The Problem with the Pill

MARY BETH BONACCI

Most of us assume that contraception works the way it says it works ó by preventing conception. If a woman is on the Pill, she doesnít ovulate and therefore there is no egg to be fertilized when she engages in sexual intercourse.

Mary Beth Bonacci

There is a little war going on in the ‚??letters to the editor‚?Ě section of my local paper. Somebody wrote a letter condemning abortion. Somebody else responded by saying that if this person were really oppsed to abortion, she would work to stop the cause of abortion by promoting contraception. Then yet another person wrote to say that, if that were true, Planned Parenthood‚??s mammoth contraceptive promotions over the past 35 years would have completely eradicated abortion by now.

I can‚??t wait to see what tomorrow‚??s paper will bring.

There are, of course, at least 10 different columns I could write in response to all of this. I could talk about the absurd demand that someone express their opposition to an activity (in this case, abortion) in a way pre-determined by someone hostile to her viewpoint. I could talk about all of the studies which have unanimously determined that increased contraceptive use leads to an increase, not a decrease, in abortion rates. I could talk about how the real root of the abortion problem lies not in too little contraception, but rather in too little respect for the sacredness of human sexuality. I could talk about the Church‚??s very compellin reasons for condemning all artificial birth control.

But I‚??m going a different way. I want to talk about how little we know about contraception, and how the more we learn about the way it works, the less distinguishable it becomes from abortion.

Most of us assume that contraception works the way it says it works ‚?? by preventing conception. If a woman is on the Pill, she doesn‚??t ovulate and therefore there is no egg to be fertilized when she engages in sexual intercourse.

But do pharmaceutical contraceptives work that way? Apparently not, according to virtually every source I‚??ve found (ranging from the Physician‚??s Desk Reference to an organization called Pharmacists for Life). The early Pills worked that way, but they also had scads of really unpleasant side effects.

No, today‚??s Pill relies on what is called the ‚??triple threat.‚?Ě It attempts to inhibit ovulation, but with reduced estrogen levels, it doesn‚??t do that nearly as effectively as it used to. Butit also thickens the cervical mucus, in order to make the trip to the egg a little tougher for the sperm. Apparently this second threat isn‚??t too threatening to the very determined little swimmers, and in itself doesn‚??t do much to prevent fertilization.

The third ‚??threat‚?Ě is the problem. The Pill changes the lining of the uterus, making it inhospitable to a developing embryo. If the woman does indeed ovulate and the egg is fertilized, the new little life travels to the lining of the uterus to implant. But with the Pill-induced changes, implantation cannot take place. Then, without nutrition, the embryo dies. The woman has her regularly scheduled, Pill-induced period, and never knows that anything happened.

This is not contraception ‚?? the prevention of conception. This is abortion ‚?? the death of a new human life.

There is no doubt that breakthrough ovulation happens to women on the Pill. Dutch gynecologist Dr. Nine Van der Vange conducted an award-winning study, pesented to the Society for Advancement in Contraception, proving breakthrough ovulation with follicular development, ultrasound exams and hormonal indicators.

How often does this breakthrough ovulation happen? The lowest estimates I have seen indicate that a woman on the Pill may ovulate in 12 percent of her cycles. Dr. Ronald Chez of the National Institutes of Health has publicly stated that breakthrough ovulation may occur in up to 50 percent of cycles.

Does anyone else see a problem here? How can any Christian woman, knowing this, continue to use the Pill? How could any couple knowingly put themselves in a position of creating and then destroying life ‚?? their own offspring ‚?? several times every year? We see ample evidence that the Pill causes early, silent abortions in virtually every woman who uses it. Who could knowingly do that?

The real travesty is that, for the most part, women don‚??t know this. I‚??ve certainly seen no effort on the part of the Pill‚??s manufcturers to disseminate this type of information. They prefer slick television commercials assuring women that not only will they avoid pregnancy, but their complexions will clear us as well. Who wouldn‚??t want to be on the Pill? Most women are sincerely horrified when they discover how it‚??s really ‚??preventing‚?Ě pregnancy.

So it‚??s up to you. Women on the Pill have a right to know exactly what is happening in their bodies. We need to be the ones who tell them. Show them this column. Go to the Pharmacists for Life web site (www.pfli.org) and order their booklet Does Birth Control Cause Abortion?

Not only will you be helping women, you‚??ll be doing something to stop abortion ‚?? silent abortion.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Bonacci, Mary Beth. ‚??The Problem with the Pill.‚?Ě The Arlingon Catholic Herald (June 15, 2000).

Published with permission of the Arlington Catholic Herald.

THE AUTHOR

Mary Beth Bonacci is the founder of Real Love Incorporated and the the author of We're on a Mission from God: The Generation X Guide to John Paul II, the Catholic Church, and the Real Meaning of Life and Real Love: The Ultimate Datng, Marriage and Sex Question Book (Ignatius, 1996).

Copyright © 2000 Arlington Catholic Herald


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