Were Women Meant to Have Periods?

One of the latest medical contributions to the world has not been a step closer to the cure for AIDS or Parkinsons or cancer or Alzeimer’s or gluttony. The science world has introduced a new series of birth control pills that will cause women to never have a period again. How should Christians respond? After all, it seems like a convenience for those who are tired of buying tampons and Midol. While it could be helpful for those who have severe cramping and want relief, those who have introduced the new pills seem to taking a different line. They tout the benefit of not having agonizing pain, but they go further in saying that we can do away with the inconvenience.

Listen to this obstetrician, “We weren’t supposed to have 13 natural periods year after year after year,” said Linda Miller, an obstetrician/gynecologist at the University of Washington in Seattle. “We as a society have already changed what nature intended for us.” First of all, how does she know what ‘nature’ intended for us? Secondly, does nature have a personality so that it can plan and design for us? Thirdly, there is an arrogance to such a statement that bleeds of self-centeredness.

Not to say much about our proclivity for comfort, this movement towards sexual liberation has done more harm than just to our culture. How many of the drugs on the pharmacy’s shelves are beneficial for us? How many doctors have maligned the Hippocratic Oath they swore not so long ago? There has been a right reaction against such a drug. Some of these reactions stem from the desire to not tamper with the way God made us. Some reactions are aimed at the pretension of science to think that it has mastered ‘nature.’ And the third has to do with something I align myself with more. That is, there are those of us who react against pumping our bodies with hormones and chemicals that do more harm than good.

So much of what we have in the medical field is not for health as much as for convenience and laziness. Erectile dysfunction pills, birth control pills, sleeping pills, diet pills, etc. Truly we are a legally drugged-up society. We have not thought much about what we are putting into our bodies because it takes too much work. And besides, that Cherry Coke is awfully tasty. Have we depended upon drugs more than the better work of eating healthy foods? It takes ten minutes more to fix a bowl of oatmeal than to drive up to McDonald’s and order a breakfast sandwich. However, if you factor in the waiting in line, payment, and driving (gas!) to the store…then it is cheaper and quicker to fix that bowl of oatmeal – not to mention healthier.

Enough. My point is just to challenge us to think through these issues with Gospel in our eyes. It is more than just a convenience for people that is driving this drug. It is convenience that has become the end-all-be-all of our American culture.

Comments 4

  1. I’d get at the underlying fact of what Dr. Miller said. What is the reason women are having 13 periods, year after year? It’s because we proactively prevent conception from occurring, and we have fewer children in this brave new world. Once we’ve made the moral decision to prevent conception because children are somehow inconvenient, the same logic can be applied to menstruation. Miller points out the moral similarity of the two positions. I kind of get her point.

    What I’d like to know about this form of contraception as a Christian, is whether it is abortifascent. (sp?) If it stops ovulation cold, it would seem that this may be a form of contraception that might be far more acceptable to Christians who choose to go the contraceptive route.

    Should Christian mothers in the pains of childbirth have epidurals withheld from them? That in my mind is a far more significant question theologically than a pill that can stop menstruation. I guess what I’m saying is that this is not the heart of the debate, but nobody wants to talk about the greater underlying issues, so instead we discuss this peripheral issue because it is novel.

  2. A good word, Matt. I agree entirely on the aspect of the complete over-drugification of America (HELLO PROZAC).

    Also, this has nothing to do with the post, but I just saw the new look here, and I’m diggin it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been reading, just with RSS instead of coming here ;-)

  3. It would seem that this drug would not be abortifacient. You make a good point in the end of your comment G.F. – that Christians like to talk about peripheral issues. However, I don’t think that we should not talk about peripheral issues since they do revolve around the heart issues. I try to pose the question for us that is different than the one you pose. That is, why is there such a surge to stop what ‘nature’ intended? I believe the underlying issue is that we live in a culture where ease is king. As for you epidural issue, I will ponder and post later. Thanks for visiting. I would like to hear your take on why it would be okay for Christians to take birth control pills.

  4. Matt, this is one issue where we might actually agree! :)

    You mentioned the issue of some birth control being abortifacient, but I’m under the impression that all birth control includes some level of abortifacient medication. Is this incorrect?

    This relates to G.F.’s point about how the pill works. Some research shows that women on birth control for long periods of time will have “breakthrough ovulation,” where they ovulate at times it’s supposed to be prevented. Hence, if a pill doesn’t include medication to thin the lining of the womb (thus preventing successful implantation of a zygote, resulting in abortion), then it’s not going to be quite as “effective” as the pills that do.

    My thing is, while breakthrough ovulation isn’t thoroughly documented right now, it shouldn’t come as any surprise. Virtually every medication carries with it the risk that our bodies adjust to the presence of the drug, requiring higher doses over time. But the dose can’t be raised too much before it become lethal, which should give any self-respecting woman cause to question taking a smaller amount of something lethal.

    Concerning the relief of menstrual pain, for which birth control is often prescribed, I read the other day that calcium can do just as good a job. Sounds a lot healthier, but it won’t be as profitable for the pharma industry.

    All that said, from a macro-theological point of view, the issue at hand isn’t the incidental risk of causing an abortion or the side effects of birth control and messing around with our hormones (respecting our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit comes to mind). The issue is causing division between sex/marriage and conception/raising children. Marriage is designed to create a loving environment for children that reflects Trinitarian love. Just as Divine Love is made flesh in Christ, spousal love is made flesh in children. What happens when a couple decides children are optional? When a couple isn’t completely open to a marriage that is fruitful in every way, do they not risk worshiping gods of comfort and selfishness?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *