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Facts on Contraception and Abortion

Facts on Contraception and Abortion

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Published by BlogWatch.ph
Do contraceptives like pills, IUDs and injectables cause abortion? Are they banned in other countries for being "abortifacients"? Are they used in countries with predominantly Catholic populations? Check out the evidence for yourself.
Do contraceptives like pills, IUDs and injectables cause abortion? Are they banned in other countries for being "abortifacients"? Are they used in countries with predominantly Catholic populations? Check out the evidence for yourself.

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Published by: BlogWatch.ph on Feb 15, 2011
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KEY FACTS:Almost all modern contraceptives are in the World HealthOrganization’s (WHO) Model List of Essential Medicines.Contraceptives are systematically reviewed and chosen carefullyby an Expert Committee of the WHO on the basis of priorityhealth care needs, ecacy, safety and cost-eectiveness.Drugs for abortion were only added to the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines in 2005 and clearly marked with a boxednote stating “Where permitted under national law and whereculturally acceptable.”Modern contraceptives like the IUDs, pills and injectables areavailable even in countries where abortion is prohibited.IUDs—the contraceptive most often labeled as anabortifacient—has zero use in only eight countries: Afghanistan,Chad, Gabon, Haiti, Rwanda, Somalia, Swaziland and Timor-Leste.Countries with predominantly Catholic populations allow anduse modern contraceptives like IUDs, pills and injectables.The lactational amenorrhea method (LAM, or FP through fullbreastfeeding) aects the endometrium in a way that mayhypothetically interfere with implantation. Labeling sucheects on the endometrium as abortion will lead to the absurdconclusion that breastfeeding causes abortions.Smoking, alcohol and caeine can increase the risk of miscarriage or produce harmful eects on the fetus. If, as arguedby some conservative groups, such risks are characteristic of abortive substances, then cigarettes, alcoholic drinks, coee, tea,soft drinks and chocolates will be classied as abortifacients.
   F   A   C   T   S   H   E   E   T
    S   e   p   t   e   m    b   e   r    2    0    0    8
Fac n Cnacn and AbnLkhaan
Almost all modern contra-cepties are in the WorldHealth Organization’s (WHO)Model List of Essential Medi-cines.
The latest list of the WHO(2007, p. 109) include themost common oral contra-ceptive pills and injectables,the copper-containing IUD,condoms, diaphragms andone type of implantable con-traceptive. They are all clas-sied by the WHO under thesubgroup “Contraceptives”.
Contracepties are system-atically reiewed and chosencarefully by an Expert Com-mittee of the WHO on thebasis of priority health careneeds, ecacy, safety andcost-eectieness.
The entire ContraceptivesSubgroup was systematicallyreviewed from 2006-2007,triggered by the Expert Com-mittee’s decision not to listseveral contraceptive medi-cines in 2005 (WHO, 2007,p. 48).The review resulted in theretention of all previouslylisted contraceptives and theaddition of two new prod-ucts for the 2007 list (WHOReviewer No. 1; WHO, 2007,pp. 50-52).The WHO Expert Commit-tee on the Selection andUse of Essential Medicinesis independent of the WHODepartment of ReproductiveHealth and Research (RHR).
Oral hormonal contraceptives 
ethinylestradiol +levonorgestrelethinylestradiol +norethisterone• levonorgestrel
Injectable hormonal contraceptives 
• medroxyprogesteroneacetate• medroxyprogesteroneacetate + estradiolcypionate• norethisteroneenantate
Intrauterine devices 
• copper-containingdevice
Barrier methods 
• condoms• diaphragms
Implantable contraceptives 
• levonorgestrel-releasing implantTablet:30 micrograms +150 micrograms.Tablet:35 micrograms + 1.0 mg.Tablet:30 micrograms;750 micrograms(pack of two);1.5 mg.Depot injection:150 mg/ml in 1-ml vial.Injection:25 mg + 5 mg.Oily solution:200 mg/ml in 1-mlampoule.Two-rod levonorgestrel-releasing implant, eachrod containing 75 mg of levonorgestrel (150 mgtotal).1979197720002005200720051988198819882007
Sources: WHO, 2007, p. 109 and Aziz J. et al for the “Year Added” column
Table 1. Complete List of Contracepties Subgroup in theWHO Model List of Essential Medicines
Fac n Cnacn and AbnLkhaan
In fact, the RHR challenged“the commissioned review onthe perspective taken, argu-ing that the review considersthe biomedical view, whereasthe biosocial science point of view is more relevant” to thequestion of expanding contra-ceptive choices (d’Arcangues,2007).In the end, the WHO ExpertCommittee reiterated itsselection criteria and the“evidenced-based approach tolisting contraceptives” (WHO,2007, p. 50). It stated that
…the selection of contracep-tives are based on the denitionand selection criteria dened inthe procedures for the ExpertCommittee 2002, which denesessential medicines as those thatsatisfy the priority health careneeds of the population andwhere medicines are selectedwith due regard to diseaseprevalence, evidence on ecacyand safety, and comparativecost-eectiveness. … After dis-cussion of the review and con-sidering the various arguments,the Committee conrmed thatit would take an evidence-basedapproach to listing contracep-tives. The Committee will assessnew products on a case-by-casebasis using the accepted criteriaof comparative ecacy, com-parative safety and comparativecost, as well as suitability andacceptability.
Drugs for abortion were onlyadded to the WHO ModelList of Essential Medicines in2005
(Aziz, et al)
and clearlymarked with a boxed notestating “Where permittedunder national law andwhere culturally accept-able.”
The WHO Expert Commit-tee, in its Technical Report,stated the following points onmedical abortion (2005, pp.36-37):
The Committee therefore rec-ommended that mifepristone(200-mg tablet) followed bymisoprostol (200-microgramtablet) be included on the com-plementary list of the Model Listfor medical abortion within nineweeks of the start of pregnancy,and that the following footnotebe added:
Requires close medicalsuperision.
Note from the Secretariat: Inreviewing the recommendationrelating to this combination of products, the Director-Generaldecided to add a note adjacentto the combination in the WHOModel List stating:
Where permitted under nation-al law and where culturallyacceptable.
The added note of the WHODirector-General is a measureof its sensitive and transparenthandling of abortion. All listedcontraceptives
do not
havethis note (WHO, 2007, p. 109).
Modern contracepties likethe IUDs, pills and inject-ables are aailable een incountries where abortion isprohibited.
The belief that IUDs, pillsand injectables are abortifa-cients that must be subjectedto abortion regulations is aminority opinion not sharedby most nations. For example,there are 35 countries with atotal ban on abortion and 34that explicitly allow it only tosave the woman’s life (CRR,2007; UN Population Division,2007 a). In contrast, world-wide contraceptive use datashow that pills, injectables andIUDs are allowed and avail-able in almost all countries(UN Population Division, 2007b).Another example is Ireland,which has a provision in itsConstitution protecting the“unborn”, stating that
“The State acknowledges theright to life of the unborn and,with due regard to the equalright to life of the mother, guar-antees in its laws to respect, and,as far as practicable, by its lawsto defend and vindicate thatright.” (Article 40, Sec. 3.3)
Despite this provision, theIrish government funds anddelivers all modern con-traceptive methods (DHC-Ireland), including IUDs, pills,injectables and implants(IFPA).

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