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The IUD

by J.C. Willke MD

The intrauterine device, or IUD, has been widely used for over three decades.  Its use in recent years, however, declined sharply, and for good reason.  Why?  Well, one very medical and one very ethical reason.  The ethical and moral reason?  It is not a contraceptive.  It is an abortifacient.    

What is the IUD?  It's a small plastic device that is inserted up into a woman's womb from below.  Once inserted, 50 to 75 percent will remain inside of her until removed.  The other 25 to 50 percent will be spontaneously expelled or will have to be removed because of cramping, bleeding or infection.    

Most scientific papers have agreed that in as many as 95 percent of the cases it does not prevent fertilization.  What it does do is prevent the implantation, at one week of life, of the tiny new human into the nutrient lining of the mother's womb.  Because with that in place, this little boy or girl cannot implant, he or she dies and passes from the mother's body.  So, even though your doctor may call an IUD a contraceptive, remember, it does not prevent fertilization.  It does cause the death of the tiny new human at one week of life in a micro-abortion, and for this reason, few Christian women will allow one to be inserted into them.    

What's the second reason for the decline of the use of the IUD?  A very sound medical one.  These devices have caused infection and inflammation of the female organs.  The most damaging effect of this is to the woman's tubes.  It can result in scarring and blockage of her tubes, sometimes permanent sterility.    

The Dalkon Shield
The first and most devastating development centered about the IUD marketed by the major pharmaceutical firm, A.H. Robins of Virginia.  Their IUD was named the Dalkon Shield.  Millions and millions of them were sold and used.  At first, the Dalkon Shield was thought to be relatively trouble-free, but then reports of women dying from blood poisoning began to trickle in and soon the problems became a flood.  Robins removed it from the market and asked that all women have them removed--but too late.    

Thousands of women had already had some damage, sometimes serious, often irreversible, to their reproductive organs, and some had died.  Then the lawsuits began.  Now I want you to know that I think this country is lawsuit-happy, and there is far too much medical malpractice activity, but I agree with most of these lawsuits.  The result?  A. H. Robins filed bankruptcy after being required to pay out over two billion dollars to the injured women.    

How did these infections occur?  Well, the womb was made to have only one object inside of it.  That object is called a baby.  And that arrangement has been working quite well.  The IUD is a foreign body that just doesn't belong there.  When it is put there, the womb will sometimes go into a mini-labor and expel it.  Sometimes the woman will cramp and bleed until it's removed.  But more often it remains, and when it does her body will produce around it what is called a macrophage screen, or in simpler terms, "sterile pus."  Well, that pus is not always that sterile, and that's what produces the problem.    

The device has a tail, a tiny string attached to it.  This extends down and out through the cervix, the mouth of the womb, and lies in the vagina.  This is necessary so that the doctor can remove the device if necessary.  It should be obvious, though, that anything that is, at any time, inserted into her female tract from below will come into contact with this string.  And we now know that this string-like tail can act something like the wick of a candle which feeds wax to the flame.  Apparently, infection has traveled up this tail and right up into the womb.    

The string or tail on the Dalkon Shield was different from those on other IUDs that were being used.  All others were mono-filament nylon, a single strand - like a fishing line.  But the Dalkon Shield's tail was a multi-filament line like a braided rope.  Medical research was able to establish that such a multi-filament tail was far more likely to allow infection to travel upward and into the womb than a single strand would.    

Ah ha, the experts said this type of IUD, the Dalkon Shield, is fatally flawed because of this design problem.  But, they said the other kind, with the mono-filament tail, these were okay and would be safe for women.  And so other companies continued to advertise and to sell their other kinds of IUDs.    

The Copper-T
But nature rebelled again.  This time it was the turn of the G. D. Searle Pharmaceutical Company and its IUD, the Copper-T.    

The Copper-T continued to be sold as it was supposed to be safe for women.  Even so a continuing flood of lawsuits kept hitting the Searle Company until it also pulled its Copper-T off of the market.    

