3 Bets

Painting: Kristin Baker
Painting: Kristin Baker

THIRTY YEARS AGO, in between my sophomore and junior years of college, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Those are amazing words to write: Thirty years ago I had cancer. I had just turned twenty. I was hoping that I would live long enough to have sex with someone; I hadn’t done that yet. I could not have imagined, while lying in my hospital bed, exhaling anesthesia, that someday I could write, Thirty years ago I had cancer.

Last fall, on a sunny afternoon, the phone rang while I was trying to meet a writing deadline. It was the nurse in my urologist’s office. She was calling to say that the pathologist had found, in the urine collected from my last cystoscopic checkup, abnormal cell clusters. And also blood.

After I hung up, I looked out the window of my small house where the sun still shone on the last of the marigolds and tomato vines. I looked down at my computer screen where the cursor still blinked on the same paragraph. I could hear in the kitchen the tomatoes still bobbing around in the stockpot that was steaming away on the stove. The world was still the same, but it felt to me a suddenly altered place.

I provided a second urine sample for further testing, and based on the results of that, a third sample that was sent out for genetic analysis. Ten days later, I got a call from the urology nurse. The results were normal.

So what am I trying to say here? Am I fine or not fine? Well, I don’t know. I’m living within that period of time known as watchful waiting. Much of my adult life has been one of watchful waiting. Watchful means vigilance, screening tests, imaging, blood work, self-advocacy, second opinions, and hours logged in hospital parking garages. Waiting means you go back to your half-finished essay, to the tomatoes on the stove. You lay plans and carry on within the confines of ambiguity. You meet deadlines and make grocery lists. And sometimes you jump when the phone rings on a sunny afternoon.

Thirty years ago I had cancer.

After I left the hospital, I went back to the university, resumed my life as a biology major, and began mucking around in the medical literature. It didn’t take me too long to learn that bladder cancer is considered a quintessential environmental cancer, meaning that we have more evidence for a link between toxic chemical exposures and bladder cancer risk than for almost any other kind of cancer, with data going back a hundred years. I also discovered that the identification of bladder carcinogens does not preclude their ongoing use in commerce. Just because, through careful scientific study, we learn that a chemical causes cancer doesn’t mean that we ban it from the marketplace.

I also learned that, in spite of all this evidence, the words carcinogen and environment rarely appeared in the pamphlets on cancer in my doctors’ offices and waiting rooms. Nor were these words used much in conversations I had with my various health-care providers, who were interested instead in my family medical history. I was happy enough to provide it. There is a lot of cancer in my family. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at age forty-four. I have uncles with colon cancer, prostate cancer, stromal cancer. My aunt died of the same kind of bladder cancer — transitional cell carcinoma — that I had.

But here’s the punch line to my family story: I am adopted. I’m not related to my family by chromosomes. So I began to ask hard questions about the presumption that what runs in families must necessarily run in genes. I began to ask, what else do families have in common? Such as, say, drinking water wells. And when I looked at the literature on cancer among adult adoptees, I learned that, in fact, the chance of an adopted person dying of cancer is closely related to whether or not her adoptive parents had died of cancer and far less related to whether or not her biological parents had met such a fate. But you would never know that based on the questions asked on medical intake forms.

So thirty years ago, as a college undergraduate, I made a bet. I bet that my cancer diagnosis had something to do with the environment in which I lived as a child. And I think I was right about this.

As I learned years later, while researching my book Living Downstream, the county where I grew up, along the east bluff of the Illinois River, has statistically elevated cancer rates. Three dozen different industries line the river valley there, and farmers practice chemically intensive agriculture along its floodplains. Hazardous waste is imported from as far away as New Jersey, and the drinking water wells contain traces of both farm chemicals and industrial chemicals, including those with demonstrable links to . . . bladder cancer.

TWENTY YEARS AGO, in the fall of 1988, when I was a graduate student in biology at the University of Michigan, I made another bet. I was working as an opinion writer at the Michigan Daily, the student newspaper there. My editor and I laid bets as to which system would collapse first — economy or ecology. I said ecology. I think I was wrong.

