Feminist launches attack on the Pill

The Doctored Oath, video art from Jorden Williams

Female genital mutilation, abortion, egg harvesting and surrogacy are all practices which have bioethicists arguing vehemently on both sides. But the most common practice of all, controlling fertility with the contraceptive pill, is seldom discussed outside of some religious circles. Now it is coming in for some feminist blowback. (If you cannot see the video above, click here.)

Sweetening the Pill: or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control, by English feminist writer Holly Grigg-Spall, is a passionate attack on hormonal contraceptives to be released later this month. Its promotional literature says:

“Contrary to cultural myth, the birth-control pill impacts on every organ and function of the body, and yet most women do not even think of it as a drug. Depression, anxiety, paranoia, rage, panic attacks - just a few of the effects of the Pill on half of the over 80% of women who pop these tablets during their lifetimes. When the Pill was released, it was thought that women would not submit to taking a medication each day when they were not sick. Now the Pill is making women sick.

“However, there are a growing number of women looking for non-hormonal alternatives for preventing pregnancy. In a bid to spark the backlash against hormonal contraceptives, this book asks: Why can't we criticize the Pill?”

The book has come under fire already. Writing in Slate, Lindsay Beyerstein ripped Grigg-Spall’s analysis to shreds.

“Sweetening the Pill is poorly researched, shoddily argued, and fundamentally incoherent… Grigg-Spall condescends to the millions of women who take the pill, claiming that we are dupes of pharma and feminism. The question is not whether there are trade-offs to the birth control pill, but whether the benefits justify the risks.”

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