Monday, April 7, 2014

Is contraception the imaginary evil of the imaginary mass murder of imaginary children? A reply to de Quiros

In his article, Heart of the Matter, de Quiros wrote:
 It’s not the easiest thing to keep the faithful faithful by harping on the imaginary evil of the imaginary mass murder of imaginary children by contraception, when your boss himself harps only about the very real evil of the very real mass murder of very real children by grinding poverty. 
The second part of this sentence I responded in my previous post entitled, The Heart of the Matter is the Sacred Heart of Jesus: a Reply to de Quiros. I showed that the heart of the matter proclaimed by Pope Francis when he asked us not to focus only on contraception, same sex marriage, and abortion is not poverty but Christ.  In this new post, I shall talk about the first part of the sentence by answering the following question:
  • Is contraception an imaginary evil of the imaginary mass murder of imaginary children?
Let us dissect this statement by dividing our discussing into three parts:

A. IMAGINARY CHILDREN?


Human Fertilization. The sperm and ovum unite through fertilization, creating a zygote that (over the course of 8-9 days) will implant in the uterine wall, where it will reside over the course of 9 months. Photo by Ttrue12 for Wikipedia.

Let us first get our science of biology right: when a man's sperm meets a woman's egg, a chain reaction happens such that a new kind of life called a zygote is formed with 46 chromosomes: 23 from the sperm and 23 from the egg.  It is a new human life just like us, because we too have similar 46 chromosomes.  After fertilization, the zygote moves each day towards the uterine wall and implants there to receive sustenance and grow into a baby in the womb.

A device or substance that prevents the meeting of the sperm and an egg is called a contraceptive. A device or substance that leads to the death of the newly formed life from the zygote to the 9 month old baby is called an abortifacient.  It is also possible that contraceptives can be abortifacients if in the process of trying to prevent the sperm from meeting the egg, they also kill the newly formed human life.  This is what we shall show in the next sections.

B. IMAGINARY MASS MURDER?

Let us look at the contraceptives recommended by the RH Law:

SEC. 9. The Philippine National Drug Formulary System and Family Planning Supplies. – The National Drug Formulary shall include hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables and other safe, legal, non-abortifacient and effective family planning products and supplies. The Philippine National Drug Formulary System (PNDFS) shall be observed in selecting drugs including family planning supplies that will be included or removed from the Essential Drugs List (EDL) in accordance with existing practice and in consultation with reputable medical associations in the Philippines. For the purpose of this Act, any product or supply included or to be included in the EDL must have a certification from the FDA that said product and supply is made available on the condition that it is not to be used as an abortifacient.  
These products and supplies shall also be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national hospitals: Provided, further, That the foregoing offices shall not purchase or acquire by any means emergency contraceptive pills, postcoital pills, abortifacients that will be used for such purpose and their other forms or equivalent.
It is interesting that the RH Law classifies hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, and injectables with safe, legal, non-abortifacient and effective family planning products and supplies.  So let us  focus our attention on these three products:

1. Hormonal Contraceptives

Are they safe? This is what the US Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) wrote in 2011 regarding the hormonal contraceptives in the document entitled, CHC-CVD final report 111022v2:  Combined Hormonal Contraceptives (CHCs) and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Endpoints:
There has long been concern about the risk of both arterial and venous cardiovascular complications imparted by the use of combined hormonal contraceptives (CHCs) in large part because of the prothrombotic effects of estrogen. An increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) (deep venous thrombosis [DVT] and pulmonary embolism [PE]) is well established and has been consistently reported.1 However, there are limited data available regarding the risk of these outcomes for recently marketed CHC’s, including [drospirenone/ethinyl estradiol tablet (DRSP), norelgestromin/ethinyl estradiol transdermal patch (NGMN), and etonogestrel/estradiol vaginal ring (ETON)]. Thus, we conducted a retrospective cohort study using data from four geographically diverse health plans which included 835,826 women with 898,251 person-years of CHC use to evaluate the risk of thrombotic and thromboembolic events and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality for the three newer preparations compared to four older CHC’s with similar low estrogen levels....We conclude that the study results add to the small body of literature which shows that the NGMN transdermal patch is associated with higher risk of VTEs relative to standard CHC pills and provides another positive finding to the increasing body of evidence linking DRSP to increased risk of VTE relative to standard low-dose CHC pills. DRSP was associated with higher risk of ATE in new users overall with this finding restricted to women in the 35-55 years age group only. The finding of increased risk of VTE with the ETON vaginal ring relative to standard CHCs is new and raises concern but needs to be replicated in other studies.
In other words, US FDA says that hormonal contraceptives are not safe for women.

