If you've read my blog for long, you probably know where we stand on contraception. Well, technically, that's the wrong word, there's nothing wrong with contra-ception (not allowing conception) it's not allowing the little fertilized egg (aka: baby) to implant that we have a problem with. Birth control methods that don't allow the egg to implant and receive the nutrients it needs are abortifacients. These are any hormonal method (the Pill, the patch, the ring, Depo) and the IUD (which is the worst because its main job is to not allow the egg to implant-many pro-life doctors won't prescribe it at all).
There are some who say hormonal birth control isn't abortifacient, but if there is even a chance it could be (and the manufacturers say it is in their own literature), then Shane and I don't want anything to do with it. This has been our stance for 13 years-the entirety of our marriage.
While in Austin at the Medical Institute's Annual Conference, I went to a seminar called something like Update on Abortifacients. I wasn't sure it'd be anything new, but I have been studying this too long to sit by and not get in on a discussion about it.
I was blown away with what I learned. It left my head spinning for the week after we got home and I'm still thinking about what Dr. Patricia Sulak introduced.
Dr. Sulak reminds me of Dr. Red Duke. Does everyone know who he is, or is he just a Texas legend? He is a top notch trauma doctor who didn't hide his Texas style at all. Dr. Sulak grew up picking cotton, which is not a surprise to anyone after you hear her speak for two minutes.
She's been doing research on the Pill within her practice in Temple, Texas for fifteen years or so. She's Catholic and therefore has the background of the staunchest pro-life group on the planet. In her practice she wants to see women free from the monthly PMS symptoms that occur even on the Pill. Her solution to the abortifacient issue and the PMS problem was something I'd never heard before.
Dr. Sulak says there's no reason to have a "fake" menstruation each month (fake if a woman is on the Pill). She contends that women of our generation have too many periods since they don't often have a lot of children and breastfeed for an extended period of time. With more periods, come more disease, she says. The difference between today's woman and women from the time of big families is about 300 periods!
She also pointed out that the monthly bleeding (again, for the woman on the Pill) was set up by scientists because it's socially acceptable to bleed once a month-that's all the reasoning behind it. So, if women don't need the fake period and it's only on a monthly schedule because of social norms, then why do it?
Dr. Sulak states that ovulation occurs (and PMS symptoms) when the placebo pills are taken for more than 3-4 days. If we shorten the break time between cycles from 7 days to 3 days, then the pituitary gland can't "wake up" enough to signal to the ovary to ovulate and the woman doesn't have the harsh drop in hormones that create all the headaches, bloating, and cramping.
Within her research, Dr. Sulak experimented with no break for several months and even no break for a year. She says as long as a woman takes a 3-4 day break if she experiences break through bleeding, then she'll save herself from PMS and the Pill no longer is an abortifacient.
This sounded wild to me, but it made sense. I came home and researched it a little more and the only opposing view I could find used the age old logic of "we've never done it that way before" as his primary reasoning. That line of reasoning only works if you're Baptist (just kidding, I grew up Baptist, lol).
So, does this change my personal stand against the Pill?
Well, yes and no.
I do feel better--much better--about my friends and women in general being on the Pill if it doesn't keep the baby from implanting.
Would I get on the Pill myself? I don't think so. I'm not convinced that a healthy woman should have synthetic hormones suppressing her pituitary gland's function to signal to the ovary to do it's job that God designed it to have. I don't believe it's wrong or immoral, I just don't think it's how God planned our bodies to work.
So, do you have to go see Dr. Sulak in her Temple Texas office to get on the Pill in this way? No-first you could use your regular Pill pack, just don't take all the placebos (either take none or just 3-4 before starting the new pack). I can't imagine Aetna or CVS would smile on this, so there's good news. Yaz is the best selling birth control pill in America and it is already set up to take just as Dr. Sulak would recommend, with a small break between active pills.
You may be as shocked as I was at this information or you may have never heard of abortifacients before. Either way, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, assuming you read this far ;)