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Is the Birth Control Pill Turning Women into Men (and Men into Women)?


Jun 12, 2024 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Miscellaneous
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Until recently, almost no one gave credence to the idea that men could become women or women become men. And though the powers that be are suddenly doing their damndest to hoist this pretense upon us, it’s only the fringes of society that are willing to go along. For most of us, we look at mentally-unstable men taking up residence in women’s locker rooms, serving time in women’s prisons, breaking women’s athletic records, or trying to make infants suck their nipples, and we see it not as progress but degradation. Evil would be another word. But have you ever considered the role the birth control pill might be playing in all this gender confusion? I hadn’t, at least not until Jordan Peterson sat down with evolutionary psychologist Sarah Hill to talk about the pill’s rather staggering impact on the minds and bodies of women. And men.

For many years, decades even, I thought the most problematic thing about the birth control pill was that it might cause an abortion. Though a cadre of purportedly pro-life physicians staunchly refused to concede this possibility, the birth control industry has sort of given up the charade. Making the uterus hostile to implantation is now a feature, not a bug. And though I’ve no intention of downplaying the moral significance of this reality, the pill’s potentially abortive properties may be the least of its problems—which is certainly saying something. In the past, those opposed to abortion have asked, “Is it wrong to use the birth control pill?” Perhaps we should all have been asking, “Can the human race survive the birth control pill?” That may seem an outrageous hypothetical, but it’s at least an open question.

In his December interview with Dr. Hill, Jordan Peterson postulated that “a woman who has voluntary control over her reproductive function is not the same creature as a woman who doesn’t—and not even a little bit.” In other words, women of reproductive age who can have sex without getting pregnant represent, according to Peterson, “the biggest biological transformation in our species’ history.” Why would he say this? Because when “sex is no longer tied to reproduction, then in principle, women’s sexual behavior [becomes] equivalent to men’s sexual behavior [since] the risk is now the same.” To which Peterson then wonders. If women are acting like men sexually, then how are they any different from men at all? In an interview last month with Andrew Klavan, he took up the same theme:

With the introduction of the birth control pill, the question “What is a woman?” actually became immediately paramount. And now that’s been unfolding for multiple generations because the most obvious distinction between men and women, prior to the pill, was the ease with which one of them could get pregnant. It was impossible for [men] and very easy for [women], and that turned out to be a walloping difference and perhaps the cardinal difference. I mean, the biological definition of female is literally that sex that gives up most in the process of sexual reproduction.”

Though you might chafe at the idea of defining women and men according to mere sexual function, this is how we’re defined. Not convinced? Ask yourself this. What is the most fundamental difference between the sexes? What is it that makes a woman a woman? Is it not the fact that women bear children while men do not? By definition, female is “the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs.” And a woman is “an adult female human being.” So what happens when a woman doesn’t produce eggs and doesn’t bear offspring? Does she cease to be a woman? Not exactly. We don’t question the credentials of women who are post-menopausal or involuntarily infertile, but when a healthy woman spends all or most of her reproductive life artificially suppressing the most quintessentially-female aspect of her nature, doesn’t she become something less than woman?

That’s ridiculous, many will argue. Women and men are more than the sum of their reproductive parts. They’re different on the inside. True enough, but that misses a crucial point. All of the inside differences between men and women are downstream of reproduction. That’s why they’re there. If men and women were sexually the same, all our other differences would be leveled out as well. These differences only exist because of the different, complimentary roles we play in reproduction. And lest you think it’s merely external functionality that the pill is tinkering with, think again. “(The birth control pill) changes everything,” Sarah Hill reveals. “It changes how our digestive system works, what our microbiomes look like, how our immune system functions, what our other endocrine organs do, how our metabolism operates, and of course, what goes on in our heads.”

