February 15, 2013

Letters to the Editor

Submit a letter to the editor electronically | For our letter writing policy, click here

We can rely on Mother Church, faith and reason to guide us through life

This letter is in defense of Father Tad Pacholczyk’s bioethics column in the Jan. 25 issue of The Criterion, and the Church teaching on oral contraception.

After reading the letter to the editor in the Feb. 1 issue in which the letter writer lamented the fact that Father Pacholczyk failed to “present the whole truth of the matter,” I felt obliged to conduct about 10 minutes of research to discover the “whole truth.”

The letter writer accused Father Pacholczyk of “half-truths,” failing to mention “that there are also well-documented health benefits to the pill,” and she implies that any increased risk of “breast cancer, stroke and myocardial infraction” are “almost negligible in women who do not smoke.” However, since she failed to cite any studies or research to back up any of her opinions, one has to question her motives and tactics, as she did Father Pacholczyk’s.

If, for instance, someone were to bother to research the WHO (World Health Organization) list of Class 1 agents—agents known to cause cancer in humans—she would have found oral contraceptives on the list since 2005. Cigarette smoke and formaldehyde are also on the list.

A meta-analysis extracting data from 34 studies, published in the October 2006 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, “indicts oral contraceptives as putting premenopausal women at significantly increased risk for breast cancer.” Study author Dr. Chris Kahlenborn goes on to point out women who took oral contraceptives prior to pregnancy, “experienced an increased risk of 44 percent.” Smoking wasn’t cited in the studies.

If anyone were to take the time to read the package insert for oral contraceptives, the person would notice they plainly advise that all oral contraceptives increase the risk of thromboembolic disorders, which can cause stroke, heart attack, a pulmonary embolism, etc. Smoking only increased that risk, according to the Bayer Yaz package insert.

Now, let us look at all those health benefits. It was asserted that the Pill was beneficial for women with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). If you consult the National Institute of Health, you will find the vast majority of cases of PID were the result of chlamydia and gonorrhea. Using the Pill for treatment can be likened to using beer to treat a hangover.

Studies were found that suggest the Pill “may” reduce the risk of other cancers. However, the letter writer failed to mention smoking cigarettes may “reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease by 73 percent,” according to a study in Neurology in March 2007. Both substances are known to cause cancer and a myriad of other disorders, but might offer some health benefits.

Once again, we can rely on Church teaching to guide us through the fog of “propaganda, marketing spin, and half-baked opinion.” It does this by the use of both faith and reason.

Holy Mother Church wants what is best for us spiritually and physically. Science has once again confirmed what the Church has already taught.

Please feel free to do your own research. You may also want to research Natural Family Planning, a method with truly no health risks.

- Thomas Zeunik | Clayton

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!