ICare “Mis-Advertisements” on Contraception and Abortion


This article was updated at 5:35 pm EST February 10th to correct a typographical error.

In part one of our series, we watched the Human Life Alliance play fast and lose with the
facts when it came to abortion laws in the United States and the various developmental stages of the human fetus.

In part 2, we saw them use unsound "scientific" studies and reports intended to
guilt rape and incest victims into carrying pregnancies to term by, for
example, having a rape crisis counselor quoted as saying, “I am familiar with no case of incest-related
abortion that did not make matters worse.”

But the misinformation presented in those pages is
nothing compared to the outright lies in the "Abortion Methods"
section of the Icare advertising
supplement.

Let’s take each statement one at a time:

Emergency Contraception – Plan B
(Morning After Pill)

 

Icare Claim:  The Icare supplement
claims that EC prohibits a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus, and
that therefore emergency contraception causes abortion. 

Fact: First, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
EC does not work by causing a
fertilized egg not to implant.

With ECPs, higher doses of the same hormones found
in regular birth control pills prevent pregnancy in the first place by keeping
the egg from leaving the ovary or keeping the sperm from joining the egg. While it is possible that ECPs might
work by keeping a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus, the most
up-to-date research suggests that ECPs do not work in this way.

Even if it did cause a fertilized egg not to
implant, that is not actually a method of abortion, as the HHS explains. 
"Emergency contraception works before pregnancy begins. It will not work
if a woman is already pregnant. Abortion takes place after a fertilized egg has
attached to the uterus."

Scientific data agrees that pregnancy does not occur
until implantation
,
meaning that Plan B cannot by definition cause an abortion.

"Before pregnancy begins, a female oocyte (egg) must join, by
spermatozoon in a process referred to in medicine as "fertilization",
or commonly known as "conception" (though the definition of the
English word "conception" is somewhat controversial). Fertilization
occurs usually through the act of sexual intercourse, in which a man ejaculates
inside a woman, thus releasing his sperm; however, the advent of artificial
insemination has made it possible for women to become pregnant if prexisting
medical conditions from either the woman or the man make fertilization through
sexual intercourse difficult, or if a woman chooses to become pregnant without
a male partner, for any number of reasons. Though pregnancy begins at
implantation, it is often convenient to date from the first day of a woman’s
Last Menstrual Period (LMP). This is used to calculate the Expected Date of
Delivery (EDD).”

 

RU 486 – Mifeprex (The Abortion Pill):

 

Icare Claim: Besides the obviously loaded language of the
section (the repeated use of the word baby, or switching
"abortionist" for doctor or health care provider) Icare plays very lose with the
statistics on RU 486 failure.  They state an 8 percent failure rate for
pregnancies of up to 7 weeks, and a 23 percent failure rate for pregnancies
from 8-9 weeks.

Fact: According to recent studies
RU 486 has a 3 percent failure rate at 7 weeks or less.  Mifeprex is
not FDA approved or medically recommended in pregnancies past 7 weeks, making the other statistic, which came from an anti-abortion website and is a
link to an article that no longer exists
nothing more than an irrelevant scare tactic.

Vacuum Aspiration

 

Icare Claim: In explaining the procedure, Icare states "The baby is torn into pieces as he or she is
being pulled through the hose."  During manual vacuum aspiration, the
gestational sac is often left intact

Fact: During
the first trimester the fetus, which is at most 2 and 1/2 inches long and does not have limbs.  It also is incapable of feeling pain until at least 26
weeks
.

Dilation and Suction Curettage
(D&C):

Icare Claim: Icare states that a D&C
will create "profuse" bleeding.  The citation for that goes to a
site that does not mention profuse bleeding.

Fact: D&C’s were often used to treat abnormal or
irregular bleeding in women
.

Dilation
and Evacuation (D&E):

Icare Claim: Icare, in its truest
propaganda form, gives a grisly description of the procedure known as D&E,
with crushing skulls, snapping spines and torn limbs.  To support its
version, Icare sources the American
Pregnancy Association
, The National Abortion Federation, and WebMD.