Are hormonal contraceptives abortifacients? According to Life Issues:
The Birth Control Pill is the most popular and widely used method of hormonal contraception. It involves taking a month-long series of pills—three weeks of pills containing hormones, and one without. This allows the woman to have a menstrual period. The Pill contains two synthetic hormones, progestin and ethinyl estradiol and has three mechanisms: 1) it prevents ovulation, 2) thickens the cervical mucus, which makes it harder for sperm to enter the uterus and 3) affects the endometrium or lining of the womb to make it more hostile to implantation. This means the tiny developing baby (embryo) cannot attach to the uterine lining and dies, which is a very early abortion. Even so, they define this as "preventing pregnancy."

The third action makes hormonal contraceptives abortifacients.  If pro-RH don't believe this, then this is what a prominent scholar of Guttmacher Institute and Planned Parenthood (abortion provider), and the Director of Office of Population Research at Princeton has to say:
To make an informed choice, women must know that [emergency contraceptive pills] … prevent pregnancy primarily by delaying or inhibiting ovulation and inhibiting fertilization, but may at times inhibit implantation of a fertilized egg in the endometrium.--Dr. James Trussel

2. Intrauterine devices

Hormonal IUD (Mirena).
Source: Wikipedia. By Hic et nunc.
According to Wikipedia:
An intrauterine device (IUD or coil)[1] is a small contraceptive device, often 'T'-shaped, often containing either copper or levonorgestrel, which is inserted into the uterus. They are one form of long-acting reversible contraception which are the most effective types of reversible birth control.[2] Failure rates with the copper IUD is about 0.8% while the levonorgestrel IUD has a failure rates of 0.2% in the first year of use.[3] Among types of birth control, they along with birth control implants result in the greatest satisfaction among users.[4] As of 2007, IUDs are the most widely used form of reversible contraception, with more than 180 million users worldwide.[5]
Are they  safe?
Regardless of containing progestogen or copper, potential side effects of intrauterine devices include expulsion, uterus perforation, pelvic inflammatory disease (especially in the first 21 days after insertion), as well as irregular menstrual pattern. A small probability of pregnancy remains after IUD insertion, and when it occurs there's a greater risk of ectopic pregnancy. Substantial pain that needs active management occurs in approximately 17% of nulliparous women and approximately 11% of parous women.[31] In such cases, NSAID are evidenced to be effective.[31] However, no prophylactic analgesic drug have been found to be effective for routine use for women undergoing IUD insertion.[31] Also, IUDs with progestogen confer an increased risk of ovarian cysts, and IUDs with copper confer an increased risk of heavier periods. (Wikipedia: Intrauterine Device)
Are they abortifacients?
The IUD or intrauterine device is available in two different types in America. The hormonal IUD called Mirena, and the copper IUD called Paragard. Mirena releases levonorgestrel, which is a progestogen. Its primary function is to prevent implantation by the tiny developing human (embryo). Preventing ovulation appears to function as a distant second. A study of women, one year after inserting the IUD, showed about one-half (45%) of women were still ovulating. After four years, 75% of women were ovulating. Obviously, the greater the number of women ovulating means the higher the chance for fertilization to occur. Other mechanisms of Mirena include thickening the mucus of the cervix, thus not allowing sperm to enter the uterus, or affecting the mobility or survival of sperm. If fertilization occurs, most likely the tiny unborn child will be prevented from attaching to the lining of the womb and he or she will die. This is a very early abortion. The copper IUD's effectiveness comes from a continuous release of copper into the uterine cavity; however, they aren't sure why this works. The general consensus is that this is accomplished by preventing implantation of the human embryo. (Source: Life Issues)
3. Injectable Contraceptives