Even if the only thing the pill did was prevent women from having babies, that would be revolutionary enough, but it actually goes much deeper. Here enters Dr. Hill’s book, This is Your Brain on Birth Control. In many regards, Dr. Hill is a champion of the birth control pill. She went on it herself at 18, used it continuously for more than a decade, and believes she is better off for having done so. She asserts that the pill has “undoubtedly done more good than harm for the quality of women’s relationships,” and speaks as though it’s settled fact that women accomplish more for society by entering the workplace than by staying home to raise children. Dr. Hill is a professor at Texas Christian but presents herself as a strict materialist who counts it a good thing that “women are now having more sex, with more partners than ever before in history, including (with) men they wouldn’t dream of marrying.” And yet, despite all her ideologic reasons for celebrating the pill, she warns that it should not be trifled with—because whoever you were off the pill is not the same person you'll be on the pill. In her own words:

Women go on birth control pills thinking, ‘Oh, I won’t ovulate, and I won’t get pregnant,’ without thinking about the fact that you’re actually shutting down your body’s ability to produce its own hormones. You’re taking a daily dose of this synthetic hormone. And when you change hormones—because hormones are literally a part of what your brain uses to create you, it changes you… This idea that there’s something problematic about cycling hormones is assuming that there’s only one way to be that’s correct, and that way is male.

Did you catch that? What the birth control pill does in essence is make women less like women and more like men—at the biological level. How does this happen? Hill continues:

Because the structural properties of progesterone molecules make them difficult to manipulate for use in medication, the progestins in birth control are actually made from something else—and in most of the pills out there, that something else is testosterone. Now, these testosterone molecules have been tinkered with in a way that makes them look like progesterone to your progesterone receptors [but] they’re not a perfect match. They don’t bind to progesterone receptors quite as perfectly as real-deal progesterone does… They also have a pesky tendency to bind to testosterone receptors too. This means they make women a little more [testosterone dense] than women would normally be during the second half of their cycles… When something binds to a specific hormone receptor, it makes the cell do whatever it’s supposed to do when the given hormone is present. This means that pills using progestins derived from testosterone can have masculinizing effects on women, prompting things like breakouts, weight gain, and hair growth in places that you probably don’t want hair. Some research suggests they may have masculinizing effects on the brain too—doing things like decreasing verbal fluency and increasing performance on mental rotation tasks.”

So, here again. At the hormonal level, the birth control pill is transforming women’s bodies and brains—turning them into more masculinized versions of themselves—which has ramifications all the way down the line. In a New York Post article from November, titled “Birth control pills might alter women’s brains,” Brooke Kate reports that “new research out of Canada suggests daily contraceptives could thin regions of the brain responsible for decision-making and impulse control.” A Newsweek article on the same study added that pill use “can cause a variety of negative, mental side effects that are rarely addressed” including heightened experiences of “fear, anger, and disgust.” There’s also this. The birth control pill changes the way women look, the way women sound, the way women smell, and even changes who women are attracted to. With regard the former, it has long been understood that women look, smell, and sound objectively better at high fertility periods, when conception is possible. But women on the pill are entirely denied this “cycle-based beauty boost.” Regarding the latter, women on the pill prefer less-masculine men than they do when off the pill. And according to Dr. Hill, they prefer men whose genes are less-optimally matched to their own in terms of reproduction. This comes from her interview with Jordan Peterson:

Research has been showing now for about 20 years, that when women are in the point in the cycle when estrogen is high, that that's associated with an increased preference for testosterone cues… Vocal, facial, and behavioral masculinity are things that women are really zeroing in on right near high fertility in the cycle. And this of course, begs the question… What happens if a woman is on hormonal birth control and is never in the estrogen-dominant phase of her cycle? Then what happens?… And what [researchers] tend to find is that women who are on hormonal birth control desire a somewhat less-masculine male face and male voice. And there's been some research even showing that if women chose their partners when they're on hormonal birth control and then discontinue it, this can lead to changes in how they perceive and how attracted they are to their partner.”

