Women deprived of whole truth about contraceptives

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MANILA, Sept. 1, 2012—Not only are some contraception providers giving out incomplete information to unsuspecting women. These advocates of the reproductive health (RH) bill, while riding on a “women’s right to know” posture, have been depriving these women of accurate medical information about contraceptives by virtually muzzling at least one source, according to a registered nurse.

Seeing that quite a number of women posting on a contraception provider’s Facebook page were hungry for information about birth control drugs and devices, Anna Cosio, RN dutifully replied to their queries.

“Many were inquiring about pills, injectables and IUDs. When I first went [to the page], the administrator had not yet responded to their queries so I replied to some of them, informing them of the mechanism of action of hormonal contraceptives and their side effects based on many studies,” the nurse said.

Cosio added that some of the women replied and expressed interest in natural family planning (NFP); prior to that they said they were unaware of the harmful side effects of hormonal contraceptives.

It looks like the exchange of information on the site was a no-no because Cosio discovered, upon returning hours later, that her comments had been deleted – and replaced by the page administrator’s comments with assurances that pills were totally safe.

The nurse was unable to provide additional medical data after that.

“I was supposed to comment again when I noticed that I was already disabled by the page to do so.”

Cosio, who had worked as a nurse instructor and been invited as a resource speaker to symposiums to talk about fertility and contraception, lamented that so many of the girls she had encountered on the online page were given wrong information – “which could be detrimental to their health.  I understood it was [business as usual for the company], so what could I expect?”

Scientific data have established that side effects of OCP use include headaches, dizziness, nausea, with increased risk of venous thromboembolism and cardiovascular disease. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) — a World Health Organzation (WHO) body — has classified the pill as a Group 1 carcinogen, putting it on the same level as cigarettes and asbestos.

Besides being linked to over a dozen deaths in the US and Europe, injectable hormonal contraceptives have recently been found to double the risk of breast cancer in women by a study led by epidemiologist Christopher I. Li, M.D., Ph.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The RH bill, for which the Department of Health (DOH) is proposing P13.7 billion a year for its implementation, includes taxpayer-funded purchase and distribution of the full range of contraceptives, as part of what bill proponents call respecting the “reproductive rights” of people starting from 5th graders.

The Catholic hierarchy as well as faith-based organizations, family and life advocates, and child development experts firmly oppose the measure due to provisions that indicate a lack of respect for the dignity of persons, of the family, and which will require an enormous budget better off spent on education, jobs generation and infrastructure. (CBCP for Life)


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