First of all, fertility is a great good. An adult human being who is fertile is a healthy human being. Those who are infertile are unhealthy. A woman protesting hormones in food shouted at a pro-lifer who was arguing against the abortion pill, “What are you, some kind of nut?”
We live in a culture that is beginning to realize that it’s bad to put chemicals in the air and in the water supply and food. But women are putting chemical in their bodies day after day, month after month, year after year, to stop something that’s perfectly healthy. It simply doesn’t make any sense especially since women can control their fertility with the very health methods of natural family planning.
Violation of Physical Health
Women who take chemical contraceptives complain of liver troubles, strokes, migraines, high blood pressure and ovarian cysts. There are all sorts of bad physical side effects of contraceptives.
Since I’m going to talk mostly about the chemical contraceptives, let me pause for a moment to say a few things about the so-called barrier methods. First of all, think of how incompatible barriers are with lovemaking. “I want to make love to you, but I’ve got to get my barrier in place.” “I’ve got to get my spermicide going.” “I want to give myself completely, but I’m going to kill your sperm.” What is loving about that? Barriers are clearly opposed to an act of real self-giving. Moreover, semen has within it certain proteins that are beneficial for women; they have a calming and assuring effect on the woman; thus condoms deny women one of the benefits for them from sexual intercourse.
Common Side Effects
The common side effects of the chemical contraceptives are: increased irritability, increased propensity to depression, weight gain and a reduced sex drive. Most women who use chemical contraceptives complain of these side effects. I’m sure that every woman in this room would like to be taking a pill that makes her more irritable, more prone to depression, helps her gain weight and have a reduced sex drive. I’m sure every man in this room wants the woman he’s dealing with to be more irritable, more prone to depression, to gain weight and have a reduced sex drive. We have something for you: it’s called the chemical contraceptive.
Dismissing Side Effects
When the pill was first discovered in the later 1950’s it was tested on women in Puerto Rico. And these are the reports that came back:
Dr. Edris Rice-Wray, a faculty member of the Puerto Rico Medical School and medical director of the Puerto Rico Family Planning Association, was in charge of the trials. After a year of tests, Dr. Rice-Wray reported good news to Pincus. The Pill was 100% effective when taken properly. She also informed him that 17% of the women in the study complained of nausea, dizziness, headaches, stomach pain and vomiting. So serious and sustained were the reactions that Rice-Wray told Pincus that a 10-milligram dose of Enovid caused “too many side reactions to be generally acceptable.”
Rock and Pincus quickly dismissed Rice-Wray’s conclusions. Their patients in Boston had experienced far fewer negative reactions, and they believed many of the complaints were psychosomatic. The men also felt that problems such as bloating and nausea were minor compared to the contraceptive benefits of the drug. Although three women died while participating in the trials, no investigation was conducted to see if the Pill had caused the young women’s deaths. Confident in the safety of the Pill, Pincus and Rock took no action to assess the root cause of the side effects.
I first heard about this situation in Puerto Rico years ago when I read a book by a woman named Dr. Ellen Grant. The title of the book was “The Bitter Pill.” She was a physician in London in the 1950’s and she started prescribing the pill to her patients. She was dismayed when they returned in with migraines, high blood pressure, ovarian cysts, and other maladies. She was perplexed since she wanted to make her patients lives better, not worse. This led her to review the early studies of the pill.
She discovered that there was an attempt to find a contraceptive for males as well as for females. As you will notice, there is no contraceptive pill for males. There is a reason for that. In the study group of males, one male had some slight shrinkage of his testicles. Thus, all testing on the male contraceptive pill was stopped, since that is intolerable. Among the female study group three women died. They simply adjusted the dosage of the hormone. What does that tell people? It may tell us that women are stupid. Women do things to their bodies that men won’t do to theirs.
“Sexy” Contraceptive Patch Fatality Rate Revealed
We read in a report of September, 2004 that seventeen women between the ages of 17 and 30 had died since the release of the patch in 2002. The contraceptive patch is placed on a woman’s abdomen so she can absorb into her body a chemical contraceptive. The report tells us that “These documents also revealed that 21 additional life-threatening conditions have been found, including heart attacks, blood clots and strokes.”
If a 28 year old woman dies of a stroke, they’re not going to put on the death certificate that she died because she was using a contraceptive. One doctor doubted these reports so he looked at the medical records of these 17 women between the ages of 17 and 30 that died and found out that he thought only 6 of them could really be attributed to the patch, that we had enough evidence to say that these deaths were caused by the patch. But he thought that was an acceptable side effect. The convenience of the patch is so great that it is worth risking death for. What other drug would get this pass from the pharmaceutical industry, from the FDA? Tobacco is treated more harshly.
Doctors have told me that we’ve seen nothing yet in respect to lawsuits. What the pharmaceutical companies will face in respect to contraceptives is going to be huge compared to what we had with the tobacco companies. The pharmaceutical companies know every bit as much how bad contraceptives are for women as the tobacco companies knew about tobacco. And some day there may be massive lawsuits.
An Insult to Women
I think contraception is an insult to women. Instead of women saying fertility is a great gift, fertility is healthy, I’m not going to mess with my fertility, I’m not going to put massive doses of anything in my body to mess up my fertility, women basically apologize for their fertility. “I’m sorry. When I have sex I may get pregnant. Sure, I’ll be glad to mess with my body to correct this humiliating and inconvenient feature of my sex.”