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Update on New Talks

Hormonal Contraceptives

   

 

 Did You Know That Certain

Contraceptives Cause Abortions

and Serious Side Effects?

 

by Priestmonk Kosmas

 

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God willing, this will soon be made into a printed book.

Click here to go to the last section. 

 

~ CHAPTER 1 ~

Should the Church get involved?

Many say that the issue of using contraceptives is a medical one and therefore should only be discussed with one’s doctor. The problem with this is that there are a growing number of people in the medical community, as well as Orthodox clergy and monastics, who have come to understand that hormonal contraceptives and copper IUDs can cause abortions. Therefore, the Orthodox Church absolutely needs to get involved because abortion is a great sin, even if committed unknowingly. Women who use these contraceptives, and men who engage in sexual relations with them, as well as medical professionals who prescribe or sell them, should immediately stop, repent, and confess to a spiritual father who understands the seriousness of this sin, and accept the penance given by him. No one should despair because God is merciful and forgiving, and desires everyone’s salvation.

 

 ~ CHAPTER 2 ~

Why is widespread ignorance dangerous?

Approximately half a billion women in the world use some type of hormonal contraceptive or the copper IUD. It makes one wonder whether these women really know what chemicals they are taking or what devices are implanted in their bodies? Are they aware of the side effects? Unfortunately, the truth is that when it comes to this topic, women do little to no investigation at all. This, and the abortion factor mentioned above, is unacceptable and dangerous bodily, psychologically, and spiritually.

 

 

 ~ CHAPTER 3 ~

When does life begin, according to scientists?

The fact that human life begins at the moment of fertilisation (conception) of the egg by the sperm in the fallopian tube, was a historical fact universally acknowledged by scientists.

It was accepted that the words conception and fertilisation had the same meaning, that is, the very beginning of human life. Conception is the point at which the twenty-three chromosomes from the female’s egg and the twenty-three from the male’s sperm join together to form a new human life with his or her unique DNA contained within forty-six total chromosomes.

However, in recent decades, there has been much confusion and disagreement about when human life actually begins. In fact, there is a hot controversy about the definition of when human life begins. Why, then, is there controversy over something that was once universally accepted?

 

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Fertilisation occurs when a sperm cell combines
with an egg (ovum) to form an embryo

 

The reason for this controversy is because in the mid-1960s, the definition of when human life begins was changed. This change of definition of when human life begins was the worst example of unscientific and deceitful manipulation the medical profession had ever seen. Not all scientists accepted the new definition and this is why a controversy erupted in the scientific world. This new definition will be analysed further on in this book. It is enough to say at this stage that the new definition changed the time when a woman supposedly becomes pregnant. The new definition states that pregnancy begins when a fertilised egg implants in the uterus. The timeline for when pregnancy begins was moved by 6 to 12 days – a significant amount. What should interest Orthodox Christians is why this was done.

 

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The change of definition of when human life begins was made to satisfy pro-abortion and birth control activists. Many will be shocked to learn that this change of definition is directly linked to the profits of pharmaceutical companies, and above all, to limit the population of the world.

Those who read this book will discover that all this is related to contraceptives, in particular, hormonal contraceptives and the copper IUD. Yes, the definition was changed to hide the fact that these horrible contraceptives cause abortions.

 

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 ~ CHAPTER 4 ~

When does life begin, according to the Orthodox Church?

It is important to understand that there has never been a controversy in the Orthodox Church about when life begins. The Holy Orthodox Church has always strongly affirmed that human life begins at the moment of conception (fertilisation), i.e. when a sperm cell combines with an egg (ovum). The fertilised egg (embryo) is a newly-conceived human being, with a soul destined for eternal life and therefore is sacred from its very beginning.

From the point of conception until birth, the newly-created human being is referred to as an embryo in the writings of the Church. Therefore, what the Orthodox Church has taught for over 2,000 years, and the true scientific definition that life begins at the moment of conception, are in complete agreement. 

The Orthodox Church has feasts of the conception of saints in the womb of their mother, as is the case with the Most Holy Theotokos (9 December) and Saint John the Baptist (23 September), precisely because it considers that humans exist at the moment of their conception. 

 

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 9 December - The commemoration of the
conception of the 
Most Holy Theotokos

 

These holy celebrations demonstrate that the Church views conception not only as the beginning of human life but also as something sacred. Apart from the celebrations mentioned above, the Holy Ecumenical councils, all our holy Fathers, all the saints and all the elders of the Orthodox Church agree that life begins at the very moment of fertilisation, that is, at conception.

 

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23 September - The commemoration of the conception of Saint John the Baptist

 

 

 

~ CHAPTER 5 ~

What do the saints and elders say about conception?

 

(i) Saint Paisios the Athonite (†1994)

 

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Saint Paisios of Mount Athos, a recently canonised saint of the Orthodox Church, would say about conception:

“Parents need to understand that life begins at the moment of conception.”

 

 

(ii) Elder Cleopa of Romania (†1998)

 

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The renowned Elder Cleopa was an abbot, spiritual father, missionary, confessor and hesychast. His “university” was more than eight years of complete solitude in the forests of Romania. His impact on Orthodoxy in Romania was such that his influence continues to this day. He taught the following regarding conception after sexual relations:

“In that moment when they have come together, by the power of God, in the womb of the mother is conceived both body and soul, and the child begins its existence... The embryo has a living soul, created by God from the very moment of conception.”

 

 

(iii) Elder Athanasios Mitilinaios (†2006)

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Archimandrite Athanasios Mitilinaios was one of the most eminent and beloved Orthodox preachers of Greece, whose teachings can truly be considered theological and God-inspired. He said the following regarding when human life begins:

The sperm enters, meets the egg, and conception begins... the embryo begins its life... From the moment a human being is conceived in a woman, he [or she] is humanFrom that moment!

  

 

 (iv) Elder Gervasios Paraskevopoulos of Patras (†1964)

 

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Elder Gervasios Paraskevopoulos of Patras, a Greek archimandrite, who is soon to be canonised, states that even if one cannot see a newly conceived embryo using the images of an ultrasound (“pictures” as he calls them), the embryo is still a human being that, on the Day of Judgment, will resurrect like those who were born into the world. The Elder taught that:

“Pictured or not pictured, even if [the embryo lives] only one hour from conception, this child on the day of judgement will resurrect as all human beings, as one 33 years of age.” 

Note: How early can a woman get an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy? Most practitioners wait until at least 6 weeks to perform the first pregnancy ultrasound. The heartbeat of an embryo can be detected at 5 to 6 weeks (though that is not always possible).

 

 

(v) Saint Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia (†1991)

 

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Saint Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia, another recently canonised saint of the Orthodox Church, said:

A child’s upbringing commences at the moment of its conception. The embryo hears and feels in its mother’s womb. Yes, it hears and it sees with its mother’s eyes. It is aware of her movements and her emotions, even though its mind has not developed. If the mother’s face darkens, it darkens too. If the mother is irritated, then it becomes irritated also. Whatever the mother experiences — sorrow, pain, fear, anxiety, etc. — is also experienced by the embryo.

If the mother doesn’t want the child, if she doesn’t love it, then the embryo senses this and traumas are created in its little soul that accompany it all its life. The opposite occurs through the mother’s holy emotions. When she is filled with joy, peace and love for the embryo, she transmits these things to it mystically, just as happens to children that have been born.

“For this reason a mother must pray a lot during her pregnancy and love the child growing within her, caressing her abdomen, reading psalms, singing hymns and living a holy life. This is also for her own benefit. But she makes sacrifices for the sake of the embryo so that the child will become more holy and will acquire from the very outset holy foundations. Do you see how delicate a matter it is for a woman to go through a pregnancy? Such a responsibility and such an honour!

 

Saint Porphyrios taught that not only is the spiritual life of the parents important during pregnancy but also during a child’s upbringing. He said:

“A large part of the responsibility for a person’s spiritual state lies with the family.”

 

Excerpts from the book Wounded by Love – The Life and Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios, in the chapter “On the Upbringing of Children” pp195-211.

 

 

(vi) Saint Gregory of Nyssa (†394)

 

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Saint Gregory of Nyssa, the brother of Saint Basil the Great, affirms that the embryo has been given, by God, both a body and a soul from the time of conception. Saint Gregory writes:

“There is no question about that which is formed in the uterus [womb] … The point of commencement of existence is one and the same for body and soul… Soul and body have one and the same beginning…”

 

Saint Gregory also says that there is no difference between a newborn baby and the developing baby in the womb, because both are human. He writes that a child that has already been born has…

“no advantage over the embryo in the womb except that he has breathed the air.”

 

 

(vii) Saint Basil the Great (†379)

 

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In canons 2 and 8 of Saint Basil the Greats canons, that the entire Orthodox Church accepts, he says that there is no difference between an embryo in the beginning stages of development and the later stages of development because both are living human beings. He writes: 

We do not have a precise distinction between an embryo which has been formed and one which has not yet been formed… any hairsplitting distinction as to its [the embryo] being formed or unformed is unacceptable.”

It seems that in Saint Basil the Great’s days, there may have been a controversy regarding whether an embryo in its very first stages was different from an embryo in the more developed stages. Saint Basil categorically states that there is no difference. 

 

 

(viii) Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou, Cyprus

 

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Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou is one of the most outspoken bishops in the Orthodox Church today. He is considered by many to be a true Orthodox bishop and shepherd in these times of compromise and betrayal of Orthodoxy. On the official website of the Holy Metropolis of Morphou, under ‘Various Documents’, we read that the embryo is a human being from the moment of conception. Although this article was not written by Metropolitan Neophytos himself, but rather by two pious doctors, it does indicate that this is what the Metropolitan believes and wishes to be made known, because he would never publish something on his website that he does not agree with. The doctors write, 

“Research based on human embryos is the subject of intense controversy worldwide. Many distinguished Embryology scientists admit that the miracle of human life begins at the moment of conception. The Eastern Orthodox Church believes that the embryo is the most vulnerable form of human existence and therefore it is not permitted to be used for research purposes, regardless of the potential benefits. According to the dogmatic teaching of the Orthodox Church, the embryo is a human being consisting of body and soul from the moment of conception and constitutes a unique and priceless existence destined for eternity.

 

 

(ix) Tertullian of Carthage (c. †220)

 

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Tertullian of Carthage was a prolific Christian writer, activist, and apologist of the late second century who defended Orthodox dogma during controversies in the early years of Christianity. Although he is not a saint, many (but not all) of Tertullian’s early teachings are acknowledged by many of the holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church as Orthodox teachings. One such teaching is as follows:

“... We acknowledge, therefore that life begins with conception, because we assert that the soul begins with conception.”

 

In conclusion, we see that the Orthodox Church and the pre mid-1960s medical profession are in agreement that human life begins at the moment of conception (fertilisation). Let us now examine the topic of whether there is a link between hormonal contraceptives and abortion. But before we can do this, we need to learn what hormonal contraceptives are, and how they work.

 

 

~ CHAPTER 6 ~

What are hormonal contraceptives?

A woman’s body naturally produces the hormones estrogen and progesterone. These two hormones are vital to a woman’s normal reproductive development and fertility.

Hormonal contraceptives are a type of birth control that uses steroids and synthetic (artificial) forms of the hormones estrogen and/or progesterone to prevent pregnancies. Progestin is a lab-created (synthetic) form of progesterone. There are also many synthetic forms of estrogen.

These synthetic hormones act differently than the natural hormones in a woman’s body, contributing to many side effects and other medical risks. In summary, hormonal contraceptives contain either a combination of the manufactured hormones estrogen and progestin, or progestin alone.  

 

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 There are six types of hormonal contraceptives on the market today:

  •  Oral contraceptive pills (such as “the pill”, “mini-pill”, or “emergency contraceptive pill” also known as the “morning after pill” or “Plan B”)
  •  Intrauterine devices, abbreviated as IUDs (such as Mirena or Kyleena)
  •  Implants (such as Norplant, Jadelle, Implanon, and Nexplanon)
  •  Vaginal rings (such as NuvaRing)
  •  Birth control patches (such as Evra)
  •  Injectables (such as Depo-Provera)

Although the very popular copper IUD is not a hormonal contraceptive, one if its mechanisms is to cause abortions. The way the copper IUD does this is different from the way hormonal contraceptives cause abortions. The main thing that Orthodox Christians need to know is that they both cause abortions.

 

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Copper IUD 

 

 

 

~ CHAPTER 7 ~

To understand how they work,

what knowledge does one need?

Before we understand how hormonal contraceptives cause abortions, we need to have a more thorough knowledge of what happens during a woman’s reproductive cycle (which includes the menstrual cycle). Please refer to the following diagram while reading the next sections.

 

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The first thing that happens in the monthly menstrual cycle is that the lining of the uterus (endometrium) begins to build up supportive tissue by thickening. The purpose of this is to provide the necessary nourishment (blood supply) and nurturing in anticipation of a fertilised egg (embryo) attaching to the lining of the uterus. The lining of the uterus can thicken anywhere between 7 to 16 mm. A minimum thickness of 7 mm is generally required for a successful pregnancy (although there have been very rare cases of a successful pregnancy with a thickness of 5.8 mm).

 

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~ CHAPTER 8 ~

When does pregnancy begin?

Approximately one week after the lining of the uterus begins to thicken, one of the ovaries releases an egg (and in rare cases two eggs) into the connected fallopian tube, in a process called ovulation. After ovulation the egg only lives for 12 to 24 hours.

After sexual intercourse, it may take anywhere from less than an hour to five days for a sperm cell to join with the egg in a process called fertilisation or conception. It should be noted that once inside the body of a woman, a healthy sperm can live up to 2-5 days.  

As mentioned earlier, the exact moment of fertilisation is when pregnancy begins and not, as many wrongly say, at a later time (see Chapter 3). The fertilised egg (embryo) is a newly conceived child with a soul, and not a non-human living tissue as we are led to believe.

 

 

~ CHAPTER 9 ~

What happens after fertilisation?

Within 24 hours of being fertilised, the newly-fertilised egg (embryo) begins its 3 to 4 day journey down the fallopian tube towards the uterus. Once the fertilised egg enters the uterus, it will attempt to attach itself to the thickened lining, where the newly conceived child (embryo) continues growing. This process is known as implantation.

In general, implantation is completed between 6 to 12 days after conception occurs. It should be noted that from conception to implantation, the lining of the uterus continues to thicken. If the egg is not fertilised, or a fertilised egg (embryo) does not implant, the uterus sheds its thickened lining. This is the process that occurs during the monthly menstrual bleeding cycle, or period.

 

 

~ CHAPTER 10 ~

How do hormonal contraceptives work?

Information about hormonal contraceptives may be found in most drug reference manuals. We learn that they work in one of three ways (known as ‘mechanisms’):

1. They may stop or reduce the monthly release of an egg from the ovaries (ovulation), which decreases the likelihood of the fertilisation of an egg by a sperm. (This is advertised as the main mechanism.) 

2. They thicken cervical mucuswhich makes it more difficult for sperm to travel through the cervix and into one of the fallopian tubes to reach an egg.

3. They alter the lining of the uterus (endometrium)which decreases the likelihood of the fertilised egg (embryo) from implanting in the uterus.

The first two mechanisms certainly are contraceptive (i.e. they prevent pregnancies). However, when these fail and fertilisation does take place, the third mechanism causes the embryo to be expelled from the uterus whereby the newly created human being, with a soul, is aborted. Therefore, the first two mechanisms are non-abortive while the third mechanism is, without a doubt, abortive. Unfortunately, the third mechanism happens often. It is therefore untrue that the main mechanism of hormonal contraceptives is that they prevent a woman from ovulating. This will be examined in later chapters.

This was, in fact, true with the earlier high-dosage contraceptives. Their main mechanism was to stop or reduce the monthly release of an egg from the ovaries (ovulation), thus decreasing the likelihood of the fertilisation of an egg by a sperm. Abortions occurred rarely with high-dosage contraceptives while the current low-dosage contraceptives cause more abortions. The reason why the pharmaceutical companies ceased producing high-dosage contraceptives will be examined in more detail in a later chapter. 

 

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It should be noted that the copper IUD also causes abortion but not in the same way as hormonal contraceptives do. So as not to cause confusion, we will focus only on hormonal contraceptives to begin with.  How the copper IUD works will be examined in later chapters. 

