probably eating a sandwich or a jar of M&Ms or something, when a co-worker walked in...
let's call him "John".
"How was your weekend, John?"
"Oh it was great. Went to a movie with the kids, mowed my lawn, got a vasectomy."
Me, now choking on my food, "Excuse me?"
All laissez faire. Just like that, he tells me he went and got neutered.
Like he got a hair cut or something.
I don't know if it's because I'm older and a parent now, or if the climate is just shifting,
but COMPLETE STRANGERS have told me about their latest IUD or birth control pills.
And I'm awkwardly standing there like, "Can you just scan my groceries, let me pay, and go?!?!"
For crying out loud, I'm here for food, not a chat about your vagina.
I'll never forget the time I was sitting at a local, little mom's club and a bunch of women
were CHEERING for another woman who had recently got herself some hormonal contraceptives
because, "I can't handle another colicky baby." Good job, Betty? Let's alter your body
with artificial hormones with possible chronic or fatal results, but at least you won't
have another baby to take care of. Logic.
I see it a lot. People patting each other on the back for their birth control choices. Like they
need some sort of support or encouragement to "do the right thing." And there I am, in the midst of the
sea of absurdity, shaking my head, choking on my food, wondering where all sense of propriety has gone.
Fun fact: there are two classes of hormonal contraceptives.
Combined preparations include artificial hormones, estrogen and progestin, to disrupt
normal, healthy functions of a woman's cycle. That sounds smart. "Let's fix something that's
NOT broken." Most common forms on the market:
Patches changed weekly // (i.e., Ortho Evra)
Vaginal ring worn 3 weeks then left out for 1 week // (i.e., Nuvaring)
Have you seen THIS thriller, Vanity Fair, article on Nuvaring's death toll?
Progestin-only preparations do not contain estrogen and are available to the public as:
Injections given every 3 months // (i.e., Depo-Provera)
Implants worn under the skin for 3 years // (i.e., Implanon)
Intrauterine devices worn up to 3 years // (i.e., Morena)
We all know, more or less, how these work. They accomplish ovulation suppression, they prohibit
sperm migration by thickening or altering cervical mucus, or prevent implantation. One or all three
of these mechanisms can take place in a given cycle to prevent pregnancy.
Artificial hormones, messing with the body's natural rhythm, flow, regular balance of hormones,
is dangerous ground. But no regular doctor will tell you that. Just another stat, number,
repeat patient, money in the pocket.
"Discontinuing hormonal contraceptives due to side effects is common in U.S. women;
64% of women who stop taking the Pill do so because of side effects, and another 13% stop
because of worries of side effects." - Mosher, W.D., Jones, J. "Use of Contraception in the
United States: 1982-2008." National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health State 23 (29). 2010.
Most common complaints: headaches, cramping, breast tenderness, and bloating and/or swelling.
Major risks include blood clots, stroke, heart attack and cancer. Sign me up!
Recent studies show:
"Women who started using hormonal contraceptives before age 18 have a 90% increased risk of any
breast cancer and a 370% increased risk for "triple negative" breast cancer (a particularly aggressive
form responsible for about 10-17% of all cases in the U.S.)" - Dolle, J.M., et.al, "Risk Factors for
Triple Negative Breast Cancer in Women under the Age of 45 years" (Cancer Epid. Biomark Prev. 2009,
"Women who use hormonal contraceptives bfore their first birth are at 44% increased risk of
breast cancer." - Kahlenborn, C. et.al. "Oral Contraceptive Use as a Risk Factor for
Premenopausal Breast Cancer: a Meta-analysis" (Mayo Clin. Proc. 2006, 81(10):1290-1302).
"Women who use contraceptives 11 years or longer are at 210% increased risk of breast cancer.
For perspective, this same study found smoking, a well known carcinogen, increasing breast cancer
risk 25% in the same study population." - Corghan, I.T., et.al. "The Role of Smoking in
Breast Cancer Development: An Analysis of a Mayo Clinic Cohort" (Breast J. 2009, 15(5): 489-495).
And if that's not enough:
In 1981, the president of the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology,
told the U.S. Senate on a proposed bill attempting to restrict Roe vs. Wade:
"I believe that it is realistic to assume that the IUD and the low-dose oral contraceptive
pills could be considered abortifaceints." - Gold, R.B., "The Implications of Defining When a Woman
is Pregnant" (The Guttmacher Report on Public Policy, May 2005).
If ovulation suppression and the inhibition of sperm have failed, the third mechanism,
"prevention of implantation" DOES occur with effective hormonal contraceptives.
That means a LIFE has been conceived - as it has gotten through the first two gates -
and is then TERMINATED. It's prettier than an abortion, but still.
So when people are offended that I "don't respect" their "choice" - I'm in awe really.
You mean you want to jump off a cliff?
I guess if the answer is "yes" I'm not going to stop you. I'll "respect your choice" -
after you've reassured me that you're firing on all cylinders here.
Pharmaceuticals are for the sick and broken. Your body isn't broken, women.
Don't let hormonal contraceptives make you so. The next time someone is begging for a little
"back pat", do them a favor and remind them that there is a price, and that you love them enough
to share these details because it's not worth their life.
I'm so pro-woman my heart hurts.
here & here
all opinions expressed are my own.