Should nuns take the Pill?

Did you hear the one about how doctors in Australia are recommending that nuns take contraceptive pills to reduce their death rates from cancer? It’s true. Dr. Kara Britt from Monash University, Melbourne, and Professor Roger Short from the University of Melbourne published an article in the medical journal the Lancet recommending that nuns be allowed to take the pill.

Why? It has been common knowledge for a while that women who never bear children have a higher risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer. Apparently, pregnancy and breastfeeding offer protection by reducing the number of ovulatory cycles a woman has in her lifetime.

Studies in the 20th century showed a higher death rate from these cancers among nuns. The Australian researchers suggest that putting them on the pill would help. Using oral contraceptives has been shown to reduce the cancer death rates by 12 percent. Using the pill for this purpose shouldn’t violate the rules of the church because it’s being used for health, not for contraception, Britt and Short argue. No response from the Vatican yet.

Assuming most of us aren’t nuns, have you ever had a doctor suggest you take the pill for health reasons even when you weren’t worried about contraception? My doctors have suggested the pill to regulate my periods and to even out my moods but never for cancer protection. If we’ve never given birth, we’re in the same boat as the nuns.

I’d love to hear what you think about this.