I think we were both wrong. They seem to be crumbling simultaneously.

Let’s compare our twin “eco” systems. Our economy and our ecology have in common, it seems to me, a number of shared attributes. Both are complex, globalized systems whose interconnections are little understood until something goes wrong. Who knew that mortgages in California could lead to bankruptcy in Iceland? But there it is. Who knew that the miracle of pollination depends on the synchronicity of time and temperature? But the ongoing decoupling of day length — which awakens the flowers — from ambient temperature — which awakens the bees — reveals that it is so dependent.

In both systems, eroding diversity creates fragility, as when financial systems merge and collapse, as when farming systems become monocultures and thereby vulnerable to catastrophic pest outbreaks. Damage to both systems is made worse by positive feedback loops. In the economic world, panic and fear drive investment decisions that lead to more panic and fear. In the ecological world, greenhouse gases raise temperatures that melt permafrost. Melted permafrost rots and releases more greenhouse gases.

Here’s a key difference, though. For one of our failing eco-systems, we became immediately engaged in drastic and unprecedented measures to rescue it — even though no one seemed to understand it very well. And for our other eco-system . . . well, it’s still widely considered too depressing and overwhelming to talk about in much detail.

As part of my work, I visit a lot of college campuses. Lately, I’ve been asking students to engage in a thought exercise: Imagine that ecological metrics were as familiar to us as economic ones. Imagine ecological equivalents to the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P that reported to us every day — in newspapers, on radio, on websites, on the crawl at the bottom of TV screens, on oversized tickers in Times Square — data about the various sectors of our ecological system and how they are faring. What are the atmospheric parts per million of carbon dioxide today? Has the extinction rate become inflationary? What is the exchange rate between sea ice and fresh water? What is the national deficit of topsoil?

Now imagine that the mainstream media were as interested in the thoughts of the president’s ecological team — most notably marine biologist Jane Lubchenco, who now leads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and climate expert John Holdren, the president’s new science advisor — as they are in the opinions of his economic team. Imagine if, in primetime interview after interview, these public servants provided us regular environmental analysis. On an almost daily basis, the American citizenry would be reminded that one in every four mammals now appears to be heading toward extinction. The Gulf Stream, which drives nutrient cycling in our oceans, is starting to get wobbly, while dead zones in the oceans are growing. The oceans, we would be informed, provide half of our planetary oxygen. Shoveling coal into ovens to generate electricity is loading the atmosphere with mercury, which rains down and is transformed by ancient bacteria into the powerful brain poison methylmercury.

Methylmercury is siphoned up the food chain, concentrating as it goes, so that nearly all freshwater lakes and streams east of the Mississippi are now unfishable, and we must advise women and children against eating tuna salad sandwiches.

Imagine that all Americans find out, whether they want to or not, that atmospheric loading of carbon dioxide is acidifying the ocean in ways that, if unchecked, will drop pH to the point where calcium carbonate goes into solution, and that will spell the end of anything with a shell — from clams and oysters to coral reefs.

Suppose that ecological pundits discussed every night on cable TV the ongoing disappearance of bees, bats, and other pollinators and the possibly dire consequences for our food supply. Suppose we received daily reports on the status of our aquifers. Suppose legislators and citizens both agreed that if we don’t take immediate action to bail out our ecological system, something truly terrible will happen. Our ecology will tank.

The fact that nothing close to this is happening is the difference between economy and ecology, both of which share an etymology: eco, from the Greek oikos, meaning “household.”

TEN YEARS AGO, I gave birth to a child. After twenty years as a solitary adult ecologist, I became a habitat, an inland ocean with a marine mammal swimming around inside of me. I became a water cycle. A food chain. A jet stream. My daughter’s name is Faith. I’ll leave it to you to imagine why an adopted cancer survivor might name a daughter Faith. My daughter is planning a career as a marine biologist. She wants to write her first book on the octopus. My son Elijah is seven. He is named for the abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy, who hails from my home state of Illinois. Elijah wishes to be the president, a farmer, or a member of the Beatles. He figures there are two job openings there already.