 

 

~ CHAPTER 11 ~

What is one of the world’s best kept secrets?

Many who have read thus far will be asking themselves why they have never heard about this before. Considering that approximately half a billion women worldwide use hormonal contraceptives or copper IUDs, there is clearly something very wrong and evil occurring to keep people in a state of ignorance.

Perhaps we can say that one of the world’s best kept secrets is that hormonal contraceptives and copper IUDs cause abortions. In other words, these particular contraceptives act as abortifacients. Abortifacients are any substances or devices used to induce (cause) an abortion. Bear in mind that no one claims hormonal contraceptives always cause abortions. The issue is that they sometimes do. To be an abortifacient does not require that something always causes an abortion, only that it sometimes does, and this is unacceptable for Orthodox Christians who are seeking salvation.

Pharmaceutical companies always knew that many women would not use hormonal contraceptives or copper IUDs if they learned that they also act as abortifacients. Fearing the loss of their profits, they had to make them more appealing to pro-life women. They did this by marketing these potential abortifacients under the name “contraception” (prevention of pregnancy). Pharmaceutical companies deliberately hid the fact that even though these contraceptives at times prevent fertilisation, at other times they actually cause abortions

This is clearly disinformation of the worst kind. Those who spread disinformation know it is a lie but say it anyway, regardless of the harm that it causes to people.

There is, however, another reason more sinister than profit: population control. There are godless and fanatical people who believe that the use of non-hormonal and hormonal contraceptives, along with easy access to abortion (i.e. medical and surgical abortions on demand), are the most effective ways to limit the world’s population.

 

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~ CHAPTER 12 ~

Why are vague and difficult expressions used?

Pharmaceutical companies and other promoters of hormonal contraceptives and copper IUDs do not openly admit that their products actually cause abortion. This is why they use vague and difficult expressions such as “alters the endometrium”. Here is an example of an advertisement where it says alters the endometrium without mentioning that these contraceptives can cause abortions.

 

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~ CHAPTER 13 ~

Are there efforts to remove references to the third mechanism?

Apart from using vague expressions such as “alters the endometrium”, there certainly are moves to omit altogether any reference to “changes in the endometrium” from patient information leaflets placed inside hormonal contraceptive packages. Why do this after so many years? It would seem that such references were causing some concern to women, including pro-lifers and medical professionals, who read the information leaflets more closely. This concern led many to investigate this further and come to the realisation that hormonal contraceptives can cause abortions

The following is a transcript from the informative video, The Birth Control Pill Documentary – 28 Days on the Pill.

“The CPS is the Canadian drug reference for health care professionals. Almost all of the entries for oral contraceptives mention changes in the endometrium. Now, when we went to the pharmacies and got the patient information which comes in the pill packages, the inserts that do mention how the pill works only give two mechanisms of action: inhibition [prevention] of ovulation, thickening of cervical mucus, leaving out the effects on the endometrium….

“When we looked at the American inserts, we found all three mechanisms under the clinical pharmacology section. However, in the information for the patient section, there was no mention of how the pill works

“But what about the handouts that are given to women, that are also required by the FDA [in the US]? When we did our study, all of the birth control pills, except one, excluded that information. They said: decreases ovulation, thickens cervical mucus. But in the information given to women, it did not say that the endometrium could be altered... They ignore it, and I think that’s part of the reason that not only so many health care professionals, but so many women, just don’t know about this issue, about this controversy.”

Let us now examine the important questions of exactly how these contraceptives alter the endometrium (lining of the uterus) and how this causes abortions.

 

 

~ CHAPTER 14 ~

How exactly do they cause abortions?

 

Studies confirm that when a woman uses one of the six hormonal contraceptives previously mentioned, the lining of the uterus thickens only to around 1.1 mm during the menstrual cycle. There is hardly any build-up and therefore it is likely impossible for a fertilised egg (embryo) to implant successfully. If the embryo does manage to implant, it is highly unlikely that it will survive due to the thin lining of the uterus. This is because a thin lining is unable to provide the necessary nourishment (via the blood supply) and the nurturing that is needed for a fertilised egg to successfully grow. This lack of nourishment results in a “mini-abortion” because it occurs 6 to 12 days after conception.

It must be emphasised that the lining of the uterus of women who do not use hormonal contraceptives thickens to between 7 and 16 mm compared to around 1.1 mm for women who do use them. A minimum of 7 mm is generally needed for successful implantation. The following diagram compares the different thicknesses.

 

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Below is a visual comparison of the dramatic difference between the normal lining of the uterus during a woman’s menstrual cycle and that of the lining of the uterus when using a common synthetic form of the natural hormone progesterone, known as levonorgestrel, that is used in hormonal contraceptives. The hormone levonorgestrel causes abortions.

 

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This is the reason why many women who use hormonal contraceptives end up having periods that become lighter or cease altogether.  The lining becomes so thin that there is very little endometrial tissue to be shed each month. When women cease using hormonal contraceptives, the endometrium will begin to thicken again, resulting in the return of a more normal period.  

 

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~ CHAPTER 15 ~

What is the significance of the 6 to 12 day interval?

We have already learnt that after fertilisation the fertilised egg (embryo) remains in the fallopian tube for approximately 5 days. What happens during these 5 days? Within 24 hours of being fertilised, the newly-fertilised egg (embryo) begins its journey down the fallopian tube towards the uterus. Around the 5th day, the fertilised egg enters the uterus where it attempts to implant into the thickened lining. In general, implantation is completed between 6 to 12 days after fertilisation occurs. As we learnt earlier, if the lining of the uterus is too thin, the fertilised egg (embryo) cannot implant.

The 6 to 12 day interval is significant because it is during this time that hormonal contraceptives do their abortive work, having been responsible for thinning the lining of the uterus, which prevents successful implantations from occurring. Hormonal contraceptives are believed to have no dangerous effects on the fertilised egg while it is still in the fallopian tube (see Note below). This means that for 5 days the fertilised egg is alive in the fallopian tube. The life-threatening danger to the fertilised egg begins once it enters the uterus. To survive, the fertilised egg needs to successfully implant in the uterus. If the fertilised egg does not successfully implant, it will die. In other words, the fertilised egg (embryo) is aborted.

Unfortunately, there are those (including many doctors, that should know better) who say that no abortion takes place because the fertilised egg dies before it is implanted. Their argument is based on the new definition of when pregnancy begins, which states that pregnancy begins when the fertilised egg (embryo) is implanted in the uterus.

Because of this new definition, the destruction of a fertilised egg (embryo) during the 6 to 12 day interval before implantation is not considered an abortion. This, of course, is a huge lie that has unfortunately been accepted by millions of people worldwide. The consequence of this deceit and ignorance is the destruction of hundreds of millions of embryos every year.

 

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Note: As mentioned above, hormonal contraceptives supposedly have no dangerous effects on the fertilised egg when it is still in the fallopian tube. How can we be certain of this, considering that most of the medical community have lied about hormonal contraceptives and copper IUDs (that they do not cause abortions), as well as other medications?   How can we be sure that the contraceptives do not affect the embryo in some other way while it is in the fallopian tube for 5 days? A medical researcher who was asked to look into this, answered as follows:

In older studies, there was a concern for birth defects as a result of the oral contraceptive pill (OCP). Much of this I cannot access even through public databases. Now modern researchers say it does not cause birth defects. Something is not right here. The principles of embryology suggest that abnormal hormones in the environment can certainly affect developing offspring - this is seen in multiple animals and is well accepted. One summary of this principle as it applies to human beings is here.

There is not enough clear evidence at this time to make a clear statement of whether hormonal contraceptives have dangerous effects on the fertilised egg (embryo) of a human, when it is still in the fallopian tube. However, it may be that there is some effect - perhaps it is just not a lethal effect. For this reason, it would be safer to say at this stage that hormonal contraceptives MIGHT affect the embryo within the fallopian tube in ways we do not yet understand (genetics, organ development, sexual health, etc), or ways that are being hidden by the research / drug development community.

 

~ CHAPTER 16 ~

Is the truth readily available for those who seek it?

The information in this chapter has been taken from the excellent and well-researched book, Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions? by Randy Alcorn, which is published by Eternal Perspectives Ministries. From a scientific perspective, this book is highly recommended.

 

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Randy Alcorn is the author of numerous works. His informative and easy-to-read books on topics related to the abortion/pro-life movement and hormonal contraceptives are thoroughly researched and grounded firmly on medical science and scientific studies. Furthermore, many physicians have stated that Mr. Alcorn offers some of the most comprehensive research on abortion, and especially on the topic of hormonal contraceptives. These issues are very important and relevant to the Orthodox Christian community and therefore Mr. Alcorn’s books on these subjects are highly recommended.

Although Mr. Alcorn is passionately against abortion-inducing contraceptives, he is supportive of contraceptives that do not cause abortion. The question of whether Orthodox Christians may use non-abortive contraceptives will be addressed in a future chapter.

It should also be noted that Mr. Alcorn introduces a number of theological errors contrary to the teachings of the Orthodox Church. In order to avoid confusion, it is advised that Orthodox clergy and the faithful should disregard his theological views as they appear in these otherwise excellent books.

The three books which are highly recommended are:

  • Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?      
  • Why Pro Life?: Caring for the Unborn and Their Mothers
  • Pro-Choice or Pro-Life: Examining 15 Pro-Choice Claims

 

Returning to the original question of whether the truth is readily available for those who seek it, presented below are some excellent points from Randy Alcorn’s above-mentioned book on contraceptives. These points are referring to hormonal contraceptives and not copper IUDs which work in a different way.

  • The American Pregnancy Association says use of oral contraceptives “changes the uterus lining to prevent implantation.” (page 38)

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  • Attorney Frank Sussman, representing Missouri Abortion Clinics, argued before the Supreme Court in 1989 that “The most common forms of… contraception today, IUDs and low-dose birth control pills… act as abortifacients.” (page 37)

 

  • In her article Abortifacient Drugs and Devices: Medical and Moral Dilemmas, Dr. Kristine Severyn states, “The third effect of combined oral contraceptives is to alter the endometrium in such a way that implantation of the fertilized egg (new life) is made more difficult, if not impossible. In effect, the endometrium becomes atrophic [deteriorated] and unable to support implantation of the fertilized egg… the alteration of the endometrium, making it hostile to implantation by the fertilized egg, provides a backup abortifacient method to prevent pregnancy.” (page 31)

 

  • The FDA-required research information on the birth control pills ‘Ortho-Cyclen’ and ‘Ortho Tri- Cyclen’ also state that they cause “changes in… the endometrium (which reduce the likelihood of implantation).” (page 24) 

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  • In November 2008, a prominent medical organisation with pro-abortion views, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), published a review of hormonal birth control in its medical journal. The mechanisms of hormonal birth control were stated as: “inhibition of ovulation, alteration in the cervical mucus, and/or modification of the endometrium, thus preventing implantation.” (page 38) 

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  • In PDR’s [Physicians’ Desk Reference in the United States] product information for ‘Ortho-Cept’, as listed by Ortho, one of the largest manufacturers of the Pill it states: “Combination oral contraceptives act by suppression of gonadotropins [two hormones that encourage ovulation]. Although the primary mechanism of this action is inhibition of ovulation, other alterations include changes in the cervical mucus, which increase the difficulty of sperm entry into the uterus, and changes in the endometrium, which reduce the likelihood of implantation.” (pages 23-24) 

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 ~ CHAPTER 17 ~

What are “silent” and “unknown” abortions?

It is most concerning that every woman who uses hormonal contraceptives or copper IUDs may be committing one or more abortions every year. These types of abortions are often referred to as “silent” or “unknown” abortions. Exactly how many of these abortions a woman will have during the time that she is using hormonal contraceptives cannot be precisely determined because it is impossible for a woman who uses them to know which of the three mechanisms prevented a potential pregnancy during each of her monthly cycles. Since there are no physical symptoms during a “silent” abortion, only God knows the true number of “silent” or “unknown” abortions that occur as a consequence of using hormonal contraceptives. It should be noted, however, that although it is impossible to know the true number of “silent” or “unknown” abortions, a minimal estimate can be made (see Chapter 22). 

With what we have learnt so far, we can better answer the question: why was the definition of when human life begins changed? It all has to do with hormonal contraceptives.

 

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Note: How early can a urine pregnancy test or a blood test confirm a pregnancy? If a woman is pregnant, a urine pregnancy test is not expected to be positive until 3-4 days after implantation (at the very earliest), which is about 10 days after ovulation/fertilisation. Blood tests are a more reliable way of confirming an early pregnancy. They can confirm a pregnancy about six to eight days after ovulation, which would mean after implantation. In both cases, a urine pregnancy test and a blood test can only confirm a pregnancy after implantation. Therefore, it is impossible to know whether a woman has conceived before implantation and as such, it is also impossible to know whether an abortion has taken place before actual implantation.

 

 

~ CHAPTER 18 ~

How were the consciences of

pro-life men and women put to sleep?

As outlined earlier in the book, in the mid-1960s, pro-abortion medical leaders, together with “progressive” thinkers and politicians, were able to successfully change the definition of when human life begins. The new definition is that human life begins at implantation, that is, when a fertilised egg attaches to the lining of the uterus. This was an intentional dehumanisation of the embryo before implantation. They wanted us to believe that before implantation the fertilised egg is not a human, but just non-human living tissue.

The new, false, definition claims that because the fertilised egg (embryo) was expelled before implantation, there was no “termination of pregnancy. This meant that women could use hormonal contraceptives with no guilt that she has committed an abortion because the expulsion of a fertilised egg was no longer labelled an abortion as there was no implantation, and therefore (supposedly) no pregnancy.

The changes in attitude and terminology were not based on new scientific evidence. Besides wanting to increase profits, the changes were a political decision made especially to appease pro-abortionists and birth control activists. They were successful due to a highly effective disinformation campaign, that is, the intentional spreading of false information with the intent to deceive or mislead. As a result, the consciences of many pro-life women and men were successfully put to sleep.

 

 

~ CHAPTER 19 ~

What are the two types of abortifacients?

As we have already learnt, an abortifacient is a drug or device used to cause an abortion. There are two types of abortifacients:

  • The first type are those that prevent an embryo from successfully implanting in the uterus. These are silent/unknown abortions because they occur without prior awareness of conception and pregnancy. They are caused by hormonal contraceptives which have already been discussed. Copper IUDs also cause abortions but not in the same way.
  • The second type of abortifacients are those that directly kill an embryo after it has already implanted in the uterus, using chemicals or pills. This is referred to as “medication abortion” or “medical abortion” or “abortion with pills”.

 

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Officially, medication abortions are performed up to around nine weeks of pregnancy. Some abortion doctors (medical monsters) will even try and use medical abortion drugs after this time period (six months or more!), and this is encouraged by some pro-abortion groups, many of whom are also population control activists. It is like they have an agenda of killing as many babies as they can. Why? Perhaps it is because God created them!

The majority of women and girls who take these types of abortifacients know that they are intentionally inducing an abortion. These abortifacients include RU-486, misoprostol, the RU-486/misoprostol combination, and the methotrexate/misoprostol combination.

 

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~ CHAPTER 20 ~

What are some shocking statistics?

To see how evil medication abortions have become, let us look at a disturbing statistic. In December 2022, the Guttmacher Institute reported that approximately 53 percent of all abortions in the U.S. were medication-based. This would mean that the other 47 percent were surgical abortions. The Guttmacher Institute is a US non-profit organisation which strongly promotes abortion and is considered the world’s foremost authority on abortion statistics.

The above statistic does not include abortions caused by hormonal contraceptives and copper IUDs. This is intentional. As mentioned above, only God knows the true number of abortions that occur worldwide as a consequence of using these embryo-killing contraceptives. But what is certain is that the number of abortions caused by them is extremely high. A minimal estimate can be made of the number of babies murdered each year, worldwide, due to these contraceptives – a tragic 500 million. Of course, the actual number of abortions is far higher than 500 million. This figure will be explained in chapter 22.

 

 

~ CHAPTER 21 ~

What new words were created to continue the lie?

