7/06/2010

Contraception and abortion: a same logic

From the Gènéthique newsletter, publish by the Jérôme Lejeune Fondation, I would like to bring to your attention the following article: "Contraception and abortion: a same logic", which conclude that "contraception and abortion are in fact closely related". I have been looking for such an article for a long time and I am glad that Jérôme Lejeune Fondation publish such a study for all interested in bioethics and genetics.

Contraception and abortion: a same logic

A study by the INPES (National Institute for Health Prevention and Education) published in 2007, and called "Les Français et la contraception" (French People and contraception) highlighted the "French paradox": despite the highest rate of contraception use in Europe, France shows a yearly rate of more than 200,000 abortions. In an interview granted to Dialogue Dynamics, Jacques Suaudeau, former researcher in surgery at the National Institute of Health (USA) and scientific advisor at the Pontifical Academy for Life, shows that "50 years after the introduction of the first contraceptive pill, the reality of the facts shows that contraception, far from rolling back abortion, became itself always more abortive. It is in the functioning of the pill that abortion has its access. "

Contraceptive ambiguities
The contraception means "the set of artificial means used to avoid, in a more or less temporary way the conception, in other words the succeeded penetration of a spermatozoid in an oocyte (fertilisation) at the level of the Fallopian tube". But other technical means are distributed under the label "contraceptive", which do not act anymore at the level of the embryo conception but interrupts its initial development. The interceptive methods intercept the embryo before its implantation in the uterus; the contragestive methods cause the elimination of the embryo only just implanted. Then it does not deal with contraception but very premature abortions.
Moreover, from the 50’s, it was established that the estroprogestin (contraceptive) pill itself was not a "pure anti-ovulating" as we often assume it. The estroprogestin combination:
- coagulates the cervical mucus and stops the spermatozoid migration to the uterus, avoiding the fertilisation;
- blocks the ovulation, nevertheless with an ovulatory release of around 5%. The lightening of dosing in order to avoid side effects even increased this rate that we estimate to around 9%.
- avoids the development of the endometrial mucosa, making the uterus a hostile environment for life if a fertilisation had occurred: the effect is then abortive. Despite the difficulty to establish precisely an objective percentage of these premature abortions, we estimate that taking oral contraceptive during 15 years would destroy two embryos.

The contragestive methods
They gather the anti-hCG vaccines, the anti-progestin activity products (RU 486) and the prostaglandins.

The interceptive techniques
The progestatives have not an inhibitory action on the ovulation but mainly act on the cervix uteri and the endometrium, making them non receptive to the embryo. They also cause the coagulation of the cervical mucus and a disorder of the motility of Fallopian tubes which makes the progress of the embryo difficult and increases the rate of extra-uterine pregnancies. The progestogens cause in women irregular and unforeseeable bleedings, as well as side effects specific to the products (a difficult return to normal fertility, headaches, mood changes, abdominal pain, etc.). They are administered under different ways:
- the minipill or low dose oral contraceptive is used in case of dysovulation (disorder of ovulation). A woman taking minipill could experience without knowing it one abortion per year.
- the injectable progestins (DMPA or Depo-Provera, NET-EN, Lunelle, etc.) have the same action as a high efficient minipill. The Depo-Provera is the symbol of "population control policies" in developing countries.
- the subcutaneous implants (Norplant, Norplant II, Capronor) are long-term products which act several years. The hormone is released on a uniform, constant and slow way, as its silicone biodegradable envelop is absorbed by the organism. Authorized in 60 countries, Norplant has a pregnancy rate of 1.6% after four years.
The IUD is a plastic or silver intra uterine device which avoids the implantation of the embryo in the endometrium. The endometrium, irritated by the introduction of a foreign body in the uterus, makes it unsuitable for nesting and increases the contractile activity of Fallopian tubes and cervix uteri, which delays the spermatozoid migration and avoids the implantation of the fertilised egg. The intra-uterine device can also contain copper parts which have a toxic effect on spermatozoids or release progestogen.
The emergency contraception or postcoital contraception has a still unknown action. If it can have a contraceptive effect when the ovulation did not occur, this is not sufficient to explain the efficacy of the product. When no study could prove objectively that the emergency contraceptive had a simple contraceptive action, a lot of studies showed a link between the administration of an emergency contraception and the occurrence of hormonal disorders and uterine endometrium anomalies. "If there are certainly reasons for some uncertainties concerning the exact action of emergency contraceptive means, this doubt is in favour of an abortive action, by avoiding the implantation". Moreover, the intention which governs the administration of an emergency contraception is clearly abortive: the physician prescribes it to avoid the development of a possible pregnancy.

Dignity of the embryo
The very premature even preimplantation termination, of the embryonic life does not avoid that a human life is killed. "Because all the components of the adult are already in the foetus, ready to objectively express when the project-program of the foetus will order it, the same reason joins the conclusion that the embryo in general, and consequently the preimplantation embryo, has a value of human person." What we call, abusively, "pre-embryo", only presents with the implanted embryo and then the foetus a difference of development. Even if there is a doubt about the link between fertilised egg and personal being, the challenge is sufficiently important so that the principle of precaution is applied to the embryo.

Conclusion
All these elements allow Jacques Suaudeau to conclude that "contraception and abortion are in fact closely related. They are related in their biological reality. They are related in the mentality which presupposes them. Abortion refuses directly the child and kills him. The contraception also refuses the child and uses all the means at its disposal against the birth of this child. In both cases, the child is the enemy. He becomes an accidental product". A study by the Guttmacher Institute, published in 1996, reports that over 10,000 women who came to abort, 57.5% used a contraceptive method during the month which leads to pregnancy

Publish with permission by he Jérôme Lejeune Fondation, Paris cedex.

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