Since becoming a mother, I’ve made another bet. I am betting that, in between my own adult life and my children’s, an environmental human rights movement will arise. It’s one whose seeds have already been sown, and it’s one with a dual focus. First, the environmental human rights movement will take up with urgency the task of rescuing and repairing our ecological system upon which all human life depends. It is a movement that will recognize the truth of the following statement: “Nothing is more important to human beings than an ecologically functioning, life sustaining biosphere on the Earth. . . . We cannot live long or well without a functioning biosphere, and so it is worth everything we have.” Those are the opening sentences of a powerful new manifesto, “Law for the Ecological Age,” authored by attorney and biochemist Joseph Guth and published in the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law.

At the same time, this environmental human rights movement will take up with equal fervor the task of divorcing our economy from its current dependencies on chemical toxicants that are known to trespass inside our bodies, without our consent, thus violating, as some have argued, our security of person. Our current environmental regulatory apparatus does not require rigorous toxicological testing of chemicals as a precondition for marketing them, as we do, for example, for pharmaceuticals. It also makes it very difficult to ban chemicals once they are in commerce. Of the eighty thousand synthetic chemicals allowed into the market, exactly five have been outlawed under the Toxics Substances Control Act since 1976. Our current environmental regulatory apparatus allows economic benefits to be balanced against human health risks. It fails to take into account the fact that we are all exposed, to use Rachel Carson’s words, to a changing kaleidoscope of chemicals over our lifetimes and not just one chemical at a time.

In umbilical cord blood alone, 287 different chemicals have been identified, including pesticides, stain removers, wood preservatives, mercury, and flame retardants. Our current environmental regulatory apparatus does not take into account the timing of exposure. And yet the science clearly shows that toxic exposures during key moments of infant and child development — especially during the opera of embryonic development — raise risks for harm in ways that are not predictable by dose. Benzo[a]pyrene, an ingredient in tobacco smoke, diesel exhaust, and soot, can damage eggs in the ovaries. Exposure to pesticides in men can reduce sperm count. Thus, our environmental policies may be eroding our fertility. And if a pregnancy is achieved, exposure to certain chemicals raises the risk that it will be lost through miscarriage, or what we in the scientific community call spontaneous abortion. Evidence suggests that the pesticide methoxchlor has this power, as do certain chemical solvents.

And here is where I am interested in engaging the pro-life community in dialogue, because whether you see this problem, as I do, as a violation of women’s reproductive rights, or whether you see this problem, as many members of my own family do, as a violation of fetal sanctity, maybe we can all agree, pro-life and pro-choice, that any chemical with the power to extinguish human pregnancy has no rightful place in our economy.

When toxic chemicals enter the story of human development during the fifth and sixth months of pregnancy, when the brain is just getting itself knitted together, the risk may be a learning or developmental disability. Of the 3,000 chemicals produced in high volume in the United States, 200 are neurotoxicants and another 1,000 are suspected of affecting the nervous system.

Some chemicals, such as PCBs, have the power to shorten human gestation and so raise the risk for premature birth, which is the leading cause of disability in this country. After birth, some chemicals, such as certain air pollutants, can retard the development of the lungs in ways that impede later athletic performance. Some chemicals raise the risk for pediatric cancers, which are rising in incidence more rapidly than cancers among adults.

Some chemicals can raise the risk for early puberty in girls, which in turn raises the risk for breast cancer in adulthood. In short, chemical toxicants can sabotage the story of child development and so make urgent the need for restructuring our chemicals policy along the principles of precaution and green design. But toxic chemicals do not only discriminate against children, they may also discriminate against our elders. New evidence links environmental exposures to neurotoxicants to increased risks of dementing disorders in old age.