Fact: It comes as no shock that in going to each source,
there is no description like the one they give, even in the clinical guidelines
section they reference. These are scare tactics at their worst.  There is also no mention that 90 percent of all
abortions are performed in the first trimester
,
well before a D&E would be necessary. 
The increase in second trimester abortions that would require a D&E
is often being caused by the creation of additional rules that are making it
harder for women to quickly obtain abortions, and causing less providers to offer them.

Induction
or Prostaglandin Abortion

Icare Claim: The advertising supplement speaks of the procedure
as if it were a common type of abortion readily performed.  They claim that the baby is killed
before hand during the process to avoid legal complications, and that should
the baby somehow survive it is left to malinger without medical care to ensure
its demise.

Fact: Icare’s sources for this section
are Jill Stanek
, and WebMD.  They use WebMD selectively as a source, not mentioning that this type
of abortion "in the second or third  trimester is usually done
because of a medical problem or illness present in  the fetus or the
pregnant woman."  Although it is true that a fetus is injected
potassium chloride beforehand to insure it is not birthed alive, they fail to
mention that the reason it is necessary is because of the so called
"partial birth" abortion ban pushed by anti-abortion activists,
a definition so loose that it can be spread to a myriad of other medical
methods.  "To avoid performing [what could potentially be defined as]
a partial birth abortion while performing a legal dilatation and extraction,
digitalis or potassium chloride may be injected onto the fetus to induce
preoperative fetal death."

Partial
Birth Abortion or Dilation and Extraction (D&X)

Icare Claim:  This section is detailed, gory, and written with no
actual citations to any medical texts or supporting materials.  Icare
does state, however, that although a “partial birth abortion” ban has been
passed, it has not had any impact on the frequency of late term abortions.  There is a reason for that, as you will
see.

Fact: There is no such medical term as a "partial birth
abortion."  NPR has an excellent factual look at the D&X debate, noting that contrary to the claims of some abortion opponents, most such
abortions do not take place in the third trimester of pregnancy, or after fetal
"viability." Indeed, when some members of Congress tried to amend the
bill to ban only those procedures that take place after viability, abortion opponents
complained that would leave most of the procedures legal.

Birth Control

Yes, to the Human
Life Alliance, even birth control is an abortion, meaning a vast majority of
the female population is having abortions left and right, month after month,
over and over again. 

Icare states "Studies have shown
that ovulation rates in women taking oral contraceptives ranged from 1.7
percent to 28.6 percent per cycle. Ovulation rates for women taking progestin
only pills (the mini-pill) ranged from 33 percent to 65 percent."

Fact: The
source for ”breakthrough ovulation rates” has moved, but I chased down the
original article here
First, the rates of "breakthrough ovulation" were only that high,
according to the article, if women did not take them as prescribed. 
Secondly, and more importantly, the data used by the article, which was
published in 1999, was pulled from studies ranging back to 1967

Dr. James Trussell, an expert on reproductive health at Princeton University,
dismisses the group’s argument.

It
really does not matter how many ovulations there are,” states Trussell. “Both
types of pills cause thickened cervical mucus that blocks sperm from ascending.
Of course pregnancy can occur even when the pills are used perfectly. A third
mechanism of action is making the endometrium not receptive to implantation.
Thus, in theory a fertilized egg would be prevented from implanting. While that
would not be an abortion (which can occur only after implantation), some would
consider anything that works after fertilization to be an abortion.”

Trussell continues on to
point out that the same issues that can face birth control (a possible
ovulation that then leads to a fertilized but non-implanted egg), also happens
to mothers who breastfeed.  Perhaps
that will be the next anti-abortion campaign: Formula Feeding for Life.

Icare claims that birth
control manufacturers have "redefined the terms ‘conception’ and
‘pregnancy.’"  However, it’s quite clear who is trying to redefine
the timeline
.

Misrepresentation. Guilt.  Partially quoted sources.  Misleading
rhetoric.  Icare specializes in
all of those tactics. And, as you will see in Part 4, they push even harder
when discussing the effects of having an abortion.