In general, the pro-abortionists, pharmaceutical companies and medical schools have, for some years now, wanted us to believe that the fertilised egg in the early stages is not really an embryo (a newly-created being with a soul), but simply a “cell”, “clusters of cells”, “clumps of cells”, or “a mass of tissue”, which has not yet implanted in the mother’s uterus, and therefore is not a pregnancy. Words such as “zygote”, “morula”, “blastocyst” and “pre-embryo” are used instead of embryo, and especially, instead of baby. This is how they justify the false claim that hormonal contraceptives are not abortifacients, that is, that they do not cause abortions.

However, as we have seen, the truth is that all hormonal contraceptives have the potential to kill the embryo by preventing the successful implantation of a tiny human being. This is done by altering (thinning) the lining of the uterus (endometrium). The hidden reality is that embryos, which are living human beings, are tragically being terminated in the millions worldwide. In other words, mass murder is committed to a level never seen before in the history of mankind.

 

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~ CHAPTER 22 ~

How can the previous statement be justified?

 

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The World Health Organization, an agency of the United Nations, states that around 73 million intentional abortions take place worldwide each year. In 2019, the United Nations released a data booklet titled, “Contraceptive Use by Method  2019”, which stated that among the 1.9 billion women of reproductive age (15-49 years) living in the world in 2019, 922 million practised some type of contraception. Out of these, 43% use hormonal contraceptives or copper IUDs*. This is around 396 million women. It is possible that this figure could now be close to 500 million due to the intense promotion of these contraceptives (which are not advertised as abortifacients). If we assume that 500 million women have a minimum of one silent abortion each per year, this would mean that at least 500 million children are aborted unknowingly. The reality is that every year, many women have not one, but multiple silent abortions – perhaps 2 to 3 per year. What can be said for certain is that many more children are aborted unknowingly per year due to hormonal and copper contraceptives than the 73 million induced (intentional) abortions each year via surgical and chemical means.

* As mentioned earlier, there are two types of IUDs – non-hormonal and hormonal. The non-hormonal type is the copper IUD and the hormonal type is the progestin IUD. Although the very popular copper IUD is not a hormonal contraceptive, one of its mechanisms is to induce abortions. It does this, not by thinning the lining of the uterus, but by poisoning the embryo directly or preventing the embryo’s successful implantation in the uterus. Both IUDs have a success rate of over 99%. There will be more on IUDs later.

 

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~ CHAPTER 23 ~

Is it still murder at any stage?

Simply said, it is equally wrong to kill a child before implantation, during implantation, after implantation, at any stage of the baby’s development in the womb, or after birth – all are great sins in the eyes of God.

 

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The icon above is named “Christ Who Weeps Over Abortion.”
Christ holds, in His hand, an aborted embryo (baby).

 

 

~ CHAPTER 24 ~

Why is there confusion regarding chemical abortions?

Some may wonder why hormonal contraceptives and copper IUDs are not included with the second type of abortifacients since they also cause chemical abortions. Technically, they are chemical abortions. The reason they are being treated as a separate group is because the pharmaceutical companies do not even admit that they act as abortifacients. Instead, they promote them as contraceptives. They do admit, however, that RU-486, misoprostol, and similar medications are abortifacients, that is, they cause abortions. We must remember that the world’s best kept secret is that hormonal contraceptives and copper IUDs cause abortions. It is important, therefore, to identify hormonal contraceptives and copper IUDs as a separate group since very few people know that these contraceptives cause abortions before the fertilised egg (embryo) is implanted in the uterus.

 

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~ CHAPTER 25 ~

Who is also responsible for this tragedy?

The responsibility for this tragedy does not only lie with women, but also with husbands who demand that their wives use hormonal contraceptives or copper IUDs, doctors who prescribe or recommend them, and pharmacists who dispense them. Let us not forget that those who encouraged a woman to use these contraceptives, or knew that they cause abortions but did not speak up, will also give word on the Day of Judgement. The co-responsibility of those involved in women using abortion-inducing substances is mentioned in the Canons of the Orthodox Church.  

 

 

~ CHAPTER 26 ~

What does the Orthodox Church say about abortion?

All the holy Fathers, all the Councils of the Orthodox Church, all the saints, elders and eldresses, with one mind, condemn abortion at any stage of the development of the embryo, acknowledging that life begins at conception (fertilisation). The Orthodox Church condemns the abortion of a fertilised egg (embryo) from the time of fertilisation. This would mean that an abortion before implantation or just after implantation is on the same level as an abortion of a more developed child

 

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~ CHAPTER 27 ~

Is it unloving to call those involved in abortion murderers?

The following are some quotes from various holy Fathers, saints, and contemporary holy elders and eldresses, who constantly refer to those involved in abortions as murderers. This can come across as very harsh and unacceptable, especially during our time of making excuses for even great evils. Unfortunately, we see this soul-destroying attitude of making excuses from many of the clergy who are spiritually responsible for enlightening Orthodox Christians about the seriousness of this sin. How often do we hear an outright condemnation of the abominable sin of abortion in our churches? Sadly, not very often.

However, thanks be to God, we have not been left without proper guidance since we have the teachings of the Church (and therefore, God Himself), through our holy Fathers, saints, elders and eldresses. Their “harshness” towards abortion is appropriate and loving, because Christians need to realise how serious a sin it is to murder your own child. By openly speaking about this issue, the clergy have the power to either prevent someone from committing this sin, or bring those who have committed this sin to repentance, the sacrament of confession, and ultimately to salvation.

Is it right to say that clergymen who do not openly condemn the horrible sin of abortion lack love and concern for the salvation of their flocks? The answer to this question is a very disturbing yes! Many holy Fathers prophesied about this. The following are two such holy Fathers:

The clergy will be indifferent concerning salvation, as much for their own souls as for the souls of their flocks, and they will despise any such concern… They will neither want to imitate nor listen to the lives and counsels of Elders.” Abba Pambo (†375)

 

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“Christian shepherds, that is, bishops and priests, are going to be filled with vainglory (with some exceptions), utterly failing to distinguish the right way from the left. The customs and traditions of the Christians and of the Church are going to change. Purity will depart from society, and immorality is going to dominate. The Churches of God are going to be deprived of godly and pious shepherds. And woe to the Christians remaining in the world at that time!” Saint Nilus (†1651)

 

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Saint Paisios the Athonite also confirms this by saying:

“Also, we should know well that our Orthodox Church does not have even one shortcoming. The only apparent insufficiency is the shortage of sober Hierarchs and Shepherds with a Patristic foundation. “Few are chosen.” This should not, however be upsetting. The Church is Christ’s Church, and He governs Her.”

Source: A Private Letter Concerning Ecumenism dated 23 January 1969. 

 

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Before reading the following quotes and accounts, Orthodox Christians who may have been involved in abortions should not despair but keep in mind that God is merciful and compassionate. Those who approach Him with sincere repentance, through the Mystery of confession, are forgiven as long as they produce fruits worthy of repentance (this may be imposed by a spiritual father as a penance or self imposed). There will be more on this topic towards the end of the book.

 

 

~ CHAPTER 28 ~

What do the ancient holy Fathers and saints

say about abortion?

 

(i) Apostle Barnabas (ca. †62)

 

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In his famous epistle, Apostle Barnabas writes the following regarding abortion:  

 “You shall not destroy your conceptions before they are brought forth.” 

He also writes:

“You shall not kill a child by abortion. You shall not kill that which has already been created.”

 

 

(ii) The Didache (120 A.D.)

 

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The Didache was one of the earliest catechisms. It was widely quoted by the holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church, and recommended by Saint Athanasius the Great for those preparing for baptism and also for the newly baptised. The following was written regarding abortions:

Do not murder a child by abortion or kill a new-born infant.” (The Didache 2.2)

 

 

(iii) Saint Athenagoras of Athens (†177)

 

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Saint Athenagoras of Athens writes,

“We say that women who induce abortions are murderers, and will have to give account of it to God… The embryo in the womb is a living being and therefore the object of God’s care.”

 

 

(iv) Saint Clement of Alexandria (ca. †215)

 

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Saint Clement of Alexandria (ca. †215) used Luke 1:41 (where John the Baptist leaped in Elizabeth’s womb) to prove that an embryo is a living person. He condemns,

those who use abortifacient medicines…, causing the outright destruction, together with the embryo, of the whole human race.”

 

To better understand Saint Clement’s quote, remember that abortifacients are any substances or devices used to cause an abortion.

 

 

(v) Saint Basil the Great (†379)

 

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Saint Basil the Great in his canons writes: 

“Those who give abortifacients [substances] for the destruction of the child conceived in the womb are murderers… [Also,] a woman who deliberately destroys an embryo is answerable for murder.”

 

 

(vi) Saint John Chrysostom (†407)

 

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Saint John Chrysostom spoke out against those who force a woman to have an abortion to hide immorality. In his sermons he would preach:

“You make her a murderer as well.”

 

Regarding a person who performs or induces abortions (an abortionist), Saint John considers him/her:

“... worse than a murderer.”

 

 

(vii) Saint Augustine of Hippo (†430)

 

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Saint Augustine of Hippo warns the faithful that abortion is a terrible crime because it is:

the murder of an unborn child.”

 

 

(viii) The Council of Trullo or the Quinisext Council (691 AD)

 

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The Council of Trullo or the Quinisext Council, also known as the Fifth-Sixth Council, was convened by Saint Justinian II the Pious Emperor (†711). In Canon 91 the Council decreed that

“. . . women [and men] who supply drugs for the purpose of committing abortion, and those who take embryo-killing poisons, are made subject to the penalty prescribed for murderers.

 

 

~ CHAPTER 29 ~

What do recent holy Fathers, saints, elders,

and eldresses say about abortion?

 

(i) Saint Seraphim of Vyritsa, Russia (†1949)

 

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Saint Seraphim of Vyritsa (1866-1949) is venerated throughout the Orthodox world as a great monastic ascetic, and is especially known for his gifts of prophecy and miracle-working. Before he took up monasticism, Saint Seraphim was married and had been a successful businessman. During the communist persecution of the Russian Church and World War II, Saint Seraphim carried the heavy cross of eldership. 

 

a) The elder knew she was thinking about having an abortion

When an area of Vyritsa was undergoing occupation during WWII, a woman became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. She did not say anything to her husband but waited for the appropriate time to have an abortion. During the pregnancy she visited Father Seraphim, who told her:

“Imagine what’s happening today. Some mothers, who resemble Herod in inhumaneness and harshness, slaughter their own innocent children.” The woman realised that the Elder knew everything; she knelt before him with tears in her eyes and confessed her transgression. When the child was born, and it was a girl, Father Seraphim chose the name for her and he, himself, appointed the godparents.

 

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b) Her abortions were the reason for her sufferings

A doctor had eighteen abortions with no pain of conscience. Her husband wanted very much to have children and since she refused, he eventually left her. After the war, she became unemployed and homeless, and ended up on the street. Even though she was a member of the communist party and addressed various organisations, no one anywhere would help her. In her despair, she thought about committing suicide.

One day, she met an old friend to whom she related her problems. Her friend told her that in Vyritsa lived an elderly man who helped many people. Believing that he was some type of sorcerer, the doctor decided to visit him, as she had nothing to lose. When she discovered that he was a priest, she ran out, but the Elder sent someone to bring her to him. Reluctantly she went to see the Elder and, from divine enlightenment, he told her that she, herself, was to blame for her hardships because she had killed her children. She fell down crying at his feet and he immediately consoled her, saying:

“Go to Smolny [in central Saint Petersburg]. They will appoint you to be responsible for a clinic in Peterhof and you will be given a room to live in. Then you will return to Leningrad and live there. You will visit me here and then you will visit me also at my tomb.” 

She thought to herself, “What are these fairy tales he is saying?”

The Elder, answering her thoughts, said, “I don’t tell fairy tales. All these things I am telling you will happen.”

Truly she went to Smolny, where they appointed her at the Peterhof clinic and gave her a room. Later, she returned to Leningrad. She became very faithful, reached a deep old age and frequently visited the Elder’s tomb in Vyritsa to the end of her life.

Excerpts from the book Life-Miracles-Prophecies of Saint Seraphim of Vyritsa, published (in English) by Orthodox Kypseli, Thessaloniki, Greece.

 

  

(ii) Saint Nikolai Velimirovich (†1956)

 

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Saint Nikolai Velimirovich, often referred to as the Serbian Chrysostom, said the following regarding the sin of abortion:

The Orthodox Church has condemned abortion and the avoidance of childbearing in repeated Synodal Encyclicals, among which of special interest are the ones in Hierarchia of 1937 and of 1968. We better not forget the three basic purposes of marriage: The love of the spouses, childbearing, and the Christian upbringing of children.”

 

 

(iii) Saint George Karslides the Righteous, of Drama (1959)

  

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The elder told her what she did and then gave her a penance

In the life of Saint George Karslides the Righteous, a new confessor of Drama in Northern Greece, we read:

“A woman went to see the elder and had not managed to put her foot in his cell when he stopped her and told her: ‘Your hands are on fire. They are burning but we don't see the fire. What work do you do?’ She responded that she was a midwife. ‘How many children did you kill?’ the Elder asked her. She responded, ‘none.’ He said, ‘Shall I tell you? In such and such a village, you helped such and such a woman in her abortion...’ And he mentioned to her, by name, the five circumstances. She remained speechless, and with tears she knelt asking forgiveness. ‘Get up,’ the elder told her. ‘You will go and beg in seven villages. At such and such it needs a little bridge, at such and such a fountain, at such and such a set of vestments for the poor priest...’ And to the remaining ones he told her to do some necessary good things.

After a year she returned, and before she informed him of what she had managed to do, the elder first told her what she did, then forgave her for her great humility and her attempt to fulfil her canon [penance] completely.”

Excerpt from the book The Blessed Elder George Karslides, by Monk Moses the Athonite, published (in English) by Orthodox Kypseli, Thessaloniki, Greece.

 

  

 (iv) Elder Philotheos Zervakos, Paros, Greece (†1980)

  

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Blessed Elder Philotheos Zervakos is a well-known 20th-century Greek Orthodox elder from Paros island, and the spiritual son of Saint Nektarios of Aegina. Although he has not yet been glorified, he is considered a saint in Greece. 

  

She should divorce him

Even though the Elder was known for his very strict stance against Orthodox couples divorcing, he advised the following to a woman whose husband was trying to make her have an abortion:

“Because I saw that it was necessary for me to answer you, I write you the following: Tell the couple about which you wrote, where the husband does not want children whereas the wife wants them, that God’s will must be done and not the devil’s. God allowed marriage for the birth of children and blessed it. Whereas the man-killing devil, when he is not able to murder, puts brother against brother and advises men to murder. He advises the parents to murder their children inside the womb.

“The husband who does not want children, who does not listen to God, but prefers to hear the devil and takes his wife and pays the doctors to do abortions, becomes a murderer, not of foreign people, but of his own children. The wife, when she is pregnant, must not listen to her husband and have an abortion and become a murderess, but if her husband forces her, she should protest, she should go to the priest, or to the Metropolitan and seek help, and if her husband insists, she should divorce him.”

 

  

(v) Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos, Greece (†1989)

 

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Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos was a celibate priest of the Orthodox Church of Greece. He wanted to be a priest from the age of two and became very faithful to the fasts and services of the Church by the age of five. The Elder refused to become a bishop so that he could better serve the people by reconciling them with God through Holy Confession. He would say that confession was his greatest happiness. Father Epiphanios was a great zealot for the canons, including the local canons and those of the holy Fathers which were recognised by Ecumenical Councils. Many contemporary Churchmen accused him of having a pharisaical attachment to the canons, but the Elder said that to reject the canons and not follow them was to reject the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

 

a) What the Elder did to awaken an insensitive university student

Once a university student went to confess that she’d had an abortion in the period during which she was engaged. When she entered the confession room, she told Father Epiphanios her sin rather coldly and without feeling its weight. In order to awaken her conscience, he told her strictly, without holding back:

You are a murderess! You killed that which was in you and a part of you!

She was stunned and started sobbing. When the Elder saw her repentance and that she truly and consciously realised her crime, he read the prayer of forgiveness over her and told her, with loving care:

Get up, my daughter, and go with the blessing of Christ and with confidence that God forgave you and delivered your soul from the weight of sin.

