Carrying the Organic Thing a Little Far

How nicely the feeling of personal virtue and moral superiority some people get from doing the organic thing dovetails with the feeling of personal virtue and moral superiority some people get from being pious. The latest, from Broadsheet and Jessica at Feministing: “Organic Sex“:

“Many women, in an effort to live healthily, who have [sic] turned to organic and unprocessed foods. They have come to also realize that artificial contraception isn’t very healthy either, and that its numerous side effects should be avoided.”

Now, there are plenty of reasons that women may be uneasy about taking hormonal birth control — I know I never had much luck with BCPs, seeing as how I had to take a high-dose pill due to getting my period every 22 days (16.6 times a year!) and missing a dose time by even a few minutes could get me bleeding for a MONTH — but there are plenty of very effective barrier methods that don’t involve altering body chemistry or inserting foreign objects into one’s uterus.

Oh, but no. According to the site quoted above, Contra-Contraception, the only way to have “organic sex” is to do away with all forms of birth control except the rhythm method, and to embrace Natural Family Planning.

Hmm. Now where have we heard this before?

Oh, that’s right! From Dawn Eden and her acolytes! And look — Contra-Contraception is a sister site to Mary Worthington’s No Room For Contraception, which takes an explicitly religious stance in advocating NFP (which may very well kill more blastocysts than hormonal BC). From Broadsheet:

The Contra-Contraception campaign also (untruthfully) denies any affiliation with the religious right, claiming that it’s just into natural sexuality. “It’s time to get to the heart of the matter, and time for the media to stop smearing the effort by labeling it as a religious movement,” the site says. “Organic sex is here to stay, and more and more people from all walks of life are enjoying it.”

Very sneaky, guys! But as Jessica points out, “Contra-Contraception isn’t some site run by organic-sex loving folks who are worried about the health implications of hormonal birth control.” Instead, it’s brought to you by Worthington, who, as Jessica noted back in March, has also likened birth control to euthanasia and speculated that contraception could lead to homosexuality.

Priya Jain’s Salon article on the religious right’s efforts to ban contraception contains a lot more information on Worthington. Incidentally, “Contra-Contraception” was the title Jill chose for her post on the huge New York Times Magazine article titled “The War on Contraception.”

We already have plenty of groups spreading lies and disinformation about the Pill and about Plan B and about the way pregnancy happens. The Contra-Contraception site’s information on NFP gives no indication of how exacting and time-consuming it is; it simply links to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Web page on NFP. The anti-contraceptive crowd will use any lever whatsoever to get contraception banned — without, of course, admitting that that’s what they’re doing. Why *not* use the Trojan (NPI) Horse of the organic movement and concern about environmental chemicals to push a religious agenda under cover of a progressive idea? The idea that contraception might be a personal decision never seems to occur to them — and really, I have yet to see them offer any sort of coherent rationale for their stance against barrier methods. As Broadsheet points out, there’s probably no danger to the well-informed from this tactic, but there’s plenty to worry about when it comes to the uninformed:

I’m not too worried that the organic sex campaign will deter anyone who has access to unbiased information about sex and contraception. But I am sincerely hoping and praying this organic sex palaver doesn’t get into — and further muddy the waters of — abstinence-only sex-ed curricula.


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16 Responses to Carrying the Organic Thing a Little Far

  1. Kristen from MA says:

    speculated that contraception could lead to homosexuality

    (a great big) WTF?

  2. JR says:

    If you look at it that way, no contraception is ‘organic.’ The “natural” way to be is pregnant every two years, nursing for the time in between. If you want your hormone levels to be “natural,” that’s the only way to go.

  3. Kyra says:

    speculated that contraception could lead to homosexuality

    *speculates that lack of contraception could lead to experimentation with homosexual activity as less-pregnancy-risking*

    If you look at it that way, no contraception is ‘organic.’ The “natural” way to be is pregnant every two years, nursing for the time in between.

    Ahh, but “nature” has this nice clause in which if you poke something sharp into your uterus (like a doctor’s curette or vacuum thing, neither any less natural than the internet these people are using), the pregnancy will be terminated.

    So, avoid contraception and just have lots of abortions. It’s the “natural” thing to do.

