Arland Nichols

World Contraception Day sponsors silent about deadly side effects

Arland Nichols
By Arland Nichols
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Advocates of abortion and birth control often speak of “empowering women” with unbiased and vital information about “reproductive health.” Their silence following regular warnings about the negative side-effects of contraceptives, however, calls into question the nature of their concern for women’s health.

On September 26, 2011, the FDA announced that it “remains concerned by the potential increased risk of blood clots” associated with the use of one of the most popular types of birth control pills. As irony would have it, the date of the FDA announcement was also recognized as “World Contraception Day” (WCD) that year. Dedicated to the promotion of contraception, WCD is again “celebrated” September 26 and is sponsored by such organizations as Marie Stopes International, Population Council, and International Planned Parenthood Federation.

The stated mission of WCD is to “improve awareness of contraception to enable young people to make informed decisions on sexual and reproductive health.”

Note the emphasis on helping women make “informed decisions.” With such a mission statement, one would expect that the FDA’s concern about the side-effects of certain birth control pills and other contraceptives would receive serious attention from the defenders of women’s health in a press release or on the WCD web site. Yet the website dismisses side-effects as “minor”, “very rare”, and “very uncommon.”

The most popular oral contraceptive, contains the progestin, drospirenone, and has in recent years been marketed by Bayer Pharmaceuticals to young women under such trade names as Yaz, Beyaz, Yasmin, and Safyral. Following publication in the British Medical Journal of two studies in early 2011 that indicated these birth control pills brought their users a two to three times greater risk for venous thromboembolism (blood clots), the FDA announced on May 31, 2011 that it would undergo an investigation into their safety.

Following additional studies, this investigation concluded in April of 2012 with the FDA changing the label of drospirenone oral contraceptives noting this contraceptive may increase the risk of blood clots 9 fold when compared to women who do not use oral contraception. The FDA notes, that it “has concluded that drospirenone-containing birth control pills may be associated with a higher risk for blood clots than other progestin-containing pills.”

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In an article from last year addressing the risk of blood clots for women it was noted that this increased risk is quite significant. It is estimated that if half of the 100 million women who use oral contraceptives today used the newest drospirenone-based contraceptives, then 50,000 women each year will suffer from a life-threatening blood clot because of their oral contraceptive use.

Awareness of this increased risk is vital for consumers, especially for parents as they make health-care decisions for their teenage daughters, and for college-aged women as they make health care decisions for themselves.

The WCD organizers who claim to provide “accurate and unbiased information” to young people make scant reference to any of the many and scientifically established negative side-effects of combined oral contraceptives. The site brushes aside the increased risk of blood clots, stating that “a few women might suffer from thrombosis, but this is very uncommon.” No mention whatsoever is made about the FDA’s recent safety review.

Why is a site that is dedicated to contraception, and which boasts of its desire to help women make informed choices about their health, either downplaying or ignoring serious threats to the health of women who use the products being promoted? A closer look at the site reveals what may be the answer: the financier of World Contraception Day is Bayer Pharmaceuticals, the very company who manufactures all four of the brand name drugs (Yaz, Yasmin, Beyaz, and Safyral) currently under safety review by the FDA. Yaz and Yasmin alone earned Bayer $498 million in the first half of 2012, which makes it the third highest earning drug for the company.

Is it any wonder that the WCD organizers are silent about the side-effects of the drugs sold by their sponsor?

Bayer has other reasons to downplay the potential negative side-effects of the birth control pills they market and distribute. As they report in their stockholder newsletter, the company is currently facing a “number of lawsuits pending in the United States and served upon Bayer” numbering 12,325 as of July 19, 2012.” In addition, this July Bayer settled cases with 1,877 claimants to the tune of $402.6 million. Bayer has noted that, “Plaintiffs allege that they have suffered personal injuries, some of them fatal, from the use of Bayer’s oral contraceptive products Yasmin™ and / or YAZ™.”

Regardless of the outcome of these lawsuits, the findings of ongoing safety studies, and in spite of the virtual silence by organizations that promote birth control to young women, consumers have a right to this information. Unfortunately it is either completely ignored or downplayed by the contraception establishment.

The promoters of World Contraception Day are hocking a product that makes billions annually for companies that know the harm their products cause, but seem to have calculated that the profits outweigh the risks to women’s health. Adding insult to injury, they are doing so with funds provided by the very company who profits from the sale of these drugs, all in the name of helping women make “informed choices” about their health.

In the face of this conspiracy of silence, where are the real champions of women’s health?

Arland K. Nichols is the Director of Education and Evangelization for Human Life International (HLI). He writes for HLI’s Truth and Charity Forum.

Reprinted with permission from Human Life International.

