Roundup: Mythbusters To the Rescue

Robin Marty

There are a lot of myths surrounding reproductive health, and sometimes the myths become bigger than the realities.  Now, a few of them have been debunked, while new ones crop up to replace them.

There are a lot of myths surrounding reproductive health, and sometimes the myths become bigger than the realities.  Now, a few of them have been debunked, while new ones crop up to replace them.

Abortions are used as birthcontrol.  It’s a favorite saying of the anti-choice, who want everyone to believe that all women who accidentally get pregnant are irresponsible and should be ashamed of themselves.  But, as a new study points out, it’s just not true.

A Flinders University study of 965 women over 30 who used Adelaide’s largest abortion clinic found 62 per cent were using contraception when they became pregnant.

Nursing and Midwifery researcher Wendy Abigail said the vast majority of the remainder of women also had not wanted to become pregnant.

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She said they were not using contraception for dozens of reasons such as: cultural bans, thinking they could never have children, having been raped or having had what was thought to have been “permanent” birth-control surgery.

Ms Abigail blamed primarily male politicians for perpetuating the myth that women used termination as a convenience rather than for emotional and medical reasons.

She said the current research also dispelled the myth that termination was increasingly being used for convenience, with no significant changes in trends of conception used during the study period 1996-2006.

I’m too old to have a baby. Not so much anymore, as this ABC news story points out.

When is a woman too old to have a baby? “There used to be a recommended age that was put out by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, which was the natural age of menopause, which is 50, 51,” Dr. Hickman said. “So then it changed, and they’ve removed that statement because studies have shown that mothers have done well up to age 55.” Hickman chose to limit infertility treatments at Houston IVF to age 55. “Theoretically a woman in her 90s could get pregnant. But she could go into labor, have a heart attack,” Hickman said. Technology has made it possible. Women over 45 usually use eggs donated by young women and take hormone treatments.

Natural Family Planning/Rhythm Method is all you need to use if you don’t want to get pregnant.  If you want proof that one is wrong, just take a look at our rising teen pregnancy rate, according to the Washington Post.

About 17 percent of sexually experienced teen girls told researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that they had used the rhythm method — timing their sex to avoid fertile days to prevent getting pregnant. That figure is up from 11 percent in a similar survey in 2002.

Meanwhile, anti-choice advocates in Canada try to break up what they consider to be pro-choice myths of their own. Their claim?  The fact that they can’t disprove the myths is proof in itself that there is a scheme to cover up the facts to keep them alive.

Margaret Wente, writing recently in the Globe and Mail, articulates both myths in one succinct sentence. She states that “a broad social consensus shapes actual (abortion) practice … (and) there are virtually no late-term abortions.” But to the extent one can obtain the facts, the evidence is otherwise.

The facts on late-term abortions are intentionally made difficult to obtain. Some time ago, I contacted a staff member at Statistics Canada to ask about the numbers of late-term abortions. She told me they were instructed for political reasons not to collect statistics on the gestational age at which abortion occurs. She explained, however, that hospitals must report the number of abortions and about 45 per cent had continued to report gestational age. From these unsolicited reports, it’s known that at least 400 post-viability abortions take place in Canada each year and the actual number is most probably more than twice that. The Canadian Medical Association sets viability (some chance of the child living outside the womb) at 20 weeks gestation.

In Canada, infant-mortality statistics include the death of any breathing infant. Statistics Canada’s records on causes of death in the perinatal period (defined as after 22-weeks gestation) list a category “Termination of pregnancy, fetus and newborn,” which shows a total of 241 deaths for the years 2000 to 2005, inclusive, the latest numbers available. Because babies born dead as a consequence of abortion are not reported in these statistics as infant deaths, one can only assume that these must be babies who were born alive as a result of abortion after 22 weeks gestation, breathed, but later died. This also raises further ethical questions about how such babies are treated. Are they given medical care or just left to die, as has happened in the past?