 

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  • cdncamel

    It’s PPFA medical standards to use Mifeprex up until 9 weeks. I can’t find the statistics online right now from home, but at a staff meeting last week, we discussed that PPFA’s national rate of failed/incomplete abortions with Mifeprex/misoprostol is 5 to 7%, for a 93-95% effectiveness rate.

  • prochoicegoth

    Pro-lifers will do ANYTHING to make abortions out to be this “evil act performed on a sweet innocent baybee”. I find it pathetic, and love that you have posted this up to debunk the utter bullcrap that they spew about these procedures. One thing though. Aren’t instillation procedures performed with the drug Dygoxin(not sure how to spell it)?

    Would you by any chance be able to write a piece on the validity of so-called abortion photographs? I know many of them are faked or mislabeled by a significant amount of weeks, and that so-called late term abortion pics are more than likely stillbirths, but it would be great to get some sort of validation on that.


    It’s pro-choice or
    NO choice.

  • brianh

    Icare Claim: Icare, in its truest propaganda form, gives a grizzly description of the procedure known as D&E, with crushing skulls, snapping spines and torn limbs.  To support its version, Icare sources the American Pregnancy Association, The National Abortion Federation, and WebMD.

    Fact: It comes as no shock that in going to each source, there is no description like the one they give, even in the clinical guidelines section they reference. These are scare tactics at their worst. 

    Icare should have mentioned the transcripts of the Leroy Carhart, M.D., et. al. v. Ashcroft Case in front of the U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska regarding the constitutionality of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban as a source.  Let me quote the transcript where the questioner is getting details from Dr. William Fitzhugh for everyone:

    Q. So one of the reasons that you use the forceps is to compress the skull is to ensure that the fetus is dead when you remove it?

    A. That’s one of the reasons.

    ~

    Q. ….what actions do you take during a D & E that would be fatal to the fetus?

    A. Well, number one, I like to interrupt the umbilical cord. Number two, we are working on a young gestation, but that’s not to do it. And we break up parts in the uterus and we crush skulls.

    I would say one time out of those that I will pull and everything will come out. I’ll pull and twist and everything will come out. And probably two or three times, I’ll have to pull and the head will get stuck against the cervix. So I’ll have to use my ring forceps and crush the skull.

    Q. Does it every happen that you would disarticulate a piece of the fetus, and then on the next pass, bring out the remainder of the fetus, except for the head?

    A. Its happened that way, disarticulated up to a knee joint. You grab the next grasp and you brought most everything out.

    ~

    Q. But some of them are alive at the time you do the procedure?

    A. The majority of them are alive at the time.

    Are you then accusing Dr. Fitzhugh of using scare tactics in describing in a court of law what he actually does in a D&E?

  • crowepps

    Dilation and Suction Curettage (D&C): Icare Claim: Icare states that a D&C will create "profuse" bleeding. The citation for that goes to a site that does not mention profuse bleeding. Fact: D&C’s were often used to treat abnormal or irregular bleeding in women.

    I have had two D&C’s myself, after spontaneous abortions (miscarriages). These were necessary to prevent infection and were explained to me as being far safer than no intervention at all. Attempting to paint all medical interventions in pregnancy as harmful to women fails to recognize that they are the exact same procedures used in the cases of pregnancy complication and fetal death, and demonizing the procedures themselves is going to increase the anxiety of women who need the procedures after fetal death to preserve their health and future fertility. This is just enormously counterproductive to women’s health — as well as grossly offensive to all of us who have needed these procedures in the past.

     

    Certainly their hysteria about Mifeprex doesn’t take into consideration that its use is absolutely the best way to both save the life of and preserve the future fertility of a woman with an ectopic pregnancy.

  • paul-bradford

    It also is incapable of feeling pain until at least 26 weeks.

     

    Pro-Lifers do themselves no favors by getting into discussions about the suffering of a fetus, or the dismembering of a fetus, or the damage an aborted fetus might or might not do to her/his mother.  

     

    They also don’t do themselves any favors by getting into semantic arguments about whether the period of time between fertilization and implantation should be called ‘pregnancy’.  All of that is completely beside the point. 

