Cynthia Tucker Pulls an "Ellen Goodman"
Update from Annie: I sent this link to Ms. Tucker on 9/23; received no response as of 9/29. Today I found additional email addies and forwarded the original email to these folks, below. I asked them all if they can produce bona fide research to back up what Ms. Tucker wrote last week.
Letters to the editor: email@example.com
Jim Wooten, Journal Editorial Page Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike King, Managing Editor: email@example.com
George Edmonson, Reader Representative: GEdmonson@ajc.com
Other "Letter to Editor" addies: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
"Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.” ~ Bette Davis
Seriously, go get a cup of Joe and settle in. This is gonna take awhile.
Cynthia Tucker, African-American columnist and editorial page editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is doing an Ellen Goodman. Pulling “facts” and “conclusions” out like thinly-stretched taffy, which fortunately we can see through.
She tries to make the case that birth control will and already has reduced abortions and unwanted pregnancies.
But first she decries having Bush in the White House for a second term since that “could easily lead to the most reactionary [Supreme Court] since the one that ruled that Dred Scott had no rights.”
How ironic, but we’re already there. It is the current sitting court that ruled that the unborn person had no rights, using the very same language and arguments as the Dred Scott decision:
“The Dred Scott decision in 1857…determined a slave is not a legal person - he is the property of his slave-owner. The U.S. Supreme Court said ‘a man has a right to do what he wants with his property.’ They also said that Mr. Scott was only 3/5 of a human being. Mr. Scott only wanted the right to vote.”
Scott v. Sandford used the phrases “non-person” and “the property of his master” to refer to Mr. Scott. Both Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113) and Doe v. Bolton (410 U.S. 179) used the phrases “non-person” and “the property of the mother” to refer to the unborn child.
I’d like to ask this: how can a woman be a “mother” if she doesn’t have a “child?”
One of the classifying arguments in the Scott case read as follows: “The Missouri Compromise of 1820 that outlawed slavery in some future states was unconstitutional because Congress does not have the authority to deny property rights of law-abiding citizens. Thus, Scott was always a slave in areas that were free.”
Sound familiar? “It’s unconstitutional to deny me my right to my property, my body!” When actually the Roe decision wrote, “There is no constitutional right of privacy, as such."
Tucker continues: “I've never met anyone who is pro-abortion. I've never met a woman who'd made the decision to terminate a pregnancy who was blithe or careless or unfeeling about it.”
Sadly, I have. Many of us have. The article about the woman who selectively aborted two twins to have the third of the “triplets” is just one. I “met” about a half-million such people on April 25, 2004 in Washington, D.C. Like the guy holding a sign that said, “BABY KILLER” with an arrow pointing down at himself.
Wasn’t Cynthia there that day?
“As far as I can tell, it's always a gut-wrenching decision, and it always carries long-term emotional pain.”
At least this, we can agree on.
“…contraceptives are now finally advertised on TV (long after prime-time dramas, as well as soap operas, have made sex outside marriage an entertainment staple.)”
And this is a good thing? Cynthia, are you married? Would you like it if your husband felt this way? Are you on Planned Parenthood’s Board of Directors or something?
“Nevertheless, the long-term interests of reproductive rights would be better served by a crusade that focuses equally on encouraging the use of contraceptives.”
Let’s see where this “crusade for contraception” has gotten us so far.
Tucker states (as though she’s done the research): “In Western Europe, sexually active adults (and adolescents) are much more likely to use contraceptives than Americans are. As a result, the rate of unwanted pregnancies is much lower. That means the rate of abortion is much lower, as well.”
Not so, in either case. The birth control pill and Depo-Provera may be 99.7 % effective but only with perfect usage. With typical use, they’re only 92% and 97% good, respectively.
With perfect use, only abstinence is listed as being 100% effective.
This site shows that on the Pill, 5 out of 100 women (5%) will become pregnant with typical use, and on Depo-Provera, 3 out of 1,000 (0.03 %).
In a study in 1993 in the British Medical Journal, R.E. Ryder found that women using Natural Family Planning showed a pregnancy rate of 0.2 pregnancies per 100 women yearly. That is 0.02%, lower than Depo-Provera’s pregnancy rate. [“Natural Family Planning”: Effective birth control supported by the Catholic Church. Br. Med. J. 1993; 307: 723-726; this study involved 19,843 women in India]
The above site also says that abstinence is the “Only 100% safe choice for preventing unwanted pregnancy and STDs.”
