Monday, December 04, 2006

CT Planned Parenthood to Offer Free Emergency Contraception Wednesday

On Wednesday Planned Parenthood's 18 health centers in Connecticut will distribute free packets of Plan B emergency contraception. Plan B is now available to women without a prescription and "Free EC Day" is part of a national effort to raise awareness of this development.

At a press conference this morning Planned Parenthood of Connecticut (PPC) President Judy Tabar emphasized the importance of making emergency contraception available to all women.

Using emergency contraception allows every woman to back up her birth control within 120 hours. If a condom breaks, if she has unprotected sex. We believe that every woman deserves every chance to prevent unintended pregnancy, and we hope that Free EC day will increase awareness of Plan B, contribute to decreasing rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion, and give women a new level of comfort in their ability to control their own fertility and sexuality.


Ms. Tabar said that next year PPC expected to distribute 26,000 packets of Plan B through it's health centers. After December 6, a dosage of over the counter Plan B obtained at a PPC health center will cost $35.

When asked about how difficult or easy it would be for woman to obtain Plan B other than Planned Parenthood Ms Tabar expressed hope that pharmacies would choose to carry the drug also.

We certainly hope that all pharmacies are going to carry it. It's going to be available over the counter, although in fact it's really behind the counter because anyone who's seeking emergency contraception will have to show I.D. to show that they're over the age of 18.


Ms. Tabar was also asked why there has been so much confusion about what Plan B actually is.

First of all let me say what it is. Plan B basically prevents a pregnancy from the start. That's how it works. Sometimes people confuse it with medicated abortions commonly referred to as RU486. That's a medication that ends a pregnancy in progress."


Additional information can be found at PPC's website.

Commentary: What does this have to with Connecticut Politics?
Plan B was a hot button issue for local politicians in the 2006 election cycle. Jodi Rell lost the NOW and NARAL endorsements because her views on Plan B and Catholic hospitals. One of Lamont's first primary endorsements was from NOW PAC, which cited access to emergency contraception as a factor in it's decision.

Many people believe that Plan B's current availability over the counter means that access to ec is now a dead issue. They're wrong. There is no law in Connecticut requiring hospitals or pharmacies to carry and distribute emergency contraception, and women who need the drug may still have difficulty obtaining it especially when Planned Parenthood clinics are closed. While it's good that Plan B is now available without a prescription for women over the age of 18, there's still work to be done to make sure all women who require the drug have access.

41 comments:

cgg said...

A word about comments on this post: Keep comments constructive. Name calling, sexism, and hate speech will be deleted.

Genghis Conn said...

Ahem.

Distribution and awareness of emergency contraception does not lead directly to promiscuity, unruly females or whatever the above commenters are talking about. If that was the case, unwanted teenage pregnancies would be low in Texas and high in Massachusetts. Note: it's the other way around. Education is the key.

I'd also point out that Plan B does not cause an abortion--medically speaking, it prevents implantation and stops a pregnancy before it starts.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with Plan B. It should be available.

But I do not think that Catholic hospitals should be required to distribute it if it is against their beliefs.

I believe in a separation of church and state-- I don't want religion dictating government policy. But not do I want the government dictating to religions what they should do.

cgg said...

Actually Genghis it doesn't even prevent implantation. All Plan B can do is stop a woman from ovulating. It's nothing more than a concentrated dose of birth control pills.

Anonymous said...

Hate speech? Please this board lives on hate speech. Becasue you disagree with someone does not mean they are involved in hate. The hate spewed at Joe Lieberman..which I could easlily claim as anti-semetic flew freely on this board..probably becasue you agreed with it. What a foolish post cgg, senorship on this board should not exist!!

bluecoat said...

I beleive in separation od church and state too. However, in the case of RC Hospitals they are a not-for-profit delivering a service funded by the government and therefor they need to follow the government's rules set up to protect its citizenry. That's particulalry true when a hopital is presented with a traumitized female victim of unwelcome rape. The RC Hospitals could chose to opt out of governement funding and then they could maybe live by a different set of medical standards than set up by the govt - and I say maybe. But we've been through this before.

bluecoat said...

cgg: because of the high level of hormones, some say (based on science) Plan B may stop implantation in some cases...I don't have the time to do the research right now but I think you can Google it up

cgg said...

Bluecoat: Fair point. There is no proof either way on implantation, and we're not likely to see any research done for obvious reasons.

But the point of Plan B is to prevent ovulation, and if you're already ovulating and take a dose of ec you can in fact still become pregant.

Here's an old Wapo article that does a great job explaining this.

Anonymous said...

Bluecoat,

By your logic, then any institution that gets government funding must follow government policy.

Would you then say that ROTC has a right to actively recruit on any campus (even private institutions), even though that institution might disagree with the military's stance against homosexuals or the war in Iraq?

