Saturday, February 16, 2008

Birth Control Mutates Our Fish

http://www.all.org/newsroom_allblog.php

The consequences of birth control

Birth Control Mutates Our Fish

15 Feb 2008


Andrew Flusche
Staff Attorney

Birth control hurts people—the side effects are well documented. And now there's increasing evidence that hormonal birth control also harms our environment. I wrote about this in a featured column and a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey found the same results.

The chemicals in birth control run through women's bodies and out into the water system. The fish are being harmed by this influx of estrogen. The result: intersex fish. You don't have to be an environmentalist to be scared of that! ( LINK )

http://www.all.org/article.php?id=10126


► The Pill

What is it?

The birth control pill is also known as an oral contraceptive. It is a pill taken by mouth daily. It is supposed to work by preventing the woman's body from becoming pregnant if she engages in sexual intercourse.

What is in the pill?

The birth control pill comes in many forms, from the progestin-only pill to combinations of progestin and estrogen.

Progestins and the estrogen in the pill are artificial hormones designed to help a woman's body believe that it is pregnant month after month. All the vital organs in her body are affected by the constant use of this pill. It contains powerful steroids that constantly remain present in her body. The pill's artificial hormones suppress the woman's production of normal progesterone and estrogen.

This constant presence of powerful steroids is not healthy, and there are side effects when using the pill.

How does the pill work?

The birth control pill can work in one of three ways:

1. It can prevent ovulation (releasing an egg from the ovary)
2. It can cause the mucus in the cervix to change so that if sperm reach the cervix, they are not allowed to enter, and
3. It can irritate the lining of the uterus so that if the first two actions fail, and the woman does become pregnant, the tiny baby boy or girl will die before he or she can actually attach to the lining of the uterus.

In other words, if the third action occurs, the woman's body rejects the tiny baby and he or she will die. This is called a chemical abortion.

Abortion is an act of direct killing that takes the life of a tiny human being-a life that begins at fertilization.

Is the pill safe?

No! If you are not using the pill, don't start. If you are on the pill now, take out the patient package insert that should be with the pills and read it.

If you are not using the pill, don't start. If you are on the pill now, take out the patient package insert that should be with the pills and read it. Here are some of the side effects:

* bacterial infections (because the pill weakens the immune system.)
* more susceptible to the AIDS virus (HIV) because the pill weakens the immune system
* pelvic inflammatory disease-an infection of the fallopian tubes that can cause sickness or sterility
* infertility-unable to ever bear children
* cervical cancer
* ectopic pregnancy
* shrinking of the womb (endometrial atrophy)
* mood swings and depression
* breast cancer
* blood clots
* birth defects in children conceived while women are on the pill
* tender breasts
* stroke
* weight gain

The pill also offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS.

What is my best option?

Some people may try to convince you that the pill is totally without risk. Don't believe it!
Don't depend on the pill. It could be harmful to you. It could also kill your baby-without you knowing it.

If you're single, abstinence is always your best choice. It isn't always easy, but it always works. By abstaining from sex, you eliminate the possibility of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.

If you are married, be faithful to your spouse, trusting in the Lord and His will.
Be good to your self. Don't take the pill.

Sources:
A Consumer's Guide to the Pill and Other Drugs, by pharmacist/researcher John Wilks.
'Infant Homicides Through Contraceptives,' by pharmacist Bogomir Kuhar; 2nd edition, 1995.
Medical consultant: Stephen Spaulding, M.D. Dr. Spaulding is a board-certified family practitioner whose writings have appeared in a variety of medical journals.

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http://www.all.org/article.php?id=11174

► Sue birth control companies for your health


By Andrew F. Flusche, J.D.

Tobacco kills. So does hormonal birth control. Why can Planned Parenthood freely market birth control products, but Phillip Morris must comply with an increasing array of restrictions?

Fifty years ago, people would not believe that their cigarettes were lethal. Many people smoked, especially highly visible public figures and celebrities. Today's world widely understands the negative health effects of smoking, even on non-smokers.

Lawsuits were instrumental in heightening social awareness about tobacco and they can have the same effect for hormonal birth control. Birth control companies must be sued to protect women’s health.


