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You would have noticed the change in both action and language over the AstraZeneca vaccine risks this past week. We went from “everything is fine, the risks of blood clots reported overseas are unproven” to “it is likely that there is a link to blood clots, but we are going to push ahead with the vaccination program regardless” to “the vaccines are not recommended for those under 50.”

In other words, we went from denying the vaccine risks, to promoting a utilitarian ethic that acknowledged the risks to individual health but pushed people to accept them regardless for the good of the whole, to deciding that the risks were too great to allow people to take them.

I would suggest that the final outcome was more likely out of concern for legal liability than the threats to individual lives the vaccines posed. But it was a good decision to make, and I’m glad the utilitarian view of vaccination was pretty much over before it had a chance to begin in earnest.

But there was something about the reaction to the result that really struck me, and that was how it prompted a public debate about the contraceptive pill.

In order to downplay the risks of clotting from the AstraZeneca vaccine, UK vaccine expert Professor Adam Finn said that the risk of clotting from the vaccine is “extremely rare,” and that women voluntarily accept a much higher clotting risk as a “lifestyle choice” by taking the oral contraceptive pill.

He put the clotting risk for the oral contraceptive pill at clots developing in around one woman in every 100. Other studies have put this at 1 in 1000 or 1 in 2000, but in any event, it is still far greater than the 1 in 250,000 currently presenting with clotting issues following receipt of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

But far from succeeding in downplaying the AstraZeneca risks, the blood clot comparison just reminded people of the side effects of the contraceptive pill and generated a debate about whether the health risks to women caused by the pandemic of the pill are being ignored.

Not only are women who take the pill six times more likely than women who don’t to develop blood clots, other side effects such as nausea, weight gain and depression are often not spoken about, and instead just implicitly accepted as the price of admission for recreational sex.

I’m happy the comparison has been made, because I think it is important that we remind people of the negative health effects of oral contraception, but we need to be clear: the two aren’t the same.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, for all its moral and safety flaws, is attempting to protect people against disease. It has a therapeutic goal and is intended for the good of the individual and of the community. It also aims to facilitate freedom of movement, both here and overseas.

In contrast, the pill, when it is used as a contraceptive and not to address hormonal conditions, has no therapeutic goal and does not aim to promote health or protect against disease. It tries to “protect” against fertility, which is an indicator of health, rather than of sickness. And despite its promise of freedom and sexual liberation for women, it has the opposite effect because it just enslaves them even more.

It’s not just the pill. The other side of the contraceptive culture coin is the prevalent IVF industry. The drugs that are used to overstimulate the ovaries during IVF cycles also appear to increase the risk of clotting, with women who have undergone IVF more likely to experience blood clots during pregnancy than those who don’t. Like the pill, IVF poses a much greater risk to health than does the AstraZeneca vaccine.

I’ve said it before, but the widespread uses of contraception and IVF have a disastrous effect on women, because it means they are pumped full of hormones for the better part of their lives.

Women are encouraged to take oral contraceptives throughout their late teens, 20s and early 30s, that is, when they are most fertile, in order to prevent pregnancy. Then, when they hit their mid-to-late 30s and early 40s, when they are much less fertile, women are encouraged to inject themselves with hormones and go through numerous rounds of IVF in order to conceive. This is despite the risks of each being much higher than those posed by the AstraZeneca vaccine.

I’m not naïve. I know that the clotting risks posed by the pill and IVF hormones will be ignored because to do otherwise would threaten the sexual license they offer, but perhaps we can at least begin to acknowledge that these do not amount to health care.

This article has been republished with permission from The Catholic Weekly (Sydney).

Monica Doumit is the Director of Public Affairs and Engagement for the Archdiocese of Sydney and a columnist with The Catholic Weekly.