Promoting Women’s Health: Beyond the Fine Print
By Mary E. McClusky
June 11, 2010
Today we are rightly concerned about damage to women and children from environmental toxins, yet many ignore the health risks and consequences of flooding a woman’s body with hormones from the birth control pill or chemical abortions. As advocates of so-called “reproductive health services” celebrate the 50th anniversary of the pill, and the new law allowing federally subsidized health plans to treat abortion as “health care,” it’s time again to break through the catch phrases and examine the fine print. Doing so reveals the unpleasant truth that advocates of contraception and abortion frequently undermine women’s health by trading their consciences for cash registers.
Why else would Planned Parenthood recently reveal plans to implement “tele-med” abortions in all its clinics by 2015? Implemented in Iowa two years ago, “tele-med” abortions allow doctors to forgo a physical exam, counsel pregnant women by teleconference, and press a button to remotely dispense the deadly concoction RU-486. The woman completes the abortion alone at home. Not only does the drug cause the death of the woman’s unborn child, the FDA reports complications from at least a thousand women. Even Exelgyn, the drug’s maker, reports that 29 women have died worldwide. Yet Planned Parenthood wants to increase profits by killing more children, endangering women’s lives, and potentially violating state laws.
Makers of the new abortifacient drug ulipristal (ellaOne) are currently pushing the FDA to approve it for over-the-counter use as abortion advocates deceptively promote the drug as just another contraceptive “morning-after pill.” Ulipristal is actually a derivative from the abortion drug RU-486. A group of pro-life obstetrician-gynecologists has filed testimony to block its approval.
Product information from the recently-developed contraceptive product “Essure” reveals contradictory information and physical risks and problems not mentioned in the slick new ad campaign. Wire coils are inserted into the fallopian tubes through the cervix, expanding and causing tissue to grow around them over the next three months. Flaunted in ads as “permanent,” the fine print reveals that “you can become pregnant even years after the Essure micro-inserts are placed” and "very little is known about how well the Essure micro-inserts work beyond the first 5 years." Only two clinical trials have been conducted involving 745 women. Thirty percent of them experienced cramping, 13% pain, 11% nausea/vomiting, 9% dizziness/lightheadedness, and 7% bleeding/spotting. The inserts can get in the way of reading MRIs, making nearby organs harder to see. In fact, any pelvic procedure near the inserts could cause complications.
Catholic teaching calls on medical professionals to consider fertility as the healthy, natural, God-given state of a woman’s body in her child-bearing years, and to treat a pregnant woman and her unborn child equally as patients. Critics incorrectly argue that the Catholic Church just wants to oppress women. On the contrary, the Church has a long history and a vast array of teaching documents exalting the unique gifts and contributions of women, denounces their exploitation for profit, and calls for “a renewed commitment by all to the well-being of all the world’s women” (Pope John Paul II, Address to the International Meeting On Promoting The Well-Being Of Women, 1996).
Mary McClusky is Special Projects Coordinator at the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. To learn more about the bishops’ pro-life activities, go to www.usccb.org/prolife.