Faith, Life

FYI

So…once again I’ve been facing a blogging dilemma (sheesh… here’s a tangent for you… how do you spell dilemna?!  Google that.).

ANYWAY.  I feel compelled to write a FYI sort of blog about birth control.  But it can be controversial, and so a part of me doesn’t want to get my hands dirty.  My husband thinks this blog is meant to be kind of a family journal, so why do I need to use it as a forum?  I don’t know.  But I keep thinking about this and thinking about this and thinking about this, and I feel like if it informs even one woman, it’s worth turning my little family journal into a forum.  And seriously… since when can I keep information and opinions to myself?!  Especially when it comes to something that offends my sense of right and wrong…  keeping my big mouth shut has never been a strong point of mine. 😉

So. What do you know about how the average birth control pill works? In 2003 I got married and in blissful ignorance I began taking the pill. There was never a question, it was just THE option for monogamous relationships. Happy bonuses like lighter periods and clearer skin were thrown in as additional reasons to choose the pill. The actual function of the pill and possible side effects and health risks were either never discussed or seriously downplayed. In 2003 I stopped taking the pill for 2 weeks, got pregnant, and had a miscarriage. I went back on the pill until the fall of 2004 when I began experiencing SEVERE nausea and repeat yeast infections as side effects from the pill. Prior to this, the summer of 2004, a co-worker mentioned to me that the birth control pill can cause chemical abortions. I looked at her like she had 2 heads, and thought she was a legalistic, over reactive, crazy lady. I had NEVER heard that before and didn’t even want to consider it. The pill is a CONTRACEPTIVE device. You can’t have an abortion if you never get pregnant. But when I began to experience side effects I started looking into my contraceptive options which led me to take a closer look at the actual function of the birth control pill.

I was shocked, dismayed, and felt that I had been deceived. At the time I wrote a paper about it and shared it with a number of friends. But mostly, I didn’t feel any confidence to go around spreading controversy and popping Christian’s contraceptive bubbles. The pill is simply the most reliable and convenient choice! But I was given a book last week by Randy Alcorn that confirmed all my previous research and again brought this issue, this deception, to my heart and mind. And I’ve just gotta tell you about it.

So.

The birth control works in these 3 ways (as summarized from the Physicians Desk Reference):
1.) inhibiting ovulation (the primary mechanism)
2.) thickening cervical mucus, thereby making it more difficult for sperm to travel to the egg
3.) thinning and shrivelling the lining of the uterus to the point that it is unable or less able to facilitate the implantation of the newly fertilized egg.

The first 2 mechanisms are contraceptive, the third is abortive.

Now… it is completely unknown how often the first 2 mechanisms fail. We know that all 3 mechanisms fail at least 3% of the time, as at least 3% of women on the pill get pregnant. The pill manufacturers marketing department will try to convince you that because it fails 3% of the time, the third mechanism fails every time. But that is simply not factual or reasonable. Some of the time the first 2 mechanisms fail, and the third works. FACT. Chemical abortion. (In fact, the morning after pill is simply high dosage birth control, because it works THE SAME WAY.)

And some more food for thought:
Did you know that in 1976 the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) changed the definition of the term contraceptive (which used to mean “an agent that prevented the union of sperm and ovum”) to now mean anything that prevents implantation of the blastocyst, which occurs 6-7 days after fertilization. And conception came to mean “the onset of pregnancy marked by implantation of the blastocyst”. So now it’s acceptable for abortifacients such as IUDs, combination pills, minipills, progestin-only pills, injectables and implantables to all be defined as contraceptives.
(the rest of the medical community still generally defines conception as occurring at fertilization.)