  4. Silver Owl says:

    LOL! At some point in time, it’s probably in the far future, people will get their faces unstuck from between the legs of women and men. It will happen because those with their faces plastered between the legs of everyone else will lose too much damn oxygen to their brains.

    Hey Zeus! There is so much monitoring of dicks, twats, sperm and eggs it’s a phsychosis.

  5. Julie says:

    It’s frustrating because it takes a small grain of truth (some women do feel much better not taking the pill) and tries to claim that because of that, everyone should stop taking it. For instance, I despised what Depo did to me. I would never tell someone else they shouldn’t take it because of that, but for me, I wouldn’t use it again. I do feel a little better when I’m not on the pill, but the side effect of being scared to death of getting pregnant much outweighs that, so I will probably use it again after this baby is born. The side effects are worth the peace of mind. If they’re not to you, great! Don’t take the pill.

  6. Esme says:

    Kyra has a good point. Once all contraception is banned, the only safe thing for girls to prevent pregnancy will be to become lesbians. I mean, at least there’d be an upside to it.

  7. zuzu says:

    Safe? They’d probably be killing lesbians at that point.

  8. Sure, personally I disliked the Pill for a lot of reasons: 1) difficulty taking it at the same time every day, 2) breakthrough bleeding, 3) actually forgetting to take it (and, though I doubled up the next day, as the package said, I hated the thought that it would be less effective because I’d done it wrong, and could be considered my fault if I got pregnant). So I soon switched to the “I’m going to plan on abstaining and keep condoms on hand in case I have a sudden change of heart about abstaining” method of not getting pregnant, and that worked much better for me. Because by that point, what I most cared about was at least moderately reliable birth control and buy in from the guy that there wasn’t going to be any abortion and he would be expected to be a father (with the understanding that the guy would be told ahead of time that was the deal).

    But that’s me. Another woman, maybe one with a stronger desire to have sex without kids (or even one who’s actually more fertile than I turned out to be), and a higher tolerance for the Pill, might be better off with the Pill and condoms, or even Norplant and condoms. And I’m all in favor of doubling up on the most reliable methods possible, if you really don’t want kids.

    So, I’m fine with promoting NFP in the sense of helping people learn it who think it will fit their lives, but want no part of any notion that it’s inherently better.

    Besides, I think the Seasonale thing where you can be on the Pill and not be obliged to get your period every month is a great idea for women who have particularly heavy or problematic periods.

  9. Sarah says:

    Yes many women do feel better not taking the pill, though of course some might decide that the side-effects are outweighed by the benefits.

    But one thing that gets overlooked is that some of us actually feel a lot better on the Pill! I use hormonal contraception continuously (to skip most periods),and while that topic has been debated to death on blogs recently, my point here is that it makes me feel a lot better, not having all the emotional ups and downs that accompany my ‘natural’ cycle, not to mention the unpleasantness of the periods themselves and the severe hormonal headaches. It’s been big improvement in my quality of life. I haven’t gained weight, lost my sex drive, become depressed or any of the other side effects that are used as scare tactics.
    Yes I know some women genuinely do get these effects and others, but we need some acknowledgement that not all women are the same, and these blanket statements about how the pill is bad for all women are just silly.

  10. Glaivester says:

    “Many women, in an effort to live healthily, who have [sic] turned to organic and unprocessed foods. They have come to also realize that artificial contraception isn’t very healthy either, and that its numerous side effects should be avoided.”

    While I agree that unprocessed foods are usually healthier (honey in the comb and whole grain wheat – mmm), I think that the idea that food grown organically is necessarily healthier than food subjected to chemical fertilizers is just about as ridiculous as the idea that NFP is inherently healthier than artificial birth control.

  11. Organic food makes sense to me because I grew up on a farm. Birdsong ended the day crop dusting began and the entire marsh (it was a small farm between a river and a tidal creek) would seem dead pretty much until next year. You could see the rainbow refraction of the chemicals on the water, too. Never seemed to kill mosquitoes, though, go figure. Those chemicals weren’t designed with our consumption primarily in mind, after all. Poison is poison. And more importantly, our chemical-saturated agribusinesses destroy the soil, turning it into dusty sand rather than life supporting topsoil. Our tilling methods than deplete the top soil until those acres can no longer support food production, and it’s not even safe to use for grazing animals because of the chemicals. There’s only so much arable land and it takes a long time to regenerate top soil, without top soil there’s no civilization. So organic isn’t all about the effect those chemicals have on our bodies, either.