Before anyone rails against Natural Family Planning, I strongly suggest one do the homework first. If you do, you’d learn that it is not the same as the old unreliable “rhythm method,” and that, when used properly, it is in fact more effective than using birth control, without the harmful chemicals ingested by the woman. NFP is actually the same set of principals women use when they seek to become pregnant (taking vaginal temperature in the morning and observing mucous thickness, etc.); it’s just that these medical signs are used in reverse, to avoid intercourse for a few days to one week each month. Couples using NFP report that the wait for sex of this short a time spices up their sex lives because they desire their partners more when they have to wait a little while. A small price to pay for not ingesting harmful chemicals and for juicing up one’s love life.
And more contraception doesn’t lessen the need for abortion, as shown by studies in Finland and Scotland, where abortion rates stayed the same despite increased "over-the-counter" Morning After Pill (MAP or “Emergency contraception”) use (by girls aged 15 or more) of 25% in one year and 300% over eight years, respectively. And even worse, in Finland, 23% more girls under 15 had abortions that year. The Scottish Council on Human Bio-ethics' "Briefing Paper on the Morning-After-Pill," Jan. 2002, found that, despite a 300% increase in the use of MAPs in Glasgow from 1992-1999, the abortion rate stayed the same.
“While the ‘abstinence-only’ movement has hit Great Britain, it has not settled in deeply in other countries. They don't have to deal with a small but loud constituency of moralists who seem to believe that children are the appropriate punishment for having sex.”
It hasn’t settled deeply in other countries? Again, Cynthia, you should have done your homework:
“Veteran Harvard medical anthropologist Edward Green admits that ‘many of us in the AIDS and public health communities didn't believe that abstinence and faithfulness were realistic goals. It now seems we were wrong. The Ugandan model has the most to teach the rest of the world.’ John Richens of London's University College, an expert on sexually transmitted disease, argues that ‘condoms encourage risky behavior’ and ‘increased condom use leads to more cases of condom failure.’ ‘Safe sex’ campaigns, Richens is honest enough to acknowledge, have largely failed, in part because of these hard facts.”
“The most successful African AIDS prevention campaign is in Uganda, which stresses abstinence and marital fidelity and has achieve a national infection rate of 6%, down from 21%. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda said he won’t accept that ‘only a thin piece of rubber stands between us and the death of our continent…’ [The country’s best way to prevent AIDS is to] ‘convince our people to return to their traditional values of chastity and faithfulness’ — what Ugandans have dubbed ‘zero grazing.’”
Abstinence is more effective, actually, and the teens are already buying this better than their parents are: A study in the spring of 2003 in the magazine Adolescent and Family Health said that 67% of the drop in teen pregnancy rates and 100% of the decrease in teen birthrates can be attributed to teens not having sex. Joanna Mohn, M.D., the study's main researcher, showed how earlier research studies made serious mistakes in giving “condom use” the credit for the decreases.
In early February 2004, The Centers for Disease Control said that abstinence is the best way to prevent the transmission of some STDs. Condoms were not nearly as effective as abstinence. “The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including HPV [which is the primary cause of over 99% of cervical cancers which kill 5,000 American women yearly] is to refrain from genital contact,” the CDC said. HPV also is associated with oral, vaginal, penile, anal, and vulvar cancer.
“Research conducted in the United States by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory revealed that the HIV virus is 60 times smaller than a syphilis bacterium and 450 times smaller than a human sperm. Analyzing test results conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control which tested leakage rates of latex condoms, doctors discovered a 78% HIV-leakage rate. As one U.S. surgeon put it, "The HIV virus can go through a condom like a bullet through a tennis net.”
A microscopic hole or tear in a condom, and one can easily become HIV-infected.
Don’t want to take a man’s website link as reliable? How about this one? “Researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) observed HIV-sized particles leaking through more than 33 % of latex condoms tested under powerful electron microscopes. The HIV-1 virus is 0.1 micron (4 millionths of an inch) in diameter, which is three times smaller than the herpes virus, 60 times smaller than the syphilis spirochete and 50 to 450 times smaller than sperm.”
33%, as a conservative estimate (rather than 78%, in the article before it). That means that at least one out of every three times someone uses a condom with someone they don’t know or who hasn’t been tested for HIV, they risk AIDS. And in the first study, three out of every four times.
“Abstinence’s critics have to explain why three countries where condoms are readily available and their use vigorously promoted — Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa — have the world's highest rates of HIV infection.”
And AP and CBS news stories on Feb. 23, 2004, reported that “[t]he virus that causes AIDS is spreading again in Western Europe and is rampaging through Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where it infected 250,000 people last year, a United Nations health official said Monday. Eastern Europe and Central Asia are experiencing the fastest-growing HIV epidemic in the world, said Peter Piot, the executive director of the U.N. AIDS organization. In 1998, Piot noted, there were only 30,000 people known to be infected with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. That figure has since risen to 1.5 million…Western European AIDS death rates fell to 3,500 last year from more than 20,000 in 1996. But Western Europe registered 30,000 to 40,000 new infections last year…”
Hmmm. Ms. Tucker wrote, "In Western Europe, sexually active adults (and adolescents) are much more likely to use contraceptives than Americans are..."?
