Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Best We Can Do Is... Maybe

Are you offended when someone talks down to you? Even when it's "for your own good," or to avoid "needless confusion?" I tend to be. Especially in the context of, say, the doctor's office or the mechanic's garage, where I'm understandably and regrettably out of my element, though fervently wishing it were otherwise.

When my wallet and my wellness are at stake, I always want to be sure I'm dealing with a highly skilled, reliable professional who is going to give it to me straight, without pulling punches or padding his fees. Like my mechanic, Bob, who talks to me as if I were a NASCAR crew pit chief, liberally seasoning our conversations with automotive-jargon, though I probably miss every third term he drops. Undaunted by my unfamiliarity, Bob presses on, politely and patiently educating me about this car of mine, knowing that an informed consumer will be a happier, healthier consumer.

And why wouldn't Bob want me to know exactly what's going on in the body of my Kia? The inner workings of the transmission, the requisite fuel levels for the power steering system, the crucial import of properly-maintained brakes... Bob cares about me, because yes, I do pay him to work on my car, but also because he is a decent human being and a professional at the top of his field. He has nothing to fear by my "knowing too much" about the car or the work he's doing on it. There's little chance I'll be sauntering into an Auto-Zone any time in the near future to pick up a new air filter to install on my own. Besides, I don't like to get my hands dirty.

Bob has nothing to fear from an educated consumer, unless, of course, Bob has information he doesn't want me to know about. Like the fact that the very same fluid he's pouring into my transmission system is going to improve engine performance immediately, but with the risk of long-term damage to the engine, necessitating (or perhaps inhibiting entirely!) more costly repairs down the road. Bob isn't shady, so he's not trying to keep me in the dark.

I would challenge any woman who is using chemical contraception to ask herself - and her health care provider- the following questions:

What are the long term effects? Is the immediate good I'm seeking (avoiding pregnancy) going to inhibit any long-term goods I may be planning on (achieving pregnancy)?

What are the risks? And according to whom? Is a company with a bottom line (example: Eli Lily) going to downplay potentially harmful side effects in an effort to sell more of its product? Are doctors receiving kickbacks from drug companies in exchange for writing scrips?

And most importantly, for pro-life parents: (read- all Christians)
Is this contraceptive method abortifacent? Meaning, does this method of contraception, in the event of "accidental conception" induce abortion? Should breakthrough ovulation occur, (and it does, in as many as 10% of women who are on the Pill) and sperm meet ovum, will the resultant fetus (Latin for offspring) find an inhospitable uterine environment incapable of sustaining the pregnancy?

The following statement is a direct quote from Dr. Manny Alvarez's recent article on foxnews.com under "Sexual Health" entitled: "Baby Time, Or Not? Your Birth Control Options": "Yes, the more hormones you put into your body, the greater your risk of getting breast cancer. But if you're on birth control pills for short periods of time, your risks are minimal. Even if you're on the Pill for more than 10 years, your risk of breast cancer may increase, but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll get it."

"Many factors come into play when talking about breast cancer. The best we can say right now about a link between birth control pills and breast cancer is....maybe.

Hell, maybe? I'll take those chances. Hand me my cigarettes.

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