New look at the "benefits" of contraception?

Since the Griswold Supreme Court decision in 1965, contraception has become integrated into almost every facet of American culture. Whole industries have sprung up around it, and governments and schools around the nation spend millions giving contraception out for “free.” And, of course, the federal government is now saying almost every single business and non-profit organization in America must provide it for “free” to employees.

Which makes some recent noise in mainstream media sources about the harms of contraception quite interesting, and potentially very effective to spreading the word about the real harms of contraception to women. First it was former Winter Olympics hopeful and former intern Megan Henry — sidelined due to use of the intrauterine device NuVaRing — whose joining of a class-action lawsuit against NuVaRing parent company Merck Pharmaceuticals made news across the country.

Then there was a 10,000-word essay from Vanity Fair, which asked “why, despite evidence of serious risk, a potentially lethal contraceptive remains on the market.” And Ricki Lake’s documentary on hormonal contraception and “the unexposed side effects of these powerful medications” is getting backlash from writers at and Slate.

Registered nurse and pro-life activist Jill Stanek told me this exposure is no surprise, delayed though it is:

“In 2005, the World Health Organization classified the morning-after pill as a Class 1 carcinogen — as dangerous as cigarette smoke and asbestos,” Stanek said. “With all of the studies showing links between oral contraception and greater chances of glaucoma, heart risk and breast-cancer risk, it’s amazing any women use them. And the NuvaRing lawsuit shows how dangerous hormonal contraception is.”

“The American people are belatedly finding out from the mainstream media just how far we’ve gone off the path of proper care of the bodies of women,” stated Stanek. She said media attention to the issue, as well prominent political attention to issues like the HHS contraception mandate, has created “a perfect storm for greater knowledge by women about why they should use better wisdom and responsibility in their sexual practices.”

The harm of contraception is also seen on the unborn, despite claims by the left that contraception lowers abortion rates:

Is increased contraception use related to a decline in abortion rates and occurrences? According to (Live Action’s Libby] Barnes, a look at other nations shows increased contraception use declines abortions only after decades of increasing them – and the new rate is much higher than the old one.

In other words, contraception only lowers abortion rates from abnormally high levels, not overall.

The grievous harms of contraception to the bodies of women are not just seen in the traditional physical sense. As Ed pointed out when we discussed this topic at CPAC, there is also great harm to “human dignity,” something the Catholic Church was ridiculed for predicting 45 years ago:

“If you want to know how harmful [contraception] is, go back to Humanae Vitae,” says Morrissey, “in which basically the Pope predicted everything that followed. At the time, he was ridiculed. … He basically predicted the explosion of pornography, abuse – not just abuse in the legal sense that we talk about it, but in terms of using people in a disposable sense, for fleeting moments of sensory pleasure, which is an affront to human dignity, which is at the center of our faith.”

Obviously, women won’t stop using birth control overnight — and their male sex partners aren’t likely to ask them to stop — but it’s important that young women receive all of the facts surrounding the use of contraception. This is especially true as the HHS mandate forces coverage of products with literally deadly potential.

Update (Dustin): A family physician who reads Hot Air e-mailed that my post had a couple of factual errors. In re-examining the post, I did have one, though I will address his other points as well:

1. I mistakenly said NuVaRing is an intrauterine device. It is, in fact, an intravaginal device.

2. He pointed out that many contraceptives have blood clot risks. This is true, and points to more evidence that contraceptives are harmful to the health of women.

3. According to this physician, NuVaRing has about the same risk factor for thrombosis as a number of other contraceptives. Again, this point from the doctor is well-taken, and shows more reason for women to avoid contraception.

4. The physician accused me of insinuating that Megan Henry’s joining the class-action lawsuit against Merck is an indicator of guilt, but in fact all I did was state that a woman who was harmed by NuVaRing has made news for both her illness and for joining the class-action lawsuit against Merck.

A Merck spokesperson has informed me that the settlement offer to the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit does not admit guilt.