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August 15, 2013

Letter writer wrong on birth control

Louis Nicholson’s Aug. 12 letter contains several medical inaccuracies. We do not want The Daily Star readers to rely on such misinformation.

The birth control pill is not an abortion. It does not expel a fertilized egg from the uterus. It does not “sometimes work by aborting a new fetus of human life.” It works by preventing ovulation.

Emergency Contraception, also known as the “morning-after pill,” does not “abort a newly formed fetus.” In the June 5, 2012, issue of The New York Times, Dr. Petra M. Casey, an obstetrician-gynecologist at The Mayo Clinic, said, “These medications are there to prevent or delay ovulation. They don’t act after fertilization.”

Women do not have to take birth control pills until age 55, as Mr. Nicholson asserts. Dr. Mary M. Gallenberg of The Mayo Clinic says women can take the pill as long as they need birth control or until menopause, as long as they’re generally healthy and don’t smoke. Women who take the pill see their medical provider at least once a year to assess their health and contraceptive needs.

The birth control pill does not cause “hormonal imbalances that can contribute to cancer.” The link between birth control pills and breast cancer is inconclusive. The American Cancer Society has established that the pill actually reduces the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers.

We advise people with questions about any contraceptive method to speak to their health care provider and not rely on medically inaccurate letters to the editor. Mr. Nicholson is not a doctor or nurse; he really had no business presenting information about a prescription drug.

Debra Marcus


Marcus is chief executive officer of Family Planning of South Central New York Inc.

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