The only realm in which a woman on hormonal birth control is likely to become decidedly less masculine is with regard to her sex drive. For many women on the pill, their desire for sex simply goes away. So although pill manufacturers list just three mechanisms for preventing pregnancy—the prevention of ovulation, fertilization, and implantation—perhaps they should add a fourth: the prevention of sex itself. “Considerable research finds,” according to This is Your Brain on Birth Control, “that women on the pill have lower sexual desire than what is observed in naturally-cycling women.” It also shows that “they tend to have sex less frequently” while experiencing more “pain or discomfort” when they do. Pill-taking women “get the worst of both worlds,” Dr. Hill tells us, when it comes to testosterone. This is because it “can put hair in embarrassing places and make you break out” while also “kill(ing) your sexual motivation and lead(ing) to painful sex.” Lastly, “research suggests that [being on the pill] (also) mak[es] men less interested in (having) sex with you”—which is not generally advertised on the box.

So that’s how hormonal birth control is changing women into men. But how in the world can it change men into women? That’s a less straightforward proposition, but we’ve already established that the birth control pill rewards more feminine men. It makes them comparatively more attractive while making more masculine men comparatively less attractive. We also know that male testosterone levels have been in steady decline for decades now (almost as if some gender-bending technology was introduced during the back half of the 20th century). Why have testosterone levels fallen off a cliff? According to the Cleveland Clinic, it’s some combination of too much eating, too much drinking, too many environmental toxins, and too little exercise. They say nothing of hormonal birth control, but here’s how it all connects—from This is Your Brain on Birth Control:

The second side to the (birth control) story is that men are achieving less than they used to. And as you’ll see in just a bit, the birth control pill might have a lot to do with this too. Changing the consequences associated with sex, in addition to changing what women do may also change what men do, or don’t do. Women, just by virtue of being the choosier sex, have the ability to inspire men to do amazing things, and it shouldn’t spoil it for us that these things are ultimately motivated by sex… The desire for sex, and the need to prove themselves worthy of the act, has been a powerful source of motivation for men. When sex is no longer difficult to get, men lose what has been the most powerful naturally-occurring motivator of achievement out there. So although the pill and the freedom it allows may be responsible for the fact that women are now able to achieve more than ever before in history, it may have the opposite effect on men. And this isn’t just my opinion on what may be going on. Experiments in my lab support this idea. We find that men’s achievement potential and self-control march in lockstep with their beliefs about women’s requirements for sex.

“When the masculine degenerates,” Jordan Peterson argues, “it's going in many directions at once in a manner that will lead to bloodshed.” This is because true masculinity is a bulwark, not a toxin. It doesn’t abuse women; it honors and serves them. Peterson references the scarlet beast from Revelation 17 to warn that what replaces Christ-like masculinity is “hedonistic self gratification and the commodification of female sexuality.” And that, he points out, is exactly what we see happening everywhere. In de-incentivizing chivalry and achievement as necessary precursors to sex, it should come as no surprise that men in general have become less accomplished and less self-controlled than they were in decades past—both of which contribute to and are then reinforced by lower levels of testosterone. I’ve actually written about this before, but it bears repeating. When the cost of sex is reduced, the benefit redounds almost exclusively to men. Specifically, low-character men who no longer have to get their act together before a woman will disrobe in their company. For virtually all men, the sexual standard exacted of us goes a long way towards determining whether we stay on the straight and narrow or turn into sexual opportunists of the worst kind. The birth control pill is hailed as a triumph for women, but it has not been a triumph for their relational satisfaction—nor their mental health.

“Women who started the pill as teens,” the New York Post reports, “[experience a] 130% higher rate of depression.” And this increased risk of “developing major depressive disorder” remains “even after [they’ve] discontinued [using the pill].” According to studies referenced in This is Your Brain on Birth Control, hormonal birth control users are twice as likely to attempt suicide and three times as likely to succeed. The culprit, apparently, is a “blunted cortisol response to stress.” Unlike naturally-cycling women, Dr. Hill reveals, “women on the birth control pill are missing a key feature of their stress response.” This increases women’s risk of “brain volume loss, serious depression, and certain (other) health problems”—all of which may or may not be permanent. Some of these other health problems include, “moodiness, foggy thinking, and a weakened immune system.” Not surprisingly, “pill use has now been linked to multiple forms of autoimmunity”—diseases which, coincidentally, have become almost the exclusive domain of women. One other danger of too much cortisol exposure is hippocampal shrinkage, a problem disproportionally affecting pill-taking women and leading to little problems like cognitive loss and Alzheimer’s. In light of these not-insignificant health risks, Dr. Hill observes the following:

