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by Marquise Brack, Opinion editor

For most sexually active women, birth control pills serve as a primary form of contraceptive and have proven effective at preventing unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. However, deciding which birth control pill has always meant considering the short- and long-term side effects of different varieties of the pill.

Until recently, most side-effects were viewed as minor, but according to the Public Citizen Action Network, the newer forms of birth control developed in the ‘80s that are approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration, double the risks of the older pills that are just as effective.

Forms of birth control pills that increase side effects are referred to as third-generation pills and contain desogestrel, a medicine that causes a variety of hormonal changes.

The Public Citizen’s Web site, NotMyPill.org, says that 7.5 million prescriptions for oral contraceptives, that are classified as dangerous because they increase the potential occurrence of life threatening blood clots, were filled last year in the U.S. alone.

Banning the pill could lessen a woman’s chance of developing venous thromboembolism blood clots. Blood clots pose a health threat because they interrupt the blood flow at one location.

The Public Citizen’s petition stated that life threatening blood clots can develop in a patient’s leg, arm, abdomen, and the veins of the brain which can be disabling.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (DHHS) Web site explains that birth control pills work by releasing estrogen and progestin hormones into the body that thicken the cervical mucus, which prevents sperm from reaching an egg. These pills are 92-99.9 percent effective, if used properly, according to DHHS.

In an effort to urge the Food and Drug Administration to ban these more dangerous birth control pills, members of the Public Citizen’s Health Research Group have prepared a petition to get more risky prescriptions off the market.

One employee of Public Citizen launched a YouTube video called “Kate’s Movie” to help inform women about the more unsafe versions of birth control and get them banned.

According to “Kate’s Movie,” the FDA has been aware for 12 years that some variations of birth control containing desogestrel can put women at twice the risk of blood clots.

The YouTube video has not only spread the message to women in America, but has reached people in Asia, Europe, and South America as well.

“ Kate’s Movie” is available for viewing at NotMyPill.org.

The Web site for the U.S. DHHS recommends consulting a doctor when deciding which oral contraceptive to use. For more information, visit www.4woman.gov or www.notmypill.org.

The Web site for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service recommends consulting a doctor when deciding which oral contraceptive to use. For more information, visit www.4woman.gov or www.notmypill.org.




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