     

    All that matters is that before any of the procedures mentioned there is a living human body.  Afterwards, that living human body is no longer living.  There’s no need to assert anything else.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • saltyc

    Sorry Paul, but what actually matters is that a woman is pregnant and doesn’t want to be, for reasons that are not yours to dismiss. Before any procedures mentioned? Like plan B? There’s a human body in a fertilized egg? One thing I know about human bodies, is that I can see them without a microscope. That and their lungs are full of air.

    When you call it human you de-humanize me for having had an abortion, which I do not regret and am not ashamed of. Now can If I were as judgmental as you are I’d have a lot more to answer for in the end.

  • crowepps

    Pro-Lifers do themselves no favors by getting into discussions about … the damage an aborted fetus might or might not do to her/his mother.

    All that matters is that before any of the procedures mentioned there is a living human body.  Afterwards, that living human body is no longer living.  There’s no need to assert anything else.

    And the living human fetal body is so much more important than the damage or destruction it might bring to the living human woman’s body?  Since she was designed as a disposable reproductive unit?

     

    Failures of individual eggs and individual fertilizations are a majority.  The woman has hundreds and hundreds of eggs, and any individual egg, even after its fertilized, is not all that important, because the real key to survival of humanity is the woman’s ability to survive so that she can use one of those other DIFFERENT eggs to successfully complete a pregnancy.

    All of that is completely beside the point. 

    Then why do the anti-abortion activists keep bringing it all up, over and over and over,  and lying about it, over and over and over?

  • paul-bradford

    One thing I know about human bodies, is that I can see them without a microscope. That and their lungs are full of air.

     

    That’s a perspective worth considering.  Let’s limit our idea of ‘human’ to people who can breathe.  Implication, of course, being that people who can’t breathe needn’t be treated as humans.

     

    Do you agree with me that our society is going to have to reach a consensus about this, that it’s unworkable for us to ‘agree to disagree’ about who is human?  Either you and the people who agree with you are going to have to convince me and the people who agree with me — or it will have to work out the opposite way.

     

    I certainly don’t stand in judgement against women who have gotten abortions.  I’m not particularly interested in abortions that have already taken place.  My interest is in public safety. A certain segment of the public — that being people in the nine month period before birth — is facing a mortality rate of around 25%.  These people are vulnerable to a severe safety hazard, and that hazard is abortion.  If we can reduce abortions we can improve public safety.

     

    I don’t see how ‘judging’ you will improve public safety.  What’s done is done.  My hope is that I can convince you to value the lives of the four million unborn people who live in our country currently.  The more people value the unborn, the safer they will be.

     

    Public policy can greatly affect the abortion rate.  Even if you never become pregnant again, you will have an influence on the safety of the unborn.  If you support comprehensive access to contraception you will lower the abortion rate and increase public safety.  Same goes for universal health care, and tougher laws to enforce paternal support of children, and programs to reduce domestic violence, and increased aid to poor families.  There’s a lot you can do to reduce the safety risk — but first you’ve got to care.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    And the living human fetal body is so much more important than the damage or destruction it might bring to the living human woman’s body? Since she was designed as a disposable reproductive unit?

     

    I see you working from the assumption that care and compassion are ‘zero sum games’.  The more care we give to the very young, the less care we can afford to give to women.  I work from the assumption that care and compassion work on the principle of reflective enhancement.  I can see how actions in support of the unborn can be helpful to their mothers, and vice versa.

     

    To treat a woman as if she were a ‘disposable reproductive unit’ is ghastly.  It’s dehumanizing.  It’s sinful.  So is treating a fetus as if s/he were medical waste.  I want us to treat everybody better. 

     

    why do the anti-abortion activists keep bringing it all up, over and over and over, and lying about it, over and over and over?

     

    You can see as well as I can that ‘anti-abortion activists’ are a threat to the unborn, not a protection.  They call themselves ‘Pro-Life’ but ask them to give you their views on the death penalty, or the attack on Iraq, or immigration, or health care, or torture.  Their "Pro-Life" focus is so narrow that it does damage to the term.