Maybe they should take a lesson from Uganda?
In December 2003, at a public health conference in Washington DC, doctors cited evidence of an epidemic of STDs among the nation’s teenagers, and CITED "SAFE-SEX" PROGRAMS AND CONDOM-DISTRIBUTION AS CONTRIBUTING FACTORS OF THE PROBLEM. Dr. David Hager gave these statistics: within the U.S. each year, chlamydia cases increase by 4 million, pelvic inflammatory disease by 1.2 million, gonorrhea by 2 million, genital herpes by 1 million and human papilloma virus (HPV) by 5.5 million.
Keep in mind: in 1967 (when there was virtually no sex education), 1 out of 32 sexually active people contacted sexually transmitted diseases. In 1983, 1 out of 18 sexually active people contacted STDs. In 1996, 1 out of 4 sexually active people contacted STDs.
The American Social Health Association reported that 3.8 million of these and other STDs are contracted by U.S. teens: almost 45% of all teens and young adults are infected with at least one STD by their mid-twenties.
Planned Parenthood says, “Safer-sex practice allows couples to reduce their sexual health risks. Safer sex is anything we do to lower our risk of sexually transmitted infection.” But groups like Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the American Cancer Society, and the National Institutes of Health all have found that the claim that condoms help prevent STDs isn’t supported by the data. If condoms were effective against STDs, the increase in condom usage would correlate to a decrease in STDs overall, but the reverse happens.
Other recent studies of sexually active teens also show increased percentages of depression, suicide, and various emotional problems such as loss of self-respect, esteem, and trust. Again, we are not reading this in the major press, but it’s out there. Sometimes stuff like this even gets testified on before Congress, and it still doesn’t get reported!
And a December 2003 Zogby International poll showed that 96% of parents would prefer their children be taught abstinence in sexual education programs.
(Much of the above is from articles here and here.
How about the harm contraception can do to women? Studies in prestigious journals like the Journal of the AMA (JAMA) in 1995, pooling several studies together, showed that breast cancer risk is almost tripled for women who used Depo-Provera for 2 years of more when they were younger than 25 years old. [Skegg, D.C.G. Noonan E.A., et. al. Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate and breast cancer. JAMA. 1995:799-804.]
Since Norplant uses the same type of chemical as Depo-Provera, it could easily pose a similar risk.
Just this past Sunday, the paper had this to report: "Depo-Provera...has a significant downside: It reduces bone-protecting estrogen. In a recent study of women ages 18- 39, Depo-Provera users lost bone at the hips at a rate of 1.1% a year, compared with 0.05% for non-users [that's 22 times more bone loss PER EVERY YEAR THEY'RE ON IT!!!]. But if you stop using Depo-Provera, you can reverse the damage."
MAPs are high-dose birth control pills. Studies show that women taking birth control pills are 14 times more likely to develop blood clots from airplane travel, and those using birth control pills for 10 or more years double their risk of cervical cancer (which kills 5,000 women yearly). If they took it for 5-9 years, the risk is increased 60%. [April 04, 2003 study published in the Lancet, by researchers from Cancer Research UK's Epidemiology Unit in Oxford, England, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France. (Reaney, Reuters).
[Those with doubled risk of cervical cancer would include me, since that was how long I was on the Pill to try to stem the advance of my endometriosis, which ironically, I believe was caused by my abortion. "Just a simple twist of fate."]
Ms. Tucker also probably takes issue with the derisively-labeled “moralists” when they oppose contraception, especially the MAP, by saying that making it more accessible “over the counter” will lead to an increase in sexually-transmitted disease.
It already has: in Washington state, where teens already get the MAP "over-the-counter," chlamydia rose nearly 20%. Chlamydia causes painful diseases: PID in women, and in men, epididymis. Left untreated, these diseases can be life-threatening and cause infertility. ["Expanding Access to Emergency Contraceptive Pills in Washington State: Promoting Pharmacist/Prescriber Collaborative Agreements, " Project Summary, Washington State Department of Health, Board of Pharmacy]
In May 2003, a UK study showed that, after four years of dispensing free MAPs to females, 612% more British men and 206% more women got syphilis between 1996 and 2001. Chlamydia jumped over 100%; gonorrhea, herpes and genital warts also rose substantially. Gonorrhea and syphilis increase the risk of getting HIV (the virus causing AIDS).
In March 2004, the CDC said drug-resistant gonorrhea is breaking out in Boston worse than it has these past four years in Seattle, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia and Las Vegas. Gonorrhea can damage the prostate, joints and bloodstream, and can be fatal if it doesn’t respond to antibiotics, as this new spreading strain does not.