You can't have it both ways....

Gabe said...

Anon 5:39 - whether you agree with it or not (and I do not), both congress and the SCOTUS have said exactly that.

Anonymous said...

The folks who moderate this blog are more thin-skinned than most people in general.

I believe that this type of "event" gives young people (guys and gals) the impression that you can toss responsibility and accountability to the wind, engage in unsafe sexual activity, and make it all better in the morning with the quick pop of a pill.

Conversely, do I like seeing teenage mothers on every corner? Obviously, no. Of course Plan B is necessary, especially in cases of rape. But it should be administered by a doctor, after an examination, for a fee, same as every other prescription drug. $30 is not a lot to pay to change the course of your life if you truly feel that you've made a mistake.

But it's clear that this is only an attempt to resurface the subject in advance of the 2007 session. It's a tawdry and shameful way to do it.

Anonymous said...

additionally, there have been some cursory studies that show taking Plan B more than once can increase a woman's chances of uterine cancer....and decrease the chances that she will be able to get pregnant in the future.

Granted they are cursory studies...but then again, so is Al Gore's Global Warming theory.

Matt said...

Wow, just because you made their enemies list, apparently that only encourages the Family Institute clowns to show up.

I believe that this type of "event" gives young people (guys and gals) the impression that you can toss responsibility and accountability to the wind, engage in unsafe sexual activity, and make it all better in the morning with the quick pop of a pill.

As is their right. I think it's crazy that people think they can go commit "sins", commit violence against others, then show up at church and get forgiven by God. Fortunately for us, our government doesn't limit any adult's right to sexual carelessness or belief in fairy tales.

Plan B is birth control. If you think birth control is morally wrong, then don't use it -- but the Christian right's desire to shame and oppress women who won't live by their backwards 17th century moral code is inexcusable, and has no place anywhere near our state or federal government.

Gabe said...

Anon 12:31 - Please provide a site to the "cursory" studies that show that Plan B can increase the odds of uterine cancer.

Also, feel free to cite something that says that the scientific studies and evidence of global warnings were "cursory" and not comprehensive.

Anonymous said...

If hospitals are going to accept any taxpayer funds than they should be forced to comply. If they are going to be 100% self funded than they could operate by the own beliefs.

cgg said...

Anon 12:29: Plan B has a very small window in which is can be effective. That's why easy access is so important. Because getting the drug in certain times and at certain places can be difficult, Planned Parenthood and other women's groups strongly suggest that every woman keep a dose at home in case she or another woman she knows finds herself in need.

Making sure that people understand what ec is, and that women have it available does not encourage risky behavior. As for uterine cancer, well I'd love to see a link. Again Plan B is nothing more than a concentrated dose of birth control pills so consider me skeptical.

disgruntled_republican said...

Matt -

You say Wow, just because you made their enemies list, apparently that only encourages the Family Institute clowns to show up.

Why is it necessary to call people names? I am glad when people with views opposed to mine show up, its a little thing we call debate and just like you have the right to decide about birth control, they have a right to debate the issues that they feel passionately about. Don't belittle that.

bluecoat said...

Forgetting about the issue of a rape victim in the ER for a minute, whch I happen to think is the most important question about hospitals and PlanB, I have seen comments by public health officials that having Plan B available would cut the number of abortions - about 20 out of every 100 pregnancies right now - in half. I am not sure why that's bad.

Matt said...

just like you have the right to decide about birth control, they have a right to debate the issues that they feel passionately about. Don't belittle that.

Tell you what, when fundamentalists stop trying to eliminate the "right to decide," I will cease ridiculing them.

Is it worse to call someone a clown, or to legislate oppression and eliminating civil rights? I don't seek to limit their access to whatever crazy voodoo they practice on their own time, and in a similarly respectful world, they'd leave Planned Parenthood alone and in peace to provide healthcare to women that need it, or hell, even just want it.

When someone proposes, say, outlawing the Catholic church in America, or when a left-wing crazy bombs a church-based medical center because of their incompatible moral worldviews, I might have a different view of what crosses the line of reasonableness.

Until then, I too am glad that they show up, because their arguments are blatantly ridiculous (birth control gives you cancer!) and it gives reasonable people an opportunity to discredit and belittle them publicly.

Matt said...

Bluecoat - that's why the fundamentalists are freaking out over Plan B... there's no good argument against it. As it turns out, simple technological advances are moving the world forward faster than they can turn it backwards. That's why they claim - falsely - that Plan B is an abortifacient, and why they claim that it causes uterine cancer.

When there aren't any facts backing up your argument, you have two options: stop making that argument, or resort to scare tactics. And just like Bush wasn't going to give up Iraq, the fundamentalists aren't going to give ground on birth control -- no matter how strongly the facts are against them.