    Now I look forward to wholesome organic sex myself, though I’d never trust NFP. If you want partner sex without fear of pregnancy or hormones in your system, you could always consider sterilization, which is what we’re arranging after our child is born. I dream of the day when they develop a reversible barrier sterilization, like duct tape over the fallopian tubes or something like that. In the meantime, there’s always hormones, condoms, implants, and so forth. Out of curiosity, has anyone here tried the copper IUD? Wouldn’t that be natural?

  12. zuzu says:

    Copper’s natural, lamb’s natural, and if I’m not mistaken, latex is a plant derivative. Diaphragms are reusable, so there’s little impact on landfills.

    But one thing that gets overlooked is that some of us actually feel a lot better on the Pill! I use hormonal contraception continuously (to skip most periods),and while that topic has been debated to death on blogs recently, my point here is that it makes me feel a lot better, not having all the emotional ups and downs that accompany my ‘natural’ cycle, not to mention the unpleasantness of the periods themselves and the severe hormonal headaches. It’s been big improvement in my quality of life. I haven’t gained weight, lost my sex drive, become depressed or any of the other side effects that are used as scare tactics.

    Absolutely. My experience with the Pill was not great, due to having to take a high-dose version. It actually made my PMS worse, because instead of frequent, two-to-three-day periods preceded by a few days of PMS, suddenly I had less frequent, 7-day periods preceded by two weeks of PMS. I decided I wasn’t willing to experiment to find the right version since I wasn’t having sex frequently enough to bother, and now that I’ve been sterilized, it’s no longer an issue. But I know plenty of women for whom the Pill has been a godsend just because it regulates their periods, eases symptoms and even clears up their acne.

  13. Kristen from MA says:

    *speculates that lack of contraception could lead to experimentation with homosexual activity as less-pregnancy-risking*

    well that’s one of the craziest things i’ve heard in a long time, but then again we are talking about people who think that being gay is a choice.

    and by the way, i went on the Pill not to prevent pregnancy but to regulate my periods, and it made me feel BETTER. i think current medical opinion is that having a break from ovulation helps reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. a plus for me, since i won’t be having any children.

  14. jm says:

    hey zuzu- can i ask you questions about getting sterilized without taking up space on this thread?

  15. Out of curiosity, has anyone here tried the copper IUD? Wouldn’t that be natural?

    I’m currently sporting( wearing, carring, containing?) a copper IUD, there’s a different version available with low dose progesterone. I like it. I’m not getting any increased cramps or heavy bleeding, and I’m 99.98% baby-proof until 2015! It was definitely a bit unpleasant getting it inserted, like the worst cramps I’ve ever had, they lasted about 24 hours on and off after insertion. I tried Depo for 2 years (breakthrough bleeding, funny moods), and was on the pill for a while too (breathrough bleeding, funny moods, gained 10lb, worse PMS than normal).

    There are a lot of scare stories about the IUD, because of a different model that was too pointy, and was taken off the market years ago. It’s actually a very popular choice in Europe. The main thing is that it’s much more important to be monogamous, or to use condoms, because the little string that trails out the cervix is such a perfect vector to carry STDs directly into the uterus faster than they would ordinarily go. My gynecologist said he wishes more women in the US would consider an IUD, because it’s so unproblematic.

    I feel that the IUD is the “natural” choice for me, because it makes sense for me, my body, my lifestyle, my contraceptive needs, so it “naturally” is a good thing. I wish people would stop trying to claim that any one option is the natural thing for all people.

  16. When I was trying to get a non-hormonal method of reliable birth control, I was asking doctors about the IUD, and the consensus was that they wouldn’t put one in a woman who hadn’t already had children because of complications. I have heard horror stories from friends who had an IUD (even after having kids), so it wasn’t a hard sell for me.

    Still, if I wasn’t hankering after a more permanent method anyway, I’d be pissed that they were basically lying to me.

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