What is the Copper-T?  It's an intrauterine device, or IUD.  Its track record of "preventing" pregnancies had been among the best.  Of course, IUDs don't prevent pregnancy at all.  Scientific studies show that as often as 95% of the time, fertilization is not prevented.  What the IUDs do is to prevent implantation of the tiny new human into the lining of the womb at one week of life.  IUDS then prevent pregnancy?  No, rather they kill him or her at one week of life.    

Most IUDs are simple plastic devices that prevent implantation because their presence, in the womb, as a foreign body, damages and changes the lining of the womb.  They may also work by poisoning the tiny human with the macrophage screen, or sterile pus that its presence produces.  But the Copper-T is a bit different.  It also is a plastic device, but the coiled plastic rod is tightly wound with a thin copper wire.  Apparently some of the copper leaches or rusts off at a fairly steady rate inside of the womb and this may act as a low-grade poison, which helps to kill the tiny new human.    

Unlike its infamous cousin, the Dalkon Shield, this one has a single-strand, or mono-filament string or tail attached to it.  According to current scientific thinking, this should not have allowed infection to enter the womb.  But if clinical reports and the increased number of lawsuits had any validity it did allow infection to go up into the womb and serious damage apparently occurred in some women.    

What happens then is that infection, apparently caused by this and other types of IUDs, ascends into the womb and then travels out into the tubes.  The womb, of course, replaces its lining each month, and that helps to keep it from getting infected--but the tubes don't.  And when an infection gets into a tube, it often just stays and festers.  And the result, at times, has been that the tubes become badly damaged, and sometimes they scar shut.  If this happens, the woman is sterile for life.    

I tell you, I've seen it again and again through my years of being a physician.  When we go against nature, sooner or later we pay the price.

Tubal Pregnancies
Women who have IUDs in their wombs have a sharply higher percentage of ectopic or tubal pregnancies than those who don't.  Tubal pregnancy rates and resultant maternal deaths have gone up several-fold in the last three decades.  These are the very same years that have seen the widespread use of IUDs.  Why is this?    

Well, the first reason is one that almost all medical authorities agree upon.  Intrauterine devices cause a distressingly high incidence of infections of the female organs.  These infections often cause scarring and partial blockage of the tubes.  Women with scarred, damaged or partly blocked tubes have many more tubal pregnancies than women with normal tubes.  Well so far, so good.  Or maybe I should say, so far, so bad.    

There's another reason that is never mentioned but seems to be simple common sense.  We know that even in entirely normal women who have normal tubes and who do absolutely nothing to prevent or change the process, even in these women there's a certain small percentage of those whose babies just don't make it to the womb, but rather implant in one of her tubes.    

If a woman is wearing an IUD, she's killing off the babies who do make it to her womb.  But of course, none of those who decide to stop en route and plant in her tube are killed.  So there should be a far higher incidence of tubal pregnancies in such women.    

There is another thing about IUDs that is terribly distressing to me, and not many parents know about this.  Many family planning clinics, like Planned Parenthood and others, are mostly supported with your tax dollars through the Federal Title X Family Planning Program.  Most of these clinics can and often do insert these medically hazardous devices into the wombs of unmarried minor girls, and they are not required to notify the parents, much less ask their permission.  Even though the girl, in most states, is a minor, is dependent, and is living at home.    

President Reagan once attempted to require that the parents of such unemancipated minors be notified before dispensing or inserting medically hazardous birth control pills or such devices. The Democrat Congress did not agree.    

I remember treating one 16-year-old girl, who came to me with a 104o fever and severe pelvic pain.  She had had one of these devices inserted into her without her parents' knowledge, and by such a clinic.  When her symptoms became bad, she'd gone back to them.  Their advice and treatment?  Take aspirin and get some rest.    

She came to me.  She had a severe infection of her female organs and was on the verge of what could have been a fatal blood poisoning.  I removed the device, and fortunately was able to cure the infection.  I'm afraid, however, that it might have made her sterile.  But, because of her wishes and of the present law, I could not tell her parents.  If she's never able to have a baby, her parents may never know why.    

Happily today there is only one IUD available and it is not used very often.