Matt said...

Also, when you say...

I have seen comments by public health officials that having Plan B available would cut the number of abortions - about 20 out of every 100 pregnancies right now - in half. I am not sure why that's bad.

...you are taking them at their word that their purpose is preventing abortions. When combined with the equally vigorous campaign that fundamentalists wage against access to birth control, it becomes apparent that the moral value they seek is the subjugation of women, viewing unwanted pregnancy as a fitting punishment for women who engage in sex as free, unmarried adults. (see Anon 12:29 in this thread for an example.)

bluecoat said...

Matt: I understand that some opponents of Plan B have legitimate moral and religiuos concerns. I happen to accept that. That said, I stand by my previuos posts.

disgruntled_republican said...

Matt,

You say, Is it worse to call someone a clown, or to legislate oppression and eliminating civil rights? Well that isn't for you or me to decide unless all of a sudden you are a member of an elected body that is dealing with htis issue.

You want to comment on things, fine but you don't need to call them names. I happen to find you much too liberal for my liking but you don't heart me calling you an idiot or a clown - I stick to debate. I ask you to do the same as are clearly outlined in the Rules for Commenting. Rule number one is: No insulting or belittling other posters. You clearly broke that rule and I kindly asked you stop. Get it?

Matt said...

You clearly broke that rule and I kindly asked you stop. Get it?

Right, and I owned up to it and explained my view. If you feel it's necessary to keep order, just delete it instead of making a federal case out of it. I'm not hiding behind anonymity, and I can face the music here if you feel I crossed the line.

Anonymous said...

I have a few concerns with requiring RC hospitals to distribute Plan B:

1) The biggest concern is the amount of charity and hospital services they provide. Antagonizing them over a minor issue (though rape isn't minor, I question how often a rape victim is even in an emergency room and refused plan B OR cannot go to another hospital) is akin to poking a bear with a stick. For all the good they do, to force this down their throats may end up in them discontinuing services. That would be horrible.

2) We don't make them perform abortions or prescribe birth contriol pills if they don't want to, why this? I don't get the difference.

3) There are serious first amendment concerns here. This isn't even in the "separation of church and state" mythology created by the courts, this is in the text of the amendment. No interference with the free exercise of religion.

bluecoat said...

No interference with the free exercise of religion. How about the beleifs of the victim who is delivered to the hospital by the government?

Annie said...

"While it's good that Plan B is now available without a prescription for women over the age of 18, there's still work to be done to make sure all women who require the drug have access."

This isn't such a good thing, really, as there is already harm being done to us women by this stuff, and the CT legislature knew all about it but chose to ignore the scientific research. I know because I wrote them all about it.

This is something that is basically high-dose birth control pills. Morning After Pills are typically 10-20 times the progesterone and 5 times the estrogen as in the standard daily Pill, http://www.pfli.org/faq_oc.html

7 world-renowned medical journals can't all be wrong: Journal of the Natl Cancer Inst (JNCI), Cancer, Anticancer Research, Archives of Internal Medicine, The Lancet Oncology/World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 3rd European Breast Cancer Conference.

Nine (9) published research studies from 1988-2005 found evidence of birth control pills leading to/increasing risks of Cervical cancer, fatal blood clots and Breast Cancer. I've got all the links to those objective sources if anyone wants, but here are a couple.

One study showed that women taking standard birth control pills are 14 times more likely to develop blood clots from airplane travel [published by the prestigious JAMA in its Internal Medicine Archives, Vol. 163 No. 22, December 8, 2003, in that link].

Another study found that those using birth control pills for 10 or more years double their risk of cervical cancer (which kills 5,000 women yearly). If they took it for 5-9 years, the risk is increased 60%. [this April 3, 2003 study, commissioned by the World Health Organisation, combined the data from 28 studies, involving 12,500 women with cervical cancer from several countries including the UK and USA. It was published in the Lancet, by researchers from Cancer Research UK's Epidemiology Unit in Oxford, England, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France. (Reaney, Reuters)].

[Those with doubled risk of cervical cancer would include me, since that was how long I was on the Pill to try to stem the advance of my endometriosis, which ironically, I believe was caused by my abortion.]

From a women's site (i.e, an objective, non-anti-abortion site):

The WomensIssues.About.com site USED TO SAY this (NOTE HOW THEY'VE REMOVED THIS AS TO BE POLITICALLY CORRECT): "There are two types of morning after pill available. One morning after pill uses the hormones estrogen and progestin - the same hormones used in standard birth control. The other morning after pill uses progestin only. The morning after pill acts to delay ovulation, prevents fertilization, or inhibits implantation by altering the endometrium [again, emphasis mine but not the words themselves]."