 

b) Why the Elder abruptly stopped confession

Father Epiphanios himself related the following: “Once a mother and daughter came to the confession room. They started mentioning the reasons why the daughter had an abortion. While I listened, I was overtaken by anger. I tried to convince them that they could not have done a more dreadful thing than that which they had already done. I told them that they chose the worst solution which could have ever been chosen, and that they had committed a murder!

“They were unconvinced. At a certain point, the mother started telling me that they had acted correctly because their social position, and their relations with people of a certain social status, would not allow her daughter to give birth to an illegitimate child.

“When I saw that instead of becoming humble they were becoming more stubborn and foolish, I abruptly stood up. I took off the epitrachelion* from around my neck and told them:

Leave quickly, because if you continue, I will place such a penance upon you that you will jump to the ceiling! Such a penance that no one will be able to loosen it!

“They got up very startled and ran away.”

* The epitrachelion is the liturgical vestment worn by priests and bishops of the Orthodox Church as the symbol of their priesthood. The epitrachelion is the bare minimum vestment that is required whenever a priest is conducting an Orthodox service; without it, he is unable to perform the service. In the Western Church it is called a stole.

 

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c) A mother seeks the Elder’s blessing for her daughter to have an abortion

Many years ago, a lady with her only daughter visited the confession room. When she was engaged to a certain youth, she had become pregnant.

The only reason for the visit was for them to convince the Elder to agree to their plan to end the pregnancy because “overwhelming difficulties” prevented the couple from getting married quickly! Apparently, the mother of the groom, a very pious woman, reacted very strongly to the idea of an abortion. They thought, therefore, that they could bypass the objection of the future mother-in-law by going to the Elder to receive his blessing to commit abortion.

“My lady,” stressed the Elder, “Do you know that what you are planning is murder and, furthermore, it is premeditated?”

“But Father, what can we do, since the marriage cannot take place now?”

And you came to me to give you a blessing to commit a murder?

“Well, Father, what can be done now? You realise that, if the child is born without the marriage having taken place beforehand, the honour of our family will be defamed.”

“My lady, you knocked on the wrong door.”

Then something unexpected happened. With demonic rudeness, the lady addressed the Elder and told him:

“Since, Father, you do not understand us, we will proceed to end the pregnancy and then we will come here for you to forgive us.”

The Elder stood up from his chair abruptly. He felt, as he often said about similar situations, that he was fighting against Lucifer himself. With a thundering voice, he reprimanded the woman:

“You will go to Hell! Do you hear? You will go to Hell, because you are trying to take advantage of God’s love! I will tell you just one thing: If you dare return [to confess the abortion], know that I will scorch you! I will scorch you!

The lady hastened to disappear, together with her daughter.

After relating this event, we asked the Elder: “What did you mean when you said that you would scorch her?” He answered: “I realised that she was very wealthy. As a condition for me to accept her for confession, I would demand that she sell all her estate, down to the last drachma, and to give it as charity to the poor, and then we would see!”

Excerpts (in revised form) taken from Counsels for Life: From the Life and Teachings of Father Epiphanios, published (in English) by Orthodox Kypseli, Thessaloniki, Greece.

 

 

(vi) Elder Paisios of Sihla Skete, Romania (†1990) 

 

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Elder Paisios (Olaru) was one of the most beloved spiritual fathers of Romania in recent times. He confessed the monks and laymen who came to the monastery, and became renowned for his spiritual wisdom and discernment. Elder Paisios had the Divine gift of healing and of bringing peace into the souls of people wounded by sin. He was the spiritual father of the renowned Elder Cleopa.

Although he often sounded harsh, Elder Paisios was actually very compassionate and loving towards those who had fallen into serious sins, including the sin of abortion. His aim was to show how serious the sin of abortion is, and after this to bring the person to repentance and reconciliation with God.

 

The two greatest sins in the world

On what the two greatest sins in the world are, Elder Paisios said:

“After denial of the faith*, the greatest sin in the world is the murder of babies by abortion. These two sins quickly bring God’s wrath and punishment upon mankind… The punishment for abortion and murder in general is life-long repentance.”

* Denial of the faith can mean apostasy (falling away) from the Church or falling into heresy (either within the Church or joining another Christian or non-Christian religion).

 

 

(vii) Saint Paisios the Athonite (†1994)

 

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Saint Paisios said the following about the terrible sin of abortion:

“How many thousands of embryos are killed every day! Abortion is a terrible sin. It is murder, and indeed, a tremendous murder, because unbaptised children are killed.”

 

 

(viii) Elder Cleopa of Romania (1998)

 

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The renowned Elder Cleopa was an abbot, spiritual father, missionary, confessor and hesychast. His “university” was his more than eight years of complete solitude in the forests of Romania. The Elder's impact on Orthodoxy in Romania was such that his influence continues to this day. About abortion he wrote: 

Perhaps, you will say, that the aborted child had not reached nine months, which means it was supposedly not a serious sin. Do not think such things, for you think a great wrong. The Divine Fathers say that as when lightning flashes forth and thunder bursts then here is seen the light, so it is in the coupling of spouses*: in that moment, when they have come together, by the power of God is conceived in the womb of the mother both body and soul and the child begins its existence. And whoever after this coupling, even if only within an hour, tries to prevent this birth in some way, the same receives great condemnation as a murderer.

* The coupling of spouses means when spouses have sexual relations.

Taken from the Pravoslavie website.

 

Elder Cleopa was asked: Why is abortion considered murder, and why is it condemned so strongly by the Holy Church? He replied:

“Abortion means the killing of babies in the womb by various means. The embryo has a living soul, which is created by God from the very moment of conception, and that is why the Church and the Holy Fathers fight against abortion so strongly... The fifth commandment from the Decalogue is also violated, which says: “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). Abortion threatens life on earth and violates the order of creation given by God in heaven. Abortion threatens the lives of the most innocent human beings, which are children; the family falls apart, the whole of society falls ill, and terrible divine punishments are brought upon the guilty, both in life and after death… This is why abortion is a crime. It is the killing of a human being and must be fought against with all the power of the Church and her clergy.”

Extract from About Abortion with Father Cleopa Ilie, which can be found on the Orthodoxphotos website (in Romanian).

 

 

(ix) Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, Serbia (†2003)

 

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Great repentance is necessary, from the depths of her soul

Elder Thaddeus was one of the most renowned spiritual guides of twentieth century Serbia. He was also a published author. Regarding abortion, he wrote:

“A woman who destroys the fruit of her womb commits a great sin. She is destroying life itself, for God alone is the Giver of life and He makes possible the conception of a human being in the womb. He gives life and a woman destroys it. Great repentance is necessary, from the depths of her soul. Otherwise she will be condemned as a murderess.”

 

 

(x) Eldress Nantieznta (Hope) of Sevastopol, Ukraine (ca. †2003)

 

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Eldress Nantieznta of Sevastopol (Ukraine) was a spiritual daughter of Saint Luke the Surgeon of Simferopol (Ukraine). The following is an excerpt from an account by Father (now Bishop) Nektarios Antonopoulos, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of Christ (Sagmata, Greece) about his meetings with the Eldress Nantieznta during his trips to Simferopol.

 

Aborting a child because of poverty

Eldress Nantieznta related the following to Father Nektarios regarding a woman who had set her mind on committing an abortion:

“One relative of ours was pregnant. Because she struggled financially, she decided to have an abortion. We entreated her not to do so, but she was adamant. She said that she would not be able to raise it. I fell to her feet, and I begged her with tears, saying that she would be committing a crime, she would be killing a human being. She did not change her mind, and then I said that since she could not raise it, she should give it to me, I will adopt it and will raise it. This convinced her. The child was born and we brought her home. Today she is 14 years old.” 

Father Nektarios concludes with the following:

“The girl appears to be a very good and willing girl, who lives as a gift of the love of her holy grandmother [referring to the Eldress]*. The remarkable thing is that Eldress Nantieznta is not only not rich, but gets a pension of hunger [government subsidy for food] - only six euro per month and a similar amount from her daughter**. Thus little Anna grew up in the Eldress’s house. The money is not enough to live, but the Eldress is totally devoted to the will of God. We sat close to her for over an hour. Her smile was constant on her lips and her words were an outpouring of joy. We did not hear any complaints, only glorification of God. Eldress Nantieznta’s expression was filled with love and kindness. Her eyes could see little, but the eyes of her soul were wide open. In her hands continuously spun the prayer rope, and every so often she would whisper the Jesus Prayer.” 

Elderly women were often referred to as “grandmother”.

** The eldress, before becoming a nun, was married with two daughters. It is not clear whether she is referring to her own daughter or another relative. It may be that her daughter was helping her mother financially to bring up the little girl.

 

This account is from the Orthodox Prolife website, under the section titled Contemporary Saints and Elders on Abortion, Eldress Nantieznta of Sevastopol (Ukraine).

 

 

(xi) Elder Athanasios Mitilinaios (†2006) 

 

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Abortion is still murder even one second after conception

The doctors claim (and both women and men believe it) that when they perform an abortion, they [the embryos] are not human. They make the excuse: “But it was one month old, Father. Too small, one month old!” Not only a month, but one second after conception, if you cause an artificial miscarriage, in other words if you have an abortion, then you have committed murder. Abortion is murder!

Extract from a sermon given by Elder Athanasius on 6th February 1978 on the 138th Psalm. It can be found on the “Impantokratoros” website (in Greek). 

 

 

(xii) Metropolitan Augoustinos of Florina, Greece (†2010) 

 

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Metropolitan Augoustinos (Kantiotes) fought strongly against abortion, and sharply criticised the successive governments and their presidents for their attempts to legalise it. He organised a special protest in Florina against legalising abortion and refused to accept, in Church, the president of the Greek republic at that time, Christos Sartzetakis. He supported a doctor in Florina who was sued (and later acquitted) because he refused to take part in an abortion. 

  

Abortionists and parents are today’s Herods

The holy Metropolitan wrote the following:

“The Herods who kill children aren’t just the Turks and the totalitarian states that impose their tyrannies by killing women and children and spreading ruin. We don’t even have to look to foreign countries to find Herods. Here in our own country, in our homeland, this horrible crime takes place. Unscrupulous doctors have opened gynaecological clinics. Day and night they do nothing else but abortions; they cut apart children and throw their bodies into the city sewers, bloodying the rivers, lakes, and seas. As a reward for their many killings, they make a lot of money – money that is like the thirty pieces of silver Judas received. These doctors are today’s Herods. The responsibility for the crime [of abortion] that takes place, however, does not lie solely with the doctors. It’s shared by the parents, and above all, by the women who seek out the clinics to murder their unborn children. Women who seek out the clinics to have abortions are worse than wild beasts, because wild beasts don’t kill their young.  

“We have to confess that there are women with a Christian conscience who would never have abortions. A woman like that came to the Diocese House and, with tears in her eyes, told me of her pain. Her husband, as soon as he found out that she was pregnant, grabbed her and wanted to take her to a clinic to have an abortion. Because she refused, he threw her out of the house. She told him, ‘I am a Christian, and I fear God. I’m not going to become a killer. I can live without a man, but l can’t live without God. I will be full of remorse the rest of my life, if I kill the child.’ 

“My beloved Christians! Herod lives in our days. He grew and became a monster. Herod is said to have slaughtered 14,000. Well, 300,000* unborn children are slaughtered through abortions every year in our homeland. 

“The responsibility is enormous, for all of us. Only because of this sin we have become a sinful nation, and if we don’t all repent, men and women alike, the wrath of God will come upon us. And it is coming…

* This sermon was given at least 50 years ago and therefore the number of abortions in Greece today would, no doubt, be much greater.

Extract from Drops From the Living Water: Orthodox Homilies on the Sunday Gospel Readings by Metropolitan Augoustinos, published in 1973.

 

 

(xiii) Elder Arsenie Papacioc of Romania (†2011)

 

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Elder Arsenie (Papacioc) of Romania, of blessed memory, was part of the great generation of confessors for Christ that had suffered much while imprisoned for their faith under the atheist [communist] regime of the east. His words were not academic but simple, down to earth, and having great authority, since they were spoken from the experience of suffering, and with a burning love for everyone.

We cannot, by any means, accept that a woman will have an abortion… It is a grave matter for she will murder an unbaptised person. We must always ask ourselves what Christ would have done in this case.”

 Excerpt from the Pravoslavie website. 

 

 

(xiv) Elder Ephraim of Arizona (†2019)

 

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Millions upon millions of babies throughout the entire world

 Elder Ephraim said with a painful heart:

My beloved children, today, our earth is constantly being saturated with torrents of blood from wars and various other events. It is also saturated, however, with blood that is more innocent than that of Abel’s: the blood of executed infants. It is the blood of innocent babies – these defenceless children – which is spilt by their very own mothers.

“Clinics and obstetricians’ offices have become the ‘new’ slaughterhouses of Herod. Millions upon millions of babies throughout the entire world have been thrown into garbage cans and septic tanks. People don’t even dispose of cats in this way! As we have seen in a startling video documentary, the doctor (obstetrician) and murderer, initially kills the child within the mother’s womb using a scalpel. Then with a special instrument, he proceeds to crush the infant’s delicate head, and, finally, removes it. The mother, of course, witnesses none of this and very peacefully departs for her home.” 

Excerpt from the book The Art of Salvation, a publication by Saint Nektarios Greek Orthodox Monastery, Roscoe, New York.

 

 

~ CHAPTER 30 ~

What happens to children that were aborted? 

This question is often asked by those who repented after committing one or more abortions. Not knowing what happened to the aborted children is painful for these Christians, in and of itself.

When reading, watching or listening to Orthodox material, numerous Orthodox Christians have come across a variety of different answers to their questions, many of which seem contradictory. Naturally, this causes confusion for those sincerely seeking answers.

Some saints, elders and eldresses say that, because aborted children were not baptised, their souls do not see God’s Light, although they do not suffer. There are others, however, who say that aborted children do suffer.

On the other hand, we also read more hopeful words, namely that aborted children reside in heaven even before the Resurrection. There are even saints, elders and eldresses who say that aborted children will be counted as martyrs at the Resurrection. Because of these seemingly different opinions, is it any wonder that Orthodox Christians are confused? Therefore, it is necessary to spend some time examining this topic.

Below are the words of those God-inspired servants of God who spoke about the fate of aborted babies. There will be quotes that are hopeful, and quotes that seem contradictory regarding the fate of these unbaptised children.

Finally, a concluding statement will be provided about what happens to unbaptised children. This group includes embryos that were killed by abortions, embryos that died due to miscarriages, babies that were stillborn, and those that died after birth. The concluding statement will be according to the ecclesiastical tradition of the Orthodox Church, which is based on the revelations of the saints that agree with each other, rather than on personal opinion. 

 

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Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou continually confirms that we should always seek the common agreement of the saints. He says:

We listen to whatever the God-bearing saints tell us. That is how we were taught by Saint Porphyrios, by Saint Iakovos and Saint Paisios, “Listen to the Saints, my son.” The bishops can make mistakes. The patriarchs can make mistakes. Synods can make mistakes. Where you have saints that agree, you do not have mistakes! This is called the agreement of the Fathers. 

 

The Metropolitan describes what the Orthodox Church calls the “consensus of the holy Fathers”. This is why it is vital that faithful Orthodox Christians always seek guidance and enlightenment in all important matters from the holy Fathers, when they agree with one another.  

 

 

(i) Elder Paisios of Sihla Skete, Romania (†1990)

  

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They receive a baptism of blood 

Certain Orthodox Christians asked the Elder, “What will happen to the souls of infants killed by abortion?” and he answered the following with a sigh:

“I believe that these infants are martyrs. They will complete the number of the martyrs in the last times, as the Apocalypse [Book of Revelation] says. In dying through abortion, they receive a baptism of blood. However, the Church does not commemorate them in her prayers so as not to encourage abortions, which is an act of infanticide* by the parents.”

* the act of killing an infant

 

Elder Paisios is saying that at the Resurrection, aborted infants will be numbered with the martyrs because, by dying through abortion, they receive a baptism of blood. Note, however, that he does not say anything about their state before the Resurrection.

Question arising from the above quotation: Is it an Orthodox teaching that, at the Resurrection, aborted infants will be numbered with the martyrs?