Steroids, because they stimulate hormone receptors, have a wide range of effects on men's bodies and brains. When taken over long periods of time, these changes can be bad for men's health. Given that men might want to take them anyway, steroids are illegal without a prescription… We worry about men using artificial sex hormones because of all the effects they have on the body. At the same time, women are routinely prescribed female sex hormones and kept on them for years at a time despite all the effects that they have on the body. We are willing to turn a blind eye to all the ways the pill can change women because we simply can't entertain going back to living in a world where women don't have control over their fertility… Somewhere, somehow, we’ve all agreed that it’s okay for ourselves and for other women to live with mental health problems, as long as no one is getting pregnant unexpectedly. This is quite literally complete insanity.

Andrew Klavan sums it up like this, “Sometimes solving the problem is the problem.” Or, in the words of The Count of Monte Cristo: “By endeavoring to avoid one fault, you [may] fall into another.” When Jordan Peterson asked Dr. Hill why, in light of all its horrific side effects, she believes the benefits of the pill to outweigh its costs, she replied simply, “I don’t know that I believe that.” What makes this concession so telling is the fact that, as I mentioned at the outset, this is not the same answer she gave in her book—which was published in 2019. What has changed since then to make Dr. Hill even more reticent about the supposed benefits of hormonal birth control? For one thing, her oldest daughter—who was only 11 when Hill published the book—has now gone through puberty. This is complete speculation on my part, but I imagine it’s harder to sing the praises of promiscuity when you suddenly find yourself with a 16-year-old daughter. It’s at precisely this point that all your noble theorizing about the social benefits of casual sex risk being dwarfed by the sheer brutishness of the pill’s real-world ramifications. Jordan Peterson explains the dichotomy this way in a conversation with Eric Metaxas:

It's easy to think of the pill primarily as a technological accomplishment. But there is no technological accomplishment independent of its moral frame because all technologies have a purpose. And anything that has a purpose is in the domain of moral aim, essentially by definition. So what's the ethos of the pill? Well, in its best manifestation, it would be the allowance for people who are in committed relationships to determine when they're going to have children so that their children can have the best chance to survive and to thrive. But that's only one part of the ethos because the other part is pleasure without responsibility. And that you might say [is] fine, but you see, we don't know if that's fine. And my sense is it's not fine at all. Generally speaking, pleasure without responsibility isn't fine. It's impulsive, immature, and hedonistic. And the reason that's not good is because it can't sustain itself productively across time. Things that sustain themselves productively across time tend to be those paths of action that require sacrifice, delay of gratification, prioritization of the community, prioritization of the future. And that's not commensurate with a hedonistic orientation. Does the pill produce a tilt towards a radical hedonism? Well, obviously. I don't think that's the least bit contentious. How dangerous is that? We don't know. Although we're seeing it might be fatal.

In what sense could a radical, pill-driven hedonism be fatal? Take your pick. Dr. Hill is of the opinion that the birth control pill is still a net good—or at least she was in 2019. We just need better research and better drug combinations, but this fails to address the broader issue. Even if big pharma could sell us a birth control pill that didn’t alter a woman’s brain function or increase her susceptibility to depression and disease, the social cost of essentially turning women into men would remain. “We shouldn’t have to change who we are to protect our bodies from pregnancy,” Dr. Hill opines. But this is akin to complaining that we can’t have our cake and eat it too. It’s a structural impossibility. When you take away the possibility of pregnancy, you thereby change who women are. It’s baked into the system. The most immediate threat that Jordan Peterson has in view is a pragmatic one. Namely, the abandonment of marriage and childbearing—which has already led to what he identifies as an “absolute catastrophic plummeting of birth rate.” The fact that the birth control pill threatens women’s health is bad, but the fact that it threatens human survival is worse. If you think that’s mere gaslighting, look at the population models for China and South Korea.

