Response to Pittsburgh Post Gazette Article
By Leslie Botha
June 25, 2003.
To the Health Editor
Cc: Karen Hoffmann
Ms. Hoffman’s article dated 6/24/03, “Foes raise red flag against suppression of menstruation”, raises grave concern amongst the growing number of women and men who have come to realize that the natural gift of menstruation is the foundation of women’s being – and that to deny, denigrate, suppress that process is yet another act of violence against women. To condone menstrual suppression is to condone yet another generation of women to mental/emotional/physical suppression.
I could see one this coming down the “pike”, with women my age waking up to the fact that the side effects of menstrual suppression in the form of HRT actually outweighing the benefits of this misaligned therapy. “NY Times, Health, 10/17/02, Risks of Hormone Therapy Exceed Benefits, Panel Says”. So the next step? Target an innocent market of women – not unlike how the tobacco companies target teenagers. Duping these young women into thinking that one pill will reduce their periods to four a year is nothing less than another crime against women…and another form of control.
To quote a male doctor who believes that “what is natural is for women to have one to two periods a year and to either be breast-feeding or pregnant the rest of the time” is unconscionable. My God, women have struggled for the hundreds of years for the right to own property, to vote, to be equal with men in terms of pay, promotions, to engage in warfare side by side with men, for the right to independence and success, for the right not to be abused; to be considered property, or to be chatteled; to the right to control when to have children – not because of taking a pill, but because of partnership in a relationship. Yet, in one ill-informed article, Ms. Hoffman’s using this doctor as a credible reference, has sent women back to the Dark Ages. Ok, so the male powers that cannot control us any other way – since our mothers and foremothers have been so diligent and unrelenting in their pursuit of our equal rights – have now deemed yet another form of control over our bodies. And women are buying it. And unfortunately, innocent women like Ms. Hoffman are selling it.
Wake up women! We are guinea pigs to a medical and pharmaceutical industry that is making big bucks off our bodies! And do they care about our health and well being? I think not. The studies have not been done. Are you willing to risk the quality of your life – for a pill for preventing pregnancy? Don’t have sex! No, I am not a Christian right winger – but sometimes the line is thin that divides the left and right. To have sex is to give your power away. That is the message we should be telling our teenage daughters.
Not to mention that 8,000 teens a day are contracting STD’s. Will this miracle pill prevent that? Oh, no! Oh, no! How many young innocent women will take this pill – thinking they are “safe”, but will contract any number of STD’s – that will affect their healthcare and their ability to have children in the future.
Sherrill Sellman has stated that “tampering with a woman’s hormones is tampering with her power.” Hormone Heresy B Oestrogen=s Deadly Truth B Part 2 Extracted from Nexus Magazine, Vol. 3, #5 (Aug. B Sep=96). I also believe that women’s menstrual cycles are the foundation of our beings. This beautiful body function –and yes, it is beautiful when women understand the changes our body is going through –is what gave women power, respect, and sacredness in societies past.
Because our fundamental right to accurate, positive education about how our body’s function, and how the flow of estrogen and progestin affect our behaviors has been denied, women have been suppressed into thinking that this monthly flow is a “curse” a “pain”, debilitating – and have bought into the myth of “PMS” and now “PMDD”; which to my knowledge has been defined as a mental illness. STOP~!
Ovulation – harmful? This is the process that creates life. This is our power. Women create and nurture life…is ovulation harmful to any other creature in life? How can we deny this exquisite process of creation? And withdrawal bleeding is a release – part of a beautiful process of becoming and letting go; it is the rhythm of life –and all life forms go through this process. To deny this is to deny our part in the cycle of creation.
I agree with the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research in their statement concurring that “menstrual suppression may be useful for women with severe menstrual cycle problems, but we do not believe that continuous oral contraceptive use should be prescribed to all menstruating women out of a rejection of a normal, healthy menstrual cycle.” But for the rest of women, I implore you to listen to your instincts. The choice is yours; be a guinea pig, allow yourself to be controlled, or find the resources that will assist you in exploring this beautiful menstrual flow in your bodies that is aligned with every other life form on this planet.
“Said one respondent: “Periods — normal? I don’t think so. Period.” That statement is a death sentence.
Menstrual cycles honoring women’s power and glory – is normal. Own it. Honor yourself.
Women’s Health Educator
Ms. Botha is available for an interview to discuss her work with women and teenagers over the last twenty years discussing the relevance of understanding how the hormone cycle affects their lives and behaviors. Botha is nationally renowned for her work, is a member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, the International Association for Human Caring and is the Health Educator for Monarch Youth Homes; an in house treatment center for abused girls ages 13 – 17. She is currently publishing a book titled” “Holy Hormones, Honey; A Woman’s Survival Guide to Understanding Their Hormone Cycle”.