     

    crowepps, you’re doing more to enhance respect for the lives of the unborn than they are. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • colleen

      I work from the assumption that care and compassion work on the principle of reflective enhancement.

     

    Let’s see you once insisted that the Catholic hierarchy felt "compassion" for a raped 9 year old after they had tried to kill her by trying to legally force her to carry twins to term. Is that an example of "reflective enhancement"?

    You have  insisted that "abortion isn’t about women" and rather stridently defended your position. Is that an example of humanizing women? 

     

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • crowepps

    I see you working from the assumption that care and compassion are ‘zero sum games’.  The more care we give to the very young, the less care we can afford to give to women.  I work from the assumption that care and compassion work on the principle of reflective enhancement.  I can see how actions in support of the unborn can be helpful to their mothers, and vice versa.

    The problem is that I’m not talking about people FEEL about the ‘very young’ or ‘women’.  I’m talking about the fact that complications of pregnancy can cause PHYSICAL DAMAGE or DEATH and it is sometimes necessary to stop the pregnancy AT ONCE to save the woman’s life even though doing dooms the fetus.

     

    Being stuffed FULL of touchy-feely COMPASSION and relying on the "principle of reflexive enhancement" sounds great but it’s not a heck of a lot of help in dealing with an ectopic implantation or an emergent hemorrhage.  In that case, what is needed is IMMEDIATE MEDICAL INTERVENTION.

     

    I’m afraid that your principle of reflexive enhancement doesn’t recognize the inevitable presence of its opposite principle – reflexive disaster – where fetal anomaly and reproductive failure lead to maternal death.

  • crowepps

    There’s a lot you can do to reduce the safety risk — but first you’ve got to care.

    Why does anyone have to "care"?  All of those things are good ideas entirely from the idea of efficient use of resources/systems and effectiveness of public health measures and stability of social networks.  Public policy decisions don’t have to be based in emotionalism and usually don’t work well when they are.

  • prochoicegoth

    The fetus is incapable of feeling pain at that point, PLUS the anesthesia given to the woman puts the fetus under as well. I see nothing of scare tactics. D&Es are not pretty, but surgery in general is not. Besides, they banned IDX, which was SAFER at times for the woman than a D&E. What does that say about how pro-lifers view the fetus and woman? They would rather the fetus be dismembered rather than euthanized first with dygoxin and then removed intact. 


    It’s pro-choice or
    NO choice.

  • grayduck

    Paul Bradford, Pro Life Catholics for Choice on February 9, 2010 – 1:39pm: "…before any of the procedures mentioned there is a living human body."

     

    My experience has been that people who believe that life begins at fertilization have great difficulty deriving a definition of human life that includes embryos but not heart transplant donors. As a result, people who argue against abortion on the basis that it ends a life have a tendency to appear hypocritical or to support policies that most people do not regard as pro-life.

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • saltyc

    How insulting of you to say I don’t "care." I do care, about humans. I don’t care about non-humans. I don’t care if you agree with me, I will never agree with you. People who can’t breathe on their own still have air in their lungs, even if with a machine. If they’re on a heart-lung machine it’s temporary and they won’t live for long on it either. I can say anything I want is a person on the pretense to control you, as you only want to control women on the false pretense of saying fetuses are people. I could try and get you to stop eating meat by saying that animals are human. But you don’t have to agree with me, if I convince enough powerful people your rights will be taken away without your agreeing to anything.

    Your controlling agenda is revealed to anybody (except you probably) when you say that there is a safety hazard of 25% embryos not making it to birth due to aborion. Hello? Are you reading? Pay attention: That’s due to ELECTIVE abortion. What about the safety hazard to 50% of embryos that end due to SPONTANEOUS abortion? Well? huh? Oh, no concern there of course, no brainstorming as to what to do about THAT? Why? Is it because finding an end to 50% spontaneous abortion does not involve controlling or guilting women? HAH! GOT YOU!!!!

