This is the sort of thing that ought to result in careers and reputations going up in smoke, and maybe a few class action lawsuits, but that probably won’t happen. Besides, it’s thoroughly too late by now. I’m sure that’s a coincidence.
Perhaps some of you already know this: [wapo]
Last month, the British National Health Service issued new guidelines concerning contraceptive pills. Many common brands of birth control instruct women to take one pill each day for 21 days, then finish the month with seven days of placebo pills, to still have their period (or, more accurately, withdrawal bleeding that mimics a period).
The new British guidelines, however, are upending this decades-old pattern. Researchers and physicians have long said the seven-day “break” is not medically necessary, so the NHS has changed its recommendations to say that women can, in fact, take hormonal birth control pills continuously and safely, no dummy pills needed.
The part about periods not being necessary is something I learned about over a decade ago; I knew a young woman who had been throwing away the placebos for years because she understood the biology of the process and knew it was not necessary. When she told me about that, I was concerned because I naively assumed that the people who designed the pills and the process had determined that was the best way for them to be employed.
It was just religious nastiness. Or, actually, worse: it was the assumption that nasty religionists would be less upset with birth control pills if women were still reminded of their place in the hierarchy of suffering that the christian death cultists worship.
In explaining the decision, John Guillebaud of the NHS’s Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health repeated a common refrain, telling the Telegraph that gynecologist John Rock concocted the break to win over the pope and thus anti-contraceptive Catholics. “Rock thought if it did imitate the natural cycle then the pope would accept it,” Guillebaud explained, before asking, “How could it be that for 60 years, we have been taking the pill in a sub-optimal way because of this desire to please the pope?”