I am constantly amazed at the number of letters received by The Interim which indicate a complete lack of understanding regarding contraception and abortion. Many people fail to make the connection between the two topics, assuming that if contraceptives are used, one simply doesn’t get pregnant. This is absolutely untrue!

I myself managed to become pregnant three times with an IUD (intrauterine device) in place. The end result was a septic abortion, septecemia (blood poisoning) and death to the fetus and almost myself. Infertility and numerous miscarriages followed. I thank God that I was eventually able to have a child, conceived through the use of fertility drugs. However, because of chemical intervention and the possibility that this drug may have the same effect as DES, my daughter must now be watched for signs of cancer.

A friend of mine became pregnant on one occasion while using a diaphragm and contraceptive foam, and again while using an IUD, which later, in conjunction with the birth-control pill, contributed to her infertility. One foster sister became pregnant while taking the birth control pill, and the long-term effects on her child are at this time unknown. Another foster sister had a small stroke attributed to the use of the birth control pill; she was a non-smoker in her early twenties.

Many, many other friends and acquaintances have ended up in similar situations: pregnant on one of the birth control products!

The word “contraceptives” is often misused. Germaine Greer wrote in her book Sex and Destiny: “Clearly the commonest kind of IUD abortion, the twenty-eighth day termination, is, apart from the increased blood loss and perhaps some pain, completely non-traumatic.” The fact is that most women are completely unaware that they are becoming pregnant and aborting at such an early stage, hence the lack of trauma! I can assure you that many women would not take kindly to such knowledge.

From the medical standpoint one knows that repeated abortions and miscarriages are harmful to the body and psychologically arresting. With any abortion, or miscarriage one worries about hemorrhage, infection which can lead to pelvic incompetence. It is easy to understand why some IUDs have been removed from the American market due to numerous law suits.

Canada’s Badgley Report on the Operation of the Abortion Law reports as follows: “An unresolved question is why, among women reporting the use of a contraceptive method at the time of conception, there should have been such a high level of unwanted pregnancies associated with the use of the pill and IUD.

“Almost 1 out of 5 (18.0 per cent) of the women said they were using the pill and another 9.9 per cent the IUD at the time of conception. While there is not an appropriate denominator for calculating failure rates for these methods, the high levels of protection generally attributed to their use would suggest lower failure rates. It is unknown whether the method failed, or whether it was used incorrectly. In each instance even the most effective methods did not confer protection from conception for these women.”

The study also found that a substantially higher proportion of women seeking second abortions had used oral contraceptives (80.5 per cent).

The failure rates for the pill and the IUD may be high because they are the most used. In the case of the pill, the product may be used incorrectly, however, the same cannot be said for the IUD as it is inserted by a doctor and checked frequently by the patient.

Because oral contraceptives are drugs, many factors may interfere with the hormonal levels they are meant to create. For example a lengthy list of other drugs taken by the user at the same time can lower its effectiveness. Any illness involving vomiting, or nausea and vomiting, as a side effect of the drug itself, can lower hormone levels if part of the pill is expelled.

In October 1980, Gilian Cosgrove wrote an article in the Toronto Star in which she estimated that 40,000 U.S. women would die on the birth control pill in the next year, based on the Food and Drug report which estimated that one in five women died on the pill. She also wrote of a pharmaceutical company that has been charged with the falsification of drug testing on the pill.

All in all, the bottom line is that pharmaceutical companies, as well as doctors and governments, make lots of money through the sale of birth control products. The pill and the IUD often cause disease and other conditions which must be treated with further drugs, requiring frequent office visits which are very lucrative to the doctors involved. In addition, there are the millions of abortions offered for contraceptive failure, and surgery required to correct the side effects of these birth control products.

In short, this certainly is a lucrative business. No wonder the sales pitch on these products is so great. Why would anyone take the time and patience to teach Natural Family Planning. As a method of family planning not only does it work, but the side effects do not cost endless hours of surgery and medical care to repair damaged bodies or reproductive systems. NFP does not leave the deep psychological scars from infertility, or cause loss of jobs because of endless sick leave. When pregnancy does occur, one does not have to worry about the short and long term physical effects on the unborn child.

We as women owe a responsibility to ourselves not to get hooked into this contraceptive mentality of artificial methods, so that we can live both physically and mentally healthy, and productive lives. We will then be capable of having families if we wish and be able to take proper care of them. In short, these deadly methods are simply a big con! Women are the losers, along with the children born from these products, or children not born at all, and our husbands who suffer with us.

Thrish Polhill is the founder of the Birth Control Victims Association of Canada.