The things we don’t know…

As I have been reviewing the literature related to life issues, one thing has struck me, how much we don’t know.

Here I’m primarily talking about how ‘contraceptives’ work. And it is concerning just how comfortable people, especially pro-abortion people are in using and advocating the use of contraceptives when some of the key pieces knowledge of them is missing.

Some things are easy to study in contraception. Ovulation isn’t hard to detect. It can be inferred from analysing a woman’s hormones over time, or it can be observed directly by ultrasound. However, many modern ‘contraceptives’ aren’t effective in inhibiting ovulation. And some don’t inhibit it at all.

Once ovulation occurs, so called ‘contraceptives’ have several mechanisms to pregnancy or birth.

Many cite the changes to the cervical mucus as a major mode of action. The pill and the morning after pill both cite this as one of their mechanisms of action. The evidence for the morning after pill is weak. Where changes are found, although the changes are substantial, the effects were not absolute. Unlike inhibiting ovulation, the effect causes a reduction in fertility, not a complete absence.

Hormonal methods with synthetic progestins (the pill, the morning after pill and some IUDs) can affect the transport in the fallopian tube. If it’s gametes, the effect is contraceptive. If the transport of the embryo is affected, the effect is likely to be abortifacient.

There are a number of other effects on male gametes that are contraceptive, but no one knows what contribution these have to the contraceptive effect. At best they would only seem to cause a reduction of fertility.

The final effect is the endometrium becoming unreceptive to a human embryo. This causes early abortions. The human embryo is a new human being. He or she is genetically different from his or her mother, and clearly and individual human in their own right.

The language used by drug companies to describe this abortifacient affect is often obscure. One example is “the endometrium is rendered unreceptive to implantation” or even as obscure as, “controlling the monthly development of the womb lining so that it is not thick enough for you to become pregnant”. Some organisations have redefined pregnancy to only start after implantation, and refuse to use the word ‘abortion’ before then, even when it most clearly describes the death of these tiny human beings. This definition is one of semantics. All of the people who use that definition existed before they were implanted in their mother’s womb.

But how often do the synthetic hormones in contraceptives cause these early abortions? The answer is that we just don’t know. There are some ways to find out, but no one is doing that research, or if they are, they aren’t publishing it. Does the mini pill cause early abortions in 50% of cycles, or in only 1%? We just don’t know. And most women using these medicines and devices have no idea that they can cause early abortions.

Many of them would be concerned if it was clearly explained to them. But the companies who sell these medicines and devices jump through linguistic loops to make sure you can read their information, and not realise it causes early abortions, unless you know exactly the language to look for.

When a women is taking these synthetic chemicals, she has no idea of how they work on any given cycle. And thanks to the deliberately vague manufacturer information, she may have no idea that they can kill tiny humans before implantation. This isn’t empowerment. It’s exploitation.

It a just world, the exact modes of action of these synthetic chemicals would researched, quantified, published and then clearly explained to the users.

And in a truly grace filled world, we would all use the women friendly methods of Natural Fertility Regulation if we needed to avoid pregnancy.

The forgotten babies

When we think of abortion, we think of the babies lost through abortion procedures – whether they be surgical, like a D&C, or medical, in the form of RU-486.

But what of those whose lives are ended before they even had the chance to find a home in their mother’s womb?

The use of hormonal contraceptives, which have a back-up mode of action making the womb hostile to receiving new life is increasing.

IUD’s (with or without hormonal action) also work as abortifacients.

IVF creates embryos which will never be given the opportunity to grow and develop.

In New Zealand, we are seeing a year-on-year drop in induced abortion statistics.  Our worse year was 2007, when 18,380 unborn children were aborted.  This declined to 14,745 in 2012.

But over the last few years organisations such as Family Planning have been pushing for women (and young girls) to use Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARCs) such as the Jadelle implant and Mirena (an IUD).

According to the Ministry of Health, 1,180 prescriptions were given in 2003 for Mirena.  By 2012 this number had jumped to 4598.

The stats for Jadelle are astonishing, and show just how successful the push for this implant has been.  In 2010, which is when the device became funded by Pharmac, there were 3,808 prescriptions.  By 2012 the number of scripts had jumped to 13,860.  Over the three-year period of 2010 to 2012, doctors had prescribed Jadelle 31,196 times!

