Sunday, November 14, 2010

Moving the conversation: the Truth about Adoption, Birth Control and Disease

Guest Blogger Kristin Davis contacted me and asked if she could write a piece for The Birth Mother Voice. I had no idea what she wanted to write but obliged her request. I was pleasantly surprised with this informative article that really hits home when talking about birth control, pregnancy and how we need to make sure our teens and youth know the concequences of unprotected sex. Thank you Kristin for this insightful writing!

Moving the Conversation:
the Truth about Adoption, Birth Control and Disease
By Kristin Davis
Although the popularity of oral contraceptives has led to a decline in teen pregnancy throughout the United States, these methods also present unintended consequences. Today, teens tend to focus on pregnancy and the attached stigmas, which these contraceptives do prevent. However, that narrow focus leads to the neglect of other serious consequences of sexual activity, like sexually transmitted disease. With successful adoption programs in place to bring life to loving families, though, attention should shift back to the permanent health dangers that frequently accompany irresponsible sexual activity.

The dangerous implications of oral contraceptives are a major reason why these drugs deserve careful attention. While pregnancy rates in this country decline, sexually transmitted disease rates continue to climb. Alarmingly, these drugs might actually be a contributing factor to this trend as teens protected from pregnancy are emboldened to have unprotected sex. The possibility that oral contraceptives tempt young adults into believing they remain safe against what they mistakenly view as the most undesirable outcome of sex, pregnancy, is a major concern that needs to be addressed before this trend rises further.

Unfortunately, we cannot rely on schools to adequately address the dangers and misconceptions behind these contraceptives. With the U.S. government’s renewal of its $50 million a year funding over five years for abstinence-focused education, it is possible teens will never engage in rational conversation about the minor merits and overwhelming dangers of this contraceptive option. Educators might totally refuse to acknowledge this contraception because it conflicts with the curriculum’s assertion that abstinence should be the sole approach teens hold regarding sex.

However, manufacturers of these contraceptives are even guiltier than schools of impeding the flow of accurate information about their products as they regularly fail to mention important details regarding safety. One oral contraceptive producer was even cited by the FDA for producing misleading television advertisements about its products. Promoting their product as a total quality-of-life improvement, the FDA found these ads further mislead teens into choosing these drugs based on unproven claims. Furthermore, the same manufacturer was also cited for substandard conditions in a plant its ingredients were manufactured in.

Although the charges against this oral contraceptive maker are serious, the extreme physical consequence of these drugs is even more crucial information that has been withheld by the manufacturer. Oral contraceptives are hormone-altering pills and can actually lead to permanent side effects, like the possibility of infertility. Originally introduced in the 1960’s, recent evidence supports the speculation that these oral contraceptives might also be to blame for the rise in cancer incidences for women in the U.S. Although easily dismissed by their harmless appearance, these drugs literally disrupt many significant aspects of life including sexuality, emotional wellbeing and physical health.

An ever-growing number of grievances against oral contraceptive companies, exemplified by pending Yaz Lawsuit, illustrate just how dangerous the short-term effects of such pills are. Users of this particular product have experienced serious side effects, including death. Heart attack, stroke, blood clots, pulmonary embolisms and gallbladder disease are just some of the consequences that have been linked to oral contraceptive use.

The recent oral contraceptive crisis is largely the result of rampant misconception and a serious lack of available information. Because pregnancy is the most visible unintended consequence of sex and it carries such a negative stigma, young women tend to become preoccupied with preventing it, although permanent health consequences like disease and damaging drug side effects are far worse. However, as this dialogue is largely suppressed in schools, this preoccupation with avoiding pregnancy continues.

Only by opening up the channels of communication will young women learn the truth about oral contraceptives and the options that exist for women in the midst of an unplanned pregnancy. No solution has ever been reached with the suppression of information, which is why these issues need to be made public. Showing young women the joy they can bring to a family through adoption could act as the flash of truth needed to move today’s conversation from the minor consequences of an unplanned pregnancy to the serious physical dangers of oral contraceptives and sexually transmitted disease. 


Sterling Bo said...

Wow. I'm so glad you posted this. We were just talking about this at a birth parent panel I was on. Thank you, Kelsey!

Amanda said...

I have an article of hers to post too, I'll do it tomorrow, I was going to today, but seeing as your posted today, I'll wait. :)