  • paula

    I think in cases of rape or incest Plan B is the way to go. I think that any abortion type in the later stages of pregnancy is nothing but murder. I think this is going to be a controversy that continues for all the ages. casino online

    • crowepps

      Judge rules on evidence in NJ incest case

       

      PATERSON, N.J. – Jurors will get to hear testimony of the extreme physical and mental abuse allegedly inflicted by a New Jersey man accused of repeatedly raping his five daughters and terrorizing his family for years.

       

      New Jersey Superior Court Judge Raymond A. Reddin ruled Friday that testimony describing the abuse and isolation of the family is relevant to the case, including allegations that the man ordered all children be born at home to remain undocumented, depriving them of food and medical care, keeping them out of school and threatening them with death if they told anyone.

      “The jury can’t decide this case in a vacuum,” Reddin said. “Without the background leading up to the alleged assaults, the alleged assaults become almost unbelievable.”

      The former wife of the 51-year-old defendant testified at a hearing that he claimed to be a prophet whose apocalyptic visions drove him to try to create “pure” family bloodlines by impregnating three of his teenager daughters.

       

      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100312/ap_on_re_us/us_father_rape_charges;_ylt=AsiyaAnfioDzuIpwN0LHAaBvzwcF;_ylu=X3oDMTJqNjJnOG1sBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAwMzEyL3VzX2ZhdGhlcl9yYXBlX2NoYXJnZXMEcG9zAzgEc2VjA3luX21vc3RfcG9wdWxhcgRzbGsDanVkZ2VydWxlc29u

      Just got to ask, considering that “Dad” insisted the “children be born at home to remain undocumented, depriving them of food and medical care, keeping them out of school and threatening them with death if they told anyone”, just HOW would they have gotten access to Plan B?

  • emma

    My hope is that I can convince you to value the lives of the four million unborn people who live in our country currently. The more people value the unborn, the safer they will be.

    For christ’s sake, Paul, can we stop being ridiculous here? You’ve veered way into excessive sentimentality and outright crazy territory. You’ve got no right to impose this rubbish on women who are actually having to deal with the reality of unwanted pregnancy. And btw, you don’t do a great deal for the image of pro-lifers when you go on about zygotes being ‘very young people’ – most people will view it as extremist crazy-talk.

     

    Brevity due to shoulder injury; typing with one hand is hard!

  • saltyc

    The thing is, most people who say they think abortion is murder, when pressed, prove to be hypocrites.

    So what kind of punishment should women like me face for having an abortion? Life without parole? Isn’t it murder? Or are you condoning murder by not pushing for harsher sentencing? How about you go and figure it out before insulting women like me.

  • prochoiceferret

    I think in cases of rape or incest Plan B is the way to go.

    Well, that puts you ahead of Catholic hospitals, at least.

    I think that any abortion type in the later stages of pregnancy is nothing but murder.

    What kind of murder, specifically? First-degree? Second? Or would you just consider it voluntary manslaughter?

    I think this is going to be a controversy that continues for all the ages.

    Yes, like the controversy of whether women are competent enough to vote.

  • crowepps

    Don’t forget the older controversies on which the survival of civilization was hinged:

    * whether women have souls

    * whether women would go mad if they learned to read

    * whether women could sign contracts

    * whether women could pick their own husbands instead of being

       assigned one by father/brother/son-in-law

    * whether women could physically stand up to the rigors of working

       8 hours a day (for money – working at home for free 10 to 12 hours

       a day seemed to be no problem)

    * whether women’s paychecks could be handed over to them instead

       of their father/brother/husband

    * whether women could sell their own property

    * whether women could sue for divorce

    * whether women could have custody of their children

    * whether women could vote

  • crowepps

    I think that any abortion type in the later stages of pregnancy is nothing but murder.

    Since most abortions "in the later stages of pregnancy" are to save the woman’s life, will you at least allow her to defend herself at trial by claiming self-defense?

  • edward-craig

    I think you mean ‘grisly’.

  • prochoicegoth

    And if the woman takes plan B too late OR she can’t get plan B because she was taken to a hospital where the nurse refused to give it to her? Which later stages are you referring to? The second trimester? The third? Late term abortions are very rare and only reserved for maternal health or fetal deformity or illness. 

     

    It’s pro-choice or NO choice.