I have a copper IUD. It serves one purpose, to prevent pregnancy.

My boyfriend had a vasectomy, a procedure that has no health benefits beyond preventing pregnancy.

I am proud of these decisions because A) we both don’t want me to get pregnant and B) we both like sex.

These should be reasons enough to use contraception. So, I am more than a little put off by the discussions regarding the heath benefits of contraception. I am not for a minute suggesting that hormonal contraception is not without health benefits that are completely apart from controlling reproduction. There are many medical reasons to prescribe hormonal contraception outside of birth control. However, that’s not the point. When I prescribe hormonal contraception for acne it should be considered as an acne medication. When I prescribe hormonal contraception to treat menstrual migraines it should be considered as a migraine medication. Hormonal contraception isn’t listed in the treatment algorithms for these conditions because it is a contraceptive.

When advocates resort to the, “But birth control has health benefits beyond contraception” argument they have conceded that wanting to have sex but not wanting to be pregnant is simply not reason enough. They have retreated to a defensive position. They have made it okay to question contraception. It makes me think of the 80’s in Canada when women would have to petition a 3 member panel for an abortion. It was a rubber stamp. An, “Of course you will be psychologically harmed by continuing the pregnancy” nudge-nudge wink-wink rubber stamp. A degrading rubber stamp.

We should not be ashamed of wanting to have non-procreative sex.

If you want to talk about the health benefits of controlling reproduction, I’m all for that because it’s a valid argument supported by evidence-based medicine (notably absent from many State level decisions on reproductive health). Contraception allows women to lead longer lives, to work outside of the home should they choose, and reduces poverty. Contraception also reduces health care costs, because every contraceptive is cheaper than the cost of prenatal care and delivery. In addition, contraception is a green choice because our world can not sustain the carbon footprint of 3 children families. Seven billion is already too many.

If you focus on the non-contraceptive health benefits you’ve told your opponents that you’re willing to bargain with reproductive rights because you’ve come to the table. I’m not.

Sex is my Maginot line where contraception is concerned.

And watch this clip from the movie The Contender. I really couldn’t have said it any better.

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  1. Why did you just learn of this FROM ME? Why in the world would the people – Dr. Jen included – who parade around pretending they care so much about women’s health be the same ones keeping you in the dark about all this? A lot of you are trying to change the subject and divert attention away from this very basic question. My comments are regarding cancer causing steroids, not condoms or anything else.. WHY are the very women taking them deliberately kept in the dark?

  2. And – right on schedule – you bury your heads in the sand, lifts your fists into the air, and scream about your right to give yourselves breast cancer. You also openly support keeping women in the darl about what causes breast cancer, in a country whose breat cancer rate has tripled. You also openly support lying to women about the demonstrated effectiveness of the pill. It’s never been observed to be 98% or 99% anywhere – ever. But you keep repeating the lies of big pharme and corrupt doctors anyway. More dead women. It’s what you do. No wonder Hugh Hefner gives Planned Parenthood so much of his money. What 82 year old having sex with 18 year old girls cares what happens to them after they are 30 anyway??

    1. Contraception =/= just the pill.

      WRT efficacy, again, what type of pill and regimen are you talking about?

      Oh, and America =/= the World. I’m not American, neither are the vast, vast majority of Earth’s 7 billion inhabitants, Referring to “this country” means nothing online.

      Quite aside from that, men absolutely do not have the right to lecture and rant at women about what we do with our bodies. We have bodily autonomy and sexual agency, your conspiracy theories and hectoring are completely irrelevant.

      1. Whackos like Sean don’t believe that women have bodily agency and sexual freedom. Tha’s the origin of the problem!

    2. As BOOSTICK says, this debate is not purely about the pill. Additionally, why should questions regarding medical funding focus purely on potential side effects of medication? Just as women (and men) make their own informed decisions about other medical issues, women who are adequately informed of the risks and benefits of various birth control options are perfectly capable of deciding whether or not to use the pill, or condoms, or an IUD, etc. Just like they are perfectly capable of deciding whether the risks of getting in a car accident are too high for them to feel safe driving, or deciding that the risks of health complications during pregnancy are too high for them to want to be pregnant.

