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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Read something scary...

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Author Topic: Read something scary...
NoName
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I was reading up about the IUD because I am considering getting one in the future (maybe). I did a quick google search and one website I found was talking about there being "breakthrough ovulation" 100 percent of the time on IUD's. It is apparently a pro-life site and this site was giving figures for several kinds of birth control saying that you have break through ovulation and chemical abortions like ALL THE TIME. Let me say right off, I don't believe that at all. One function of birth control is to stop ovulation....so no ovulation means no pregnancy to "abort" itself. Even if there was a breakthrough ovulation, the other protection that birth control offers would probably keep the egg from getting fertilized or implanting. Even if birth control fails, I just simply thought it failed and you got pregnant. I hear stories all the time of failed birth control...and they usually end up with a healthy baby at the end of 9 months.

I understand that it is a touchy subject and that both sides can have extreme view points but that is just so wrong of them to spew out "facts" like that that aren't even true. You shouldn't try to scare women into reproducing, it isn't fair to the woman or the unwanted child. It is pointless to ask why this happens because people can get on the internet and post anything...but man, it just disturbs me that the lengths that people will go to to prove they are "right." I totally understand pro life and pro choice view points and both have valid points to them...but I don't think that using scare tactics is the right way to go on either end. I think that regardless, education is the key to all of this and anyone that purposely gives false information about something so serious should be ashamed of themselves. Thinking about all this has scared me a little. Could there really be a time in the future where abortions become illegal again...and maybe even birth control stops being manufactured? Neither of those even affect me right now in my life but I am sure they will/might in the future. No matter what my view point is, I think it is very important for women to have legal rights to their reproduction, be that concerning abortion or taking any birth control they choose. I am tickled pink that there are people out there that are so passionate about children and saving lives...but the extremists also think that the unborn should have MORE rights than the person carrying it no matter what the circumstances are (I am talking about those who even think that even women who are victims of rape or incest or have a serious health issue should still carry a baby to term). What if people like that end up ruling the world some day? Maybe I am being paranoid but I am just bothered by what I read and really wish I hadn't read it because it has made me feel uneasy.

This isn't the beginning of a prolife-prochoice debate and I do not want one. I personally believe in a little of both and am not swayed to either side at this point in my life or in my experiences. I posted this here just to discuss the unethical prospect of spreading false information about birth control and reproduction in order to scare people and the effect that has/could have on society.

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BrightStar171
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I think it's really interesting that you bring this up- I'm often really angry at the ways that anti-choice people skew facts and alter definitions to defend their viewpoints.

What's really interesting about the example you described here, to me, is that everything they say here could sort of be true, if you accept their definition of "chemical abortion." (Which, of course, isn't the medical definition of an abortion.)

See, the medical definition of a pregnancy is a fertilized egg that has successfully implanted in the uterus. Many (really, most) fertilized eggs don't successfully implant for various reasons, so doctors don't consider a fertilized egg a pregnancy until AFTER it has implanted. What some anti-choicers do to skew the facts is define a pregnancy from the moment of <i>fertilization</i>, rather than the accepted definition of <i>implantation</i>. Many types of birth control do potentially make it slightly less likely for a fertilized egg to implant (by thinning the uterine lining, though this effect hasn't been fully studied), so anti-choicers claim that every single time an egg doesn't implant, the birth control has caused an abortion. Even though, medically, what has happened is that a pregnancy has failed to occur.

So, in the example you described above, if you accept their definition of abortion (which has pretty much no relation to any actual definition of abortion, but whatever); they're actually right, by their own terms. There are some types of IUDs (non-hormonal ones) that don't suppress ovulation at all. On that type of IUD, you would ovulate normally, but the IUD would block sperm from being able to move into and through your uterus to fertilize the egg. On the offchance that that failed and a fertilization did occur, they, like most hormonal methods, would also make it less likely for the egg to implant in the uterus. So, you would have something like 100% ovulation, but it wouldn't be breakthrough ovulation. So, by their logic, you would have "breakthrough ovulation," and then "abortions" every time a fertilized egg didn't implant.

What's really frustrating - and, you're right, unethical - about the whole thing is that it's not just <i>lies</i>, it's using a made-up definition of abortion to skew reality. It's really unfortunate and upsetting that people do this, but one of the most important things you (and all of us) can do, is to correct people's misunderstandings when you can. That's part of what's so great about Scarleteen, actually. That doesn't mean you have to go out and, you know, preach the pro-choice message, or whatever. It just means making sure people have accurate information, so that they can make their own decisions about these issues.

