7 Myths About the Pill 

The following are concerns about the birth control pill dismissed in the following article by Planned Parenthood.  Unfortunately, their dismissal is based on less than scientific fact.  It's more like Planned Parenthood makes their big profit selling birth control pills and so they don't want YOU to know about health concerns or their profit margin (considered to be important for the health of Planned Parenthood) will be hurt!

Here are the so called 'myths' mentioned in this Planned Parenthood article.

Myth #1: I've heard the birth control pill doesn't work very well.
Myth #2: I've heard that women should "take a rest" from taking the Pill every nine months.
Myth #3: I've heard that women gain weight when they take the Pill.
Myth #4: I've heard that the Pill isn't safe.
Myth #5: I've heard that the Pill causes cancer.
Myth #6: I've heard that the Pill causes heart attack, stroke, and blood clots.
Myth #7: I've heard that the Pill causes birth defects.
As you can see, they cover some real concerns about the pill.  Let's look at each separately.

Myth #1
I've heard the birth control pill doesn't work very well.

The Truth According to Planned Parenthood:
Women who take the Pill consistently and correctly-without fail-have less than a one-in-one-hundred chance of becoming pregnant.

The real truth:

Birth control medications work to prevent pregnancy... about 60 percent of the time.  Planned Parenthood has found that 60 percent of abortions are done in cases of "failed birth control". Sometimes these medications "work" by aborting a newly fertilized egg (the lining of the uterus changes so the embryo cannot implant.  Estimates are that this happens 20-25 percent of the time and is why birth control medications are called "abortifacients".

Compare the pill to using Natural Family Planning - a decision of both the mother and the father.  Johns Hopkins Institute said that Natural Family Planning is 95 percent effective in preventing pregnancy but unlike the pill, it's 100 percent safe!  That is it does not endanger the woman's health in any way!

Much to the consternation of Planned Parenthood, Natural Family Planning is free!

In all cases, if a family planning method is not used correctly, pregnancy may occur. However, Natural Family Planning with no pills to take and a simple checking process in the morning, can and has been easily taught to women in third world countries whereas the pill is something you must remember to take and pay lots of money to Planned Parenthood to buy!


               Pharmacists for life faq on oral contraceptives

                   Merck Manual - estrogen

Myth #2
I've heard that women should "take a rest" from taking the Pill after every nine months.

The Truth according to Planned Parenthood:
There is no medical reason to take a "rest" from the pill.
Taking a rest from the Pill is unnecessary because:

The real truth

Well, it's true that if you take a rest from the pill, you may get pregnant, however, many women who have been on the pill for a while experience sterilization for up to a year after ceasing the pill.  This makes sense because when you take the pill, your entire hormone system is unbalanced, your ovaries may make a whole lot less estrogen (because you are flooding your body with estrogen) and numerous other side effects. (To make things worse, it's not even human estrogen you are using when you take the pill - it's horse's estrogen!  Great for horses but questionable for human beings!)

And there is every medical reason for 'resting' from the pill.  Women who rest from taking the pill experience much less long term side effects in the way of heart attack, stroke and blood clots. Studies have suggested, the less time you take oral contraceptives, the lower your chance of breast cancer.  Of course, the best rest from the pill is a permanent rest and selecting a safer form of family planning like Natural Family Planning!

Myth #3
I've heard that women gain weight when they take the pill.

according to Planned Parenthood
Some women gain weight while using the Pill. Some women lose weight while using the Pill.
Birth Control medication has generally been associated with weight gain (not weight loss!)
  Some women have temporary fluid retention during the first month or so after starting the Pill.
  Some women gain weight as a side effect of estrogen use. This weight gain develops in the hips, thighs, and breasts. It is usually noticed after several months on the Pill.
  The Pill may aggravate depression for some women. This may lead to increased eating.
Changes in workplace, exercise habits, lifestyle, and diet may also lead to weight gain or loss. It may not be possible to isolate one single cause.

The real truth:

Studies have shown inconclusive results on this - some suggest a weight gain - others found no weight gain in most women.  But still, many women DO experience weight gain after starting oral contraceptives and the Merck Manual listed weight gain as a possible side effect.  In the above paragraph, Planned Parenthood admitted that you can gain weight with the pill.

reference: Merck Manual - estrogen

Myth #4
I've heard that the pill isn't safe.

The Truth according to Planned Parenthood
Having a child has twice the risk of death as using the Pill.

The Real Truth:

Did you notice they didn't give a reference on this statement?  That's because there is no medical reference which says this!

The CDC has no way of knowing what the percentage of deaths occuring from pregnancies are because the only pregnancies reported to the CDC, are those with severe complications. Also reported to the CDC as a pregnancy death, are those deaths associated with abortion which makes the "death from pregnancy" seem higher and provides abortion providers with the false claim that "abortion is safer than pregnancy".  Truth be known, neither abortion NOR contraception is safer than preganancy especially if you count the long term complications including breast cancer and uterine cancer from both oral contraception and induced abortion.  Taking a medication is NEVER safer than NOT taking a medication. This seems a bit of a no brainer.