So you see, cgg, it DOES "prevent implantation" and that is considered, by the medical terminology not mine, "abortifacient" meaning that which aborts a pregnancy. If you'd like cites from medical experts showing that, I can provide those (this is just getting to be a long comment).

Some who support abortion, even in the medical world, have tried to redefine when a pregnancy starts but the medical textbooks for most of our recent history have all said that conception (fertilization) is the medical start of pregnancy, not implantation.

Genghis Conn, sadly, you could very well be wrong too about how this "does not lead directly to promiscuity."

In an April 1, 2004 article, the Associated Press said in its headline: "Study: Morning-after pill won't boost unprotected teen sex." However AP's article stated that "26 teens [girls aged 15-20] who were given the pills [in advance at home] reported using them 38 times…[while] in the group that…had to go out and get them, 20 teens reported using them 24 times." Six more teens with easy access used MAPs to end possible pregnancies after unprotected sex, and, as a group, used them on fourteen more occasions of unprotected sex in six months. That is clearly "boosting unprotected teen sex".

And unwanted teenage pregnancies may be low anywhere because some studies show that the number of abortions increase. In Finland and Scotland, studies showed that abortion rates stayed the same despite increased "over-the-counter" Morning After Pill use (by girls aged 15 or more) of 25% in one year and 300% over eight years, respectively. And even worse, in Finland, 23% more girls under 15 had abortions that year. The Scottish Council on Human Bio-ethics' "Briefing Paper on the Morning-After-Pill," Jan. 2002, found that, despite a 300% increase in the use of MAPs in Glasgow from 1992-1999, the abortion rate didn't decline.

I am not one who thinks there's an easy answer, certainly not for anyone victimized by rape or incest especially. I once was for abortion (and abortifacients such as the Pill et. al.) and after I had an abortion, and after 20+ years of denying the grief of it, I am against all that now. I don't condemn anyone who differs from my thinking, and hope you won't condemn me for speaking up here.

I just really honestly think that our society (and Planned Parenthood in particular who stands to make a profit of $18.3 million a year on MAPs alone nationwide) has not told us women the entire truth. I think we're entitled to know it.

Annie said...

bluecoat and others, here's another proof that the chemicals in the MAP can and do prevent implantation. This info is relied upon by SIECUS and the Fronske Health Center of Northern Arizona University, to name two. The book itself is written by an M.D./MPH who is a Professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the Emory University School of Medicine. The book is considered a medical desk reference on contraception by many.

When pregnancy (i.e., fertilization of the egg, not implantation) has occurred, these four chemicals/"hormonal contraceptions"—the pill, emergency contraception, Norplant, and Depo-Provera--can, in fact, prevent implantation, as does the IUD and other similar devices, therefore, they do in fact terminate an already-created human life:

"Progestin-only Contraceptives may be administered by mouth, injection, implants, intrauterine devices and vaginal rings. This discussion will focus on Norplant implant, followed by Depo-Provera injection and the mini- pill.

"What is the mechanism of action of progestin-only contraceptives? Pregnancy is prevented by inhibiting ovulation; thickening and decreasing the amount of cervical mucus (making it more difficult for sperm to penetrate); creating a thin uterine lining; and premature destruction of the follicle that releases a ripened egg and becomes a corpus luteum." (the above quote is from the book, "Contraceptive Technology" Sixteenth Revised Edition, by Robert Hatcher M.D., used by SIECUS and the Fronske Health Center, Northern Arizona University , see the 3 links at the bottom of the comment)

"Creating a thin uterine lining" results in preventing implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus, which is what is called by medical doctors "abortifacient."

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0829052089/002-8605926-1760032?v=glance

http://www.thebody.com/siecus/report/resources.html "Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States"

http://www4.nau.edu/fronske/brochures/norplant.html (that page is now removed from public view but is still seen on the webarchived page it first originated on Jul 07, 2003 as: http://web.archive.org/web/20030707232833/http://www4.nau.edu/fronske/brochures/norplant.html

Whether progestin is working alone or with other hormones, it still has the same effects.

Annie said...

I could go on a long time about this kind of stuff. I won't (unless asked), but have any of you seen the 2005 press release by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)?

Keep in mind the MAP is an oral contraceptive. It's called emergency contraception. Remember it's typically 10-20 times the progesterone and 5 times the estrogen as in the standard daily Pill.

http://www.ourgyn.com/article_retrieve_printer.php?articleid=186

"Use of OC's increases risk of breast, cervix and liver cancer…It is of enormous public health importance that we identify and understand the full range of effects of these products.... Worldwide, more than 100 million women – about 10% of all women of reproductive age – currently use combined hormonal contraceptives."

And now even more of us women will use more of them (and our 13 year old daughters too, if those who want them to have it over the counter have their way), with the increased dosages in the Plan B pill, which when readily available over the counter is already being used more often, as the earlier cited study showed.

