This week the UK’s National Health Service followed a recommendation by the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare based on several years of research into the hormonal contraception pill.
Said research found that the pill is more effective if taken continuously rather than with a seven day sugar pill break. And this is good news, and… sorry, what? The break’s not just unnecessary but makes the pill less effective? And we’ve found this out now, you say?
This being the case, you might wonder why the actual hell the pill has this little weeklong hormone-holiday packed in. And the answer, somewhat shockingly, is the Pope.
More specifically, according to Emeritus Professor of family planning and reproductive health John Guillebaud in an interview with the UK’s Telegraph, the initial marketing of the pill included a plan to mimic the Catholic Church-approved (and entirely unreliable) “rhythm method” of birth control in the hopes that the church would accept it.
Spoiler: they did not.
“The gynaecologist John Rock devised [the break] because he hoped that the Pope would accept the pill and make it acceptable for Catholics to use,” Guillebaud explained. “Rock thought if it did imitate the natural cycle then the Pope would accept it. When his campaign to get the pill accepted by the Pope failed, he just simply stopped being a Catholic, having been a committed one for his entire life.”
And that’s swell for Rock, but had a massive consequence for generations of women who’ve been given a less effective and more disruptive system with which to control their own fertility.
For. Six. Decades.
Anyway, ladies, now you know. Regardless of your own theistic leanings, your health and reproductive control have been compromised by the Catholic Church. Whoops!