And that is the real question. When do you believe conception occurs? If you believe (as I do) that a new life begins when the egg is fertilized, and you are taking the birth control pill, then you SHOULD know that your birth control pill works as both a contraceptive and an abortifacient. The reality is that our low estrogen pills (and they really all are these days), simply cannot suppress ovulation 100% of the time. And the thickening of the cervical mucous does not work 100% of the time. So for today’s birth control pill to be effective, it now prevents implantation as well. (and as a side note, did you know that tubular (ectopic) pregnancy is 70-1390% higher in pill takers than non pill takers?!  If that doesn’t give you a hint of how often the first 2 mechanisms fail but the third works…)

I’m not going to delve much further than this. It should be enough to make women take notice. Christian women in particular. I personally believe that the birth control industry is an assault against women. (and yet I believe in birth control, Taking Charge of Your Fertility changed the way I understood my body and should be mandatory sex-ed reading for ALL women! So CLICK THAT LINK!!) I successfully used Natural Family Planning as birth control for 2 years (and between babies), and I am a highly fertile woman. You have healthy, natural options that work. But I won’t get into all that. Just… look into it for yourself. Don’t take my opinion as fact or pass me off as a crazy.  Think about it. Pray about it. Don’t put your head in the sand. You are responsible for your choices, so REALLY choose carefully and thoughtfully. Be informed.

There. Conscience cleared. 🙂

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10 Comments

  • Reply An Irish Friend ;c) May 24, 2010 at 2:24 am

    I remember when I found that out and I was piiiiisssed. Pissed. I refused to go back on it after the wee one was born but for a myriad of reasons, not just the abortive aspect.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pill-Are-you-sure-its/dp/1741750792/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274681880&sr=8-3

    That book was an eye opener. It addresses how the pill can cause depression and women are often then placed on anti-depressants and it causes terrible health cycles. The links to cancer are also frightening. To treat my polycystic ovaries I was told the pill was the best option so they put me on one that literally made me raging angry all the time and I even ended up feeling like I hated my child. I went off of it only to find out later they flippantly put me on the highest dose BC. Makes you want to slam your head off the wall!

    I know the main moral concern for you is the abortive aspect of the pill, as it should be, but there are LOADS of reasons why women should really and seriously take the time to research what they are putting in their bodies, the least of which would be how healthy is it to suppress your bodies natural functions for extended periods of time?

    Also – go you on discussion topics on your blog. Love it ^_^

    • Reply Christa May 24, 2010 at 7:40 am

      I SO agree that there are MANY reasons to avoid the pill. Again, that’s why I said I think the entire birth control industry is an assault on women. I could have written for days on all the reasons not to take it!! 🙂 But particularly I feel this aspect, this mechanism, is so hidden and yet so devastating. And I hope knowing this mechanism will encourage women to look into the pill a bit more and in doing so they will see the other evils for themselves. I do think there may be several reasons TO take the pill, but there needs to be more information so women can weigh the risks vs. benefits for themselves.

      Want to read about another way Canadian women are unknowingly being violated by the medical community? Read this. Trauma. Your beautiful little activist heart must be rubbing off on me. 🙂

  • Reply Hailey May 24, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Thank you for posting this! I stopped taking the pill a few months ago simply because I felt unsettled about using it as a contraceptive. It was messing with my body in weird ways, and made me wonder what else it was doing to my body that I just wasn’t aware of. I’m glad you didn’t keep your big mouth shut 🙂

  • Reply An Irish Friend ;c) May 24, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Oh my good grief I read about that about a year ago and was absolutely horrified. And people deny medical rape happens? There are no words and absolutely NO excuses for violating someone in such a vile way. It enrages me.

    And I love how you call my activist heart beautiful, especially when I simply feel like a ball of unmitigated rage at the injustice in the world and feel far from lovely about it lol.

    <3

    (PS I really do think its fully acceptable to utilize your family blog to discuss important issues because family & life issues are totally entwined ;c) Big hugs!)

  • Reply Hannah May 24, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Thanks for posting this Christa. We are sooo against the pill for many reasons. But this is first and foremost. I have an activist heart too. Women are so violated in the medical community in so many ways. I’m a bit of an activist with the whole childbirth thing. Have you watched the Business of Being Born. Crazy stuff!

  • Reply admin May 24, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Are you kidding?! I went to a special showing of the Business of Being Born at a doula centre when it came out. LOVED it. I seriously wish we didn’t live on opposite corners of the globe, Hannah.

    And yay, Hailey! I’m glad too I didn’t keep my big mouth shut! 🙂 You should look into the Taking Charge of Your Fertility book if you haven’t read it yet. It’s WONDERFUL and interesting and informative and transformative. Every woman I know that has opened it up has practically devoured it.

    And Savs… I really do think your concern at injustice and the treatment of the innocent is beautiful. I should have known you would have heard about the other article already. 🙂 I was in shock when I first read it.