You might call This is Your Brain on Birth Control a cautionary tale about the perils of trying to circumvent the natural order. You solve one problem and create a dozen more. But even framing it like this is misleading. Because the supposed problem—ie, women’s propensity to get pregnant—is one of our own imagining. We’ve accepted on faith the modern assertion that women must be free to have sex without incurring any risk of having a baby. But why should that be the case? On what basis is this feminist dogma true and reasonable? Andrew Klavan notes that science and imagination have been trying to separate sex and pregnancy from time immemorial, but the system can’t be gamed. The birth control pill, he grants, may allow you to “treat your body like a pincushion and not get pregnant—and maybe (you can) solve your syphilis problem, (but) the moral web is still in place.” That’s the component Dr. Hill doesn’t yet appreciate. With an affinity for casual cursing that rivals her affinity for casual sex, she calls any effort to limit sex to marriage “total ridiculous bullsh#%!” on the assumption that we are, as Andrew Klavan frames it, “purely physical beings.” The question Klavan asks is this. “If you can remove the physical consequences of a bad act (say, fornication or adultery), does it cease to be bad?” His contention is that, even if we seem to get away with it, “something within us is damaged by immoral action.”

When the pill becomes a mechanism not merely for avoiding children but also for avoiding marriage—as it clearly has, the reasons for concern increase exponentially. And it’s not just extinction we should be wary of. The pill’s existential threat may be even more dangerous. If you look at it through a religious lens, Peterson posits, it’s very straightforward. “Any society that doesn't prioritize the virgin and child dies.” If the spiritual application sounds too Catholic for you, feel free to stick to the literal. Either way, the birth control pill has waged war on the virgin and child for decades now. Almost no one marries as a virgin anymore, and even as fewer and fewer children are born, more and more of those who are find themselves without a father. In the black community, it’s two out of every three. The birth control pill was supposed to eradicate the problem of single parenthood, but it’s actually made it far worse. That’s the law of unintended consequences.

Despite saying almost nothing about abortion to this juncture, my hatred for the vile practice is well established. Abortion kills the most innocent and helpless members of the human community, stealing from them the whole of their lives on earth. It is brutal and despicable. But a society that doesn’t conceive children is only marginally better than a society that kills children. Neither one can survive. I have no qualms with the anti-abortion moniker. I frequently use it myself and consider it a badge of honor. But in the broader context, pro-life is a more holistic descriptor. Because the end goal is not simply a world where children aren’t killed. It’s a world where children are born—and thrive. For to such belongs the kingdom of God.

In our unique cultural moment, there is no shortage of outrage against those who would turn little boys into girls or little girls into boys. And when we see young men brutalizing girls on the basketball or volleyball court, or slamming them down on the wrestling mat, it makes our blood boil. All of that outrage is well placed, but there is another gender-distorting culprit hiding in plain sight. And because it’s more corporate, more respectable, and far more widely embraced, its overall impact may be even more insidious. Not least because so many of the people who decry the trans’ing of kids have no idea that the birth control pill is doing something of the same thing on a much broader scale. In a brilliant moment of insight, Dr. Hill calls the "pure socialization" explanation for sex differences insulting and demeaning. “I can't think of many things that trivialize women's femaleness,” she writes, “more than the idea that we're different from men because we have mindlessly adopted the cultural mores and social norms thrust on us by society, the media, and our well-meaning but old-fashioned parents.” To call Sarah Hill conflicted would be an understatement. She loves the pill; she hates the pill. But she at least understands the fact that the differences between women and men are intrinsic. They are not socially constructed, and all our efforts to eliminate these differences risk bringing the whole structure of society crashing to the ground.

Michael Spielman is the founder and director of Abort73.com. Subscribe to Michael's Substack for his latest articles and recordings. His book, Love the Least (A Lot), is available as a free download. Abort73 is part of Loxafamosity Ministries, a 501c3, Christian education corporation. If you have been helped by the information available at Abort73.com, please consider making a donation.

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