Posts: 100 | From: Virginia, USA | Registered: May 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Atonement
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Just curious- does anyone know the percentage of fertilized eggs that do implant, provided that the person isn't using any birth control (save, say, condoms, which don't affect the uterus)?
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NoName
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Thanks for the replies. Atonement, I am not sure of any percentages. I am sure they vary widely. I was thinking about all this some more today and one thing I don't understand is...if pro life people argue that there should be no interference in reproduction (i.e. birth control or abortion) and that everything should be up to "nature" then I wonder what they think about abstinence in a marriage? I mean, say you have an extreme pro life view point in which you didn't believe in taking any birth control, that still doesn't mean that you are able to/want to get pregnant all the time. Would they just abstain from all sexual contact in this case, even in a marriage? Because if they want to get technical, you are "going against nature" as well if you are choosing to not have sex or you are carefully timing sex to avoid pregnancy...you are in mind and body choosing to avoid pregnancy but you just aren't using any chemicals to do it.

I have so many mixed feeling about it all. Part of me thinks that it truly is a miracle to be alive because in a sense, getting pregnant isn't always easy. For a baby and its mother to make it to 9 months in good health, that is remarkable to me because so many things could go wrong. Then again, I also think reproduction is very natural and all living things do it. Those "Quiverfull" people I hear about...I just don't understand their reasoning. They leave it up to a "higher power" to decide how many children they should have...BUT, my gosh, if you are consistently having intercourse unprotected, you are likely to get pregnant all the time with or without divine intervention. That is just nature, plain and simple. I would assume the only women who hold this view that wouldn't end up with 10 or more children are those women who are simply less fertile.

The prolife-prochoice debate is such a multi level process and it can all be so confusing and even scary at times. I just wish that people wouldn't use lies to "prove" their point. It is so wrong to mislead people and to scare them.

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BrightStar171
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To answer your first question, it really depends on people's individual beliefs. Certainly some people, including married people, abstain from sexual activity altogether if they want to prevent pregnancies. (Historically, that was often how it worked.)

Some other "natural" contraception methods that people used historically and sometimes still use today are breastfeeding a first child for longer than one would otherwise- for the first six months or so after giving birth, if you breastfeed continuously, your hormones make it very unlikely that you will get pregnant again- there's something like a 1-2% chance of pregnancy, which is pretty much the same as other types of birth control. Success rates drop after the first six months or so, but it's still more effective than doing nothing.

A lot of people who don't believe in birth control also use natural family planning, like you mentioned, where they time sexual activity around a woman's fertility.

Some people also use the withdrawal method (where the man "pulls out" before ejaculation), though because there's some biblical text that can be interpreted to say that it's a sin, that's probably not a method that extremely conservative Christians would be likely to use.

Your point about what's "natural" and what's not is well-taken, though I'm sure you can see how people who believe in this look at it- none of these methods require any additional devices or medications to prevent pregnancy other than the way human bodies work on their own. You're still sort of manipulating your body to do what you want, but you're not using any outside forces to do it. Whether or not that's something that makes sense to you is really up to you to decide, of course.

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NoName
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Personally, it makes complete and total sense to me to not use hormonal birth control for the simple fact that some people are uncomfortable with the side effects. I feel that way myself. I am not against it because it isn't "natural" because I would personally be all for sterilization or having a non-hormonal iud put in. Those aren't natural either but they do not contain hormones, which is my concern. Everyone has to draw the line somewhere at what they believe is natural or not, and that is just fine. The only thing that doesn't make sense to me is those who are against birth control solely because it interferes with producing a life...withdrawing, natural planning, and abstinence interferes with producing a life too. If their reason is because of the un-naturalness of other methods, I get that but otherwise, I just don't see the difference. The original article I posted about was talking about how women were "unknowingly" having abortions all the time (literally, all the time). Then it spewed some "facts" about how each birth control method allowed breakthrough ovulation...and that the birth control worked by in fact killing the egg. What is so crazy about that is even when you don't interfere at all, a lot of eggs simply do not get fertilized nor do they all implant. Lots of people have gotten successfully and healthily pregnant while on hormonal birth control, likewise, lots of people have had unprotected intercourse hundreds of times and have never gotten pregnant.