These statistics don’t include the Morning After Pill, the Copper IUD, Depo Provera or the combined oral contraceptive pill.

Those who promote abortifacient contraception try to confuse the general public by saying that these devices do not cause early abortions.  They can do this because pregnancy has been redefined to begin when the embryo implants in the womb as opposed to conception (when the sperm fertilises the egg and a new life begins)!

And this fallacy – that pregnancy only begins when the embryo implants – is being perpetrated even today, starting at young ages.

Take Family Planning’s Open and Honest Parent Workbook (2012).  Ignoring all the sexually explicit information which is the subject for another blog, we skip to page 28 which is the beginning of a “Conception Activity”.  This activity is from Family Planning’s programme The Sexuality Road which is aimed at Year 5 to 8 children (9 to 12/13 year olds).  In the activity children are asked to match short descriptions of the “conception process” to images.  The answers are found on page 44, where a diagram of a tiny baby is nestled inside the womb with the words “pregnancy”.

Why is it so important to redefine pregnancy?  Because then abortifacients such as Jadelle, Mirena and the Pill become quite acceptable to the general public.  No little ones are lost.  Organisations such as Family Planning have a vested interest in being able to push these “contraceptives”.

Redefining pregnancy also makes IVF an acceptable “procedure”.  If one isn’t pregnant until the embryo is successfully implanted into the womb, then the embryos have little worth apart from their potential to “become” human beings (forgetting of course that an embryo is a human being in it’s very nascent stage).  Hundreds of thousands of embryos have never even had the opportunity to grow past a certain point as they have been created outside of the human body.  Hundreds of thousands of embryos have been discarded because they are not deemed to be “good”, or because they are no longer needed.

So let us not forget that while the number of induced abortions are going down each year, thousands more forgotten babies are lost through abortifacients and IVF.

And that is something NOT to celebrate.

Parental consent and school based clinics

As my two eldest daughters venture into the world of tweens, I find myself becoming ever more cautious about what they are seeing, hearing and talking about.  My husband and I are thinking about the next few years and all that they will be exposed to, knowing that it will be so much more than when we were that age. It worries us, as I’m sure it worries many other good parents.

And so, this morning when I read yet another story of health services undermining the authority of parents, my maternal lioness instinct kicked in big time.

The story was of a Northland mother whose 13-year-old daughter came home explaining that she had been fitted with a Jadelle contraceptive implant.  The whole procedure was done by the Adolescent Health Clinic adjacent to the High School, all without the knowledge or consent of her parents.

The Adolescent Health Clinic is one of three that are either school-based or adjacent to High Schools in Northland.  The clinics are run by the Te Tai Tokerau PHO.  Youth in Kawakawa, Taipa and Kaitaia all have access to these clinics whose objective is

to provide accessible integrated youth focused and friendly services that target priority health issues impacting on the health of young people; in particular sexual health, mental health and family planning.

Yes, that’s right sexual health is the main point of these clinics.  The purpose is to provide a parent-free zone where confidentiality is ensured and sexual activity (of any kind) is encouraged, even if the young person is below the age of consent.  Contraception is provided, and when that fails, STD checks and abortion referrals are the solutions given.

Lest people outside of these areas feel compelled to breathe a sigh of relief that the clinics are not near their schools, it should be noted that there are plenty more school based health clinics throughout New Zealand, which identify “sexual health” as being a top issue.

The mother in our story was outraged at being left out of such a critical decision in her daughter’s care, and rightly so.  Her daughter, only 13 (and therefore legally unable to consent to sexual intercourse) was able to attend the clinic and receive an implant in her arm that releases hormones into her system 24/7.

Deeply concerned about the situation the mother raised the following issues:

1.  Parental consent is required for school trips and dental procedures and vaccines, yet a minor can be prescribed contraception or be referred for an abortion without the parents knowledge or consent.

2.  Restrictions are made regarding the appropriate age to drive a car, drink or buy tobacco.  It is recognised that all of these things have an element of risk to them and good decision-making skills are required.  We hope, that by restricting the age that one can drive or drink or smoke, better, more mature decisions will be made around these things.

3.  Family medical history is not known by the clinic.  In this story, the family medical history was not accessed by the clinic.  How were they to know that one of the contraindications to using Jadelle were not present or that the girl was more susceptible to certain conditions?