  • Reply Lisa May 25, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    OK – another things to chew on… when I’m breastfeeding, I ovulate – there have been many many times when I was pretty sure I was pregnant – which would mean the egg was fertilized, but then breastfeeding shortens my luteal phase, so even if the egg implanted, the chemical balance isn’t there and I get my period. So breastfeeding is a ‘natural’ abortificant. Are those all little babies that died that I will meet in heaven some day? Could be I guess, but it is a system designed by God where fertilized eggs die. Something to think about!

    But in saying this – I don’t like the pill either!

  • Reply admin May 26, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Interested to know then when you believe a life becomes a life? Just curious.

    I’ve heard that in many women who have an early return of their period while breastfeeding, that ovulation is often not actually occurring yet. But obviously that is not the case for everyone.

    Also… I do agree that early miscarriages happen naturally, I’ve actually read that MORE babies die when you are using NFP or breastfeeding than if you were to be on the pill. The big difference for me is that God is in control of the lives he sustains or doesn’t when it comes to the natural way our cycles function, whereas I am responsible when I inject my body with chemicals/synthetic hormones that may cause abortion. I am perfectly comfortable with His control over life and death, if He chooses to allow fertilized eggs to die, so be it. If they are in heaven, they are much better off anyway! My issue is that the majority of women do not know they are taking over this responsibility when they choose so called contraceptives. Many women who strongly oppose abortifacients like the morning after pill have NO idea they are taking the same chemicals that potentially cause the same action to occur in their birth control pill.

  • Reply emily June 1, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Hey lady,

    This topic has been on my mind a lot lately, since we’ve just had a baby (12 weeks ago) and I’d like to take a “breather” before we have another one, IF we have another one. Between baby #1 and #2 we used NFP very successfully, but since baby #2 isn’t sleeping through the night yet and I start my day at all different times I don’t feel confident using NFP yet. I asked my OB at our post-birth appointment if there was anything new on the market and she recommended Mirena, and really made it sound like the perfect birth control. Like, almost science fiction perfect – stops fertilization, have it put in and leave it in up to 5 years (but you can have it removed earlier if you want to try for another baby sooner). If you go to the US website you’ll see that it’s basically being marketed as the birth control for young families. Because I said I have a moral issue with IUDs, she made the specific point that the Mirena IUS stops fertilization and so it’s not morally problematic. She even wrote me a precription pre-emtively so I could think about it, and call for an appointment if I wanted it put in.

    So I left and started thinking and doing research, and then did even more research when I found out how much it costs. Sigh. I know what you mean about not wanting to burst anyone’s bubble because I’d been so hopeful that scientists had finally created some magical birth control that had no moral grey areas. But Mirena does. While it does create a thicker barrier that prevents fertilization, and contains localized hormones to stop ovulation, it still thins the lining of the uterus. So IF a little soldier gets in, and IF you happen to ovulate, then that egg doesn’t have a fighting chance. So although Mirena is 99.9% effective (meaning 1 out of 1000. That’s pretty much as effective as it gets) I kept asking how much of a risk of either ovulation or fertilization I’m willing to take. So I decided against it.

    What I’ve kept thinking about is the fact that I was told by a doctor that there is no moral conflict for a Christian to use Mirena, even though if you learn more about you’ll discover that there MAY be (going back to that conception/implantation arguement). So I have to assume that lots of doctors are telling lots of Christians the same thing.

    I also wasn’t told that it can be so uncomfortable to have it put in that you could faint! Or that some ladies have the same hormonal issues with Mirena that they do with the pill. These things are mentioned in the patient literature but they’re REALLY downplayed.

    When baby #2 sleeps through the night regularly, and I feel less like I’m run-off-my-feet every day, we’ll probably go back to NFP. For now, good ol’ condoms will have to do.

    • Reply Christa June 1, 2010 at 9:38 pm

      Interesting stuff about the Mirena. I haven’t looked into it personally, but had assumed it was similar to any other IUD. Perhaps if enough of us get on the bandwagon one day companies will produce birth control without that third mechanism. But I doubt it. Their marketing departments would have a hard sell because I guarantee they would no longer be 99% (or whatever it is) effective!

      Hope things go as planned with the spacing of your family!

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