Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the Pill

I will tell you something that really shouldn't be controversial, but is: I'm on the Pill.  I have been on the Pill continuously for over nine years, and I intend to remain on it for the foreseeable future.

If you are a sensible person, your response to this is, "okay... so?"  Because this would be like me telling you that I take allergy medicine or fish oil supplements or dye my hair every six weeks: I choose to do it for reasons somewhere between purely medical and purely personal, at the expense of my insurance when I have good insurance and at my own expense when I don't, and the side effects and risks it entails are ones that a reasonable adult might accept.  

However, many people I know seem to have totally different responses.  The Pill, they say, is unnatural (often they say this while drinking apple martinis that contain absolutely no apple).  Also, it will mess up my body and my "rhythms" and make it harder for me to have children and possibly lead to birth defects in said children if I do have them, and doesn't it make me feel weird to be controlled by medicine?  Now, of course, most of these objections have been scientifically demonstrated to be bullshit and/or are completely irrelevant; moreover, almost all of them could be made for many other things. If a person who eats only organic food and uses only organic skin products and refuses to take any kind of medicine and so forth wants to lecture me about this, well, I don't know that I'll listen, but I'll at least respect where she's coming from.  But it's a pretty weak argument when it comes out of the mouth of someone who's happy to engage in every subjugation of her "natural rhythms" that modern technology can offer, except one that relates to her reproductive organs.

I'm writing about this now because of this article (and response).  The author here also manages to include a sort of "if you go on the Pill you'll forget to have children" argument - forget?  really?  what, is society going to stop reminding me for longer than eight seconds?  please? - that is actually more ludicrous (in my opinion) than anything I've mentioned previously.  Most people on the Pill still get a period every month, or every three months, so it's not like - to the extent that blood in your nether regions is womanly or motherly - we're missing out on this reminder.  We just don't want to be pregnant in our twenties in such large numbers, and the Pill - now only one of the reliable methods at our disposal, and not the best for anyone who wants to be truly carefree - helps us to fulfill this desire.  Women who wait too long to procreate may regret it (although the ones whose stories I read seem to mostly feel that waiting was their best option).  But so may people who don't take advantage of their youth in other ways - and I don't see this author telling women to stop suppressing their "natural" urge to each chocolate while their metabolisms can still handle it.

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