Solving halachic problems with hormones
31 March, 2016
I have a major problem with the idea that halachic issues regarding niddah should be solved with hormonal birth control (e.g., in your answers here and here). Messing with hormones can cause major health problems. Some women can't even take hormones, and side effects can include many unpleasant things up to and including death. I don't see how this is halachically OK to throw at women on a regular basis. Women aren't halachically required to have children because it's a threat to her life. Birth control can be a threat as well, yet we give it to kallas and recommend it in all kinds of other situations. Isn't there a better solution?
We agree that using hormonal birth control is a serious issue and is not to be taken lightly. Women who cannot take hormones for medical reasons, or women who are adamant about not using hormonal contraception, are encouraged to find other options.
However, hormonal contraception is considered medically safe and serious side effects are extremely rare. Many women choose to use various forms of hormonal contraception, manipulate their cycle with them, and even prefer them over other forms of contraception. That reality is reflected in our answers. For many women, extending the cycle with hormonal birth control proves helpful in alleviating some of issues involved in niddah. This is especially true where the woman is already using hormones for contraceptive purposes.
Regarding kallot, our position is that if a kallah has a regular cycle and can schedule her wedding accordingly, it is generally best not to use hormones. (See our posted questions here and here.) In practice, many kallot are unable to do this. It is considered medically and halachically acceptable to use hormones, under the guidance of a physician, to avoid a chupat niddah.
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