 

  

(ii) Elder Ephraim of Arizona (†2019) 

 

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Because of this great crime there are armies of murdered babies in heaven

Elder Ephraim clearly states that the killing of innocent babies is a great evil:

“I came across the writing of a doctor, a famous obstetrician who had performed ten thousand abortions. God, wanting to put a stop to this doctor’s criminal acts, helped him through a videotape of an abortion to see, from a bystander’s point of view, how the obstetrician crushes and kills the embryo. Moved by this video, he [the doctor] gave a speech on abortion, on this great crime that takes place around the world, resulting in armies of murdered babies residing in heaven. And out of the multitude [of people] who attended his speech, a woman came to me and told me that she had heard the doctor’s speech and had come to confess her abortions. 

The sin that certainly reigns supreme in the feminine world of our time, and will continue in future times, is abortion. It is the killing of innocent babies, a great evil, a criminal act that must be restrained. We tried there, and certainly everywhere else, to enlighten the people to the fact that this crime must stop. Woe to the women who commit this crime!

Excerpt from the book Sent by God: The Life of Geronda Ephraim of Arizona, an upcoming publication by Saint Anthony’s Monastery, Florence, Arizona.

 

By quoting the doctor, Elder Ephraim clearly agrees with his statement that a multitude of aborted babies reside in heaven. There is no specific mention of whether this will occur before or after the universal Resurrection. However, saying that aborted babies will live in heaven implies that this will be after the Resurrection because the Orthodox Church teaches that the saved will reside in heaven with their bodies after the Resurrection of the dead.

Question arising from the above quotation: Is it an Orthodox teaching that, after the Resurrection, multitudes of aborted babies will live in heaven?

 

 

(iii) Elder Philotheos Zervakos, Paros (†1980)

 

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Parents that agree to abortion surpass the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah

The soon-to-be-canonised holy elder speaks about the souls of aborted children and how they will be compensated by God. He wrote:

“There is no worse crime than that which happens in Greece, for parents to kill 300,000 children each year* before they are born. It exceeds even Communism, and all heresies and evils. Because if they had let their children be born, baptised them, and then killed them with a knife, the children would have gone as Christians and the responsibility of the parents would be less than it is now (in abortion) where they have also killed the child’s soul. God, of course, will compensate because in the dwellings of the Heavenly Father, there are many mansions. 

Parents, however, reveal their hatred for their children and I wonder why God has not thrown down fire the way He did on Sodom and Gomorrah. The sodomites did other terrible things, but they did not reach this level. The parents that agree to abortion, in this way, surpass the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah. So, great wrath will come. Many things happen, especially to big evils.”

* This was written over 40 years ago and therefore the number of abortions in Greece today would, no doubt, be much greater. 

 

The Elder is stating that the souls of aborted children have been killed spiritually because they were not baptised. However, they will be compensated by God, Who will grant them a dwelling in heaven. By saying “souls”, the Elder is referring to the time before the Resurrection. Also, by  saying that God “will compensate” these babies, Elder Philotheos clearly means that this will happen in the future. We also know that the Orthodox Church teaches that mansions will be granted to the saved after the Resurrection. Therefore, when the Elder refers to aborted children being spiritually killed, he is referring to the period of time before the Resurrection, and that they will receive the Heavenly Kingdom after the Resurrection.

Question arising from the above quotation: Is it an Orthodox teaching that, before the Resurrection, the souls of aborted children are spiritually dead, but will be compensated at the Resurrection?

 

 

(iv) Elder Athanasios Mitilinaios (†2006) 

 

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The embryo will be resurrected on the day of Judgement!

“The doctors claim (and both women and men believe it) that when they perform an abortion, they [the embryos] are not human. They make the excuse: “But it was one month old, Father. Too small, one month old!”

Not only a month, but one second after conception, if you cause an artificial miscarriage, in other words if you have an abortion, then you have committed murder. Abortion is murder! The embryo will be resurrected on the day of Judgement! He will be resurrected! He is human! And here in this Psalm [Ps.138:15] we see it clearly that Prophet David says: “All men shall be written in Thy book”. The prophet speaks of the embryonic state.

This is a wonderful passage, which validates and proves that the embryo is fully human, and therefore aborting it is murder, and that the embryo is already recorded as a human being in God’s memory, meaning that it, too, will be resurrected. That is fearful!

One more thing: Never say with your mind “I would never have an abortion!” Do not say this because your wife may find herself in a very difficult situation, and you will be in a dilemma when the doctor tells you that you need to either save your child or your wife. What are you going to decide? Would you prefer your wife to be saved or your future child? Then in the face of this, you decide to have an abortion. Do not say, therefore, that you would never have an abortion, because it shows arrogance. God will allow one to suffer evil if one thinks like this. Instead, you should say, “My God, lead us not into temptation. I would never wish to commit such a sin. Protect me so that I will never be found in a difficult position, and commit such a sin!”

Extract from a sermon given by Elder Athanasius on 6th February 1978 on the 138th Psalm. It can be found on the “Impantokratoros” website (in Greek). 

 

Elder Athanasius states that embryos are already recorded as human beings in God’s memory. He also specifically mentions that aborted children will be resurrected on the Day of Judgement. This is important to note because it is similar to many of the above Elders who frequently refer to the Resurrection. Elder Athanasius, however, leaves open what the state of those who died without baptism will be before and after the Resurrection.

Question arising from the above quotation: Is it an Orthodox teaching that even aborted children will resurrect on the Day of Judgement?

 

 

(v) Elder Gervasios Paraskevopoulos of Patras (†1964)

 

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This child on the day of judgement will resurrect as all human beings

This holy elder speaks about the importance of suffering in this world and the resurrection of children that died without baptism. He taught:

“I, my child, am here today, and tomorrow I will be gone. But remember what I am about to tell you: A lot of suffering will come to humanity. The cause of the sufferings that exist, and of those sufferings that are coming, and especially the blood that flows at different wars... the cause is abortion. The embryos, that many doctors do not consider to be fully human beings, take revenge. For this sin there is no mercy*. Pictured or not pictured, even if it is only one hour from conception, this child on the day of judgement will resurrect as all human beings, as one 33 years of age, but blind because it was not baptised, and he will ask his mother for the reason why she sent him in that way, unenlightened. Who had given her this right? I would prefer to embrace you at your funeral as harlots, rather than as mothers with abortions.”

* This statement seems to contradict all the other saints and elders who speak about God’s mercy and forgiveness regarding the sin of abortion. What Elder Gervasios is saying is that there is no mercy when there is no repentance, confession, and the offering of fruits worthy of repentance.

 

The Elder is teaching us that no matter how old the embryo was at the time it was aborted, on the day of judgement the child will resurrect as one 33 years of age, but it will be blind since it was not baptised. We see that, again, there is a focus on the Day of Judgement and the Resurrection. However, unlike the first three Elders above, Elder Gervasios says that after the Resurrection, unbaptised children will be blind, but he does not say that they will suffer. Some saints and elders do say this, but the majority do not.

Question arising from the above quotation: Is it an Orthodox teaching that unbaptised children will resurrect on the Day of Judgement at 33 years of age, but will be blind because they were not baptised?

 

 

(vi) Saint Paisios the Athonite (†1994)

 

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A vision revealed by Saint Paisios regarding souls of aborted children

One night God allowed me to have a terrible vision which enlightened me about this matter. It was the night of Tuesday of Bright Week after Pascha. I had lit two candles in two small tin cans, as I usually do, even when I am sleeping, for all those who suffer in soul and body, both the living and the departed.  At midnight, as I was saying the Jesus Prayer, I saw a great field that was enclosed by a stone wall and planted with wheat that was just beginning to grow. I was standing outside of the field lighting candles for the departed and setting them up on the stone wall.  To the left was a barren place, filled with rocks and cliffs, which were constantly vibrating with the echoes of thousands of deafening, heartrending voices.  Even the most hardhearted of people would be shaken if they heard those voices. While I suffered listening to these heartrending voices and was wondering where they came from and what the meaning of the vision was, I heard a voice saying to me: “The field with the planted wheat which has not yet ripened is the cemetery of the souls who will be resurrected. The rocky place being shaken by the heart-rending voices is the place where the souls of the aborted children are.”  Following that vision, I found it impossible to recover from the great pain I experienced for the souls of those children.  Neither could I lie down nor could I rest, even though I was utterly exhausted that day.”  

Excerpt from Saint Paisios the Athonite, Spiritual Counsels, Volume IV, Family Life, published (in Greek) by the Holy Hesychasterion, “Evangelist John the Theologian”, Vasilika, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2022, pages 84-85; translated by Reverend Peter Chamberas.

 

In Saint Paisios’ vision, he saw a place where the souls of aborted children are found, which shakes from their terrible cries.

Question arising from the above quotation: Is it an Orthodox teaching that, before the Resurrection, the souls of aborted children are in a place which shakes from their terrible cries?

 

 

 

(vii) Elder Cleopa of Romania (1998)

 

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Elder Cleopa said the following about what happens to aborted children before and after the Resurrection:

“A life is killed, souls are lost, both of the killed [murdered] infant and of the one who commits the murder, who violates God’s commandment which says: “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1, 28). The fifth commandment from the Decalogue is also violated, which says: “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13)… Since they were not baptised, the souls of aborted children cannot enter the kingdom of God. They await the fearful day of judgment when, before the Righteous Judge, Jesus Christ, they will accuse the parents who killed them.

Extract from About Abortion with Father Cleopa Ilie, which can be found on the Orthodoxphotos website (in Romanian).

 

Elder Cleopa says that the souls of aborted children cannot enter the kingdom of God because they were not baptised. He also mentions that, at the Resurrection, they will accuse their parents who killed them. However, he does not say what state these children will be in after the Resurrection. Like some of the others above, the Elder leaves this open.

Question arising from the above quotation: Is it an Orthodox teaching that the souls of aborted children will not enter the Kingdom of God because they were not baptised, and that they will accuse their parents who killed them?

 

 

(viii) Saint Gregory the Theologian (†389)

 

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They will neither be glorified nor punished by God

Saint Gregory the Theologian does not specifically refer to abortion but to infants who died without baptism. He says that infants who died without baptism:

“...will neither be glorified nor punished by a righteous Judge, because, although they are not sealed with grace [baptism], they are not bad either. They did not do any harm, but rather they themselves suffered. For not everyone who is not worthy of punishment is worthy of honour; at the same time, if a person is not worthy of honour, it still does not mean he deserved punishment.”

Extract from: A Word on Epiphany Day, Part 3, pp. 242-243, ed. 1889

 

Saint Gregory the Theologian explains that infants who died without baptism do not deserve punishment, but neither are they worthy of honour and glory.  It is not clear whether the saint is referring to before the Resurrection or after the Resurrection. However, it is comforting to know that Saint Gregory believes infants who die without baptism will not suffer.

Question arising from the above quotation: Is it an Orthodox teaching that infants who died without baptism do not experience any suffering, but neither will they experience honour and glory?   

 

After reading all of the above, is it any wonder that Orthodox Christians are confused regarding what happens to children who have died because of abortion? It is at least comforting to know that very few of the saints and grace-filled elders specifically say that the souls of babies that have died in this way suffer before the Resurrection. Several of the saints and grace-filled elders indicated that after the Resurrection, these children will be granted the Heavenly Kingdom. There are very few holy people who say that unbaptised children will be blind after the Resurrection. But what should Orthodox Christians believe? Is there a clear answer to what happens to aborted children, and in general, children who die without baptism? These would include:

• embryos that were killed willingly or unknowingly by abortions
• embryos that died due to miscarriages (up to 20 weeks)
• stillborn babies (after 20 weeks and at birth)
• babies that died at some time after birth, and 
• in general, children that die without baptism

 

 

~ CHAPTER 31 ~

What should Orthodox Christians do

when faced with confusion?

 

As already mentioned, all these different teachings about aborted children and in general, children who died without baptism, can be very difficult to understand when there are many different answers. What makes it even more confusing is that the handful of holy Fathers, saints, and elders that were quoted above seemingly do not agree with each other. It must, therefore, be emphasised that it is very important for Orthodox Christians to study numerous teachings of the Church Fathers, saints, elders and eldresses regarding this topic, or any topic, in order to determine what the correct Orthodox teaching is. 

Apart from this, it would also be beneficial to listen to those who humbly and faithfully follow the holy Fathers, saints, and contemporary grace-filled elders and eldresses. In other words, in our search for answers we should include the writings and teachings of those who lead pious Orthodox lives and who have the humility to admit their lack of divine enlightenment and, as such, understand the need to seek guidance from those who are truly enlightened by God.

We must, furthermore, beware of following those who misrepresent or do not listen to the teachings of the holy Fathers and the grace-filled elders and holy eldresses, and instead want us to listen to their puffed-up opinions, many of which are contrary to the teachings of the Orthodox Church. It is frightening to note just how easily people can twist the writings of those enlightened servants of God to make their own point. The internet is alarmingly full of these self-opinionated “teachers” (including clergymen). Unfortunately, many Orthodox Christians listen to them and are led astray. There are, for example, those who say that all unbaptised children will not be saved, and they use quotes from the holy Fathers, saints, elders and eldresses to make their point. They conveniently leave out all the other quotes that do not say this. Their mistaken and distorted views come across as Orthodox because of the holy people whom they are quoting. Another distortion (but a very convincing one because of the patristic quotes that are used) is that any avoidance of childbearing is equivalent to abortion. This is not correct and will be thoroughly discussed in later chapters.

In conclusion, Orthodox Christians who want to know what happens to aborted children and, in general, to children who die without baptism, are strongly advised to study the teachings of those who are enlightened by God due to their holy lives. This would include listening to those who, though not on the same spiritual level as the abovementioned God-bearing and God-enlightened servants of God, direct and guide Orthodox Christians towards the pure fountain of Holy Orthodox teachings.

One such person who continually instructs Orthodox Christians to listen to our holy Fathers, saints, and the grace-filled elders and eldresses is the truly Orthodox Metropolitan of Morphou, Neophytos (see the beginning of Chapter 30 above). Let us be reminded of what the holy Metropolitan said:

We listen to whatever the God-bearing saints tell us. That is how we were taught by Saint Porphyrios, by Saint Iakovos and Saint Paisios, “Listen to the Saints, my son.” The bishops can make mistakes. The patriarchs can make mistakes. Synods can make mistakes. Where you have saints that agree, you do not have mistakes! This is called the agreement of the Fathers.”

 

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Another who teaches Orthodox Christians to be guided by the consensus (agreement) of the saints is the renowned and pious Orthodox theologian and writer, Mr. Stylianos Kemententzidis. He is the founder of the publishing house and bookstore “Orthodox Kypseli”. It was founded in 1971 with the blessings and prayers of such holy elders as Elder Philotheos Zervakos and Father Dimitri Gagastathis. 

 

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The pious theologian, Mr. Stylianos Kemententzidis

 

We will briefly turn our attention to this great Orthodox patristic theologian for reasons which will become apparent very soon. He is, indeed, relevant to the topic of what happens to those children who have been aborted and those who have died without baptism.

Before establishing Orthodox Kypseli, Mr. Kemententzidis was, for five years, an instructor at the ecclesiastical school on Mount Athos called “Athonias”. During his time on the Holy Mountain, Mr. Kemententzidis had the opportunity to meet with many holy Athonite elders. He was very close with Elder Philotheos Zervakos and Father Dimitri Gagastathis, as well as many other contemporary holy clergymen, elders and eldresses of Greece. Because of his association with holy elders and his pious way of life, Mr. Kemententzidis is known as a traditional Orthodox theologian in the spirit of the Kollyvades Fathers of Mount Athos.

The Kollyvades Fathers were promoters of a profound movement of renewal that began in the second half of the eighteenth century among some monks on Mount Athos. They were recognised as true defenders of the Orthodox Faith. The Kollyvades movement was centred on:

  • the return to the traditional roots of Orthodox Christianity
  • the revival of true spiritual life among the monks of the Holy Mountain and all other Orthodox Christians, that is, the renaissance (renewal) of Orthodox spirituality. This included practices such as the frequent reception of Holy Communion, the study of patristic writings, and Hesychasm (the practice of unceasing prayer of the heart)
  • the struggle against Western influence, mistaken opinions, and innovations (modernisations) that are contrary and abnormal to the spirit and mentality of our Orthodox Church, such as the incorrect practice of performing memorial services on Sundays instead of Saturdays.