So I am betting that chemical reform will be a cornerstone of this new environmental human rights movement that I see getting under way. I am betting that my children — and the generation of children they are a part of — will, by the time they are my age, consider it unthinkable to allow cancer-causing chemicals, reproductive toxicants, and brain-destroying poisons to freely circulate in our economy. They will find it unthinkable to assume an attitude of silence and willful ignorance about our ecology.

In the same way, I look back on the life of Rachel Carson — my mentor in all this, who died when I was five years old — and find it unthinkable that she could not speak about her own cancer diagnosis, even while dying, as I have written about my diagnosis here. Thirty years of feminism lies between my life as an adult scientist and Rachel Carson’s. That human rights movement has ended the silence around the personal experience of cancer so that I have never had to fear, as did Carson, that my status as a cancer survivor will be used to impeach my science.

And in the same way, I look back on the life of Abraham Lincoln, whose portrait hangs in every schoolroom in Illinois, and marvel that our economy was once dependent on slave labor. Unthinkable. I believe our grandchildren will look back on us and marvel that our economy was once dependent on chemicals that were killing the planet and killing ourselves.

Now I am willing to concede the point that this environmental human rights movement that I am betting on is less an evidence-based prediction than a mother’s fervent hope that my children will never have to fear that the phone ringing on a sunny afternoon will bring bad news from the pathology lab. I’m willing to admit that this bet is a wish that my children will grow up in a world with a functioning Gulf Stream, and some ice caps, and a few coral reefs. And some octopi for my daughter to write her first book about. And some honeybees to help my son the farmer grow apples. It’s a wish that his polar bear Halloween costume not outlast the species.

Wishful or not, I am determined to win this bet because my children’s lives are inextricably bound to the abiding ecology of this planet, which is worth everything I could possibly wager. An environmental human rights movement is the vision under which I labor, from which I am not free to desist, and which may, if we all work together, become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

May it be so.

This article, along with other landmark Orion essays about transformative action, are collected in a new anthology, Change Everything Now. Order your copy here.

Ecologist, author, and cancer survivor, Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., is an expert on the environmental links to cancer and human health, including, especially, the health effects of fracking for natural gas. She holds a doctoral degree in biology from the University of Michigan and is the author of Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment and, most recently, Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis. Formerly on faculty at Cornell University, Sandra Steingraber is currently Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, and a founder of the organization New Yorkers Against Fracking.

She is married to sculptor Jeff de Castro, and is a proud parent of two children, Faith and Elijah.

Comments

  1. This article would make the basis of a good Discovery Channel program. I was just reviewing their Producer’s Guide to see how to pitch a story about Chemical Winter. It’s full of informative information on exactly what’s needed to capture a core audience.

    My own research parallels Sandra’s in some important ways.

    Chemical Winter is essentially the chemical equivalent to Nuclear Fallout. The dynamics at the molecular level are completely different but the end result is remarkably similar.

    The main differences are that Chemical Winter is happening – Sandra’s research describes what happens on a very personal level. The Chemical process is happening more slowly than the aftermath of a nuclear contamination.

    But both are man-made and both are preventable.

    Unfortunately, too many people don’t want to know.

    Thirty years ago Sandra made a bet.

    Almost forty years ago I painted an eight foot long painting depicting our polluted future complete with sinking oil tanker, gas masks, Pollution Monster and the Statue of Liberty choking in smog.

    Everything in the painting came true. I still paint environmental messages.

    Today a larger percentage of the public “gets it” but the truth is that big business and pro-development governments largely don’t even when they try to make out they do.

    Sandra, I hope your message will continue to find new audiences. You have a great message and the perfect story to back it up.

  2. Great article. It seems a logical extension of this piece would be to explore environmental rights divorced of human benefits as a precursor to the metrics proposed here.

  3. Sandra, a deeply moving, deeply intelligent article that I wish everyone could read. Though yes, it made me weep, as I do so often these days, reading articles like yours, trying to stay aware of it all and not drown. But the pain is good when it’s truth-pain, even something to be grateful for, because until nearly everyone of us knows and acts on this painful truth, the poisoning of our lives and world will go on…

  4. My immense gratitude for the integrity with which you continue to speak, illuminate and remind. My best to young Elijah, from whom I’d be utterly delighted to buy apples, and maybe even some honey.

