Contraception - Chemical Methods / Hormonal Contraception / Emergency / Morning After Pill

The Pill

According to FDA information, the typical pregnancy rate for women using the pill is 5 percent.

This means that of every 100 women using the pill, 5 will be pregnant within 12 months.

About 10.4 million American women use the pill; thus there are more than 500,000 pregnancies per year among these pill users.

Two surveys by AGI (Planned Parenthood research arm) have shown that 56%- 58% of women procuring abortions were using some method of birth control the month they became pregnant.

 

Pharmacist Patrick McCrystal said 20-30 mcg estrogen Pills, designed to minimize side effects, have a "breakthrough" ovulation rate between 2-10%, and progestogen-only Pills have a breakthrough rate of 60-85%.
The original large dose Pills made a barrier to sperm by thickening cervical mucus. Foam, condoms, and diaphragms also interpose a physical barrier but other contraceptives merely prevent implantation and therefore, cause early abortions before the woman realizes conception (fertilization) had occurred.

Low dose contraceptive pills prevent implantation; they do not "contracept" (prevent fertilization). [National Association of Pro-LIfe Nurses, Spring 1996]

 

The 1999 Physicians Desk Reference reads:

"Progestin-only oral contraceptives prevent conception by suppressing ovulation in approximately half of users, thickening the cervical mucus to inhibit sperm penetration, lowering the midcycle LH and FSH peaks, slowing the movement of the ovum through the fallopian tubes, and altering the endometrium" (p. 2201).

"Combination oral contraceptives act by suppression of gonadotropins. Although the primary mechanism of this action is inhibition of ovulation, other alterations include changes in the cervical mucus (which increase the difficulty of sperm entry into the uterus) and the endometrium (which reduce the likelihood of implantation)" (p.713).

Both pills (progestin-only and combination) act to prevent the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation).

However, because the hormone level in pills has been lowered in recent years due to serious physical complications, women can and do experience occasional breakthrough ovulation – meaning that an egg is released from the ovary and is available to be fertilized by the sperm.

Both types of pills also cause the cervical mucus to thicken, making it difficult for the sperm to reach the egg. It is possible, though, for the sperm to occasionally break through the mucus and to fertilize the egg.

Both types of pills change the lining of the uterus (endometrium), as you read above.

If fertilization has occurred (i.e., if the sperm and the egg have joined forming a union that denotes the beginning of a new human being), the Pill, by altering the lining of the uterus, may prevent the 5-10 day-old human from attaching to the lining of the uterus (implantation), where it would receive the nourishment needed to grow.

If implantation does not occur, then this young human is expelled from the body during menstruation. This "post-fertilization effect" may cause a "chemical abortion"; the Pill may be referred to as an abortifacient rather than a contraceptive.

If we must err, let us err on the side of life…

Some women may be taking the Pill for various reasons (ovarian cysts, heavy periods, etc.) to relieve medical problems.  The Pill may relieve symptoms; but there are natural methods of relieving those same symptoms and of curing the root problem that are just as effective and much safer.

The side effects of taking the pill, especially for long term users are, but are not limited to, acne, weight gain, increased risk of breast and cervical cancer, lowered immunity to STDs, and the possibility of sterility later in life.

"Fertility problems are only the tip of the iceberg for many women…'In 1960, when the pill was first invented, the incidence of breast cancer was one in 25 women; today it is one in eight women,'" says Kathy Raviele, M.D., an Atlanta physician. 

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) supports Raviele's supposition that there is a definite link between pill use and breast cancer. [see JAMA, 11 October 2000, vol.284, pp.1791-1798, family history risk of breast cancer with oral contraceptives].

According to the Physician's Desk Reference, women who took the pill as teenagers are at higher risk of developing breast cancer when in their 30s than women in the population as a whole." [Family Resources Center News, Jan/Feb 02]

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The "third-generation" contraceptive pills containing gestodene and desogestrel are dangerous for women. The March 1996 issue of the British health newsletter, What Doctors Don't Tell You, cites new research connecting these substances with deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). The Committee on Safety of Medicine, the British equivalent of the FDA, did not withdraw licenses for the drugs, but did release findings of an unpublished survey.

Researchers studied two groups of women and found those taking a third-generation contraceptive with desogestrel had a 2.5 fold higher risk of developing DVT than users of all other types of oral contraceptives combined. The risk seemed to be at its greatest within the first 4 months of taking the Pill, and disappeared completely within 3 months after stopping it. Risks were greater among women with a family history of thrombosis or who carried a mutation called V Leiden, which can cause thrombosis [The Lancet, 16 December 1995] [National Association of Pro-Life Nurses, Spring 1996]

For more information about the metabolic action of The Pill, visit www.ccli.org