I’d like to add the following points:

4.  Hormones are released 24/7.  What effect does this have on a growing girl?  How will it effect her fertility?  How does it effect her on-going moods?  The clinical trials were only undertaken on women aged 18 to 40.  Use in teens younger than 18 is purely experimental and the long term effects cannot at this stage be known.

5.  Children under the age of 16 are unable to consent to sexual intercourse – it is statutory rape.  By eliminating the family from any decisions, the staff are enabling the abuser to continue on in secret.  Even if the under 16-year-old is a willing participant, the law is still being broken and parents should have the right to know what is going on in their child’s life.

6.  Risky behaviour is encouraged.  Inserting a Jadelle contraceptive implant does not protect a young girl from STDs, a broken heart, depression and suicide.  The implant is a free ticket to multiple sexual partners and leaves a young girl open to use and abuse by boys and men who apparently no longer have the consequence of pregnancy to consider.

7.  Breaks down the family by discouraging communication.  By leaving out the family, medical professionals are encouraging secrecy and disrespect of the young person’s parents.  Youth should be encouraged to discuss these matters with their parents, or a close family friend who understands the morals and expectations of the family.  Rather than leaving parents out, the very least any professionals can do, is provide a mediated discussion of sensitive issues.

In the end, the 13-year-old girl had the Jadelle implant removed, not because her parents requested it, but because she requested it herself (parents can’t legally request for the implant to be removed).  Thankfully, this family had a good talking relationship where the daughter felt she could tell her mother about the implant.  What would have happened if she hadn’t?

How many other young girls out there are receiving contraception of all kinds from these clinics without their parents knowledge?  How many are being sent off for abortions without their parents knowledge?

There is a lesson for parents to be learnt in this story.  We need to take charge of our children’s lives, not in an overbearing, controlling way.  But we do need to listen to them, spend time with them, encourage them in activities that build them up and keep them busy.  We need to be aware of what “services” might be provided in and around school and which organisations associate themselves with education providers and even groups like Scouts and Girl Guides.  We do need to be aware of what our children are reading, viewing and listening to.  We need to ensure that we are approachable and give kind and thoughtful, but firm guidance when required.

On another level, we must not be content to sit back and let schools and organisations take the lead.  We need to know exactly what is happening at school.  Where we can, we must be involved politically and stand up for our rights as parents to bring up our children to be responsible and mature citizens that understand that all actions have consequences for which we must take responsibility.  As parents we must not abdicate our responsibility to be the first teachers of our children.  We cannot give our children over to those who seek to destroy the family.

Increasing incidence of STIs as long acting contraceptive use escalates

With the increased use of Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC) among New Zealand teenage girls and women, there has been a decline in prescriptions for Emergency Contraception (otherwise known as the Morning After Pill) and an increase in the incidence of STIs, according to an article on Stuff.co.nz.

Jadelle, a second generation Norplant contraceptive comprising of two rods which are inserted in the upper arm, has been free for New Zealand women since 2010.  The uptake has been high with 13,600 Jadelle implants last year (2012).  Jadelle releases levonorgestrel into the women’s system over a five year period.  It works in three ways:

1.  prevents ovulation;
2. prevents conception;
3. if the first two actions do not work, then it prevents the newly conceived human being from implanting in the womb.

Another long acting contraceptive commonly used by New Zealand women is the IUD (either Copper or Mirena), these contraceptives are not free.  These too act as abortifacients at least some of the time.

One of the problems with young people using long acting reversible contraception, is the likelihood of increased promiscuity and the very common incidence of “serial monogamy”.  Long acting contraception gives girls permission to take sexual risks as pregnancy is usually not an outcome (although pregnancy can still occur).  There is also clinical evidence to suggest that young girls in particular are more likely to contract STIs because of their physical and immunological immaturity.

During the same time period, Rotorua has seen a decrease in the number of births to teenage girls under the age of 20.  According to Tania Pinfold of Rotovegas Youth Health, abortions in Rotorua have declined also.  Over 400 Jadelle implants have been fitted in women over the last few years in Rotorua, and Jadelle is in part thanked for this.

While long acting reversible contraceptives such as Jadelle and IUDs appear on the surface to be good choices for youth in particular, advocates often fail to warn of the negative social and health consequences of their use.  We are now seeing an increase on STIs (where New Zealand already has a shockingly high rate of incidence anyway) and a decrease in births.  It is impossible to know just how many early abortions have taken place through the use of Jadelle, Mirena and the Copper IUD.