 

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The Kollyvades Saints

 

Although they sought the return to the true spirit of Orthodoxy, the Kollyvades Fathers were accused of being “innovators”, those who were introducing something contrary to Orthodoxy. The term “Kollyvades” was originally given to those monks as a sarcastic and bitter insult for their opposition to performing memorial services on Sundays. This name came from the word kollyva, which is the boiled wheat used during memorial services in the Orthodox Church for commemorations of the dead. However, over the passage of time, this insulting name became an honourable title.

These great holy Fathers, many of whom were exiled from Mount Athos, include Saint Nikodemus of the Holy Mountain, Saint Makarius of Corinth, Saint Nektarios of Pentapolis, Saint Kosmas of Aetolia, Saint Sabbas of Kalymnos, Saint Athanasius of Parios, Saint Paisios Velichkovsky, Saint Nicholas Planas, and Elder Philotheos Zervakos. Being in exile, however, turned to the advantage of the Kollyvades, because they founded monasteries in Greece, especially on the islands. These monasteries became the cradles of spiritual renaissance, the effects of which can still be felt today. In fact, anyone (including laypeople) who struggles for the return of Orthodox Christianity to her traditional roots in a time of distorted spiritual life, deception, heresy, and Western influence, would be considered of the same spirit as the Kollyvades Fathers.

Some contemporary examples of Kollyvades would include Saints Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia, Paisios of Mount Athos, Joseph the Hesychast, Ephraim of Katounakia, Amphilochios of Patmos, Iakovos of Evia, Nikolai Velimirovich, Justin Popovich, John of Shanghai and San Francisco; Elders Thaddeus of Serbia and Ephraim of Arizona, and Eldress Makrina of Volos. These, and many others, struggled for the return of true Orthodox Christianity. Mr. Stylianos Kemententzidis is considered a traditional Orthodox theologian in the spirit of the Kollyvades Fathers of the past and in our times, because his whole life has been dedicated to offering traditional Orthodoxy to clergy and laypeople through his preaching and writings.

 

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Four contemporary recently canonised Kollyvades Fathers:
Saints Porphyrios, Paisios, Joseph and Ephraim

 

Mr. Kemententzidis was, apparently, a spiritual child of the soon-to-be-canonised Elder Philotheos Zervakos, who himself was a spiritual child of Saint Nektarios of Pentapolis. Whether Mr. Kemententzidis was a spiritual child of the Elder or not, one thing is certain: he has spent decades promoting the life and teachings of Elder Philotheos Zervakos. 

 

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Mr. Kemententzidis giving a talk in front of a photograph of Elder Philotheos Zervakos. 

 

Mr. Kemententzidis has been preaching the word of God in Greece and abroad for many years. He has authored and published hundreds of soul-profiting books, pamphlets and periodicals over the years, several of which have been translated into other languages, including English. Numerous volumes have been published on the life and works of Elder Philotheos Zervakos. Other published works include writings of the Fathers and contemporary elders, lives of Saints, liturgical books, books on the dangers of heresy and ecumenism and, recently, at least four books warning about the dangers of Covidism.

 

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A metropolitan introducing Mr. Kemententzidis at a priestly assembly in 2019. 

 

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Mr. Kemententzidis giving a talk on Elder Philotheos Zervakos to the priestly assembly. 

 

 

~ CHAPTER 32 ~

Is there a final answer to what happens to babies

who died without baptism?

 

In Chapter 30, eight quotes by holy Fathers regarding what happens to aborted children were presented and, since their writings seemingly do not agree, the faithful are left wondering what to believe. We learnt earlier that when faced with confusion about a topic, Orthodox Christians need to study as many holy Fathers, saints, elders and eldresses as possible. Ideally, many more than eight quotes should be examined in order to determine the general consensus of the God-bearers. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of writings available in English, making it very difficult to examine this further. There is, of course, more information available, especially in Greek, but one would have to be proficient in the language in order to read this information and even to know where to look in the first place.

In addition to the problem of limited information being available in English, there is another very important consideration: do we have the discernment to understand what we are reading? Are we able to put it all together? If we possess any humility at all, we would understand that the answer is no. This is why it is of utmost importance to turn to those who are discerning and genuinely knowledgeable, someone like the renowned, pious and truly Orthodox theologian Mr. Stylianos Kemententzidis. Being Greek, he has access to all the writings on this topic. Further, he has spiritual connections with previous Kollyvades Fathers such as Elder Philotheos Zervakos, as well as current Kollyvades Fathers of Mount Athos and Greece. In addition, Mr. Kemententzidis has travelled to other countries to visit holy elders and eldresses. It is in such a pious, spiritually learned and experienced person that we should trust, regardless of the fact that he is not a clergyman. Sadly, the truth is that much of the confusion about the topic of what happens to babies that were not baptised (and many other topics) comes from undiscerning clergymen. Thankfully, there are many discerning clergymen in the Orthodox Church.

Thanks be to God, Mr. Kemententzidis has already authored and published, in 2011, a well-researched and enlightening book titled “The Truth About Abortion”, which answers the question of what happens to infants who died without baptism. Besides Mr. Kemententzidis’ Orthodox mindset, we know this book can be trusted because, to date, there has been no controversy in Orthodox Greece regarding its content. Had the book contained any incorrect teachings, many of Greece’s holy clergymen, elders and eldresses would most certainly have spoken up. Therefore, we can be assured that this book is Orthodox.

 

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The book “The Truth About Abortion”  

 

The following extract from Mr. Kemententzidis’ book is taken from page 28. It will finally answer the question of what happens to children that were killed by abortion or due to miscarriage, and in general, children that died unbaptised:

It is a grave sin for a baby of Christian parents to die unbaptised. It must be stressed that this is the gravest sin that results from abortion.

According to our Ecclesiastical Tradition, which is based on the revelations of Saints, unbaptised children, as well as the embryos which were killed by abortions or due to miscarriages, do not go to a place of rest and comfort as do the Saints and the faithful who are saved. On the contrary, they go to a rather dark place, where they have neither rest nor punishment. They remain there as “blind” until the Second Coming of Christ, because they were unbaptised.

However, in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the universal Resurrection of the dead, they too will be resurrected and saved, together with all the Saints and those who are saved.

The unbaptised babies will receive complete and mature bodies of 33 year olds, as will all the resurrected, having as a “measure” the Body of the God-man Christ’s earthly age, and made in His image.”

  

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The Resurrection of the Dead and the Day of Judgement

 

Now that we have read this enlightening quote which is according to Orthodox Tradition, we are in a better position to answer the eight questions that were asked in Chapter 30.

 

(i) Elder Paisios of Sihla Skete, Romania (†1990)

Question: Is it an Orthodox teaching that, at the Resurrection, aborted infants will be numbered with the martyrs?

Answer: Yes.  

 

(ii) Elder Ephraim of Arizona (†2019)

Question: Is it an Orthodox teaching that, after the Resurrection, multitudes of aborted babies will live in heaven?

Answer: Yes.  

 

(iii) Elder Philotheos Zervakos, Paros (†1980)

Question: Is it an Orthodox teaching that, before the Resurrection, the souls of aborted children are spiritually dead, but will be compensated at the Resurrection?

Answer: Yes.  

 

(iv) Elder Athanasios Mitilinaios (†2006) 

Question: Is it an Orthodox teaching that even aborted children will resurrect on the Day of Judgement?

Answer: Yes. 

 

(v) Elder Gervasios Paraskevopoulos of Patras (†1964)

Question: Is it an Orthodox teaching that unbaptised children will resurrect on the Day of Judgement at 33 years of age, but will be blind because they were not baptised?

Answer: Yes, unbaptised children will resurrect on the Day of Judgement at 33 years of age. The answer to the second part of the question, however, is no, unbaptised children will not be blind after the Resurrection. This is contrary to the teaching of the Orthodox Church on this topic and therefore the Elder made an error. This is why it is important to always look for where the saints agree with each other, that is, where there is consensus.

 

(vi) Saint Paisios the Athonite (†1994)

Question: Is it an Orthodox teaching that, before the Resurrection, the souls of aborted children are in a place which shakes from their terrible cries?

Answer: No, because terrible cries means that the aborted children are suffering. Saint Paisios’ vision was more symbolic (a metaphor), pointing to the serious fact that before the Resurrection, aborted children are spiritually blind because they were not baptised and therefore they will not see God’s light. God uses worldly images (metaphors) to help us understand spiritual concepts. For example, angels are painted with a body and wings, but angels have neither of these. Visions of Heaven are often represented with beautiful scenes of nature, but these will not exist in Heaven after the Resurrection. Visions of Hell are seen with flames of fire, but there will be no physical fire, only a spiritual fire.

 

In a footnote from the book Elder Paisios of Mount Athos, by Hieromonk Isaac, we read the following (page 267):

“The elder’s vision cannot be interpreted in isolation – for, read as a strict metaphor, it would imply not only that that the souls of aborted children do not enter Paradise, but also that their bodies are not to be resurrected. The elder, of course, did not think that his vision contradicted the doctrine of the General Resurrection; and he believed that the souls of aborted children enter Paradise. -eds.”

The editors are referring to after the Resurrection and the ultimate salvation of aborted children. In light of the above quote by the theologian, Mr. Stylianos Kemententzidis, so as to avoid misunderstanding, it may be clearer to write that Saint Paisios “believed that the souls and bodies of aborted children enter Paradise.”

 

(vii) Elder Cleopa of Romania (1998)

Question: Is it an Orthodox teaching that the souls of aborted children will not enter the Kingdom of God because they were not baptised, and that they will accuse their parents who killed them?  

Answer: Yes, the souls of aborted children will not enter the Kingdom of God before the Resurrection. Yes, at the Resurrection, aborted children will accuse their parents who killed them.

Although Mr. Kemententzidis does not specifically mention this in his quote, the following can be concluded using the teachings on God’s forgiveness: if the parents of aborted children have repented of their sin, confessed, and produced fruits worthy of repentance, the children will not accuse their parents.

 

(viii) Saint Gregory the Theologian (†389)

Question: Is it an Orthodox teaching that infants who died without baptism do not experience any suffering, but neither will they experience honour and glory?  

Answer: Yes, unbaptised infants will not experience any suffering. Now that we have read the above quote by Mr. Kemententzidis, we know that the saint must have been referring to before the Resurrection when he said that infants will not experience honour and glory. However, after the Resurrection, unbaptised infants will experience honour and glory.

 

To all of the above questions regarding whether the teachings were Orthodox, the majority of answers were yes. Only a few were not. It is important to note that, without the enlightening quote by the theologian, Mr. Stylianos Kemententzidis, it would have been virtually impossible to understand exactly what the saints and elders were saying. Hence, we should not only look for the consensus of the saints, but also seek out those gifted with discernment, who advise Orthodox Christians to listen to the God-bearing saints for guidance.

 

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Akathist of Repentance For One Who Has Aborted a Child” 
from Saint Paisius Monastery, Arizona

 

 

~ CHAPTER 33 ~

Should abortion be considered less serious

since aborted children are saved? 

After reading the above enlightening quote by the theologian, Mr. Kemententzidis regarding the fate of unbaptised children, those who are guilty of the sin of abortion (whether knowingly or unknowingly) may feel that it is not as serious a sin as they once thought. If, after the Resurrection, aborted children are saved, then why does the Orthodox Church harshly condemn those who have committed abortion, or have been involved with abortion in some way?

We have seen throughout this book, that there are so many holy Fathers, saints, elders and eldresses who refer to those guilty of abortion as murderers, merciless, and worse than wild beasts, even comparing them with Herod, who killed thousands of infants. We also read that those who commit abortion surpass the evil committed by the Sodomites of Sodom and Gomorrah.

It is true that after the Resurrection, children who died by abortion will be saved. However, until then, aborted children are deprived of God’s light, that is, they are spiritually blind. These children will continually accuse their parents for sending them to a place where they cannot see God. Only a heartless person would be unmoved by this horrible reality. Let us always remember the following: blessed are the merciful for only they can obtain mercy.

Those guilty of the sin of abortion should not think that their sin is less serious because their babies will ultimately be saved. To do this would be a spiritual tragedy. The same applies for those who have been involved with abortion in any way. As we have seen, the saints continually refer to those who have committed abortion, and those involved in abortion, as murderers. There is, of course, forgiveness for those who repent, but God’s forgiveness is not given easily. Much more spiritual work is needed to obtain God’s forgiveness for abortion than any other sin (apart from apostasy and heresy). This spiritual work consists of deep repentance from the depths of one’s soul as well as bringing forth fruits worthy of repentance for the rest of one’s life.  All of this is needed in order to avoid being accused of mercilessness and murder on the Day of Judgement and, as a consequence, lose the Kingdom of Heaven.  

Therefore, although we can say that the aborted child will ultimately be saved, will those guilty of the sin of abortion be saved? Will they be able to appease God with heartfelt repentance? Perhaps one may say, “Yes, I can do this.” However, the everyday experience of Orthodox Christians demonstrates that we can barely offer heartfelt repentance for sins less serious than the sin of abortion. All God-fearing spiritual fathers can confirm that, tragically, Orthodox Christians in general find it difficult to repent from the depths of their souls for lesser sins. As for the more serious sins, repentance is virtually absent.

 

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The newly canonised Greek Saint, Porphyrios, said that without repentance there is no salvation. Certainly, this is the message of all the saints, and that is why it is important that Orthodox Christians know the truth regarding the offering to God of our repentance from the depths of our souls. It is painful to admit that, unfortunately, this message is virtually absent from the sermons of Orthodox clergy today. There is clearly an absence of pure evangelical teaching in the Church, and the consequence of this is a decline in spirituality and a distortion of Orthodoxy.

We have established that those involved in abortion, if they want to be saved, need to repent from the depth of their souls and produce fruits worthy of repentance. But how does one do this? To answer this question, it is absolutely necessary to dedicate (later in the book) an entire section on how to repent and how to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. All Orthodox Christians need to know this in order to escape being condemned for the sin of abortion at the Last Judgement. There is so much more that is required by God than a mere verbal and shallow confession.

 

 

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Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, Serbia

 

Let us be reminded of what the great Serbian holy elder, Father Thaddeus said about this:

“A woman who destroys the fruit of her womb commits a great sin. She is destroying life itself, for God alone is the Giver of life and He makes possible the conception of a human being in the womb. He gives life and a woman destroys it. Great repentance is necessary, from the depths of her soul. Otherwise she will be condemned as a murderess.”

The Elder is clearly saying that those who repent from the depths of their souls will not be condemned as murderers on the Day of Judgement. We must especially take note of the words, “depths” and “otherwise”.  

In the same way, those who have committed fornication or adultery, but have repented from the depth of their souls, will not be condemned as fornicators or adulterers on the Day of Judgement. This applies to every sin. Any sins that have been washed away by the Mystery of Repentance and Confession will not be exposed on the Day of Judgement.

 

 

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Elder Ephraim of Arizona

 

Elder Ephraim of Arizona also tells us how one washes away the spilled blood of an aborted baby:

“How will this blood be washed away?  When someone becomes dirty, how is he cleansed? Only with clean water. Likewise, water is needed in this case as well. It must flow forth continuously from two faucets [taps], which are the two eyes. Internal repentance should be externalised with a lifelong, never-ending stream of tears.”

The Elder is clearly saying that those who are guilty of abortion need to repent for the rest of their lives. We must take note, especially, of the word, “lifelong”. 

Therefore, Orthodox Christians should not despair because our saints, elders and eldresses have outlined how Orthodox Christians can acquire heartfelt repentance and produce fruits worthy of repentance. This is hopeful because our merciful God never rejects those who repent from the depths of their soul, and who labour to produce fruits worthy of repentance.

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~ CHAPTER 34 ~

Are there any holy people that specifically

speak about abortive contraceptives?

The answer is yes, there certainly are holy people who speak about abortive contraceptives, but few if compared to those who openly condemn abortion. In the previous sections, many references were made to those holy ones who specifically condemned the use of abortifacients. As mentioned, one such holy Father is Saint Basil the Great (†379) who writes the following in his canons, which are recognised by the entire Orthodox Church:

“Those who give abortifacients [substances] for the destruction of the child conceived in the womb are murderers… [Also,] a woman who deliberately destroys an embryo is answerable for murder.”

