By Elizabeth O’Brien
OTTAWA, August 3, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – During the Humanae Vitae Conference “A New Beginning” last year, noted endocrinologist Dr. Maria Kraw explained how many so-called contraceptives actually result in fertilization and end in the abortion of a new human person during its early development.
Introducing her topic, the “Medical Consequences of Contraception,” Dr. Kraw began by stating that she refrains from using the word “contraception.” This is because it implies solely the “prevention of conception,” whereas in reality many so-called contraceptives result in a myriad of other harms, including abortion.
As a practicing endocrinologist (hormone doctor) at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Kraw focused mainly on the effects of hormonal birth control. Artificial hormonal birth control works by introducing artificial estrogen and artificial progesterone (progestins), at 4 to 10 times the dosage naturally produced by the body. These dangerously high levels trick the brain into thinking that the person may be pregnant and cause ovulation to stop.
The pill also prevents conception by thickening the cervical mucous so that the sperm can’t reach the egg. If this doesn’t work, the pill prevents the implantation of an already fertilized egg. This occurs when a new human person has already been conceived, Kraw stated, but after the artificial hormones have thinned the uterus lining. “So rather than sort of snuggling into a nice nourishing uterus to continue development,” she explained, “the uterus is hostile and the embryo is discarded.”
Most pills are combined hormonal pills with both artificial estrogen and artificial progesterone. The progesterone-only pills, however, don’t prevent fertilization, but work primarily by thinning the uterus lining. Depo-provera, for example, is a progestin that is injected every three months and strips down the lining of the uterus. Similarly, the intra-uterine device (IUD) causes “inflammation and scarring of uterine lining,” thereby preventing implantation.
Barrier methods such as condoms, sterilization, diaphragm and spermicides work by aiming “to prevent a meeting of the sperm and the egg.” Nevertheless, statistics published by Family Planning Perspectives note an extremely high percentage of “reproductive failures”, i.e. pregnancy. The birth control pill has a 12.9% pregnancy rate; condoms have an incredibly high 23.1% pregnancy rate, diaphragm 20%, depo-provera 4.2% and spermicide 25%.
“Given on average the amount of months that a woman uses artificial birth control during her reproductive years,” said Kraw, “which is a majority in the reality of North America, there will be 1.8 ‘reproductive failures’ per woman’s reproductive life.”
According to previous studies, only about 50% of pregnancies in the US are intended, Kraw stated. “Among those that reported unintended pregnancies, 50% said they were using a form of artificial birth control properly at the time of the conception. So it’s not like, ‘Oh I was on the pill, but I missed it for a week’ because that wouldn’t be considered being on the pill.”
Finally, 50% of those “reproductive failures” end in abortion.
If abortion is defined as “any interruption in the normal development of the embryo,” methods that “prevent implantation” are abortive. Breakthrough ovulation rates (fertilization occurs, but implantation fails), for example, can happen in up to one third of cycles on the pill. In combined hormonal birth control pills, this occurs from 1.7% to 28.6% per cycle, whereas with progestin-only pills, fertilization rates are from 33% to 65% per cycle.
These are relatively high rates, Kraw noted, considering that 80% of North American women have used a hormonal method for birth control by the time they finish their reproductive years.
Tragically, after discontinuing birth control, women also experience high infertility rates. Fertility rates are 26% lower after using birth control, and 29% lower after using the IUD. In addition, even the so-called “low-dose” pills cause a 2 to 6 times increased risk of blood clots throughout the body.
Kraw stated, “They started off using ten times the amount of estrogen-‘We’re really going to shut down that brain’-Well, what happened? Women died in the first phase trial of these medications, but they were in Puerto Rico so, (the attitude was) ‘well…. we didn’t really have medical ethics, so we’ll just keep going and trying.’”
She concluded, “The problem is that this is still occurring even as the dose of estrogen has lowered itself to only about 4 times with the low-dose pills.”
Dr. Maria Kraw: Medical Consequences of Contraception – Part 1
Dr. Maria Kraw: Medical Consequences of Contraception – Part 2