September 25, 2007

The Pill


I have struggled for quite a while over whether or not to post about this. I don't want to ruffle feathers or start a big heated debate. I simply want to provide information that I have recently found about birth control pills.


It's no secret that Sean and I are Catholic now and hold to the Church's teaching of natural family planning. When we started thinking about becoming Catholic, this topic was one of the first that we researched because we were so interested to know why the Catholic Church was so out of the mainstream with its stance on BC. It didn't take long for both of us to realize that any unnatural form of birth control was the wrong path for our family.


We have had many debates with friends and family (some heated, some contained) about birth control. The most common argument that our loved ones give us is that NFP is no different than taking birth control. Well, simply stated, it is. First of all, it is the Church's teaching, and we must abide by it. I know this leaves out all non-Catholics because most other churches say it's okay.


But even more importantly is what I found when I did a little research on Google. All I did was type in "Does birth control cause abortion?" I got 1,870,000 hits. I didn't have the time to look through all of the sites obviously, but what I found left me feeling weak in the knees to say the least.


This is just some information from one of the many websites that say birth control can cause abortion (rated PG 13):

How does the Pill work?

The Pill has three mechanisms of action which can easily be looked up in the Physician's Desk Reference.

1) Sometimes, the Pill suppresses ovulation. When this happens, an egg is not released and conception cannot occur. (It's important to read on and find out about the high rates of breakthrough ovulation. When ovulation is not suppressed, pregnancy can occur.)

2) The Pill also works to thicken the woman's cervical mucus which can "restrict" sperm from moving up the reproductive tract toward the egg.

3) One way the Pill causes early abortions is that it interfers with the flexing motions and the cilia movement of the fallopian tubes. These changes slow the transportation of newly conceived child from the fallopian tubes to the womb. Unfortunately, many small babies starve to death in the fallopian tubes because chemicals caused changes that prevented them from reaching the womb in time to be nourished.

4) Another way the Pill causes early abortions: If your tiny baby survives the ride down the fallopian tube to your womb, the Pill will almost always cause the endometrium (the lining of your uterus) to reject your child. Chemical reactions often cause the lining of your womb to become thin, shriveled and unable to support implantation of your newly conceived child.This means that in almost every case, your new child will not be able to attach to the wall of your womb where he or she would normally live, grow and receive nourishment for 9 months. This means your tiny baby will starve to death and his or her remains will be passed along in your next bleeding cycle. (The "Study of Abortion Deaths Commission" estimates that this happens in women in America who use the Pill approximately 1 to 4 million times each year.)The chemicals that cause these early abortions are called abortifacients which is the medical term for any chemical agent that causes an abortion.

Breakthrough ovulation proved long ago . . .

Birth control advocates and manufacturers of the Pill have known these facts for years. Have they done a very good job of informing women about how the Pill really works? (Please email us and let us know if you were aware of how the Pill worked before you read this.)When chemists devised the Pill that debuted in 1960, they gave it a huge dose of a chemical that caused most women's ovaries to stop secreting eggs (i.e., to stop ovulation). The theory was "no egg, no pregnancy."However, some women continued to release eggs and get pregnant while on the original Pill. (Studies have shown that an even higher percentage of women release eggs while using today's newer, re-formulated Pills. More about today's Pills in a moment.)In her award winning study of women taking the earlier high dose Pills, Dutch gynecologist Dr. Nine Van der Vange showed "proof of ovulation based on ultrasound exams and hormonal indicators occurred in about 4.7% of the cycles studied." (Source: Sterns, Dr. David, "How the Pill and the IUD Work: Gambling with Life," American Life League, PO Box 1350, Stafford, VA 22555)And the "Textbook of Contraceptive Practice" states that, "Among women who have been followed over a considerable number of cycles, breakthrough ovulations occur in 2 to 10 percent of cycles." (Source: Dr. J. Peel & Dr. Malcolm Potts, Textbook of Contraceptive Practice, 1969, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press) Please note that these references are to the lower breakthrough ovulation rates of the Pills of the 1960's. The new Pills of the 1990's work differently and have much higher breakthrough ovulation rates. This will be explained as you read on.

