stroke, heart attack, and diabetes; and death. Yes, death. They cover cases of death attributed to YAZ, a pill no longer on the market, and the NuvaRing, an insertable device still in use and available by mail order.

One might reasonably ask, what exactly is liberating about all this?

Natural Alternatives

And why aren’t more women choosing alternatives? Fertility awareness is an all-natural, but scientifically sophisticated alternative. Accurately charted and observed, fertility awareness methods can be 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. Naturopathic educators not only explain what it is and how it works, they also suggest several ways a woman can become more knowledgeable about her own body and confident to make decisions for her own health. (Heads up: some may prefer not to watch this section in mixed company.)

Where are the Women’s Health Advocates?

You’d think the feminists and the mental health industry would be all over these health complications, but if you thought that you would be wrong. Worse, many of the women interviewed said they didn’t feel like their doctors were listening to their complaints. Certainly, that won’t be the case for all physicians, but the bureaucratization of medicine, together with the sexual revolution, have coalesced on this issue in a way that incentivizes “liberating” women by writing scripts, health and wellness be damned.

I shouldn’t close without adding that Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein are anything but sexual moralists. (They open with a quasi-apology for using gendered language.) This, in my view, makes their documentary all the more compelling. If you’re a woman of childbearing age or love someone who is, click here to find a way to see it, and spread the word. Be an agent for a healthier conversation about women’s health.

Ricki and Abby are offering a free sneak preview of The Business of Birth Control this Feb. 4-6. For 48 hours, anyone can stream this film from anywhere in the world. Click here to get your ticket. Watch Abby Epstein discuss the movie with WGN Morning news below:

Further Reading:

has a BS in Computer Science and worked in software development with IBM until she hopped off the career track to be a full-time mom. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she works as Deputy Editor of Salvo and writes on apologetics and matters of faith.

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