Friday, March 23, 2012

The Pill and Medical Necessity

The facts about the HHS mandate are becoming quite muddled in the media, particularly when proponents argue using the "medical necessity" argument. They say that Catholic institutions want to deny women basic health care, especially those who use the pill for medical reasons unrelated to contraceptive purposes.

The fact that the medical world uses the pill as a catch-all drug of choice for girls and women has always disturbed me. Are you a 12-year old girl with an irregular period? Take the pill. Bad PMS? The pill. Endometriosis? Here's the pill. Unable to conceive? Try the pill. Don't want to conceive? Definitely the pill. In spite of the fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the Pill as a Group 1 carcinogen (along with the likes of asbestos, arsenic, formaldehyde, and plutonium), oral contraception is the go-to drug for anything remotely related to the female reproductive system.

This is the kind of "basic health care" that the Obama administration wants to force on American employers.

Someone please tell me why the US medical community is not willing to put forth the effort to offer a safer alternative to girls and women? Someone please tell me why a woman who is suffering from irregularities in her menstrual cycle must be treated by a drug that harms her fertility and increases her risk of cancer? This sounds to me like a medical system that is uncreative, unconcerned, and uninterested in the well-being of the individual woman.

I came across an article yesterday written by a woman who has suffered for years from severely painful endometriosis and also has suffered under a medical system that has nothing to offer her but contraception. I've excerpted part of the the article below but please read the entirety here. It's excellent.

From Contraception isn't healthcare, it isn't even helpful: I would know by Jacqueline Harvey

"Unlike Sandra Fluke, I know all too well about the medical "need" for contraception. But I assert that the medical need is not for contraception, but for real medical treatments. Instead, women are reduced to settling for the side affects  of a drug that was not designed to treat and medical ailments, but intended to allow people to have sex without pregnancy, something that is intended to profit men as much as women, since the last time I checked, it takes a man for a woman to become pregnant. The fact that men have treatments for legitimate disorders that affect men but women are forced to endure our medical problems or accept scraps rather than solutions reeks of sexism. It baffles me that it is self-proclaimed feminists who are indignant about not getting free contraception who somehow fail to see that women with real health problems are woefully neglected..."


"I will state the obvious: Contraception is about contraception, not my medical affliction. We've established that contraception is insufficient in addressing medical problems anyway and rather causes more medical problems: but even if the pill did appropriately treat my medical condition, most women want contraception for contraception. If I were forced to use it for medical treatment, I would also be forced to use it as contraception against my will because that is what it does. As someone who hopped from doctor to doctor in college with no insurance and a limited income, I assure you that oral contraception is really easy to get. Real medical care? Not so much.


The controversy is not about medical treatment for women like me. It is about who pays for contraception for women like Sandra Fluke. Even those groups that oppose contraception will pay for contraceptives if there is an established medical reason. So again, those "poor women" like me who would, unlike me, accept contraception as a treatment, are covered. And while I insist that it is an injustice that real treatments for female ailments for women like myself don't exist (forcing me to find my own solutions at my own expense) I never complained about having to pay for my own healthcare."


This battle that these so-called feminists are waging supposedly on my behalf is exploiting my disease so they can have free birth control. These are healthy women who want a pill to make their bodies unhealthy (and infertile) at their whim. Meanwhile, women like me with legitimate health problems who want to protect our fertility are left without acceptable options. This "poor woman" found and paid for her own treatments in spite of those who feign to care about her and are using her for selfish gain. I took care of myself. Since getting birth control is infinitely easier than what I endured, is it too much to expect these women to take care of themselves* as well?


*If the answer is no, maybe I should dig up my old medical bills and see if Sandra Fluke and her ilk will reimburse me for them, since she cares so much about women like me."


Read the rest of this article at LifeSiteNews

4 comments:

  1. AMEN. I'm so tired of hearing about women needing the pill. In my opinion it just means that doctors are lazy. "Here. Instead of trying to find the underlying root of your problem, we'll just mask the symptoms with artificial hormones."

    No thanks.

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  2. Just a note to say that without the pill my sister-in-law would have never reached adolescence. Her body simply does not produce estrogen naturally. Without estrogen, she is infertile. Even with estrogen, she is infertile. In fact, to possibly get pregnant, she would have to take extra hormones. So there are some cases where it does not act as contraception, and is medically necessary. I know her situation is rare and I would not expect many people to know about it. Perhaps there is some alternative to providing her body with estrogen, but none that I am aware of yet. I think her case is one of the few cases where the use of the pill as a medical treatment is ethical, but because her case is so rare, it is not discussed in the medical or political sphere.

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  3. Hi Maria-
    Thanks for sharing the information about your sister and I'm sorry to hear that she has had such a suffering road. I did not say that taking the pill for medical necessity is unethical. I think there are probably many women who take it ethically simply because no alternative is available for their conditions. My point is that the medical community does not appear to be actively seeking alternatives that are healthier, don't cause infertility in fertile women, and are more specifically designed for women's needs. That one-size-fits-all approach is not good for women and is, unfortunately, being spun and used by those who support the HSS mandate.
    God bless you and your family!

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  4. Hi Melody,
    I think you are right about that. The medical system here is very utilitarian and does not explore other options enough. I would not be surprised if there were actually other, healthier options for my sister-in-law out there. Contraception certainly has a pretty strong hold on the medical system, especially with all the money it generates...

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