Why the big secret?

Why aren't most women aware that the Pill causes early abortions? Let's look at the large pharmaceutical companies who advertise, market and sell the Pill. They make huge profits from the Pill -- and they'll continue to make mega-profits -- if women are convinced they're not getting pregnant and they keep buying and taking the Pill everyday. But are they being honest with you? Have they clearly explained that their products cause millions of early chemical abortions each year?

The New Pills: Much Higher Rates of Breakthrough Ovulation . . .The original Pill of the 1960's had to be modified due to harmful side effects that women were experiencing because of the powerful chemicals. All versions of today's "Combination Pill" have a reduced hormonal content. When compared to the Pills of the 1960's and 1970's, this reduces the chance of harmful side effects for women, but it also increases their chances of ovulating and conceiving a son or daughter.Dr. Ronald Chez, a scientist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), publicly stated that the new Pills of today, with their lower estrogen dose, allow ovulation up to 50% of the time! (Source: Sterns, David, M.D., Sterns, Gina, R.N., B.S.N., Yaksich, Pamela, "Gambling with Life, How the I.U.D. and 'The Pill' Work" (www.top.net/vitalsigns). With these newer Pills, simply missing one tablet, or failing to take the Pill at the same time each day increases the chances of breakthrough ovulation. Reactions with other drugs increases the chances of breakthrough ovulation, especially with caffeine and nicotine, or some prescription medicine (Source: "Abortifacient Contraception: The Pharmaceutical Holocaust" by Dr. Rudolf Ehmann, Human Life Intl., 1993, p.15).Makers of the new "mini-pill" claim it does not have the side effects of the combination pill. However, they don't tell you that scientific research shows the mini-pill does not stop ovulation at all in 67-81% of the women who use it, so the probability of conception is much higher. (Source: Tonti-Fillippini, Nicholas, Linacre Quarterly, 1995)

Isn't that scary?!?!

Of course I don't know if some of the websites claim that the pill can't cause abortions. I probably looked at the top 7-8 sites on the page, and they all claim the pill can and does cause abortions. I am sure there are some that say otherwise, though. BUT even if those articles are out there claiming "no harm" to a potential pregnancy, there is no denying the ones that say there is potential harm. The what if factor is way too huge in my book.


One of the most informative websites that I found about contraception in general can be found here. If you're gonna contracept, this is the best website because it'll let you know which forms of contraception can cause an abortion and which won't. The scary thing for me was seeing how quite possible the mini-pill can cause an abortion. I took the mini-pill after having Hattie for several months before we decided to do NFP. No doctor has ever told me about any of this either. It is so enraging!


My whole point in posting this blog is not to point my finger at anyone. I have been on the pill before, and I never thought twice about it. I just want the information to be known. That's all. I was SHOCKED with what I found, and the only thing that led me to my research is all of the conversations that Sean and I have had with friends and family. And my whole point in posting this is that I couldn't stay silent once I knew.


So now I've said it. And hopefully now you've read it. Go look for yourself if I have struck a chord at all.......and as I hit publish post (GULP!), I hope my conscious will grow a little quieter.

12 comments:

Missy said...

My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

James 5:19-20

Laura said...

I'm a little confused...is the Catholic Church against all birth control or just the "unnatural" types since you differentiated in your post? NFP (in our opinion at least) is a form of birth control if you are using it in a way that prevents pregnancy. So I think what you are saying is that the issue isn't about whether or not you are trying to prevent God's will for your life (for you to get pregnant or not)like some of our friends say; your argument against chemical birth control is that it's abortive and NFP isn't so that makes it ok. Is that what you are saying?

Sean, Stephanie and Hattie said...

Laura,

We think bc is different than NFP, and that's what the Catholic Church teaches. In fact, most churches saw a distinction until around 1960 when many churches started saying bc was "o.k." You may or may not agree with that; however, that was not the intended message for my reader.

Most of our friends and much of our family are not Catholic and contracept. So I just wanted to put the information about the pill that I had found up for everyone to read because I know that bc is one of the main types of contraception used.