It was a little bit outrageous of them to claim that an IUD caused breakthrough ovulation 100 percent of the time...that is crazy. How can you claim that anything in your body happens 100 percent of the time when everyone's body is so different and they cannot possibly know each woman's body. If you have the copper one, there is no "breakthrough" ovulation because there are no hormones in it to stop ovulation from occurring in the first place. The hormonal IUD usually prevents ovulation and/or affects the uterus in such a way that an egg can not possibly implant.

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Heather
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Btw, I'm not staying out of this one around any objections to the conversation. It's just one of those things where kind of all I have to offer is a resounding "Ugh."

The first time I escorted at a clinic was in the early 90s, and with so many years after that working in this field and repro health, including at a clinic where I sometimes had to walk by protestors or help a provider take off their Kvelar vest to keep from getting shot, my disgust and weariness with all of these kinds of tactics is just pretty over the top. None of it surprises me, it's all been going on a long time, and I'm mostly just tired of it and have very little to say about it save that it's tiresome and dishonest and crummy.

I know: not a lot to offer. Again, thus my relative silence.

That said, I will always encourage anyone and everyone who feels (validly) upset over tactics like this to please consider getting involved in efforts to counter things like this. Just doing something like being upset or talking here is important to sort out your feelings, but it isn't likely to change anything. Getting pro-active about these things can and, in the past, has made a difference. And over the last ten years or so, there have been fewer and fewer people doing that, which is likely part of things like this winding up being part of public policy and going more and more unchecked.

If you want to get involved and help and you're not sure where to start doing that locally, or even remotely, I'm always glad to help get anyone started. In the US, your local NARAL affiliate is often a very good starting point.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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NoName
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Oh my gosh Heather! They had to wear a vest to keep from getting shot?!? I knew it was serious but geez, that is just out of proportion. As if a poor woman is going to be "led the right way" by you waving signs in her face and shouting at her..not to mention pulling weapons. I understand where pro lifers are coming from and I understand how they feel BUT in cases like that, they are beyond understanding. If they truly, truly, believe that abortion is such a serious problem, they need to spend their efforts attacking the source of the problem. Why not take that same passion, time, and energy and put it into educating our youth about birth control (and leave the abstinence only agenda at home because it ain't working) and helping to fund and advocate for better birth control methods and availability? That would help with the younger population at least who simply don't use birth control or use it improperly. The rest of the population that gets abortions? Some times things happen in life that we can't control and didn't mean to happen. Every person has to decide what is right for themselves because they are the only person who has to live their life. I personally hope that I am never in the position of being pregnant in any circumstance where I feel I couldn't stay that way, that can't be an easy place to be in and even the most extreme pro lifer should consider how they would REALLY feel and what they would REALLY do if they were in those shoes. Sometimes you hold onto a belief for your whole life, only to have it shaken once your life circumstances change. We are human and not machines and we don't always know what we will do in any given situation until it actually happens. I grew up in a Christian family and unquestioningly subscribed to their beliefs for most of my life. They believe abortion is wrong in most every circumstance, and I thought I believed that way too. Growing up has taught me that I don't have to fully commit myself to any belief because in real life, there is usually a grey area. It never helps to be so close minded that you never challenge your beliefs because you never grow when you do that. Basically, I got to a point with this issue where don't really lean toward either side very much, I am still on the fence. And you know what, I probably always will be unless I myself am put in a predicament where I have to decide something like this for myself. The only thing I am very sure of is that women who are victims of rape, incest, abuse, etc. and get pregnant in those situations should not ever have to remain pregnant. How anyone argues that otherwise just blows my mind. As well, no woman who knows that her health would be compromised by a pregnancy should have to remain that way either. All the other circumstances, who am I to say they are justified or not, it is their life and their choice and it is criminal for anyone to want that taken away.

I am still learning about all this every day and I surely don't know everything about it. I just know it is wrong to spread propaganda like that to scare women into reproducing. That article I read didn't come anywhere near making me "join their cause" all it did was disturb and scare me. The mere fact that this site wasn't just about abortion but about birth control too made me see that they basically just want women to go at it all natural and if that means having babies every year, so be it. That is just completely immoral and unreasonable in today's world. I certainly hope to God that power never lands in the hands of people like that or we are all in trouble. If they are arguing that you may be, potentially, sort of, in a way, possibly, aborting a potential egg that maybe, sort of, possibly implanted in your uterus for a few days until your birth control wrongfully killed it, they first need to be educated about how birth control works and they also need to think about this: if they are that concerned with some cells that may or may not be viable yet or ever, why in the world are they not concerned with the 100 percent alive and kicking human being that is carrying it? It is complete madness.

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