Ladies: Is Birth Control The Mother Of All Medical Malpractice?

Ladies: Is Birth Control The Mother Of All Medical Malpractice?

In the case of no disease, prescribing chemicals with side effects and long-term health risks would be considered inexcusable by any medical standard. Except if it’s birth control.

Would you pay a physician to medicate your arm because it’s working too well—so well that it sometimes punches your annoying neighbor? I mean, punching sure feels good in the moment, but its consequences are inconvenient, costly, and could change your life forever if you go to jail and have a criminal record thereafter, right? ”C’mon, Doc, gimme some meds for that.” Your doctor would write you a psych referral, stat.

So why does the entire medical profession collectively agree to regularly break another healthy human function for a majority of their patients of a certain age and sex?

I’m talking about, of course, fertility. Healthy and functional, it is wondrous. Its consequences can be inconvenient, costly, and forever life-changing. So we’d better ingest a bunch of dangerous, carcinogenic chemicals for a couple decades and break our perfectly functioning fertility until it can no longer menace the earth.

I know—even better, let’s run for Congress on the promise of putting those dangerous, carcinogenic chemicals in the candy aisle at CVS. Surely this would inoculate us against accusations of waging a “war on women.”

Pregnancy Is Not a Disease

Nobody is saying you have to be barefoot and pregnant, give up your career, and push out babies for 20 years (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Let’s leave that straw man in the ash heap of feminist false dichotomies where it belongs. Despite the momentum caused by unholy alliance between the OB/GYN racket and Big Pharma all too willing to sign you up for endless annual visits and regular copays at the pharmacy, the science has left these arguments in the dust. Researchers at Creighton and Marquette Universities, and elsewhere, have spent recent decades quietly re-inventing fertility tracking and revolutionizing women’s health for those seeking to avoid pregnancy as well as those seeking to conceive.

But even if there were not scientifically superior, cheaper, and cancer-free alternatives to hormonal birth control, you’d still have to wonder how these OB/GYNs get off the malpractice hook. Medicine is based on the notion that, while treatments may have their own risks, they are worth taking when the untreated disease is much riskier. Carefully weighing those risks is part of what medical students are taught to do, from their very first epidemiology class.

You would have a good case for malpractice if your doctor recommended a bone marrow transplant for your common cold. How much better a case would there be if you didn’t even have a cold? In the case of no disease, the prescription of chemicals with side effects and long-term health risks—for any reason except fertility—would be considered inexcusable by any medical standard.

Hormonal Birth Control Is Seriously Risky

Not convinced? Dr. Chris Kahlenborn lays out the ethical concerns and medical risks associated with all types of birth control. Dr. Donna Harrison blows away the notion that hormonal contraception simply prevents conceptions rather than kills already-conceived embryos. Former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson backs her up, using the products’ own Food and Drug Administration labels.

I hear the push-back from women who, like me, are or were using hormonal birth control to manage symptoms of dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, or other conditions. I offer for your consideration this question: is birth control so good at relieving your symptoms that it’s easier to delay the onerous diagnostics that could lead to a potential cure for your underlying disease? Your doctor, who barely spends half an hour a year with you, may be great, but she and the pharmaceutical industry have no financial incentive to steer you in a direction that would reduce your dependence on them. If you don’t resist the inertia of the status quo, nobody else will. For years, I was so grateful for the convenient symptom relief of hormonal birth control, I put off the much more complicated task of diagnosing and treating my endometriosis and ovulation defects until it was too late.

Our reproductive health isn’t the only thing broken by the Pill and other vehicles delivering hormonal contraception. There’s also economic and relational devastation that has left women and children abandoned by men who now feel entitled to consequence-free orgasms. As a result, fewer and fewer women, men and especially children enjoy the stability, prosperity, and human flourishing that marriage between biological parents provides. After all, she could have been using birth control, so it’s not on you—right, bro?

When it comes to our medical, mental, and economic health, are his orgasms—or our own, for that matter—really as consequence-free as we were promised?

Katy Talento is a Hill staffer and an infectious disease epidemiologist specializing in the control of mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria and Dengue.
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