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A Planned Parenthood facility in Denver, Colorado
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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Colorado judge tosses suit alleging Planned Parenthood used state funds to pay for abortions

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By Dustin Siggins

Alliance Defending Freedom "will likely appeal" a Monday court decision dismissing their suit alleging Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains illegally used state funds to pay for abortions, an ADF lawyer told LifeSiteNews.

The ADF lawsuit claims that $1.4 million went from state government agencies to a Planned Parenthood abortion affiliate through Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

Denver County District Court Judge Andrew McCallin dismissed the case on the basis that ADF could not prove the funds paid for abortions. But ADF maintains that funding an abortion facility is indirectly paying for abortions, which violates state law.

ADF senior counsel Michael Norton -- whose wife, former Colorado Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton, filed the lawsuit – told LifeSiteNews that "no one is above the law, including Colorado politicians who are violating our state’s constitution by continuing to fund Planned Parenthood’s abortion business with state taxpayer dollars."

"The State of Colorado even acknowledges that about $1.4 million of state taxpayer dollars flowed from Colorado government agencies through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate. The Denver court seems to have agreed with that fact and yet granted motions to dismiss based on a technicality," said Norton.

According to Colorado law, "no public funds shall be used by the State of Colorado, its agencies or political subdivisions to pay or otherwise reimburse, either directly or indirectly, any person, agency or facility for the performance of any induced abortion." There is a stipulation that allows for "the General Assembly, by specific bill, [to] authorize and appropriate funds to be used for those medical services necessary to prevent the death of either a pregnant woman or her unborn child under circumstances where every reasonable effort is made to preserve the life of each."

According to court documents, the Colorado law was affirmed by state voters in 1984, with an appeal attempt rejected two years later. In 2001, an outside legal firm hired by Jane Norton -- who was lieutenant governor at the time -- found that Planned Parenthood was "subsidizing rent" and otherwise providing financial assistance to Planned Parenthood Services Corporation, an abortion affiliate. After the report came out, and Planned Parenthood refused to disassociate itself from the abortion affiliate, the state government stopped funding Planned Parenthood.

Since 2009, however, that has changed, which is why the lawsuit is filed against Planned Parenthood, and multiple government officials, including Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

According to ADF legal counsel Natalie Decker, the fact that Planned Parenthood sent funds to the abortion affiliate should have convinced McCallin of the merits of the case. "The State of Colorado and the Denver court acknowledged that about $1.4 million of state taxpayer dollars, in addition to millions of 'federal' tax dollars, flowed from Colorado government agencies through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate," said Decker.

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"Without even having the facts of the case developed, the Denver court seems to have granted motions to dismiss filed by the State of Colorado and Planned Parenthood on grounds the term 'indirectly' could not mean what Ms. Norton and Governor Owens said it meant in 2002 when they defunded Planned Parenthood."

"That, of course, is the plain meaning of Colo. Const., Art. V, § 50 which was implemented by the citizens of Colorado, and the reason for Ms. Norton’s lawsuit."

Decker told LifeSiteNews that "Colorado law is very clear," and that the state law "prohibits Colorado tax dollars from being used to directly or indirectly pay for induced abortions."

She says her client "has been denied the opportunity to fully develop the facts of the case and demonstrate exactly what the Colorado tax dollars have been used for." Similarly, says Decker, it is not known "exactly what those funds were used for. At this time, there is simply no way to conclude that tax dollars have not been used to directly pay for abortions or abortion inducing drugs and devices."

"What we do know is that millions of Colorado tax dollars have flowed through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate, which leads to the inescapable conclusion that those tax dollars are being used to indirectly pay for abortions."

A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains did not return multiple requests for comment about the lawsuit.

The dismissal comes as Planned Parenthood fights an investigation by the state's Republican attorney general over a video by Live Action, as well as a lawsuit by a mother whose 13-year old daughter had an abortion in 2012 that she alleges was covered up by Planned Parenthood. The girl, who was being abused by her stepfather, was abused for months after the abortion.

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Fledgling high-tech pro-life group marks 2,000 babies saved: 2-3 saved per day

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Online for Life, the Dallas-based pro-life marketing agency, saved its two-thousandth unborn baby earlier this year and is well on its way to saving its three thousandth by 2015.

“We are getting better all the time at what we do,” says founder Brian Fisher. “It used to be one baby saved every four to six weeks and now its two or three a day.”

But the most significant save? “It was the very first one,” he says, recalling the phone call from a crisis centre a month after OFL’s 2012 startup.  “And for me personally it was just a massive turning point … because [of] all the work and the money and testing and the volunteers and everything that led up to that moment. All the frustration of that was washed away in an instant because a child had been rescued that was about to be killed.”

Though increasing market savvy has led Online for Life to expand offline, the core of the non-profit, donor-financed operation remains SEO -- search engine optimization -- targeting young women who have just discovered they are pregnant and gone onto the Web to find the nearest abortion clinic.