We do not agree with using any form of bc, but obviously, I have the biggest "beef" with forms that may cause an abortion which is why I targeted chemical bc.

I hope I answered your question.

Oso Famoso said...

This is a link to the best articulation of the Catholic teaching on birth prevention that I know of...since Steph's post was really about the abortive effect of the pill.

http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/se0002.html

Oso Famoso said...

OK...can't figure out how to link.

Just google, "Janet Smith" + "Birth Control, Why Not"

Sean, Stephanie and Hattie said...

O.K now I see what you're talking about.....where I say that we decided any form of unnatural bc wasn't right for our family.....that was a confusing statement.....I should have put "bc wasn't right for our family." I need to learn to proofread!! Sorry for the mix-up!

Anonymous said...

50-60% of first pregnancies end in a miscarriage (before the woman even knows she's pregnant) caused by the very same mechanisms you are describing here (and that's without being on the pill). These are known as "chemical pregnancies." 50-60% of first pregnancies are chemical pregnancies. If it weren't for early result tests, a woman would never ever find out about these. This happens for reasons that are only known to your body, usually a chromosomal abnormality of the blastocyst, or an abnormality in the woman's own body (such as a luteal phase defect).

So, should a woman with a luteal phase defect avoid trying to conceive because her body may cause the fetus to "abort"?

I personally don't care if people choose not to use hormonal birth control. That is a personal choice. I do however, oppose this kind of value-laden misinformation. The reason no doctor has ever told you about it is because the technical definition of what's going on here is not "abortion." Only activist who are anti-contraception call what happens from the pill "abortion".

The pill does not cause abortions in any way shape or form - at least not one that is different from the way a woman's own body is capable of causing one. When that happens, we call it a miscarriage.

Oso Famoso said...

Anonymous,

You say that hormonal birth control is a personal decision and then you come on our personal blog and take jabs at our position "anonymously." Pretty brave of you. And pretty inconsistent if it is supposedly a
"personal decision."

Your entire argument is flawed. So if some women have miscarriages the pill is ok even if the pill causes miscarriages? But you'd call an artificially induced abortion a "miscarriage?" How convenient.

Here is a tip. This is a personal blog where personal opinions are aired. If you don't like our comments at least have the decency to identify yourself.

Sean, Stephanie and Hattie said...

Anonymous,

I am sickened by your reasoning of why the pill is okay. Yes, women naturally miscarry every day. That is God's Will. The pill can create an inhospitable environment that rejects an embryo that would probably not have been inhospitable without the pill. That is abortion. With your reasoning, you must then think the morning after pill is okay, too!?!? And also since some babies are still-born, you must then think that partial birth abortion is okay. Do you see how flaw-filled your reasoning is?

It's not like I pulled my information out of thin air, either. You say I am providing misinformation....me and thousands others then. In my search I didn't find anything to back up your claim that the pill can not and does not cause abortion because it can and does I'm afraid.

It's not hard to see that you're angry. I don't know who you are, so it's hard for me to understand why you're so angry over this post, but I stand firm in my findings and feel that you're defense is filled with obvious holes.

Grace and Peace,
Stephanie

Anonymous said...

I just want to clarify a few things and then I will never post here again. First, you don't know me - we've never met. I found this page when trolling the internet for resources about pregnancy. So, posting as anonymous isn't cowardly, since I have nothing to lose (or gain) by telling you my identity. I'm sorry that you were so offended by my comments. The internet, however, is a public space, and if you put your thoughts and opinions on a public forum, you shouldn't be shocked or offended when people read them and voice disagreement.


Now, onto the more substantive matters . The most important thing is to say that I wasn't angry when I posted my first comment. Accurate reproductive information is something I'm very passionate about and I'm very bothered when I hear people say that the pill causes abortions. So, what you interpreted as anger on my part is really just enthusiastic argument (I happen to be an academic, and so argument is just something I'm used to). I apologize if I came across as angry. I also apologize if my opinion offended you. As I said before, I really don't care if people chose to do NFP. I think it's a personal choice. I just prefer that the reasons not be based on mis-information about other forms of birth control. If you want to practice NFP because you have a particular theology of sex and family, I am perfectly fine with with - and applaud you, as a matter of fact. What I have a harder time with is people being talked into NFP because of the fear of the pill.