A healthy society is one that imposes limits on its members for their own good.  Rather than giving young people a license to be sexually active without apparently having any consequences to their actions, only serves to encourage risk taking and deviant behaviour which ultimately leads to disaster.  Young people need to be given boundaries, strong ideals to live up to and forgiveness and support if they fall short.  Doing so will produce adults that in general are responsible, mature and thoughtful contributors to society, who accept the consequences of their actions and who have learnt that instant gratification does not lead to a happier life.

Questioning the Benefits of Jadelle

jadelleJadelle is a contraceptive implant currently widely promoted, and available free to women in New Zealand, although associated costs such as doctors fees still need to be paid.  It is also available to beneficiaries and their daughters over the age of 16 under a scheme where all associated costs (including travel) will be paid for by WINZ.

The implant has been touted as being a solution to many of New Zealand’s social ills,  including child abuse, abortion and teenage pregnancy.  According to an article published on Stuff.co.nz, approximately 20,000 New Zealand women have had Jadelle inserted.

Jadelle’s predecessor Norplant, was surrounded with controversy.  In the US, use of this contraceptive implant ceased after more than 200 lawsuits (involving more than 50,000 women) were brought against the manufacturer Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories.  The lawsuits alleged inadequate warnings of side-effects.  Jadelle is not available in the United States, although it has been approved by its Food and Drug Administration.

How Jadelle Works:  Comprising of two rods, the device is inserted into the upper arm of women and provides contraception for up to five years.  It does this by slowly releasing into the women’s system the hormone levonorgestrel, which is a low-dose progestin.

The Jadelle implant works in three ways:

1. Inhibits ovulation;

2. Thickens cervical mucus;

3. Alters the endometrium (lining of the uterus) so that it is hostile to receiving the newly conceived human being.

The third mode of action makes this contraceptive an abortifacient.  It is highly likely that women using this implant will ovulate and conceive from time to time, therefore it is  possible for her to abort, without knowing, at least once or twice a year.

Side Effects while using Jadelle:  There are many different side-effects that can be experienced while a woman has Jadelle inserted.  These range from such things as  nausea, depression, nervousness, headaches and weight gain to pelvic pain and changes to the menses where it can become irregular,  prolonged or more frequent.  It can also lead to liver dysfunction and blood clots (thrombosis) if used when contraindicated.

Pregnancy While on Jadelle:  Recently, we have seen an increase in women (both at our Auckland and Wellington Pregnancy Centres) who have had Jadelle inserted and now find themselves pregnant.  We also have had a number of phone calls from parents of young girls as well as women who have had the implants and are now wanting to have them removed early.  Many people talk of not having all the facts at the time of insertion.  It appears too, that women are not being screened properly for medications and conditions which might contraindicate its use.

It is advised by Bayer Health Care that Jadelle should be removed immediately if the woman becomes pregnant.

At Family Life International, we have a number of questions regarding the affect the hormones in Jadelle would have on a developing preborn child.  Will the hormones affect the child’s fertility later on in life?  Will the female hormones affect the developing child who is male?  Certainly, these children should be monitored post-birth and even into adulthood.

Controversy surrounding the Removal of Jadelle:  Late last year it was revealed that between the months of January to May 2012, there were seven incidents reported to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring in Dunedin, where it was difficult to remove or even locate the implants.

Even more worrying, was the assertion of Dr Christine Roke, medical advisor for the Family Planning Association, that the incidence of difficulties in removing the implant could be more frequent than indicated by the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring.  “I think doctors in     practice often just get on with it and forget to report these things.”  She is reported by Stuff.co.nz to have said.

The Jadelle literature put out by Bayer Health Care assures users that the implants will not move around saying “They will remain under the skin where they are placed.  They are flexible and cannot break in your arm.  They will become naturally surrounded by a protective layer of fibrous

Clearly this assertion is not true.