It has been demonstrated that hormonal contraceptives and the copper IUD are, without a doubt, abortifacient contraceptives. They are modern versions of the abortifacients mentioned by Saint Basil and all the other saints, elders and eldresses already quoted in this book. However, the question arises: why are there not many holy people and Orthodox clergy that teach against and condemn these modern abortive contraceptives, considering so many Orthodox Christians are ignorant about how they work? Why did God not enlighten more of His holy ones to speak about these devastating abortive contraceptives?

Before attempting to answer the above question, it would be beneficial to read some quotes from contemporary elders, eldresses and clergymen who clearly and strongly condemn the use of abortive contraceptives (hormonal contraceptives and copper IUDs).

 

(i) Eldress Galaktia of Crete, Greece (†2021)

 

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Eldress Galaktia with an icon of Saint Paisios the Athonite

 

Eldress Galaktia was born on the Greek island of Crete in 1926. From a young age she gave herself to prayer and the service of her neighbour. She was truly humble and, although she suffered attacks, insults, and ridicule from people, she (unlike ourselves) did not keep even a trace of revenge in her soul. This virtue alone is a clear indication that the eldress was a living saint. 

 

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Eldress Galaktia blessing a young girl

  

Throughout the last years of her life, the Eldress became very sick, almost motionless and paralysed, yet she continued to care and pray for people. The rich gifts bestowed upon her by God were plain to see. She was granted the gift of healing, and healed the mental and physical ailments of her many visitors. She was revered by many of the pious clergy, such as Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou, who considered her to be a holy woman and a great saint. On May 20, 2021, this enlightened, great and holy Eldress passed into eternal life. May we have her blessing, and may her memory be eternal! 

 

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Eldress Galaktia giving a blessing to an archimandrite

 

The Eldress on abortion and contraception

Once when pilgrims went to see the Eldress, they found her holding her head and sighing, so they asked her why she was upset. She replied:

The earth is bloodied by abortions, by the pills [contraceptives] that kill children and the devices [IUDs] that women put inside themselves which kill the poor, unborn children when they are tiny seeds in their mother’s belly.”

  

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There is not much talk about repentance from the clergy

In a letter to Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou in September 2015, she wrote:

Lately I feel that disasters are coming. However, I do not speak about them but only of repentance and a return to God. It seems to me, my child, that the animals will judge us for our filth. There are also abortions and blasphemies. There is not much talk about repentance from the clergy, but I do not want to judge. After turmoil comes peace. Great is the glory of Orthodoxy…” 

                                                                                             

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Eldress Galaktia with Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos on her right

 

 Extracts taken from the websites Holy Metropolis of Morphou (in Greek) and Orthodox Christianity Then and Now

 

 

(ii) Archimandrite Raphael (Karelin), Georgia

 

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Archimandrite Raphael is a clergyman of the Orthodox Church of Georgia. He is considered a zealous defender of the Orthodox Faith, especially against modernism and the heresy of ecumenism within the Church. He is also one of the most outspoken clergymen of the Orthodox Church on the topic of contraceptives and on the fact that many of them cause abortions. Unfortunately, very few Orthodox clergy in the world even know how hormonal contraceptives and copper IUDs work, and those who do seldom speak out about this holocaust of the unborn. Father Raphael, however, does not keep silent about this very important topic or, for that fact, anything that needs to be said. This is something that is characteristic of a grace-filled priest. The following is from an interview with the holy archimandrite on 6 April 2020. 

 

Question:

“Many people believe that abortion is a murder that is unacceptable for Christians, but the use of contraceptives, although inappropriate for a truly Christian understanding of marriage, may still be tolerated, considering the circumstances of modern life*. Every pharmacy has a wide range of contraceptives. One that is especially popular is the so-called spiral, more commonly known as the IUD in English. We are told that, at least, these do not cause the death of the embryo, which is, according to Christian teaching, a living human being. Is this true?”

* The expression “circumstances of modern life” is important because this is often used to justify the use of contraceptives and, in general, the avoidance of childbearing. It means that it is difficult to have more than one or two children because it would be expensive and the couple would generally find it hard to take care of them.

 

Archimandrite Raphael answered as follows:

“The pharmacists who prepare these devices/drugs, as well as medical practitioners, conceal the effects of these devices/drugs. Even the use of the name “contraceptive” is deceptive. Not a single form of birth control can guarantee that it prevents pregnancy 100%; therefore, some of them are instead directed at attacking the embryo and killing it.

“Most of these forms of contraception are not directly related to conception at all and are designed to kill a living embryo. Most often they poison the embryo. As for the so-called spiral [IUD]in particular, the same deception is present here. The spiral does not prevent conception; it obstructs the movement of a fertilised egg—what is already a living embryo. Here, to speak in the language of Christian anthropology, we see a case of the murder of a human being with an immortal soul, but a human being whose body has not yet developed. It loses its ability to develop in the uterus and dies after a few days. If the embryo, in spite of the spiral [IUD], still implants in the uterus, the spiral can also cause the embryo to be [physically] rejected and expelled [from the uterus]. This is murder, and the woman may not be aware of it at all. A living being is then killed either using physical or chemical means inside her body, and then it is cast out during the process of menstruation. Therefore, in most cases contraception is a “mini-abortion,” and in this regard does not differ from murder.”

* Even though Archimandrite Raphael is specifically speaking about hormonal and copper IUDs, his answer would also apply to all the other hormonal contraceptives as they all cause abortions.

 

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Question:

“Does this mean we can equate abortion with such forms of contraception?”

Archimandrite Raphael answered as follows:

“Yes, but with a word of warning. Such forms of contraception destroy far more lives than abortions do. When using these types of contraceptives, a woman on average conceives several times a year; consequently, she commits several murders. Unfortunately, most women simply don’t understand that when they use a spiral [IUD], they become potential murderers.

 

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Archimandrite Raphael continues:

Although the Church forbids the use of contraceptives, some priests do not understand how they work, and consider that even if there is a sin in this situation, it is still not murder or the shedding of blood. They may see it as a difficult reality of our modern life, something that we cannot find an alternative to. There have been cases when priests allowed their spiritual children to use contraceptives, and even permitted such women to commune. During the moment of confession and communion, it is entirely possible that at that very moment her child is dying within her womb, killed by contraceptives. Communion during the act of murder—what a horrifying paradox [contradiction] of contemporary spiritual life!”

 

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As stated in Chapter 22, at least 396 million women were using hormonal contraceptives and copper IUDs in 2019. It is possible that this figure could now be close to 500 million due to the intense promotion of these contraceptives, which are not advertised as abortifacients. If, while on these contraceptives, a woman could get pregnant even once a year, this would result in one abortion per year, bringing the approximate total to a staggering 500 million abortions per year. The true figure of silent abortions due to hormonal contraceptives and copper IUDs is unknown but the main thing is that it is far greater than the 73 million induced (intentional) abortions every year, through both surgical and chemical means.

 

Archimandrite Raphael was asked another question:

What can you say about modern methods of infertility treatment?

He answered as follows:

I have read that the Pope welcomes artificial insemination as a wonderful example of technological progress. I will not speak of the technical aspect of artificial insemination—that is a matter for specialists. I only want to mention the most widely-used method, which uses a concentrate of the man’s sperm. He is capable of inseminating [fertilising] many different eggs inside the test tube (these are living beings, people with immortal souls that are condemned to death). Then, several fertilised eggs (i.e. embryos) are transferred into the woman’s body. After some time, a new selection is made: one embryo is left alive, while the rest of the embryos are destroyed. Usually their hearts are pierced with a needle. It is completely accurate to say that such an embryo grows in the cemetery of its brothers and sisters… Only one embryo survives, while the others die, though not through survival of the fittest, but by the decision of a doctor.”

Extract taken from the webpage titled About Birth Control by Archimandrite Raphael (Karelin).

 

 

(iii) Archpriest Dimitry Smirnov, Russia (†2020)

 

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Mitred Archpriest Dimitry (Smirnov) was one of Russia’s most beloved and distinguished clergymen. His father was a priest, and his great-grandfather was Hieromartyr Vasily Smirnov, who suffered during Communist times. Those who knew Father Dimitry describe him as a cheerful, extremely kind and very brave man. He served the Church with zeal and dedication for more than forty years. He was a rector of eight parishes, and was renowned for his missionary work, orphanages, and outspokenness on many issues. Father Dimitry was an outstanding, powerful preacher who converted countless souls to Christ, Whom he so faithfully served. He consistently substantiated what he said with his deeds.

 

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Father Dimitry always tried to follow the truth of God, and was not afraid to speak out. His fearless preaching was clear and sharp, exposing the various problems in society. He became famous for his criticism of progressive and modern ideas that are alien to Orthodoxy, his speeches against abortion, cohabitation without marriage, the propaganda of homosexuality, and many other social issues. He was respected by many, whether Orthodox or non-Orthodox. However, there were also those who did not like his faithfulness to Orthodox tradition and his stance against the social issues mentioned above, and he endured many slanders as a result. Regardless, he led tens of thousands of souls to Christ.

Archpriest Dimitry stood at the forefront of the Church’s battle against abortion. He was the first clergyman in Moscow to begin working systematically to prevent abortions. In 1993, he  created a movement to protect the lives of unborn children in Russia –  by establishing the medical and educational centre, “Life”. The centre’s aim was not only to prevent the murder of unborn children, but also to inform the general public on issues related to family, marriage and the modern problems of biomedical ethics. At the same time, Father Dimitry printed and distributed millions of leaflets against abortion. The zeal and dedication shown by Father Dimitry in dealing with these matters was so great that in 2013 he was appointed by the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate as Chairman to the Patriarchal Commission on Family Issues, Protection of Motherhood and Childhood. This was only one of his many appointments.

 

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He had incredible organisation skills, being able to gather, inspire and move people to become involved in his various good works. He built several orphanages and took in those children that even the government orphanages had rejected. Father Dimitry’s orphanages became like a big family to the children, and he was their loving father. His own daughter, Maria, teaches in one of the orphanages. He is lovingly remembered as the father to many orphaned children.

 

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Father Dimitry’s preaching and missionary work were not limited to sermons in church and to printed material. He was also active in the internet space, on the radio and on television, bringing the healing word of God to people wherever he could.  Even listeners outside of Russia, including Europe and America, rang in to the radio stations to ask Father Dimitry questions. His comments and answers often became the subject of lively discussion, both in the church and the secular media.

Father Dimitry suffered from numerous illnesses and health problems. Having passed through a Golgotha of suffering, this faithful, tireless and zealous worker of Christ reposed in the Lord on the morning of 21 October, 2020 at the age of 69. May his memory be eternal!

 

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Archpriest Dimitry discusses Contraception

The following is a selection from the transcript of a YouTube video, in Russian, titled Fr. Dimitry Smirnov discusses Contraception.

“Let us think about this. The topic is actually very important. When people get married, it is assumed they want to create a family. The creation of a family implies that perhaps this family will have children... 

The first law which God gave to man is: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” A contraceptive is a drug or device that prevents the fulfilment of this commandment... The human body, both male and female, is designed so that our reproductive activity is carried out in a very specific way and, as a natural consequence of this, the birth of children occurs.

“This is how things actually worked 70 years ago, and even further back, in previous centuries. An average Russian woman, according to the 1913 census, gave birth to 5-7 children. Therefore, during the reign of Emperor Nicholas II, the population of Russia increased by 27 million people. Now we are dying out. If all these trends continue, it is estimated that in 20 years our country will no longer exist. Yet women work, they study, they do everything… but they prevent the birth of children.

Why do contraceptives exist? To protect yourself. From what? From children. As if children were frightful criminals! Locks and iron doors exist to protect us from such people. And we look at children in a similar way! And even in some countries, for example, Germany – a prosperous, rich country, the richest in Europe – there are entire city blocks there, where you will not hear the cries of children, the laughter of children, the joyful shouts of children. Why? Because there are no children there. In some of these places, you are allowed to rent an apartment only if you have no children. What does this lead to? It leads to the destruction of a nation. As a result, the great culture of Germany is disappearing. Thus, contraceptives are methods for people to destroy themselves. Any contraceptive at all is a perversion of human nature. Do you understand? The reproductive function of men and women is artificially exploited, so that children are not born from it. 

 

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Archpriest Dimitry continues:

What is contraception? There is a special medical term for it: “Onanism”. It is when marriage goes outside the fulfillment of God’s law, turning it into the opposite. That is, marriage is reduced to an absurdity, and is robbed of anything extraordinary. What are the effects of contraception and abortion? Well, first of all, there is a shortage of children.

Today there are big problems with hazing* in the army. Why does this occur? It happens because many of our boys have no brothers or sisters. A boy is educated in a sheltered environment, he is pampered by his mother, and the basic principle of masculinity is not within him. He cannot stand up for himself. He is a soft, effeminate, fragile person. Thus, finding himself in the army, he endures horrible stress, and cannot stand up for himself. And this sort of thing happens all the time.

* Hazing is a form of bullying, with the purpose of initiating someone new into a group or organisation. A group of peers subject  newcomers to a ritual that is intentionally harsh, humiliating and often dangerous, and they must “pass” this initiation in order to be accepted and respected by their peers. Hazing is sometimes done with malicious intent, in order to assert control and power over the victim. In the armed forces, hazing is not necessarily done exclusively by peers, but by any member of the military, regardless of seniority or rank. The possible effects of hazing on the victim are physical, emotional and/or mental instability and even suicide.

 

Archpriest Dimitry continues:

Second, grandmothers often interfere in the family life of their children. Why? Because their natural maternal desires have been left unfulfilled. Instead of only having one child, if they had given birth to four or five children, they would have been able to satisfy those feelings. But now she tries to make her grandchildren and great grandchildren take the place of the fourth and fifth children she never had. And because of this, young families are being destroyed.

Also, if a man has 5-6 children, he is less likely to have the kind of shamelessness that leads him to leave his wife. But if there are only 1 or 2, it is much easier for him to do this. So a shortage of children gives rise to divorce.

There are a huge number of women who lost their husbands and are unhappy, and the main reasons were due to contraception. Often, such arguments are put forward: They say, “Our financial situation won’t allow us to have more children, because if I have a third, fourth, or fifth child, I won’t be able to give them as much attention as I can give to one or two.” In fact, the opposite is true. If a mother has five children, she can no longer work. She will have to stay home. Apart from spending some of her time cleaning, cooking, and washing dishes, she will be able to give the children all her attention while they are still young. If a mother works a job and comes home exhausted, she can only tell her children, “Leave me alone!” It is important to be involved with children, and to nurture them. But contraceptives push our children out into the street, and so they destroy our families from within. Well, then there is divine justice.

“There are a significant number of contraceptives which can cause abortions. Intrauterine devices [IUDs] are an example of this, because they destroy fertilised eggs. This is, in fact, an abortion. And while this device remains implanted in the uterus, a mother may unknowingly commit a whole series of abortions.

 

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Archpriest Dimitry continues:

Consider the code of criminal law. In addition to murder, there is also the law against attempted murder. This sort of contraceptive device [the IUD, as well as all other abortion-causing contraceptives] is an attempt to kill your own children. Even when it is not murder, it certainly is an attempted murder. It is a desire for there to be no children.  But the normal desire of every living being is to reproduce offspring.

“Here, in my reception room, lives the cat, Murka. We calculated that she gave birth to more than a hundred kittens. And although she is already old, she feels great. You see, Murka is concerned with producing offspring. But people not only avoid this, they want to live by having fewer children. Therefore, this is ultimately a man’s rebellion against himself. 

So, I am very happy that you have arrived at the correct opinion, that abortion is completely unacceptable. In our country approximately 4 million abortions take place every year. If every child conceived was born, then we would not have a serious problem with falling population numbers as we currently do.

And ideologically, abortion and contraception both require a similar mindset. So, what sort of attitude should I have? Only that which conforms to the teaching of the Church. And according to the canonical teaching of the Church, contraception is equivalent to abortion [*see important note below]. This is taught in the canon of St. Basil the Great, which was written in the 4th century. And now we are already in the 21st century. So according to morality, biology, and Christianity, contraception is completely unacceptable.

