Oral contraceptives are the leading method of birth control today, and there are a few misnomers about the magic pill that most women may be unaware of. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry has such a vested interest in this lucrative product, it is unlikely that the average adult woman, let alone a teen girl, will know the proper questions to ask her prescribing physician. In the event that you may be considering going on the Pill, even "for medical reasons", here are some common misconceptions to consider that may or may not be addressed in the average doctor's office...
1. The Pill is not an abortifacent. Contrary to popular belief and opinion, oral contraceptives do not merely function to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. The embryo (human person) is already a unique and separate entity from mom and dad, requiring now only a temporary place of shelter and nutrition for the next 9 months of development. In the case of accidental fertilization while on the Pill, the developing embryo will be denied uterine implantation. This is morally equivalent to denying basic needs, i.e. food, water, shelter to a human person and then asserting that their death was not murder.
2. The Pill is safe and even beneficiary to a woman's health. The Pill basically induces a simulated state of pregnancy in the body, discouraging monthly ovulation by misinforming the reproductive system. It's a covert hormonal operation designed to "trick" a woman's body into replicating the hormonal state of early pregnancy. Hence the weight gain, sluggishness, moodiness and irritability... Now, pregnancy itself is natural and does provide some health benefits to the female body, but it is generally a dynamic process lasting roughly 9 months. This means the hormonal and other physiological effects of this state, while completely natural, are also intended by nature to be completely temporary. This is not a homeostatic state for the female person; it was never intended to be. Here we have the increased risk of different types of cancer (cervical, breast, uterine...), vitamin and mineral deficiencies, risk of cardiovascular disease, and long-term effects on future fertility.*
3. Sexual activity is a given, and a woman should be prepared as a basic precaution. Newsflash: everyone is not doing it. And in fact, the natural consequences of copulation is procreation, a fact that many people find acts as somewhat of a deterrent to extra-marital sexual activity. Maybe there's a reason sex has such profound consequences. Maybe we, as women, shouldn't be making consequence-free nookie available to any guy who comes into the picture. Do you think this could possibly effect the way men view women, and the way women view themselves? Hmmm...
*The following paragraphs from THINGS EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL were excerpted from the Hopkins Health Watch columns and interviews (originally published in the John R. Lee, M.D. Medical Letter)
"It’s not particularly politically correct to speak out against oral contraceptives because they do prevent millions of unwanted pregnancies every year, and they’re irresistibly convenient. However, they’re made from the same synthetic hormones found in conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that increase an older woman’s risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke and gallbladder disease, and we already know that in younger women they block essential vitamins, interfere with bone building, and increase the risk of stroke and the risk of breast cancer (particularly when taken by girls under the age of 18). In spite of this, doctors routinely hand them out to girls as young as 10 or 11 to help regulate periods."
"Oral contraceptives also deplete magnesium. Thus, women taking birth control pills will be increasingly susceptible to becoming magnesium deficient. Magnesium deficiency is associated with a greater incidence of osteoporosis, muscle cramps, weakness, insomnia, anxiety and depression, as well as cardiovascular problems, including blood clots, elevated blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and increased risk of heart attacks."