Issues

Planned Parenthood celebrates ‘Thanks, Birth Control Day’ but omits key facts

family planning, birth control, contraception, disability

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE) celebrated ‘Thanks, Birth Control Day’ in a press statement on November 17, calling it “a national celebration of the many ways in which birth control dramatically improves the lives and opportunities of individuals and families.” Yet, the press release omitted mention of the ways birth control has directly harmed women, especially young womenphysically and emotionally.

Physical injuries

PPSNE praised the successful shift of many patients to “more effective” methods of pregnancy prevention, in reference to the current push to get women onto long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) like IUDs or implants. No mention was made of the fact that the LARC option Essure device for permanent birth control was discontinued in 2018 after receiving thousands of complaints including 10,300 claims of blood-clot injuries, including deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Essure manufacturer Bayer paid out over $2 billion to settle those suits and also agreed to pay $21.5 million to settle 7,200 claims for gallbladder injuries and $56.9 million to settle 1,200 claims related to strokes and heart attacks.

Hormonal birth control also carries other risks. It’s connected to certain types of cancer, depression, and infertility. It can also act as an abortifacient.

Discrimination

The abortion corporation also heralded increased access to contraception for minorities and individuals living below the poverty line, but there was no acknowledgment of the racist origins of birth control. Nor was there mention of the ways that Western aid has historically been predicated on developing nations’ willingness to accept mass distributions of contraceptives, even low-quality or discontinued ones.

READ: Comparing the risks and side effects of hormonal birth control vs. natural fertility awareness

The band-aid approach to health issues

PPSNE also lauded the fact that “58% of all women who use the pill rely on it, at least in part, for something other than pregnancy prevention including endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibroids, and menstrual regulation.” But in reality, hormonal birth control is a band-aid approach that doesn’t heal any of these conditions and in some cases may actually make them worse by delaying the treatment of their root causes.

Full-throated support for birth control from the nation’s largest abortion provider is to be expected, given that abortion and contraception are inextricably linked. But women deserve all the facts when it comes to monitoring their gynecological health, seeking solutions for reproductive issues, and planning their families. And they can’t count on Planned Parenthood for comprehensive education about any of those concerns.

Women don’t need dangerous hormonal birth control to follow their dreams. PPSNE credited birth control with allowing women “to plan, space and prevent pregnancies in order to make critical decisions about when, if and how to start a family” and asserted that “[m]illions of people can pursue educational and professional goals, lead healthier lives, and follow their dreams thanks to birth control.” However, mothers can also be successful career women who achieve their goals and natural fertility awareness methods allow women and couples to successfully “plan, space, and prevent pregnancies” without side effects.

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