REVIEW: Sweetening the Pill: Or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control

Under cover of liberation, many women ingest a drug that creates a different biochemical reality than what God intended. Hormonal birth control is heralded as a liberator because, its proponents claim, it allows women to have sex without pregnancy. It has also been identified by the World Health Organization as a Group 1 carcinogen (a substance proven to cause cancer in humans).

For feminist author and health expert Holly Grigg-Spall, uncovering the birth control pill’s addictive and harmful nature was an alarming surprise. Her next surprise was that, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that the pill leads to death, disability, and destruction of personality, most people—not including those she refers to as the “religious Right”—don’t care.

In her book, Sweetening the Pill: Or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control, Holly exposes the corruption and greed of drug companies and the Food and Drug Administration as they push powerful hormonal contraception, which she documents as negatively impacting organs and body functions, as well as causing depression, anxiety, paranoia, rage, panic attacks, and so much more. She unravels her own 10-year experience on the pill, and presents personal testimonies as well as extensive scientific research. “I had whirled through many levels of misery before realizing that my choice of contraception could be the cause,” she explained (5). Severe depression, anxiety, and a host of other severe physical and emotional side effects lifted when she went off the pill. The change was as drastic as the difference between night and day.

As Holly reclaimed the energy lost since adolescence, she delved deeper, and what she found was shocking. For instance, five studies showed that the brand of pill she had taken increased its users’ blood clot risk by 50–75 percent. Allegedly, this research was hidden during the FDA’s approval process “in order to push the drugs quickly onto the market” (11).

Perhaps the most damning realization was that women aren’t even looking out for each other. “Feminists assume that women have to be sexually available,” Holly wrote. “The idea that women can’t, won’t, or don’t say no to sex underlies the belief system that perpetuates the pill use” (78).

Faithful Catholics aren’t surprised that evil wouldn’t limit its destruction to just the soul. But Holly stopped digging for truth before hitting gold: Catholic teaching on the dignity and beauty of the human person, sexuality, womanhood, marriage, and family. Sadly, although she supports the use of fertility awareness methods to space births, she also endorses barrier contraceptive methods. Hopefully, we will hear from Holly again when she discovers the entire truth about contraception, the contraceptive mentality, and the healthy, lifesaving, and soul-saving alternatives the Church offers.

Sweetening the Pill: Or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control, by Holly Grigg-Spall; Zero Books; 2013; 192 pages; $13.00 (paperback), $7.99 (on Kindle)

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About the author

Patti Armstrong

Patti Maguire Armstrong and her husband have 10 children. She is an award-winning author. She writes for The National Catholic Register and a number of Catholic websites and blogs at www.CatholicNews&Inspiration.com.