Do we really know what we're getting ourselves into, ladies? Do you gents really know what you're supporting for the women in your lives? It's clear the media and the medical community at large aren't really telling us the whole truth, because the majority of us don't want to hear it.

I fear for our health as a nation. I really do.

Annie said...

My last comment (sorry to seem like I'm monopolizing, there's just a lot to report!)...

It's somewhat ironic that I find this blog and this post today. For Catholics, it's the Holy Day of the Immaculate Conception. For what it's worth, this might help explain, but only in part, to those who aren't Catholic why the implantation issue is what it is, from a religious perspective (which isn't the only one, of course).

I went into some detail a year ago today on this very subject, on the myths and misconceptions of this feast, here: "...it's the reason why Catholics celebrate the Immaculate Conception of Mary today.

Not the Immaculate Implantation of Mary.


Or the Immaculate Embryonic Stage of Mary.

Or the Immaculate Fetal Development of Mary.

Or the Immaculate Viability of Mary.

Or the Immaculate Sentience of Mary.

Or the Immaculate Birth of Mary."

Annie said...

Genghis Conn, cgg and Matt, any responses? How about the post's author?

Matt, re: "there's no good argument against [Plan B]...", will you be posting a response to the above "good arguments" against it? I do look forward to hearing your reply. Also, will you acknowledge that not everyone who opposes Plan B is a "fundamentalist?" That really is considered a derogatory "name-calling" thing to label someone and usually results in making people whom you namecall it (even by inference) less inclined to listen to your arguments.

Perhaps people don't check this blog over the weekend... that's understandable. The post was only 4 days old, so I hope it isn't considered a dead thread by its readers. It still sits on the front page of the blog, for instance. I still am interested in your (these 4 folks') responses, in particular.

Annie said...

I'm sad to see that it's been two days since the weekend, and still no response from Genghis Conn, cgg and Matt.

But I'm not surprised. It wouldn't be the first time someone who advocates for something like Plan B remained painfully silent once shown the truth of the harm it can cause to women. It is very unsettling, disturbing to read the truths of this stuff. It doesn't make them any less true, sadly.

One blogger (not here) actually attacked me and deleted when I'd left similar info in my comments, rather than let the light shine on the facts, since that person was only interested in having all his sexual encounters being only for his personal gratification, the women be damned. So I thank the blogger(s) here for posting my comments and leaving them up.

I only hope that in your private lives, you'll consider a change in your beliefs and behaviors so as to better protect the women in your lives (or yourselves if you are a woman). It doesn't matter really if you call me a "fundamentalist" or any other name, though of course it's in poor of taste and manners. You'd of course be wrong in that assumption.

I didn't like hearing these truths either, for what it's worth. I'm at risk for having taken the Pill so long. I sure would have liked to have known in advance.

Genghis Conn said...

Dearest Annie,

The studies you reference are crap crappity crap crap crap. The one about air travel was esp. bad: the pill was incidental, and the sample size way WAY too small. Let me quote you something from the Harvard Women's Health Watch (2004 Jun; Vol. 11 (10), pp. 8):

The long-term risks and benefits of birth control pills were the issues that spawned the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), which has followed 120,000 nurses for more than 25 years.

Researchers concluded that ovarian and endometrial cancer risk was reduced in women while taking birth control pills and for at least 10 years afterward. The study also found a possible reduced risk for colon cancer. The risk for breast cancer was increased slightly. Other risks associated with the pill included blood clots in deep veins, heart attacks, and strokes.

However, the Harvard researchers found that these risks disappeared or diminished quickly when women stopped taking the pill. The benefits, on the other hand, lingered, even to the age when ovarian, endometrial, and colon cancer rates began to rise. Other studies have found little or no increased risk of breast cancer.


Now that's a study.

You're a victim of junk science, dear. Go talk to your doctor about the pill.

cgg said...

Annie, I didn't respond because I didn't realize the thread was still active. Let me second what Genghis said about shoddy science.

Annie said...

Genghis conn and cgg, so let me see if I understand: the both of you dismiss the secular Journal of the American Medical Association and the secular and also-oft-relied-upon World Health Organization (of which the International Agency for Research on Cancer is part) as both putting forth "shoddy science," "junk science" and "crap crappity crap crap crap."

And the study you quoted actually concurred with the one about blood clots (“Other risks associated with the pill included blood clots in deep veins”), yet you derided it anyway and condescend to talk down to me like I'm a little ignorant child-aged "dearest" "dear"? I'm probably old enough to be your mother! But not to worry, I can take care of myself with those who treat me as you do.

So. Let's have a chat then.