    3. Sean, you are a merciless puritanical hack. You buy into the B.S. of the Catholic church; the giveaway is that you not only oppose what you claim is dangerous hormonal contraception, you also conspicuously fail to mention that women can turn to several other non-hormonal contraceptives, such as the copper iud, condoms us spermicide, various female barrier methods, and tubal ligation.

  3. Sean, that’s a red herring. There are all sorts of contraceptive methods that are being dissed that aren’t the pill. Also, no surprising that the argument is coming from the masculine quarter, that has nothing to do with access to birth control, but pin points on the minutia of one kind of birth control.

    The anti-birth control crowd don’t care if you are taking hormonal BCPs, or if you want an IUD, a diaphragm, or a tubal ligation. They want to decry a woman’s use of birth control over whether or not she wants sex. Period. This entire argument over the value of hormonal birth control was not the point of the article that Dr Jen wrote.

  4. “The journal of the Mayo Clinic (Mayo Clinic Proceedings) has published a key article in it’s October 2006 issue entitled “Oral Contraceptive Use as a Risk Factor for Pre-menopausal Breast Cancer: A Meta-analysis”, authored by Chris Kahlenborn, M.D., (Internal Medicine, Altoona Hospital, PA), Francesmary Modugno, Ph.D., (Epidemiology), Douglas M. Potter, Ph.D. (Biostatistics) both from the University of Pittsburgh, and Walter B. Severs, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology at the Penn State College of Medicine.

    The major findings from this careful analysis of the world literature were that oral contraceptives (OCs) were linked with a measurable and statistically significant association with pre-menopausal breast cancer. The risk association was 44% over baseline in parous women (having been pregnant) who took OCs prior to their first pregnancy. (See graph below to note risk of individual studies). The study re-enforces the recent classification of OCs as Type 1 carcinogens by the International Agency for Cancer Research*.

    According to Dr. Kahlenborn, extraction of reliable data from the world literature is an extremely difficult task because no two studies are exactly alike. However, meta-analysis is a valid statistical tool that has the ability to identify associations and potential risk. He said the present research team was very careful to clearly present how the data were collected and processed, and welcomes opportunities for open and critical debate on this important subject by professionals as well as the lay public.

    Dr. Kahlenborn** stated that he and the entire team believes that in accordance with the standards informed consent, women must be apprised of the potential risk of premenopausal breast cancer prior to commencing drug use. ”


  5. Just more proof that women are supposed to be “good girls” and not actually admit to liking sex. We are apparently not supposed to be human beings who sometimes make mistakes, but instead be worthy of pedestal placement at all times. By the way, I had an abortion in Canada in the 1980’s and was never asked to go infront of a panel (degrading or otherwise). Where are you getting this information? I ask because I am curious.

  6. It is in large part thanks to people like Dr. Jen that consistently keep women in the dark about medical science that our breast cancer rate has tripled since the pill arrived in 1960. Oral contraceptives also are very adept at ensuring that women get cervical cancer, liver cancer, and heart disease – not to mention the blood clots. They are a Group One carcinogen according to the World Health Organization – right up there with asbestos and tobacco!

    Ever ask yourself what an insane society we live in when teenage boys are arrested and prosecuted for even possessing synthetic testosterone, but cancer causing steroids are now going to be provided to teenage girls and the taxpayer gets the bill? Well, we have blogs like this that purposely keep women in the dark about breast cancer to promote a political agenda to thank for that.

    1. Do you know what has a HUGE risk of blood clots? Actual full-on, fatal, pulmonary embolisms?


      You know what triggers the cell. changes that lead to cervical cancer?

      The HPV virus. Who transmits it to them? Men. You know what would cut transmission rates? If men used condoms consistently.

      Saying something as idiotic as “The pill causes HPV” is like saying “Going to the cinema kills small animals and children “, because people go to the cinema in cars or on buses that sometimes strike and kill things.

      Also, which pill? First, second or third generation? Combined or progesterone only? Monophasic or triphasic? What about the new four phase pills, or extended/continuous pills. How do you feel about SERMs like ormeloxifene?

      Oh wait… you don’t know or care, do you? You just wanted to throw out the same old anti-choice, anti-woman lies.

    2. Hoey paloey, Sean.
      I think your real motive in opposing the promotion and use of hormonal contraceptives is a Christian doctrinal one, not a medical one.
      Your rhetoric is typical of Catholic and Christian fundamentalist apologists who abhor non-procreative sex even within marriage but seek to disguise their true motives.

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