  5. Sandra, thank you for sharing your personal experiences as a cancer patient, which I suspect took courage and love to do so.

    After listening to the interview, I am somewhat puzzled. When asked about the reasons we are not more alarmed about all these life threatening toxins still on the market, you said one reason is feeling comfortable with the familiar. While that may be true, it seems a more obvious (elephant in the living room) factor is few people know how to fight Goliath, (ie, big business,industrial farming) who will use every method and resource they have to keep these products on the market.Most of us have been taught,from early on, not to question capitalism as the best economic system to provide us with all the “stuff” we have, even if the “stuff” ends up killing us.

    A book that recently got my attention is THE SECRET WAR ON CANCER by Devra Davis, an epidemilogist,who clearly links the lack of fighting causes of cancer to agribusiness among others who do not want to give up the tremendous profits made by using all these toxins.

    Perhaps during this time of our eco-crisis, (both ecologic and economic), folks will have the time and the desire to connect the dots and take action.
    these

  6. Sandra:
    I love your idea of linking up with the Pro Life movement — exploring the common ground that touches all sides of the debate: Chemicals are hurting fetuses and endangering life as we know it. Your explanation of the chemicals found in umbilical cord blood is frightening. I hope you win that bet…

  7. Thank-you so much Sandra for a beautifully written article that connects the dots.

    I just attended a conference on sustainability: energy and our future. Many folk, who are very concerned for the planet, seem not to connect the health of our eco-systems and our health.

    Especially decision-makers seem to see elements of eco-systems simply as separate “resources” that we need to protect yet the understanding of the links and interdepencies between them, and them and human systems is lacking.

    I am thirstly for more short examples to assist more people to connect the dots and see us as part of, not apart from, nature.

    What are the linkages of the grizzle bears or native grasslands to our health? I truly appreciate the articles examples. Yes,each species is amazing on their own but to save them (and us) we need to need them. Biologists please, more examples about the connections and our interdependencies with nature. Thanks!

  8. Loved this essay as usual. Thanks, Sandra.

    Bill: she spoke at greater length about her dialogues with right to life audiences in a recent Orion Grassroots Network conference call on communicating science to make change. Have a listen here for more at the link for Jan 14 ’09:

    http://www.oriongrassroots.org/conference_calls

    Erik, Orion Grassroots Network

  9. Your article addresses a wide range of concern, so I’ll steal an analogy and compare the focus of my response it to the threat of death. For instance, if you find yourself on fire, Sandra, you are going to forget about dealing with the results from the lab, of course, because you have to focus on the most imminent threat. In other words, there’s no point in worrying about the cancer while your clothes are burning. Incidentally, it is my wish that you live a long and continually productive life, that you see the triumphs of your children, and that your demise is one completely unrelated to the dreaded disease for which my mother is also periodically checked.

    There are some parallels that strike me other than those you’ve drawn. Notice the economy isn’t getting any better, in spite of the drastic measures that have been taken? Oh, I know that almost daily, we’re hearing how things “seem to be looking up” — yet we are also “not out of the woods yet.” Our economy and ecology are indeed linked. Unfortunately, so much of those links are politically contrived, and are designed to do the opposite of what the politicians claim.

    The evidence that Global Warming (excuse me, I mean Climate Change) is caused by human activity, and to what degree, is not settled, no matter how many times Al Gore insists that it is.

    Now, wait a minute… Stop right there.

    Let’s be clear about something. I am not (read that word again: NOT) a person who thinks that Human Beings can do no wrong. Do not think for one moment that I am in any way questioning cancer statistics as related to industry. Not at all. I’ve seen Silkwood and think Erin Brockovich is amazing. Hey, I saw The China Syndrome on its first day in theatres. (Do you recall that only three days after its nation-wide release that the incident at Three Mile Island occurred?) I know humans achieve incredible feats with technology, and I also understand human carelessness. And greed.