Instead, they find the nearest crisis pregnancy center at the top of their results page. Since OFL went online it has linked with a network of 41 such centers, including two of its own it started this year, in a positive feedback loop that reinforces effective messaging first at the level of the Web, then at the first telephone call between the clinic and the pregnant woman, and finally at the first face-to-face meeting.

“Testing is crucial,” says Fisher. “We test everything we do.” Early on, Online for Life insisted the clinics it served have an ultrasound machine, because the prevailing wisdom in the prolife movement was that “once they saw their baby on ultrasound, they would drop the idea of having an abortion.” While the organization still insists on the ultrasound, its own testing and feedback from the CPCs indicates that three quarters of the women they see already have children. “They’ve already seen their own children on ultrasound and are still planning to abort.” So ultrasound images have lost their punch.

OFL has had to move offline to reach a significant minority who have neither computers, tablets, or cell phones.  Traditional electronic media spots as well as bus ads and billboards carry the message to them.

As well, says Fisher, “unwanted pregnancy used to be a high-school age problem; now that’s gone down in numbers and the average age of women seeking abortion has gone up to 24.” By that age, he says, they are “thoroughly conditioned by the abortion culture. Even before they got pregnant, they have already decided they would have an abortion if they did get pregnant.”

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What they need—and fast, in the first two minutes of the first phone call—is sympathy, support, and a complete absence of judgement. Online for Life is always gathering information from its network on what responses are most effective—and this can vary city to city. The organization offers training to clinic volunteers and staff that stresses a thorough knowledge of the services on tap. “Any major city has all sorts of services—housing, education, health—available,” says Fisher.

The problem that OFL was designed to address was the crisis pregnancy centers’ market penetration. Three percent of women with unwanted pregnancies were reaching out to the CPCs, and seven per cent of those who did reach out were having their babies. “So about 2.1 children were being saved for every 1,000 unwanted pregnancies,” says Fisher. “That’s not nearly enough.”

So Fisher and two fellow volunteers dreamed of applying online marketing techniques to the problem in 2009. Three years later Fisher was ready to leave his executive position at an online marketing agency to go full-time with the life-saving agency. Now they have 63 employees, most of them devoted to optimizing the penetration in each of the markets served by their participating crisis centers.

The results speak for themselves. Where OFL has applied its techniques, especially with its own clinics, as many as 15-18 percent of the targeted population of women seeking abortions get directed to nearby crisis pregnancy centers. “It depends on the centres’ budgets and on how many volunteers they have to be on the phones through the day and night,” he says. “But we are going to push it higher. We hope to save our 2,500th child by the end of the year.”

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Shock: UK mom abandons disabled daughter, keeps healthy son after twin surrogacy

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By Pete Baklinski

A UK woman who is the biological mother of twins born from a surrogate mom, has allegedly abandoned one of the children because she was born with a severe muscular condition, while taking the girl's healthy sibling home with her.

The surrogate mother, also from the UK — referred to as "Jenny" to protect her identity — revealed to The Sun the phone conversation that took place between herself and the biological mother over the fate of the disabled girl.

“I remember her saying to me, “She’d be a f****** dribbling cabbage! Who would want to adopt her? No one would want to adopt a disabled child,’” she said.

Jenny, who has children of her own, said she decided to become a surrogate to “help a mother who couldn’t have children.” She agreed to have two embryos implanted in her womb and to give birth for £12,000 ($20,000 USD).

With just six weeks to the due date, doctors told Jenny she needed an emergency caesarean to save the babies. It was not until a few weeks after the premature births that the twin girl was diagnosed with congenital myotonic dystrophy.

When Jenny phoned the biological mother to tell her of the girl’s condition, the mother rejected the girl.

Jenny has decided along with her partner to raise the girl. They have called her Amy.

“I was stunned when I heard her reject Amy,” Jenny said. “She had basically told me that she didn’t want a disabled child.”

Jenny said she felt “very angry” towards the girl’s biological parents. "I hate them for what they did.”

The twins are now legally separated. A Children and Family Court has awarded the healthy boy to the biological mother and the disabled girl to her surrogate.

The story comes about two weeks after an Australian couple allegedly abandoned their surrogate son in Thailand after he was born with Down syndrome, while taking the healthy twin girl back with them to Australia.

Rickard Newman, director of Family Life, Pro-Life & Child and Youth Protection in the Diocese of Lake Charles, called the Australian story a “tragedy” that “results from a marketplace that buys and sells children.”

“Third-party reproduction is a prism for violations against humanity. IVF and the sperm trade launched a wicked industry that now includes abortion, eugenics, human trafficking, and deliberate family fragmentation,” he said. 

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