Carolyn's birthday celebration at The Ivanhoe
When I was in high school telephones were dial-up affairs on the wall, and in many cases required the assistance of a human being (the “operator”, for you under 40.) It was common knowledge that (shudder?) pot was a sure road to hard-drug addiction, misery, and death. Nobody drank in high school, only a few would-be hipsters smoked, and as for sex – then as now nobody thought of anything else - but very little occurred. Oddly enough, the girls didn’t want to get pregnant.
However, that was before THE PILL. With the advent of oral birth control it became possible to safely do what nature so vigorously called upon you to do – and not risk the consequences! To me and my male friends THE PILL was an innovation equivalent in importance to electricity!*
Well, it happens that at that time I was a faithful attendant at several church-sponsored evening youth activity groups. That was because they had singing, guitar music, apple cider – and girls. Lots of girls! At those evening sessions there invariably would be some kind of informal “sermon”, in general laid on by an earnest and devout, well-scrubbed college boy, most likely a seminary student. Uniformly we hormone-wracked high schoolers were enjoined to lay off sex until we were married. The poor girls in the group were threatened with societal rejection, not to mention eternal damnation, if they took THE PILL.
Well, some did and some didn’t. And young married women who wanted a career took the pill, as did women who simply didn’t want any more babies. THE PILL was even good for guys; we could save on condoms, and delay that inevitable vasectomy. Maybe it WAS more important than electricity!
It turns out that THE PILL brought with it another, entirely unexpected, benefit – it helped protect women from ovarian cancer. The NYTimes article cited below states that the death rate from OVCA dropped by 16% between 2002 and 2012. This, the article goes on to say, is the result of less use of hormone therapy – and increased use, many decades ago, of THE PILL! So, those naughty girls of the 50s not only had more fun – they lived longer! So much for Protestant orthodoxy.
The same article recognizes that there has been a little improvement in the treatment of ovarian cancer, but not enough to make much difference. And early detection is not even mentioned.
*Not that it did us much good.