If the pro-lifers were to play the same statistical game, they should speak only of deaths from vaginal deliveries (1.1 per 100,000) and omit those from C-section deliveries (100 per 100,000).
    Lanska et al., "Mortality from Abortion & Childbirth," JAMA, vol. 250, no. 3, July 15, 1983, pp. 361-362.

Another way Planned Parenthood is double talking here is comparing deaths from taking the pill (immediate death) which are virtually nil to deaths from the warped statistics above. Since they don't acknowledge the medical facts that the pill can cause cancer (breast cancer as well as endodemetrial cancer) and that the pill can cause stroke, heart attack or blood clots, these deaths are not included in the Planned Parenthood statistics for deaths from the pill!  Include the real deaths from the side effects of the pill and suddenly it becomes clear that taking the pill is not only far more risky than pregnancy, it's also a high risk act by and in itself!

Pregnancy, since a woman's body is made for it, is a rather low risk option.  Additionally, several studies have shown positive advantages of pregnancy, including increased brain development!

reference: Merck Manual - estrogen
       NOTE: the AMA has confirmed the danger of breast cancer from the pill. Although this fact is not well known to the public, medical professionals have known about it for years.  See my article on oral contraception

Myth #5
I've heard that the Pill causes cancer.

according to Planned Parenthood
The Pill protects against cancer of the ovaries and cancer of the lining of the uterus.

Most experts also agree that taking the Pill does not increase the overall risk of developing breast cancer-no matter how long a woman takes the Pill-even if she has a close relative with breast cancer.

Claims that the Pill causes cancer of the liver or cervical cancer have not been proven.

The Real Truth

Several studies have found that oral contraception significantly raises the risk for breast and uterine cancer.


Merck Manual (admits the possibility of a link)
 article on oral contraception

More information on birth control meds including studies

Myth #6
I've heard that the Pill causes heart attack, stroke, and blood clots.

The Truth according to Planned Parenthood
There is no increase in the risk of heart attack or stroke among healthy women who use the Pill and who do not smoke.

There is a small increase in the risk of blood clots in the legs and arms. The risk increases from 5-20 per 100,000 women for a year to 15-20 per 100,000 women for a year.

The Real Truth:

The Merck Manual lists the risks of heart attack, stroke and thrombosis (blood clots) at 40 percent greater in women who take the pill. This risk is doubled in women who smoke and take the pill.  The risk also becomes greater, the longer the woman takes the pill. Blood clot risks include (of course) brain embolism!

I guess Planned Parenthood hopes you won't look in the Merck Manual!

Reference: The Merck Manual

Myth #7
I've heard that the Pill causes birth defects.

The Truth according to Planned Parenthood
The Pill does not cause birth defects or affect the health of future children even if a woman becomes pregnant while taking the Pill.

The real truth:

The danger of birth defects from the pill has not been really tested or studied.  One of the greatest birth defects if you get pregnant while on the pill is that the baby can abort when newly fertilized.  Some studies have shown an increase of the deadly ectopic pregnancies while on the pill.

Where do all these myths come from?

Some myths come from misunderstandings about side effects and the fact that only some women experience them.
This statement is so typical of Planned Parenthood misrepresentation.  Of course all side effects are not experienced by all women so they are not telling us anything new.  They hope you misunderstand from that statement that 'some women' means only a few women.  Forty percent (almost half) is also some women and in my book, these are not real good odds.
Some myths are rumors started by people and organizations that don?t want women to plan their families by using birth control.
Here they hope you have been listening to the news and immediately link in, in your mind, the 'evil prolife movement'.  Unfortunately, though, the side effects of the birth control pill and the dangers have been well documented in medical literature. Planned Parenthood hopes you don't research it and that you buy your birth control pills from Planned Parenthood!
Other myths are based on the experience of women who used "old-fashioned" pills that had very high doses of estrogen and progestin.
Since the WHIS and HERS studies had to be halted, low dose "modern" birth control has been proven as unsafe as "old fashioned" estrogen.

Articles like the one quoted in this article (by Planned Parenthood) often appear in popular literature - magazines and news papers.  They are not medically based and have only one goal - to sell product.  Although Planned Parenthood is 95 percent funded by government monies, they do make a huge profit on selling birth control to women and they do not wish to have this profit hurt.  Of course, the pharmaceutical companies work hand in hand with Planned Parenthood to push women to take the birth control pill.  We must realize that the selling of product in our money driven society is far more important to manufacturers and merchants than the safety and health of the consumer.

Merck Manual (1998)
JAMA various articles
oral contraception side effects with cites
pharmacist article on oral contraception
Hormones page (lots of info on oc's)

back to hormones
back to cancer page