That bizarre claim comes in a strange web video making the rounds. The video, You Deserve to Know the Truth about Contraception, apparently produced by a group of Roman Catholic nuns called the Children of Mary order, argues that women who take “chemical” contraception no longer produce hormones that attract men. So heterosexual men eventually will turn to other men for sex:
“What is a man to do when the majority of women are contracepting and he no longer finds them desirable, while contracepting women degrade themselves through immodest dress and action in an attempt to attract men who are confused from the lack of fertile women?”
The video goes on to argue — with no real evidence — that contraception also leads to more divorce, adultery and promiscuity. And it distorts science by claiming that hormonal contraception causes cancer, causes the abortion of millions of early pregnancies and pollutes the water supply with synthetic estrogen excreted in women’s urine.
In fact, research on the cancer risk of contraception is mixed. Some studies show a slightly and temporarily elevated risk for breast cancer, while other research doesn’t. Still other research shows that hormonal contraception actually reduces the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers. Moreover, as we pointed out in an earlier post, research simply doesn’t support the claim that contraception causes abortions.
And what about synthetic estrogen polluting the water supply? Nope. From the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals:
“A literature review published in Environmental Science and Technology by researchers at the UCSF PRHE debunks the myth that birth control pills (and other estrogen-based hormonal contraceptives) are a major contributor to the presence of estrogenic compounds in waterways. The reviewers conclude that birth control pills contribute a negligible amount of synthetic estrogen to waterways, and EE2 is minimal or nonexistent in drinking water. The notion of unsuspecting Americans drinking water filled with birth control hormones may get headlines—but it does not accurately describe the state of the science.”
In some ways the war on birth control resembles efforts to dumb down teaching about evolution in public schools. In both cases we see science distorted or ignored altogether in an attempt to hijack public policy and use it to promote the personal religious beliefs of some over all others. (See more examples of junk science employed in attacks on contraception here.)
The video above also makes a number of religious arguments against contraception:
“Chemical contraceptives are not the only problem. It’s the whole birth control mentality – this idea that we have the right to decide when and how life comes about.”
It declares that the “birth control mentality” causes a “pollution of the heart” that “rejects the will of God and seeks selfish pleasure instead.”
We absolutely support the right of anyone to hold such faith beliefs. Indeed, that right is at the core of religious liberty — individuals have the right to choose for themselves, based on their own religious beliefs (or nonreligious views), whether or not to use contraception. But distorting the science around issues like contraception is irresponsible and discredits the arguments of those who engage in such tactics.
(Hat tip: Huffington Post)