But who needs facts when you can make your own assumptions that fit your argument, right?

Mini Roundup: Anti-choice advocates are upset because NARAL is targeting Crisis Pregnancy Centers, claiming they publish fake studies that are compiled only by “NARAL members who act as fake clients to try and trip up the centers they visit.” Gee, sound like anyone else we know?

June 3, 2010

Busting the abortion myths – Montreal Gazette

SC House rejects $5B budget compromise over abortion coverage, cuts to drug … –

U.S. Catholic Church facing uproar after excommunicating nun who saved … – Daily Mail

Women considering abortions offered £3700 to keep their babies –

Erbe: Conservative feminists? – Scripps News

Late abortion ups later pregnancy termination risk – Reuters India

2nd Congressional District candidates argue over mailer – Arkansas News

Fetal Personhood Amendment Returns With A Vengeance – Huffington Post

Pregnancy Centers Fighting Back Against National Pro-Abortion Attacks –

Church excommunicates nun for authorizing life-saving abortion – The Underground

Defense Bill Amendment Would Authorize Abortions at Military Hospitals – Ms. Magazine

Paying Pregnant Women Not to Have Abortions – TIME

Nun Excommunicated After Saving a Mother’s Life With Abortion – ABC News

Abortion Foes Advance Cause at State Level – New York Times

Court says abortion initiative can be on AK ballot – Washington Post

Anti-abortion groups claim victory in Oklahoma – Journal Record

Illegal Abortions Proliferate in Brazil, Despite Abortion Ban –

Defense Bill Amendment Would Authorize Abortions at Military Hospitals – Ms. Magazine

Abortion: some compromises should be possible O – Orangeville Citizen

When feminism is synonymous with abortion rights – Washington Post

Abortion not used as birth control – Adelaidenow

Birth Control Costs, Military Misstatements and More in Capital Eye Opener: June 2 – Center for Responsive Politics

Free Birth Control Under New Health Plan? – SodaHead News

State aims to improve women’s reproductive health before pregnancy – Salt Lake Tribune

More teens using rhythm method for birth control – The Associated Press

Improvements in Teen Sex and Contraceptive Use Stalled – PR Newswire

Free Birth Control? Planned Parenthood Wants to Be Sure We’re Covered. – Babble Magazine

Rhythm Method:Teenagers’ Way Of Contraception Has High Failure Rate – Vigilant Press

Teen sex survey reveals higher use of the rhythm method – Los Angeles Times

Pursuing a “cure” for HIV/AIDS – two distinct approaches – San Diego Gay & Lesbian News

3 Namibian women with HIV say they were sterilized – The Associated Press

‘Brothers for Life’ media campaign to raise HIV awareness in South Africa – UNICEF

Why having babies is better late than never – Irish Independent

Only One-Third of Young Women Get Cervical Cancer Vaccine – FOXNews

Better maternity care guarantees healthy babies – The New Nation

National Women’s Health Week 2010: Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issues … –

Study: Teen Pregnancy Becomes More Acceptable – CBS 4

Study evaluates risk of anti-depressant use and miscarriage – WHYY

June 4, 2010

McDonnell says he fulfilled his campaign pledge on defunding Planned Parenthood  –

SC legislators make no progress on abortion bill – The State

Women in north Italy to be paid not to have abortions – BBC News

Court says abortion initiative can be on ballot – KTUU

House speaker Nancy Pelosi turns to Jesus for political salvation – New York Daily News

Hopes for abortion bill passage this year fade – Greenville News

More teen girls says they use rhythm method of birth control – Washington Post

Govt may fund contraceptive implant – 3News

CDC Issues Recommendations on Contraceptive Safety – Media Newswire

Church official anxious over RH bill passage under Noynoy – GMA

White House summit on AIDS’ impact on black men – San Francisco Chronicle

When is a woman too old to have a baby? –

Topics and Tags:

Abortion, fertility, Rhythm Method

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