Pope Urged Pill
December 9, 2011 by staff
Pope Urged Pill, The world’s 94,790 nuns pay a price for their chastity: an increased risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancers. A commentary by Australian researchers highlights the health hazards of nulliparity (the condition of never being pregnant) – hazards they say could be minimized by the birth control pill.
“If the Catholic Church could make the oral contraceptive pill freely available to all its nuns, it would reduce the risk of those accursed pests, cancer of the ovary and uterus, and give nuns’ plight the recognition it deserves,” Kara Britt of Monash University in Victoria and Roger Short of the University of Melbourne wrote in The Lancet.
The term “accursed pests” was first used to describe breast cancer among nuns by Italian physician Bernadino Ramazzini in 1713. Since then, severe epidemiological studies have confirmed the risk, including a study of more than 31,658 Catholic nuns in the U.S. between 1900 and 1954 that found an increased risk of dying from breast, ovarian and uterine cancer.
Because they don’t experience pregnancy or lactation, women who don’t have sex have more ovulatory menstrual cycles. That increased number of cycles is directly linked to an increased risk of cancer. But the birth control pill – a form of contraception condemned by the Catholic Church – has been shown to reduce the risk of ovarian and uterine cancer by up to 60 percent.
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