Now, onto matters of language. My objection here is the use of the term "abortion" to describe what happens from the pill. Technically speaking, an abortion can only take place if there is a pregnancy. If a fertilized egg has not implanted in the uterus, there is no pregnancy. There is a difference between conception and pregnancy. Conception often happens without resulting in pregnancy (through natural means). I'm sure that your response is that life begins at conception, and I may even agree with you there (depending on how we qualify 'life'). However, pregnancy does not begin at conception, but at implantation. Without implantation, there is no pregnancy, and without pregnancy, there can be no abortion.

That was my main point in my original post. What the pill does is prevent pregnancy (in the rare instance where conception results, - usually from misuse of the pill). What the pill does not do is cause abortions.

I am quite adamantly opposed to partial birth abortion, by the way.

The last thing I want to say is of a more theological nature. As a devout Christian, (surprised you there, didn't I!) I object to the statement that a miscarriage is God's will. For a woman to miscarry is never God's will for he does not willingly afflict his children. Miscarriages happen because we live in a fallen and imperfect world that is touched by sin in every corner. Miscarriages happen because are bodies are marked by sin and are thus, imperfect. Miscarriages do not happen because God wills them to.

I hope that I've clarified a few things in my original comment. Again, my intent was not to offend, but just to voice disagreement.

Oso Famoso said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for clarifying your position. I think we only got offended from the perceived tone of your post and not so much the message. The interweb isn't the best medium for conveying respect or emotion.

The rub is that we believe that life begins at conception. When the sperm hits the egg.

Therefore, any artificial induced measure that halts that process is abortion. The definition of the word "pregnancy" doesn't make a difference.

If you want to argue that abortion isn't possible without technical "pregnancy" then we won't call it abortion...We'll just call it murder.

Who gets to define "pregnancy" anyway?

I suppose that "pregnancy", "conception”,” miscarriage", and "abortion" are all scientific terms defined by the scientific community.

But we as Christians cannot allow the definition of a term by the secular world to define what is and isn't sin. What if the science community suddenly redefined the word "miscarriage" to include abortions? Would you argue that abortion isn't murder anymore because it technically is just a miscarriage? I doubt it. You would most likely argue that the science community is wrong in their definition of "misscarriage."

Sean, Stephanie and Hattie said...

Anonymous,

I welcome the debate as long as it isn't in anger. Thank you for clarifying that you weren't angry.

Now I must clarify something that I said and that you took the wrong way. God is good, and His Will is good and perfect. What I meant when I said that if a miscarriage naturally happens then it is God's Will is that I believe it is an act of mercy. You were referring to early miscarriage, and I believe when an embryo cannot fully develop into a fetus something is probably wrong with the child, so God, in His perfect will and mercy, spares the child a life of suffering. My mother-in-law, for instance, had 4 miscarriages early on. She also carries a chromosome defect that I am sure each of these children had. The children that she carried to term and birthed do not have this defect. This is just my belief. I may be completely off. I definitely do not pretend to know all. We cannot fully understand God's ways; there are some things that are simply a mystery, but nothing is outside of the Will of God.

I completely agree with you (imagine that!) that all of the horrible things of this world derive from our sin.

Also, I thought I made it clear that this was not an NFP debate. It's not like you either do NFP or the pill. I even provided a link for other forms of BC that will not result in abortion. My husband and I believe that NFP is the best Christian choice, but I know we are in the minority.

It all really begins with the value of life and once that value decreases, it's a slippery slope.

And yes, I do believe that conception is the beginning of life.

Grace and Peace

Wisdom From the Pope

“The inalienable dignity of every human being and the rights which flow from that dignity - in the first place the right to life and the defense of life - are at the heart of the church's message." Pope John Paul ended his address, saying: "In spite of divisions among Christians, 'all those justified by faith through baptism are incorporated into Christ...brothers and sisters in the Lord.'" Pope John Paul 2