According to Family Planning:
Depo Provera (“the injection”, DP) is a contraceptive injection containing progestogen. This hormone is similar to one of the hormones produced naturally by a woman's ovaries. The injection is given every 12 weeks. How does it work? It prevents pregnancy by stopping the ovaries releasing an egg each month. Also there are changes to the lining of the womb (endometrium). How well does it work? Depo Provera is almost 100% effective if you have your injections on time (every 12 weeks). This means that less than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year.
Are they safe?
Some women have irregular or prolonged bleeding. This is more common on first starting to use Depo Provera and often improves with time. Possible side effects Weight changes: Some women put on weight, some lose weight, most do not change weight Allergic reaction but this is extremely rare. The research does NOT show that the injection causes any change in mood, libido or headache. Bone Density Depo Provera has been associated with a reduction in bone density. This improves after stopping Depo Provera. (Family Planning)
Are they abortifacients?
Depo-Provera is like the Minipill, a progestin-only drug, but it is injected every three months into the woman's arm muscle or buttocks. Since it is progestin only, it functions in the same way the Minipill does, including the prevention of implantation. /
The Minipill is similar to the regular birth control pill, except that it contains only progestin. As a result, this pill must be taken every day of the month, compared to the regular birth control Pill that requires only three weeks. The Minipill still operates using the three common mechanisms of hormonal contraception: preventing ovulation, thickening the mucus of the cervix and making the endometrium more hostile to implantation, which is a very early abortion. It is considered less effective than the combined progestin and estrogen pill. (Life Issues)
C. IMAGINARY EVIL?

We have shown that contraceptives recommended by the RH Law such as hormonal contraceptives, IUDs, and injectables also behave as abortifacients by preventing the newly formed zygote from clinging to the uterine walls.

How sure are we that the zygote was prevented from clinging to the uterine walls, de Quiros may ask?  We are never fully sure, in the same way as we are never sure that we will win the Lotto.  But there is always a chance, no matter how small. Firing a bullet randomly up into the air has a small chance of hitting a person, but people die due to stray bullets every New Year's Eve.  So should we fire a bullet into the air randomly?  Of course, not.  That is why there is a gun ban every New Year's Eve.  In the same way we ask: should the RH Law encourage women to use contraceptives that are not only dangerous to their health but also may in fact kill the newly formed human being in the womb by making the womb inhospitable?  Of course, not!  That is why the Supreme Court must junk the RH Law as unconstitutional.  As the Constitution says in Article XV on Family:
Section 3. The State shall defend...the right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development;
Depriving the newly formed human life to attach to the uterine walls is to deprive it of proper care and nutrition, in the same way as you deprive a baby with milk or a young child with food and water. All of these are forms of neglect, abuse, and cruelty to children.  Thus, those who support the RH Law are deluding themselves by imagining that a zygote is not a child, that preventing a zygote to cling to the uterine walls is not murder, and that such an action is not a evil.  Hormonal contraceptives, IUDs, and injectables are instruments of mass destructions of human life comparable to chemical weapons in modern warfare, except that the war is fought not on land but on the womb, against the most defenseless unborn who can only cry in silence like slaughtered sheep.



Contraception and Catholicism: What the Church Teaches and Why
Contraception and Catholicism: What the Church Teaches and Why
3B Scientific L01 Stages of Fertilization and of The Embryo, 2-Times Magnification, 13.8" x 8.3" x 7.9"
3B Scientific L01 Stages of Fertilization and of The Embryo, 2-Times Magnification, 13.8" x 8.3" x 7.9"
The Magisterium: Teacher and Guardian of the Faith (Introductions to Catholic Doctrine)
The Magisterium: Teacher and Guardian of the Faith (Introductions to Catholic Doctrine)
Christian Values and Virtues
Christian Values and Virtues
Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later
Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later
Turning Point: The Inside Story of the Papal Birth Control Commission, & How Humanae Vitae Changed the
Turning Point: The Inside Story of the Papal Birth Control Commission, & How Humanae Vitae Changed the
Devices and Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America
Devices and Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America
Contraceptive Technology
Contraceptive Technology
In Pursuit of Love: Catholic Morality and Human Sexuality, Revised Edition (Theology And Life)
In Pursuit of Love: Catholic Morality and Human Sexuality, Revised Edition (Theology And Life)
Abortion the Silent Holocaust
Abortion the Silent Holocaust
Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation (New edition/issue)