I don’t differ with you necessarily about studies about the pill and decreased risks of the ovarian cancer. I never mentioned them, but that doesn’t mean I was hiding them either. I only brought to your attention peer-reviewed research on two entirely different topics. I don't exist to corroborate what most of the people already know fairly well (i.e., obviously what you quoted) but I do intend to inform you about what you don’t know.

What you quoted does say that “these risks disappeared or diminished quickly when women stopped taking the pill.” But it didn’t say anything about cervical cancer risk, therefore it’s obvious it couldn’t possibly be including that as well, as a risk “quickly stopping after cessation.” So you can’t dismiss that (but you will anyway, perhaps).

The Harvard Nurses' Health Study, on its own website, http://www.channing.harvard.edu/nhs/publications/allpubs.shtml , does not list a single published (therefore vetted and peer-reviewed) study about any benefit regarding endometrial cancer, so it’s fair to question you that until you can produce proof of one such study, it cannot be taken as a “result.” I know the Harvard HealthBeat e-newsletter is where you got your quote and they do say it in there. I’d only point out the facts that 1) it’s a newsletter, not a vetted, outside-peer-reviewed scientific research publication like JAMA or Cancer, and 2) the editor of the newsletter is an M.D. and now a newsletter editor, not a Ph.D./research scientist. There’s a big difference.

Thirdly, apparently a professor in the Departments of Statistics and Political Science at Columbia University (another respected Ivy) who is also the “founding director of the Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences program” there, plus two of his Departments of Statistics fellow Ph.D professors, think there are serious problems with the HNHS, that it’s “broken:”

“January 07, 2005: Could propensity score analysis fix the Harvard Nurses study? A well-publicized example of problems with observational studies is hormone replacement therapy and heart attack risks for postmenopausal women. In brief, the observational study gave misleading answers because the "treatment" and "control" groups differed systematically. Could the method of propensity scores have found (and solved) the problem?” I suggest you read the rest, it’s brief enough to follow their complaint: http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~cook/movabletype/archives/2005/01/could_propensit.html

Fourthly, there were only two studies published from HNHS on the ovarian cancer issue:

1. Hankinson SE, Colditz GA, Hunter DJ, Spencer TL, Rosner B, Stampfer MJ. A quantitative assessment of oral contraceptive use and risk of ovarian cancer. Obstet Gynecol 1992;80:708-14.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=1407899&dopt=Abstract

2. Willett WC, Bain C, Hennekens CH, Rosner B, Speizer FE. Oral contraceptives and risk of ovarian cancer. Cancer 1981;48:1684-87.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=7284969&dopt=Abstract

The first however, isn’t really from their own observational data, but rather a literature review, and an ancient one at that: “MEDLINE literature search for all epidemiologic studies of OC and ovarian cancer published in English between 1970-1991.” Note: this is old data, not new research. It’s 15 to 36 year old data. The two studies I quoted were done in 2003.

The second one could very well have a sample size of 470, a mere 260 more than the one I cited which you derided as being “WAY too small.” 470 isn’t so very large either, but I don’t necessarily dismiss the study. It’s one of many to consider. I do wonder why they didn’t just say that it was 470? Instead the abstract omits the actual number: “Among a large cohort” is all it says.

At any rate, you really ought to read their actual conclusion: “These data provide reassurance that OC use is not likely to be associated with any major increase in risk of ovarian cancer, but suggest that future studies of this relationship need to consider the possible confounding effect of infertility.”

“Provide reassurance?” Not statistically significant, scientific proof. “Not likely to be associated?” Not “significantly dissociated.” “Any major increase in risk?” It’s what they don’t say that’s telling: perhaps they can’t or don’t want to say that there could be an association with a minor increase in risk of ovarian cancer. They also did NOT find and do not say, contrary to what even others at Harvard have quoted them as saying, that OC use decreases ovarian cancer risk. This study clearly does not say that “Researchers concluded that ovarian and endometrial cancer risk was reduced in women while taking birth control pills and for at least 10 years afterward.”

Speaking of sample size, if 210 subjects isn’t enough (when it was for JAMA), then add another 115 to the number: those same scientists published another study subsequently (they’re thrombosis specialists), in the American Heart Association’s Circulation journal (2004;110:566-570),
http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/110/5/566 : “Oral contraceptives increase the risk [of deep vein thrombosis] only when combined with inherited thrombophilia.” Different, but still an increase in risk.

I suppose you’re going to chop off the AHA and its medical journal at the knees too.

(Interesting: “We studied 115 primary upper-extremity DVT patients and 797 healthy controls…”
I wonder how typical that is, to have so few primary patients to so many healthy controls. Any research scientists/statisticians out there care to shed some light on this?)


“…The Harvard researchers found…” …apparently nothing on endometrial cancer risk one way or the other that was able to pass muster and get published in peer-reviewed journals (please, do go find and give me the link to such an HNHS study that was published, if there is one, as they don’t list it on their own website listing “all” the resulting studies of the HNHS).