The risks


Hormonal birth control drugs are well-known causes of breast, cervical and liver cancer. The hormones increase the risk of breast cancer 20 to 30 percent for up to 10 years after the woman stops taking the medication. A recent British study tried to debunk the cancer risk, but went on to show that taking hormonal birth control for over eight years does increase the risk of cancer. The International Agency on Cancer Research found that the risk of cervical cancer increases by more than 50 percent after five years of birth control use, and that the risk doubles after 10 years of use.

Blood clots are another common risk of hormonal birth control and these can lead to deep vein thrombosis, heart attack or stroke. Studies generally agree that hormonal birth control users face a blood clot risk three to six times greater than women not on birth control. Furthermore, the risk for smokers and women over 35 is significantly greater. Finally, birth control drugs that contain desogestrel (“third-generation” pills) double the risk of blood clots, on top of the already-increased risk of other hormonal birth control.

What many women may not know is that hormonal birth control also harms their bones. A Women's Health Initiative study concluded that there is a statistically significant increased risk of fractures among birth control users. Also, a 2007 study of female military cadets found that hormonal contraceptives negatively impact skeletal formation. These same studies point out that peak bone density is reached by age 25, so the birth control risk is acute among young women whose bones are still forming.

In addition to health risks to women, hormonal birth control is taking its toll on our environment.

While tobacco has second-hand effects on non-smokers and air quality, the hormones in birth control drugs pollute the water supply. Several studies have documented this hazard, including one funded by the EPA and one by the state of Washington’s Puget Sound Action Team. The synthetic steroids from birth control drugs run through women’s bodies, into the sewage system, and out into the world’s waterways. The effects of this pollution include decreasing numbers of male fish and contaminated drinking water.


Who to sue


Birth control drugs create two primary targets for lawsuits: manufacturers and healthcare providers. The risks and side effects of hormonal birth control open up both of these groups to potential liability, so they must be examined each in turn.

Manufacturers bear liability for their products when they fail to warn consumers about the product's hidden risks. Standards vary among the states, but plaintiffs typically prevail by showing that the manufacturer knew (or should have known) about the risk and did not warn the plaintiff. The plaintiff's injury from the product must also be within the undisclosed risk category.

Healthcare providers can also be liable for injuries to a patient from a drug they prescribed. Providers must obtain the informed consent of a patient for any treatment or medication. The provider must explain the medication to the patient, along with possible risks and side effects. Failure to properly explain the risks of a drug can render the provider liable if the drug harms the patient.

Both these types of suits certainly depend on a variety of factors. Laws vary by state, including the standard of care that providers must meet and the standard that manufacturers are judged against. Also, the specific injuries caused by hormonal birth control differ among affected patients. However, the key point for this discussion is that women can sue for health detriments caused by birth control.


Lawsuits thus far


Birth control manufacturers are familiar with lawsuits. In fact, they should be frightened by tort claims. Two examples illustrate this point: Dalkon Shield and Ortho Evra.

A.H. Robins marketed the Dalkon Shield IUD starting in 1971. After mass reports of spontaneous abortion by women who conceived while using the device, the FDA pressured Robins to pull it from the market in 1974. Nevertheless, thousands of lawsuits were filed, including a class action. The lawsuits were so successful that Robins filed for bankruptcy in 1985.

More currently, Ortho McNeil is battling waves of lawsuits over its birth control patch, Ortho Evra. The patch contains similar hormones as its sister product, Ortho-TriCyclen, but the patch's hormones go into the patient's bloodstream more quickly. This higher dose of hormones causes an increased risk of blood clots, which Ortho McNeil failed to discover. A dozen women died in 2004 from patch-related blood clots and countless others incurred serious injuries. Lawsuits are still being filed to hold Ortho McNeil accountable.


What to do


If you have suffered an injury that might be linked to hormonal birth control, you should contact an attorney. Your potential claim might expire with the passage of time, so be vigilant.

Perhaps more significantly, awareness is vitally important. Women and young girls simply do not understand the harm that these 'liberating' drugs can do to their bodies. They do not comprehend their legal rights. To find out more about the risks of specific birth control products, consult brochures available from American Life League.

Spread the message that companies like Ortho McNeil and Planned Parenthood can be taken to court for harm to women from birth control drugs. Spread the message to help save lives.

Release issued: 11 Oct 07
Andrew Flusche graduated with a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He works for American Life League as a public policy analyst and legal researcher.

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