    So, a couple of points. With your insatiable curiosity and drive to continue your life-long education, I’m hoping at some point you will take it upon yourself to study the effects of sun spot activity as it relates to the global climate. I’m hoping that you will be willing to look on another bookshelf when studying the amount of that data as compared to the effects of carbon dioxide on the subject. I am hopeful that you will be willing to ask, for starters, “If the evidence to support human activity as the culprit for Global Warming is inconclusive at best, then why — WHY — are there so many prominent individuals pushing so hard for ‘immediate’ solutions? And do the proposed solutions make sense?”

    One of the failings of our culture is the expectation of immediacy. We want everything NOW, and yes, many people tend to want THINGS to dull the pain of our hardships. Even our hardships ain’t like they used to be. In our Western culture, we also tend to forget our roots, our history. Sheesh, wasn’t it Al Sharpton who just proclaimed Michael Jackson was the one who enabled the music of black people to infiltrate the mainstream? Talk about willful ignorance. He sorta forgot about decades of black talent that came well before Jackson was even born — not to take anything away from Michael Jackson’s contributions, but hey, let’s give history its due. Wait a minute…what was I talking about? Oh, yeah…history and how we forget what’s gone before.

    So that’s the flaw I find with your analogies between the economy and ecology before college students. In case you haven’t noticed, the mainstream media has only recently begun to have opinions about the new administration’s economic team. Up until now, the mainstream media has had NO opinion of the team, the policies or the President himself. ABC, CBS, NBC, etc., have engaged in nothing more than Group Think, and have been very reluctant to do the job that journalists are supposed to do. We’d have a country much better educated on the present state of affairs both economic and ecologic if the mainstream media were willing to ask the tough questions. But then again, there’s the Greed factor I alluded to earlier.

    I hope you see that you shouldn’t want our legislators to take immediate action to bail out our ecology. Sheesh, they can’t even run an efficient DMV or run schools properly.

    It is my prayer that enough people are starting to wake up, and stop depending on the likes of the Government to come to the rescue. Good Lord, Sandra, you even point it out in your own article the absurdity of allowing cancer causing agents and other harmful elements to flow freely downstream. We’re going to depend on our Government to save us all from Climate Change? Wait — I’m sorry. What we need is a BIGGER government, a Global Government! Surely, those people will be smart!

    No, it is the undying Human Spirit that will save us. Educate people properly, and it is people — individuals, not a government entity — who will save us through incredible flexibility, adaptability and ingenuity.

    So before we start moving toward legislation to protect us all, let’s make sure the legislators have the interests of We The People at heart. We’ve become so accustomed to, well, being comfortable, that we don’t even realize where the fire is. Our leaders are dazzling us with pretty sparkly things and distracting us with a big show, like a macabre Three Ring Circus, that many of us are starting to become suspicious. Where is the man behind the curtain? And is there another one behind THAT curtain?

    We’ve been looking at all the distraction so long that we simply don’t realize our feet are starting to burn, or we’re so numb that we don’t feel it.

    Being skeptical is good. It keeps you asking questions. Like “one in every four mammals now appears to be heading toward extinction”… Wow. That’s dramatic. I would love to see the raw data behind that one. Then I’d love to see the raw data behind THAT. Then I’d love to see who collected the data…and Why. Bet the truth is far from concern over protecting the furry little buggers.

    Dare to dig.

    –Tom
    http://www.EmpoweredActor.com
    It’s You …for Real

  10. Having worked in environmental labs for 30 years, I can offer some insight as to the elevated numbers of chemicals in the environment. When I started working in labs in the late ’60’s, if we could analyze for contaminates at the parts per million level, we were lucky. Now, with the advancements in instrumental technology, we can detect chemicals at the parts per quadrillion level. A lot of those chemicals may well have been there, we just could not detect them until recently. It would be interesting to find old sample that were analyzed in the 1960’s and retest them to see what “new” contaminates would be found.