“The Harvard researchers” published only one “new” not-very-decisively-concluded study on the ovarian cancer risk, out of 31 years of evaluating patients in the total study to date (they ought to have had several studies worth publishing over three decades, just as other researchers have when they are able to replicate (thus add weight to) their findings over time and multiple sets of data.

“The Harvard researchers” did literature reviews of other researchers’ studies (sometimes very valuable but not really “new” data or research, and that data is as much as 15 to 36 years outdated.

You both are the victims. Not I.

ArachneDefiant said...

cgg and Genghis, you both raise very interesting points in relation to the issue of the pill being linked to a variety of cancers and other issues. I would like to raise a few points for your consideration.
First of all, there are studies on both sides of the issue that usually end up proving whatever the researchers intended to prove. It's much more reliable to base your opinions on basic biology and medical fact, coming to a decision on your own instead of relying on researchers that often come to the table with their own agenda (on BOTH sides, allow me to stress.)
The basic fact is that while a woman is on the pill, it essentially simulates the first month of pregnancy, and the body responds according. That is why side effects of the pill list nausea, fatigue, and sore breasts.
Let's focus on that last bit. Women experience breast tenderness while on the pill because, in the first month of pregnancy, breast tissue begins to reform itself into milk ducts that will eventually be used to feed a child.
However, because a woman stays 'suspended' in the first month of pregnancy, that breast tissue never has a chance to fully develop into milk-producing tissue, and thusly remains undifferentiated, neither fully breast tissue or fully milk-producing tissue. It is this type of undifferentiated cellular structure that leads to cancer in a variety of forms, unfortunately.
It is widely accepted by all medical bodies that during the ninth month of pregnancy, a woman's body is bombarded by hormones that are designed to protect her from the dangerous effects of estrogen and other hormones she experienced during pregnancy. Without that shield, a woman is essentially cancer waiting to happen, especially if she continues to bombard her body with dangerous hormones without the only protection that works - a full term pregnancy. This is why both abortion and the pill put women at such great risk, especially as so many women who experience abortion immediately go on the pill to avoid another problem pregnancy, thus greatly increasing their risk.
It's important when you're formulating an opinion to rely on your own research as well as looking at other people's information from all angles - the only person who won't have an agenda that clashes with the truth is, hopefully, yourself. Look up the facts I've shared in any medical textbook. Best of luck in your ongoing struggle for the truth.

Annie said...

I thought I'd posted this yesterday. Please forgive me, blogmasters, if I'm resubmitting something you already have awaiting moderation...

Genghis conn and cgg, will you consider The Mayo Clinic, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the Indiana University-Purdue University At Indianapolis Department of Environmental Health and Safety, to be considered valid scientific experts?

It's interesting that we're having this conversation now, as The Connecticut Post today printed a story today: "Breast cancer rate falls." Cancer "experts" believe it fell "significantly" in 2003 because "Doctors estimate that half of women who were taking hormones [HRT] stopped after July 2002, when the federal women's Health Initiative study was halted because more women taking estrogen/progestin pills [my emphasis] developed breast cancer or heart problems...Cases declined most among women 50 and older, with [BC] tumors whose growth is fueled by estrogen [my emphasis] -- the age group and type of cancer most affected by hormone use."

That W.H.O. group, the IARC? Came out again more recently on this: "In 2005, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer re-classified certain oral contraceptives as carcinogenic to humans with slightly increased risks for cervical, liver and breast cancer. While the overall benefits of oral contraceptives may be beneficial, it concluded, more study is needed."

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the Indiana University-Purdue University At Indianapolis Department of Environmental Health and Safety [for both cites see: http://www.ehs.iupui.edu/ehs/indus_hyg_carcinogen.asp ] agree.

Harvard's right to say that "Other studies have found little or no increased risk of breast cancer [from The Pill]." They're wrong, however, to mislead us all by omitting the rest of the truth.

The "significant increased risk" ones are in this graph, a representation of a meta-analysis published Oct. 2006 in The Mayo Clinic College of Medicine's journal Proceedings. It quickly shows both types of findings (left-click on image, hover mouse over lower right corner till blue/orange box/arrows appears, click that, it enlarges to be better readable).

Two months ago, the Mayo Clinic said this in an editorial:

"They conducted a meta-analysis of 39 independent case-control studies that had most cases diagnosed since 1980 to better evaluate the association with breast cancer in the context of more contemporary use patterns. Overall, they found that compared to never use, ever use of OCs was associated with a small but statistically significant increased risk of breast cancer..." ~James R. Cerhan, MD, PhD, Division of Epidemiology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.

