ContraceptionTue Sep 6, 2011 - 4:28 pm EST
If every life is worth saving, the pro-life movement must now oppose hormonal birth control
September 2, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - August 1, 2012 the new government-mandated guideline for ‘free birth control’ will be forced upon our nation. It seems to have taken the aggressive agenda of the left to force us to recognize that it is time for a drastic strategy change within the pro-life movement.
How will pro-life activists and organizations react to a new and necessary challenge to overcome their fear of opposing abortifacient birth control in order to protect and preserve every single unborn life?
First it is vital that we dispel the myths that we are now hearing ad nauseum:
- “Increased access to birth control decreases the number of abortions.” Even Planned Parenthood admits through the research of their very own Guttmacher Institute that approximately 50% of women that show up for abortions do so because of failed contraception. To be clear, there is no question that increased access to birth control only increases the number of abortions.
- “Women are healthier on birth control.“ While it is true that being on hormonal birth control can decrease the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer, it significantly increases a woman’s risk of getting breast, cervical, and liver cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, out of 100 women with cancer, 31 have breast cancer, 6 have endometrial (uterine) cancer and only 3 have ovarian cancer. As you can see this is flawed reasoning and it is not a good “trade-off” in health benefit versus risk.
Unfortunately, the majority of pro-life organizations have taken a pass on babies lost through chemical abortions. In order to understand how hormonal birth control can actually take a human life it is necessary to understand the physical mechanism of what it does to the body to cause a chemical abortion.
What is a chemical abortion? Does it actually take a human life? If it does, isn’t it time for everyone to stop cowering away from the issue of hormonal birth control and truly embrace a consistent, ‘no exceptions’ pro-life position?
There are many different forms of hormonal methods of birth control now available on the market. The differences depend on the amount of hormone, the type of hormone, and the way the hormone enters a woman’s body. Hormonal contraception can be taken by mouth (“The Pill”), implanted into body tissue (‘The Rod”), absorbed through the skin (“The Patch), Injected under the skin (Depo-Provera), dispensed from an Intrauterine device (Miranda), or placed inside the vagina (Nuvaring). There are specific and intended actions that these pharmacologic chemicals have on a woman’s body to achieve their intended action of ‘birth control’.
These can include:
- a change in the cervical mucus (which decreases the likelihood of the sperm reaching the egg)
- suppressing ovulation, or
- preventing implantation of the fertilized egg into the uterus where it is intended to grow for nine months until birth.
Because of the negative and undesirable effects on a woman’s body, the chemical combination of these hormonal contraceptives have been altered over the years. While they achieved their goal in reducing the unpleasant symptoms that result from massive amounts of unnatural hormones entering the woman’s body, they unfortunately increased the likelihood of ovulation occurring while a woman is on birth control.
As if it was not enough, the increased likelihood of ovulation was accompanied by a literal war on the uterus. Scientists and doctors have provided us with the easiest explanation on how we know that women are unknowingly self-aborting their own babies by using hormonal birth control.
In an effort to determine why women who were trying to get pregnant by artificial insemination were unsuccessful, it was discovered that the lining of a woman’s uterus (called the endometrium) must be at least 8mm thick in order for a baby in its tiniest form to implant and grow. What they found was that the use of hormonal contraception (in any of the forms mentioned above) generally keeps the uterus lining below 6mm.
Therefore, if women are having sexual relations during the time of ovulation, they have the possibility of conceiving a child but instead of being able to implant and grow the newly-conceived embryo slides right out of the uterus. The uterine wall is too thin to allow the baby to implant. The woman thinks she is experiencing an unusually heavy monthly period when, in fact, she is self-aborting her child.
There is no difference in the results of what happens once a woman conceives after taking hormonal birth control and what happens after she takes the so-called ‘morning after pill’ except that the latter is more malicious and intentional. Likewise, the only essential difference in a chemical abortion and surgical abortion is the size of the baby. Both a surgical abortion and a chemical abortion (induced by taking hormonal birth control) take the life of a baby.
Shouldn’t this information change everything for the pro-life movement and its resistance to stand up and show the connection between birth control and abortion? Since Roe vs. Wade in 1973 countless men, women, and children have marched on Washington to protest and mourn the 55 million+ surgical abortions in the United States. It is now estimated that an additional 250 million chemical abortions can be added to this abortion holocaust as a result of women taking “the pill” and other hormonal contraceptives.
In the minds of many a chemical abortion does not have the same level of violence as a surgical abortion, but a chemical abortion still deliberately causes the death of innocent human beings—on a massive scale. Will the pro-life movement ever march for these tiny victims of injustice?
Do pro-life individuals and organizations believe that every life is worth saving? If the answer is yes, isn’t it now necessary to oppose all forms of hormonal contraception? And if the answer is no, don’t we open ourselves up to the accusation of the worst kind of hypocrisy?
Birth Control has always been a ‘taboo’ issue of discussion among most pro-life organizations. Reasons range from “it’s too hard to explain”, “it’s a no win issue” and “it’s a Catholic thing”. I understand that is a sensitive and challenging issue for those who themselves use birth control, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have the discussion from a theoretical and pragmatic point of view. While it is true that the Catholic Church has been the most consistent voice in opposition to birth control for centuries, we can’t afford to mislabel a pernicious medical phenomenon with religious polemics of the past.
In all reality, the passage of time has yielded undeniable scientific facts that reveal that babies conceived by women of all faiths are being aborted through the use of hormonal contraceptives. If we fight only one type of abortion injustice while ignoring the more extensive killing influence, we diminish both our righteous cause and our effect on the most innocent members of our society.
The God who said, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jer 1:5) and proclaimed that each and every human being is “wondrously created” from the womb, (Ps 139: 14) is the same God who inspires the hearts of the heroic members of the largest grassroots mobilization of conscience in history: the pro-life movement. We, as a movement, are now faced with the challenge of deepening our principles and opening our eyes to see the injustice at the root of every contraceptive act.
How can we possibly continue down the road of pretending these forgotten souls do not exist?
Ignoring the truth that lies before us does not make the senseless loss of human life through hormonal contraception go away. Just as the heinous act of partial birth abortion had its “aha” moment which led to full scale support for passing a bill to outlaw it, the time has long since passed to aggressively and effectively echo a new message from all corners of the pro-life movement for all future generations to come: “when you hear birth control, think abortion”.
Jenn Giroux is a Registered Nurse, wife, and mother of 9. She has been active in the pro-life movement for over 30 years.