**** APRIL 2007 UPDATE: CDC Now Says Gonorrhea Is a Drug-Resistant "Superbug", PERIOD: "Gonorrhea, which is believed to infect more than 700,000 people in the United States each year, can leave both men and women infertile and puts people at higher risk of getting the AIDS virus....Gonorrhea, spread through sexual contact, is the second most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States, trailing only chlamydia, which the CDC says affects more than 2.1 million people yearly in the U.S. The highest rates of infection are among sexually active teens, young adults and African-Americans. Because many people don't have obvious symptoms, they can unknowingly spread it to others." Definitely worth reading it all.****
Now the FDA is being coerced by Planned Parenthood and other pro-contraception groups to make MAPs available over the counter, so girls as young as 13 can buy it without their parents knowing it. Until they have complications and/or die. Also, pedophiles will be able to buy it for their victims, but no one is mentioning that in the mainstream press. I really am frightened that even the AMA is pushing this while ignoring the dangers, both medical and moral.
I just can’t see how Planned Parenthood, et. al., are really that concerned with "women's health" if PPFA alone is dispensing 633,756 of these "safe" pills a year (those figures are from their own Annual Report.).
And how about the economic costs of the explosion in STDs? In this country alone that cost now is something on the order of $17 BILLION in 1994 dollars (now ten-year-old data!) since the sexual promiscuity explosion beginning in the Sixties. (From The Hidden Epidemic: Confronting Sexually Transmitted Diseases (1997), Institute of Medicine, )
And Ms. Tucker is probably in agreement with the erroneous headlines of recent days. In an April 1, 2004 article, the Associated Press said in its headline: "Study: Morning-after pill won’t boost unprotected teen sex." However, AP’s reporters displayed revisionist reporting at a new "high" (or should I say, low), when its article stated that "26 teens [girls aged 15-20] who were given the pills [in advance at home] reported using them 38 times…[while] in the group that…had to go out and get them, 20 teens reported using them 24 times." SIX more teens with easy access used MAPs to end possible pregnancies after unprotected sex, and, as a group, used them on FOURTEEN more occasions of unprotected sex in six months. That sure sounds like "boosting unprotected teen sex" to me.
Just think of all our young people who will develop tubal pregnancies, STDs or blood clots (all of which can lead to stroke or death) or unexplained infertility, all because of these pills and the fact that the major press continues to portray them as "safe."
Don’t even get me started on the Abortion Pill, RU-486 (see this article in The Vancouver Sun on September 18, 1992).
And since the question is going to come up: Yes, when pregnancy (i.e., fertilization of the egg, not implantation) has occurred, these four chemicals/“hormonal contraceptions”—the pill, emergency contraception, Norplant, and Depo-Provera--can, in fact, prevent implantation, as does the IUD and other similar devices, therefore, they do in fact terminate an already-created human life.
“Progestin-only Contraceptives may be administered by mouth, injection, implants, intrauterine devices and vaginal rings. This discussion will focus on Norplant implant, followed by Depo-Provera injection and the mini- pill.
“What is the mechanism of action of progestin-only contraceptives? Pregnancy is prevented by inhibiting ovulation; thickening and decreasing the amount of cervical mucus (making it more difficult for sperm to penetrate); creating a thin uterine lining; and premature destruction of the follicle that releases a ripened egg and becomes a corpus luteum.” (the above quote from the book, "Contraceptive Technology" Sixteenth Revised Edition, by Robert Hatcher M.D., used by SIECUS and the Fronske Health Center, Northern Arizona University )
“Creating a thin uterine lining” results in preventing implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus, which is what is known to doctors as “abortifacient.”
Pro-choice advocates vehemently argue that “Pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining.”
These quotes prove this claim is not accepted by seven scientists who are world-renowned, leading experts in the subject of human biology, embryology, genetics and fertility, and were under oath on April 23-24, 1981 in front of a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee (S-158) holding hearings on the question, ‘When does human life begin?" “The Official Senate report summarized, ‘there is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.’”
Furthermore, let me ask this: When the fertilized egg implants incorrectly in the fallopian tube, why, for decades, has that been called an “ectopic pregnancy?”
Just because some doctors (who work for biased groups like Allan Guttmacher Institute and others) are influencing medical textbooks to be rewritten with the “new” definition of pregnancy doesn’t change the medical truth. Those doctors also have rewritten the centuries-old Hippocratic Oath. It used to say “Nor will I give a woman a pessary to procure abortion” or “I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.” Some have deleted those phrases and added this one, “But it may also be within my power to take a life.”
Ms. Tucker, please reconsider your positions in light of the above facts and research. You are not doing women any favors by holding such positions.