Breast cancer is the "type of cancer most affected by", that is, "fueled by estrogen". Regular birth control pills, HRT, and Morning After Pills (Plan B), are Estrogen/progestin pills. I'm not a pharmacist so I don't have access to exact compositions but this international group of pharmacists has compared OC to HRT:

"'It is important to recognize that the dose of estrogen used for postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy is substantially less than that used in oral contraception, taking into account the different potencies of the drugs normally employed in the two settings.'" That's from a 1996 book by Goodman and Gilman, The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 9th ed.

"Stated another way, the average dose of hormone in the birth control pill is, conservatively, four times stronger per dose than HRT. In the extreme (based upon the lowest strength comparison of ethinyl estradiol of 5mcg), the birth control pill is eight times stronger per tablet than a dose of HRT." [my emphasis]

It's true that this international group of pharmacists calls themselves Pharmacists for Life International, but John Wilks, who wrote that paper and authored a book on this, did already have his Bachelors of Pharmacology, Masters of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and an M.A. in Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology, and has had a pretty respectable career in the business of doing pharmacological work and part-time teaching at the U of Sydney Australia.

You folks may dismiss him and the PFLI, if you want. No matter. Your disbelief doesn't make their credentials or their science any less valid.

The rather understandable pharmacological detail is in that 2 page document linked to.

What all this tells us is this: if HRT hormones “fuel” breast cancer, then modern oral contraceptives just might have four to eight times that fueling effect.

How does Plan B compare? Time will tell, just as it’s now doing with OCs. Plan B isn’t taken every single day of the year, but as I pointed out above, it is 10-20 times the progesterone and 5 times the estrogen as in the standard daily Pill. And at least one study has shown that when given easier access (and “over the counter” will be just that), some women actually use it quite a bit more often (even though the researchers astoundingly claim--with straight faces no less--that that can't possibly be attributed to more unprotected sex).

Society easily could reach a point where we’re taking it in doses that, over a month’s or year’s time, giving us the same total doses in our bodies as we’d get from daily smaller doses.

Post abortive/pill user/cancer survivor said...

Annie - your comments are well thought out and thorough! I am amazed that others do not check out all the facts, but simply poo-poo them so that they do not have to educate themselves.

As you write, they do not have to believe what science shows - but gee - wouldn't it be nice if they at least attempted to educate themselves?

Thanks for all the information - please keep educating us, Annie...

Annie said...

Post abortive/pill user/cancer survivor...

Thank you for your comment, and I will. I too am post-abortive and a former longtime Pill user who realizes these risks I'm outing are very much my own...have you ever found one of the abortion recovery healing resources available nationwide? I can help put you in touch with them, if you'd like. Email me at smok22andthensome ([(a t ])] yahoo [[[dot]]]com confidentially and anonymously if you like.

Genghis Conn and cgg, I hope to hear from you too on all the above.

If you're male, I hope you are willing to risk the possible wrath of the women in your lives whom you love, so that you can help them to better avoid putting themselves at increased risk. Knowing what you know, how can you not? What will you do when they learn of this someday and if they knew that you had been informed and didn't try to warn them out of your love for them?

It is coming out to the general public now and will be widely known eventually, just as the harms of abortion to us women are coming out now (though the mass media won't tell you any of this, it's too politically suicidal for them to do this).

Just because you don't hear it on the evening news or read it in the Conn. Post, doesn't mean it isn't being discovered.

I've been writing numerous letters to the Conn.Post (AND by the way, to every single one of our several hundred Connecticut state legislators, the governor, the AG, Speaker, etc.) for at least 4 or 5 years, on these subjects, filled with all these links and research studies. Since The Conn.Post's Frank Keegan was fired over a year ago and Jim Smith brought in to replace him, that paper hasn't printed a single letter of mine on the subject of the physical and psychological harms to women from induced abortion, the pill, the patch, Depo-Provera, Plan B, etc. I write at least two such letters a month on average, in response to articles in the paper. I just wrote them on this very subject, in this post. I'll wager they won't print it.

Smith and I early on had exchanged several emails where it became crystal clear they thought I was just blowing smoke as a rightwingnutjob. They too didn't believe even the valid scientific sources given to them.

So please, anyone, please don't tell me that we don't know who's liberal-leftwing biased among the newspapers in this state.

Annie said...

For those keeping "score," re:
"I just wrote them on this very subject, in this post. I'll wager they won't print it...."

It's now just over 2 weeks since I sent them that letter. Not a drop of ink.

In this, I'd rather lose the wager.

Bio Fool said...

by leaving women's decisioins up to the women making them shows that humanity is well on it's way to evolving to what we all should be. The distribution of such contraception is not only a necassary and valuable service to all women, but actually demonstrates that strangers do actually care about their fellow man or (woman). I praise your good works.