  11. I forgot one fact. I have Multiple Myeloma which has definately been linked to Agent Orange and is “presumtive” for ionizing radiation exposure and I was in the nuclear weapons field during the cold war.

  12. Thank you Sandra, and Orion, for this very fine piece. Sandra thanks also for your reference to Guth’s “Law for the Ecological Age.” As a political scientist who focuses on democratic institutions I’ve been intrigued for some time about whether an aggressive application of the 4th Amendment protections of our Bill of Rights might be applied to the toxics that “trespass inside our bodies.” Your clear argument for human and global protections in the face of severe threats was a joy to read.

  13. I humbly add my congratulations to Sandra for her attitude to wellness and to motherhood, and thank her for her carefully thought out discussion on climate change. For the nay-sayers on climate change, whatever the natural reasons for climate change, humans have done too much destruction to the earth that sustains us all.

  14. A beautifully written and researched article, Sandra. Thank you. I was wondering if you or others had written up a Universal Declaration of Ecological Human Rights, or were trying to get the U.N. to add to their Declaration, to have it declared a basic human right. I think this would help make the facts known. As another commenter says, the agricultural industry has a stake in keeping this quiet, but perhaps that could gradually be overcome.

  15. The pill kills. It is a chemical overdose that does just what you suggest in your article chemicals should not do. You write in this article “maybe we can all agree, pro-life and pro-choice, that any chemical with the power to extinguish human pregnancy has no rightful place in our economy”.

    Simple old time logic, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. We are killing ourselves and destroying human life, the mother’s and the babies when we put into normally functioning bodies chemicals and other contraceptives with great and grave potential to destroy human life, which is sacred.

    You do have a right, we all have a right to take care of ourselves and do what is right. What is right, is facing the facts, that science even shows…..God is pro-life.

    At the PP sponsored conference on women and the environment, where I got a copy of this article, even a fairly liberal columnist, Cindy Hill noted in her October 2009 article in VT Woman magazine, entitled, Worrying our Pretty Little Heads about It, shared the dangers of the pill for women.

    Hill in her article shared the news that Dr. Janet Grey at this conference that warned women there that they should be concerned about chemicals in the environment but despite the fact that she had on a big overhead listed amoung the pill is amoung the many places that hormone disrupting chemicals come into the woman’s body, nobody dared mention it.

    A house divided against itself, isn’t that the Biblical quote….if you are trying to destroy the natural makeup of your body, you are potentially going to kill yourself, and certainly you are going to kill your children if you look upon life as a curse rather than a blessing and a gift of our reproductive health.

    Let’s face it. Look at the warnings and literature that doctors give out with contraception. You will see if you do, these “medicines” we are giving to healthy young women are dangerous to them and do destroy pregnancies.

    So yes, Mrs. Ms. Miss Steingraber we should agree, “ANY chemical with the power to extinguish human pregnancy has no rightful place in our economy” and I would add our society! Because if you are pregnant, you are going to have a baby.

    A child is a blessing, not a curse. Contraception and abortion is not health care, it is destroying women and babies. So do you not, we all not have a duty to our brothers and sisters to speak out against this human tragedy of abortion and contraception. Because unlike other places that we might not be able to avoid chemicals that can destroy life, we can choose to avoid these life destroying substances.

  16. I don’t know if you are still reading comments but that was beautifully written. I agree with you that there will be a rise of an eco movement. One embedded in a religion.

  17. Hi again. I hope you are still reading your comments, and just wanted to thank you again for this beautifully written article. I have three bets too. I bet many adopted women had mothers who were infertile because they used contraception or thierbuturuses were damaged by abortion. I bet that if mom’s knew what kinds of dangers contraception cou
    D pose to their daughters more wou
    D warn against it. I bet mine would have, God rest her soul. I bet tand i pray as many come too see the light on this issue, they will turn to a merciful savior who will love them and forgive them.

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