Birth Control – Emergency Contraception – Is it Safe?
Not only could EC kill a tiny preborn life in its earliest stages, but the morning-after pill is also very dangerous to a woman’s health.
If one reads the patient information package insert for regular hormonal birth control (remember, emergency contraception is a mega-dose of the regular birth control pill), one will find that the side effects of hormonal contraceptives include:
- Cerebral hemorrhage (bleeding into the cranial cavity)
- Cerebral thrombosis (blood clot that drains blood from the brain)
- Melasma, which may persist (skin discoloration; usually dark, irregular patches)
- Retinal thrombosis (blockage of the central retinal vein that carries blood away from the eye)
- Change in corneal curvature (steepening of the cornea)
- Thrombophlebitis and venous thrombosis with or without embolism (blood clots in the veins)
- Mesenteric thrombosis (blood clot in the major veins that drain blood from the intestine)
- Hemorrhagic eruption (bleeding eruption)
- Arterial thromboembolism (blood clots in the heart)
- Pulmonary embolism (arterial blockage, usually from a blood clot, that cuts off one lung’s blood supply)
- Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
- Budd-Chiari Syndrome (closing of the veins that carry deoxygenated blood from the lower half of the body into the heart)
- Hemolytic uremic syndrome (kidney failure and low platelet count in the blood)
Dr. Ellen Grant, writing in the Lancet (2001) has expressed the concern that “. 5% of women have a genetic susceptibility to thromboembolic disease (blood clots).” When these women take the morning-after pill – which is equal in strength to taking 50 regular birth control tablets – a blood clot might form. [Grant E. Adverse reactions and emergency contraception. Lancet. 2001;357:1201]
The dose of estrogen in the current birth control pill, which is erroneously billed as “safe,” has potency four times greater than that of the estrogen used in hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT has been conclusively shown to increase the risk of stroke (41%), pulmonary embolism (113%), breast cancer (26%), and coronary heart disease (29%).
Most importantly, there are no long-term studies to show whether women, especially young women, will be permanently damaged, or risk such diseases as cancer, from these chemicals being given in such high doses.
The morning-after pill causes an increase in the incidence of ectopic pregnancies (lodgment of the human embryo in the Fallopian tube rather than in the womb.)
[Sheffer-Mimouni G, Pauzer D, Maslovitch S et al. Ectopic pregnancies following levonorgestrel contraception. Contraception. 2003;67:267-269]
The common side-effects of the ‘morning-after pill’ (nausea and abdominal pain) are also the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy and could therefore mask the presence of this potentially life-threatening condition.
The morning-after pill can also have serious interactions with prescribed medications. The British Medical Journal has reported that the morning-after pill can interfere with warfarin medications.
[Ellison J, Thomson AJ, Greer IA. Apparent interaction between warfarin and levonorgestrel used for emergency contraception. BMJ. 2000;321:1382 and Richards D. An Important drug interaction – an alternate mechanism. BMJ Rapid responses. 22 December 2000]
There is concern that the very high dose of hormone taken in the morning-after pill might ‘kick-start’ cervical cancer if a woman is already infected with human papilloma virus.
[Chen Y-H, Huang L-H, Chen T-M. Differential effects of progestins and estrogens on long control regions of human papillomavirus types 16 and 18.]
Even the notorious abortion promoter, David A Grimes, MD, who was a presenter for Plan B’s manufacturer before the FDA advisory committee in December 2003, acknowledged in a 2002 interview that emergency contraception has a serious negative effect on a woman’s menstrual cycle:
“Repeated use of EC wreaks havoc on a woman’s cycle, so the resulting menstrual chaos acts as a powerful deterrent to using this method too often.”
In fact, the menstrual chaos Grimes warns about does not deter women from repeated and routine use of MAP, as studies have shown. But MAP-induced menstrual irregularities do make it hard for women to determine whether or not they are pregnant or experiencing delayed menses.
At home and abroad, the abortion, family planning, and population control groups which seek to promote MAP ignore the scientifically-proven risks of levonorgestrel (the sole active ingredient of Plan B MAP). These well-documented adverse side effects include significant weight gain (on average 15 pounds), depression, ovarian cyst enlargement, gallbladder disease, high blood pressure, respiratory disorders, increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and death. In some women, these serious adverse effects of levonorgestrel-type MAP could lead to further health risks for bulimia, anorexia, or clinical depression.
While these risks are multiplied with increased use, the advocates of MAP promote its increased, frequent, and repeated use. From the makers of Plan-B, MAP “can be provided as frequently as needed,” as if it were candy or Tums. The wholesale promotion by the profiteers is undercut by solid evidence, and warnings advising women and physicians to limit usage, or to not use it at all.
Consider the following:
Plan B contains the same active ingredient as Norplant, a hormonal contraceptive removed from the market in the U.S. because of its dangerous side effects. More than 36,000 women have been awarded over $50 million for injuries caused by Norplant.
Dispensation of the regular birth control pill requires completion of a patient’s medical history and physician oversight due to all of these possible harmful side effects. Emergency contraception, which is even more powerful than the regular birth control pill, is available over-the-counter (OTC) without physician oversight.
60% of girls under the age of 15 are impregnated by adults and are, therefore, in most cases, victims of statutory rape. OTC availability of emergency contraception increases the likelihood that sexual predators are able to cover their crimes and continue their criminal behavior.
Existing bodies of evidence prove that easy access to EC is not associated with a decrease in unintended pregnancy or abortion.
Plan B supporter admits shortcomings:
During a panel discussion at the National Press Club’s Newsmaker Forum, Kirsten Moore, president and CEO of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, admitted that the morning-after pill does not reduce pregnancies and abortions as originally touted. “The experts had estimated that we would see a drop by up to half in the rates of unintended pregnancies and the rates of abortion,” she said. “In fact, in the real world, we’re not seeing that.”
The promised reductions have been the main thrust of Plan B proponents who want the drug to be available without a prescription. The admission by Moore should be a red flag for the Food and Drug Administration, which has delayed its decision whether Plan B should be available over the counter.
Citizen Link Daily Update – December 8, 2005
Eight studies of more than 6,000 women draw the same conclusions:
“According to a new review of studies, women who received an advance supply of birth control pills for emergency contraception had an equal chance of becoming pregnant as women who did not have early access to the pills.” The review found that emergency contraception use was higher among women given an advance supply of the birth control pills, but that increase in use did not translate to a drop in the pregnancy rate.
Finally, birth control leads to a state of mind that treats sexual activity as if it has nothing to do with babies; babies are treated as “accidents,” as a burden to be eliminated. In this way, contraception is clearly linked to abortion.
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