One lady whom we are helping, had Jadelle inserted, and after nine months she came into our Wellington Pregnancy Centre for a pregnancy test. It was positive and after a scan, it was decided she was four months along. Considering the manufacturers’ warning to those who fall pregnant with the rods still in, she was advised immediately after the positive test to get it removed. Unfortunately there is a waiting list for removal, so she travelled to another FPA clinic to get it removed the following week. The doctor there, trained in removing Jadelle, was unsuccessful in removing the one rod visible to her. The expectant mother has now been informed by a second doctor that the rods must have fallen out and that the first doctor must have seen scar tissue. A blood test valued at $900 is available postpartum to ascertain whether or not the implant remains. Thankfully, according to the scan, baby is doing well. While trying to remain positive in the last trimester, there is still the worry of the unknown.

Clearly Jadelle’s safety and benefits for individual women should be questioned. The history of Norplant suggests that New Zealand should never have allowed this contraceptive device into the country, let alone made it free for our women. Women are clearly distressed and given the numbers we are seeing in our Centres, there are surely more out there whose stories have not yet been heard.

We believe at FLI that this method of contraception should be removed from the list of free ‘medicines’ and a greater campaign explaining the issues surrounding Jadelle’s use should be undertaken. –

Free Contraception for Beneficiaries Uptake “Low”

Figures have been made public over how many beneficiaries have taken up the offer of free long-acting contraception.

The Special Needs Grant administered by Work and Income NZ (WINZ) offers free long-acting contraception for beneficiaries and their daughters (16+).  The Grant has been available since 15th October, 2012.  Women can choose between:

  • contraceptive implants (Jadelle)
  • intrauterine devices (IUDs) or
  • Depo Provera

Each of these long-term contraceptives have their own side-effects and complications.  All of them have an abortifacient property, (meaning they cause an early abortion, if all their other methods of avoiding conception fail and a new life is conceived).  In some cases it is possible for the contraceptives to fail completely and a new life succeeds in implanting it its mother’s womb.  Sometimes she does not realise she is pregnant for some months.  This can be very distressing for the woman, and can be detrimental to the development of her unborn child.

In the five months that the free long-acting contraception has been available, a total of 35 women have taken up the offer.

Throughout last year there was talk of offering free contraception to all women and girls, including giving free emergency contraception to children as young as 12 years of age.

Hopefully, the government will realise that with such a low uptake on the offer for free long-acting contraception it would be beneficial to pull the funding for this programme.    Contraception cannot and never will be, an answer to the social ills of New Zealand.

Similar posts:

Free Contraception a Bad Idea

Empower Women With Natural Fertility Regulation

Free Contraception a Bad Idea

jadelleThere have been calls from Rotorua youth doctor, Tania Pinfold for free and easily accessible contraception in order to reduce unintended pregnancies.  ALRANZ supports this idea, along with more education programmes.  In this way, it is believed the abortion rate, in particular among youth, would decline.

While Family Life International NZ is fully for an end to all abortions, we do not believe the way to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies is through free contraception and increased sex education.

In 2010 just under half of all abortions were carried out on women and girls who had been using some form of contraception.  ALRANZ and other abortion supporters know this and so they are working hard to promote long-acting contraception among women and youth, using such devices as “Jadelle”, a second generation implant banned in countries like the United States.

But those who are promoting free and accesible contraception are not really being pro-woman.  If they were they would realise the use of such contraceptive devices as Jadelle, Depo Provera and the IUD, only serves to promote riskier sexual behaviour in the targetted under 25 year old group, and increases the chances of them contracting sexually transmitted infections.  There is also the issue of hormones floating around a women’s body for such an extended period of time and the side effects that will have on them.

Combining free contraception with more sex education in this under 25 year old group will only serve to increase sexual behaviour.  Many a study has shown that graphic sex education with the underlying belief that teenagers will engage in sexual intercourse anyway, increases the likelihood of both male and female students engaging in earlier sexual behaviour.

Family Life International NZ provides a service to those who find themselves experiencing an unintended pregnancy.  Through our Family Life Crisis Pregnancy Centre we offer women and girls factual information regarding their pregnancy.  We discuss the options of parenting, adoption and abortion thoroughly and accurately.  We find that most abortion-minded women who come to us are really seeking solutions for the situations they find themselves in, not an end to the pregnancy per se.

We encourage women to have self-respect and to take charge of their lives, to make something of themselves.  And we offer them the support they need to do that.  This I believe is the real long-term answer to lowering the abortion rate.  Not pumping females with chemicals and treating their fertility as a disease.