Things can be repeated so many times that, unfortunately, they become habitual. For example, many people no longer say “spouse” or “husband”. Instead, they say “partner”, as if they were playing ping-pong, or tennis, or something. As a result, many people become unhappy, because they ruin their family, and a person can only be happy in a family. Only in a family.

“And now we have the modern thirst for all sorts of entertainment, distractions, and vacations. This happens because a person is unhappy. He is suffering, so he must always deafen himself with some sort of music, some sort of mockery and constant jokes. People cannot just live, they have to cheer themselves up all the time, because their heart is gripped by a terrible misery. These people are very unhappy.

Well, imagine... people kill their children, and they “protect” themselves from them as if children were criminals, and as a result they are not happy. Well, these things are unjust! That is why, if a person leads such a life, he cannot be happy. Is that true, Fr. Alexander?

Yes.

How many children do you have?

Six.

Six! Well, you can see how happy he is!”

 

Watch the video here

 

* Note: Father Dimitry’s statement that “according to the canonical teaching of the Church, contraception is equivalent to abortion” can easily be misinterpreted. Taken out of context, it may sound like it means that both abortive and non-abortive contraceptives are equivalent to abortion. However, the fact that Father Dimitry connects his statement to Saint Basil’s Canon can only mean that he is referring to contraceptives that cause abortion. Saint Basil’s Canon specifically says,

Those who give abortifacients [substances] for the destruction of the child conceived in the womb are murderers… [Also,] a woman who deliberately destroys an embryo is answerable for murder.”

Clearly, Father Dimitry is not saying that all contraception is equivalent to abortion. Unfortunately, there are clergymen and laypeople who do say this. As for whether non-abortive contraceptives are permitted by the Church, this will be covered in some detail in forthcoming chapters.

 

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(iv) Archimandrite Savvas the Athonite, Greece

 

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Archimandrite Father Savvas the Athonite (also known as Elder Savvas Agioritis) began his monastic life in the Holy Kelli of the Entrance of the Theotokos in Kerasia on Mount Athos. He is also a graduate of the School of Dentistry and the School of Theology at the University of Thessaloniki. He completed his Masters Degree in Theology under the very pious Professor Demetrios Tselengides, who is renowned for his Orthodoxy. Today, Elder Savvas is the spiritual father of the Holy Trinity Monastery in the Diocese of Edessa, in northern Greece. Elder Savvas works tirelessly to teach and guide the faithful, not only within his own diocese or in his homeland of Greece, but wherever the rational sheep of Christ are thirsting for the Word of God, that is, the Gospel. Indeed, his online homilies and lectures, can be accessed by everyone around the world.

During the COVID period, Elder Savvas was very outspoken about the physical and spiritual dangers of the vaccines and about the fact that many Orthodox hierarchs, priests, monastics, and laypeople who promoted the vaccine were in error due to their unorthodox understanding and attitude. Many of the faithful, during this period, were enlightened by his discerning words. 

 

The crime of abortion that is committed via contraceptive pills and intrauterine spirals [IUDs]

When asked to contribute to this book, Elder Savvas sent the following:

The all-merciful Lord empowers man, who is His creation, to contribute decisively to the creation of new humans. It is a most high honour for the mother to gestate [carry in her womb during the period from conception to delivery] a new being, a potential saint-citizen of the Kingdom of God. Nevertheless, owing to incorrect information, ignorance, and wrong upbringing, many people end up scorning this divine gift and preventing their gestated [conceived] children from coming to fulfillment physically and spiritually. This practice, called abortion, has devastating consequences upon the person who commits it.

The embryo is not the mother’s body, but a human being with a soul and body from the very first moment of conception. Saint John Damascene teaches that, The body and the soul are formed simultaneously, not the one before the other. Let each one of us consider, then, the height to which God has lifted us by granting us this honour of becoming His co-creators. Let those who disrespect this divine gift think of how low they fall.

 

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Archimandrite Savvas continues:

Abortion is murder. It is murder even when it is done simultaneously with conception or a little after. If there has been conception, we have a proper human and not two cells or mere tissue. We have a person with soul, mind and body. The father and the mother give the body, and God gives the soul, as Saint Paisios the Athonite taught.

Excessive love of the self with its fruits, love of glory and love of money, as well as the desire for carnal pleasures without any family duties, contribute enormously to these major sins of 1) contraception and 2) abortion. A most grave sin, taught Saint Porphyrios, is the avoidance of childbirth. Abortion is an even graver sin, of course. And yet, people sacrifice even their children so as not to forsake some of their supposed comfort.

From the very first instant of conception we have a human being. It is this newly created human being that will be potentially murdered by contraceptive pills, and most certainly murdered by this devilish contrivance called an intrauterine spiral [IUD].

We protest with all our might against this global, horrific crime that is committed daily by millions of people through the use of these means. Perhaps some people are not even aware that an abortion can be potentially caused by contraceptive pills, as well as by intrauterine spirals [IUDs].

 

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Archimandrite Savvas continues:

Millions of human beings are murdered without being given time to be fulfilled physically and spiritually. They are brutally murdered without the slightest chance to see the light of the noetic Sun of Justice, our Christ, nor, of course, the light of the physical sun. They are murdered unbaptised, with no time allowed for repentance and baptism that would place them into the the arena of theosis which is our Holy Orthodox Church*.

For any person of conscience and a sound mind, and even more for an Orthodox Christian, the use of these means is absolutely forbidden. We pray, but we also ask, we demand, that their distribution and trading be stopped.

May the all-merciful Lord grant repentance to humanity which, wallowing in the blood of thousands of butchered – and butchered daily – embryos, hastens the advent of the final anti-Christ and the terrible Second Coming of the Lord. On that day all the unrepentant murderers – alas! – will be doomed to eternal hell.

We humbly pray that no one goes to Hell.

Let us pray for this, but let us also work so that the whole of humanity stops destroying itself by murdering its children. May the All-merciful Lord, through the intercessions of the Most Holy Theotokos, produce, in His vineyard, workers who will preach repentance [and a] return to our Holy Orthodox Church, a return to our Holy Orthodox faith and life, so that this horrific crime of abortion will also stop - this monstrous sin committed with, among other means, these diabolically perceived devices: intrauterine spirals and contraceptive pills.

May the Lord have mercy on us and grant us repentance.

Archimandrite Savvas Hagiorite

 

* In light of Chapter 32, Elder Savvas, must be referring to before the Second Coming of Christ and the universal Resurrection. In this chapter we learnt from the renowned and pious Orthodox theologian and writer, Mr. Stylianos Kemententzidis that:

According to our Ecclesiastical Tradition, which is based on the revelations of Saints, unbaptised children… go to a rather dark place, where they have neither rest nor punishment. They remain there as “blind” until the Second Coming of Christ, because they were unbaptised. However, in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the universal Resurrection of the dead, they too will be resurrected and saved, together with all the Saints and those who are saved.

 

(v) Archimandrite Photios Joachim, Protosyngellos of the Holy Metropolis of Morphou, Cyprus

 

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Archimandrite Photios is the protosyngellos (vicar) of the Holy Metropolis of Morphou, Cyprus, making him the most senior cleric after Metropolitan Neophytos. On the 18th of June 2020, Archimandrite Photios published an article titled, “The Intrauterine Spiral [IUD]”.

The following are extracts from his article.

We would like to state from the beginning that we are writing this text with the blessing and encouragement of our spiritual father, Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou. The Metropolitan has already made reference to the following topics in some of his sermons.

 

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Metropolitan Neophytos censing the holy relics held by Archimandrite Photios

 

Archimandrite Photios continues:

The New World Order is demonically inspired and conforms to the spirit of Apostasy of our times, with its satanic deceptions of seeking [sexual] pleasure within marriage solely as a goal in itself, and the avoidance of blessed childbearing. [This New World Order] among its other plans (which attempt to touch on the most sacred moments of man’s life) has invented, and for years has been promoting, the so-called intrauterine spiral [IUD]. This device [IUD] is not just a contraceptive device, but alas!  a literal abortifacient device. In other words, it is a lethal tool which kills the couple’s children after fertilisation has already taken place, that is, shortly after their conception in the belly of their mother, who thus becomes a murderer, as does the father.

 

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Archimandrite Photios continues:

We say this because – apart from the seemingly well disguised arguments of those who promote the use of the intrauterine spiral [IUD], and the many references to the various rights of the pregnant woman over her life and health – nothing has been said by them about the conceived and unborn baby itself. What is this which is conceived? A mass of organic matter? An inanimate object with genetic material?

For the Church, however, the human embryo “from the very conception” (i.e. from the first moment of its conception) is living, with a soul, that is, it carries a human immortal soul, it is a living person! So the embryo also has rights; it has the first and most important right. It has the inherent right to life! And the termination of the pregnancy, that is, of the embryo, at any stage … and in whatever way it takes place, is murder. It is murder in its most horrific form, the premeditated murder of a defenseless creature. And we deprive it, using a thousand “excuses in sin”, not only of the most precious divine gift of life which is given even to irrational animals, but also – for us Orthodox Christians – the opportunity to be baptised, to receive Holy Chrismation, to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, to be joined to the Church – the Body of Christ – and to become a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.

And so that it does not appear that we are saying our own words, here is a short text about the intrauterine spiral [IUD], which was written, at our request, by a doctor known to us, a man of God with a spiritual life:

The intrauterine spiral is a small T-shaped device, made of plastic and copper [or the hormone progestin/ progesterone] which is placed by the gynecologist inside the woman’s uterus to prevent childbearing. There are two types of spirals [IUDs]:

a. The copper spirals [IUDs] act as small scraping machines of the inside of the uterus and do not allow any implantation of a fertilised egg to take placeThe copper spiral creates an aseptic inflammation in the area [due to the toxicity of the copper], which inactivates the sperm trying to reach the egg, or [if fertilisation occurs, it] prevents the fertilised egg from implanting in the uterus, which is then expelled [aborted].

b. There are also the hormonal spirals [IUDs], which contain the hormone progesterone. The progesterone spiral makes the cervical mucus denser so that the sperm cannot pass through it. In addition, the fertilised egg is prevented from implanting in the uterus [due to the thinning of the uterine lining] and thus the fertilised egg cannot develop and is expelled. In rare cases, a woman’s ovulation can also be inhibited if she uses these contraceptives...

“Thus, spirals [IUDs] act as contraceptives as well as abortifacients. Furthermore, in some cases of their use, the woman’s period may be heavier or longer, leading to iron-deficiency anemia in the woman. The spiral can also move, and in very rare cases, penetrate the uterus or cervix, resulting in inflammation or puncturing of the uterus. Also, if a woman becomes pregnant despite the use of the spiral, it is most likely that the pregnancy will take place outside the womb, which is very dangerous*.

* This is the first mention of the negative health effects of abortive contraceptives in this book. Chapter 36 is dedicated entirely to this topic.

Thus, it is understood, from all that we have described, that the action of the spiral [IUD] is primarily abortifacient. In other words, it can either act before or after the fertilisation of the sperm and egg. It acts like a personal, portable abortive device which, with the inflammation* that it creates, either prevents the conception or prevents implantation in the uterus of the fertilised egg, and which is then expelled, i.e. the conceived embryo with a soul is killed.”

* Inflammation only occurs with copper IUDs. The copper causes this inflammation, which can either prevent fertilisation or kill the embryo. However, in the case of hormonal IUDs (and all other hormonal contraceptives), they work by thinning the lining of the uterus, thus preventing successful implantation. Hormonal contraceptives can also prevent a woman from ovulating and prevent the sperm from travelling to the egg by thickening the cervical mucus.

 

Archimandrite Photios continues:

On this subject, we would like to quote another, older, relevant excerpt from a text by Archimandrite Epiphanios Theodoropoulos of blessed memory (†1989), which he wrote on the occasion of the preparations for the decriminalisation of abortion in Greece in 1981. The blessed Elder clearly, logically and theologically clarifies the position of the Orthodox Church on abortion:

Of course, for us there is no need at all for this argument, since the Holy Spirit which speaks through the Church, testifies that, whether the embryo has formed or unformed organs, homicide is committed (cf. Canon 2 of Basil the Great and 91st Canon of the Fifth-Sixth Ecumenical Council). Our Church has feasts of the conception of saints in the womb of their mother, as is the case with the most Holy Theotokos and the Holy Baptist, precisely because it considers man to exist at the moment of his conception.”

(Archimandrite Epiphanios Theodoropoulos, “Death penalty and abortion”, in Athens on October 1, 1981, newspaper Orthodox Typos, issue 9.10.81).

Read Archimandrite Photios' full article (in Greek) here.

  

~ CHAPTER 35 ~

What is meant by “Modern contraception is a silent genocide”?

In 2011, the 18th Asia-Pacific Congress on Faith, Family and Life was held in Kazakhstan. A leading obstetrician-gynaecologist from St. Petersburg, Dr. Lyudmila Barakova spoke at this conference about the mass genocide of people through the use of modern contraception, that is, hormonal contraceptives and copper IUDs. 

 

Dr. Lyudmila Barakova, Russia (†2019)

 

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Lyudmila Barakova was a highly esteemed Catholic obstetrician-gynecologist. She is the author of the book “Marriage and Children Today”. Having worked for 40 years in the domestic healthcare system, Dr. Barakova came to the painful conclusion that in our day, the concepts of medicine and health, especially where they relate to pregnancy and obstetric care, are no longer connected to each other. She recognised that doctors today no longer take responsibility for the life and health of the patient, but rather are focused on fulfilling the requirements of a healthcare system whose goals are actually unrelated to human health, especially in childbearing or, as they call it, reproductive health.

The consequences of contraception are reduced birth rates, an increase in abortion, and infertility. Dr. Barakova was not afraid to speak openly about this issue. She gave speeches at numerous forums, conferences, seminars, and on social networks. Thanks to her efforts, many women who were experiencing infertility gave birth to healthy children, and women who were suffering from serious health side effects due to their use of hormonal contraceptives and copper IUDs regained their health.

The full report given by Dr. Barakova at the 18th Asia-Pacific Congress on Faith, Family and Life can be found on the website Russian Faith, under the title, Experienced Gynaecologist Explains: Modern Contraception is a Silent Genocide. It is very enlightening, and a must-read for all Orthodox Christians.

The following are extracts from Dr. Barakova’s report:   

“As an obstetrician-gynaecologist with 40 years of work experience, I would like to share with you my thoughts on the impact of the widespread use of various contraceptives on the health and fertility of several generations born during my lifetime

“To begin with, I would like to clarify the meaning of the term contraception itself. Contraception means anti-conception, or against conception. It is the means, methods or behaviours that prevent the conception of a child.

Over the past decade, a thriving contraceptive industry has begun to issue contraceptives and technologies that are not only contraceptives, but they are also abortifacients. That is, they do not always lead to the promised contraception, but also contribute to the destruction of life that has already begun, or to the destruction of the body's ability to conceive naturally. And what is this if not genocide?

 

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Dr. Barakova continues:

In the modern world, which considers comfort and pleasure to be top priorities, the instinct of procreation, without which humanity cannot survive, is suppressed in every possible way...

Only in some countries of Africa, South America, and the island states are the birth rates high enough to ensure the continued maintenance of the present population. This is easily confirmed by studies of demographers. Today it is already obvious that the birth rate in most countries, especially those that consider themselves highly developed, is below replacement level. That is, humanity is dying out...

“But we are responsible for what will happen to humanity in 200-300 years. You just need to look a little bit deeper at this problem and ask yourself the question: What exactly can I do to ensure that my great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren live? In what conditions and in what environment will they live?

“And now let us look at the so-called contraceptives which not only prevent conception, but also cause the end of a life that has already begun, in other words, infanticide. As they are intended for women, these contraceptive methods first of all destroy the physical and mental health of women

 

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Dr. Barakova continues:

“The ‘health guards’ will offer you two types of early abortifacients, called ‘contraceptives’:

1. Intrauterine device - IUD (or spiral*): According to the doctors recommending this device, the intrauterine insert prevents the sperm from meeting with the egg. But this is already an open lie**...

The term spiral refers to both hormonal (progestin) IUDs and copper IUDs. 
** The reason why Dr. Barakova said it is an open lie is because IUDs also cause abortions.

2. Hormonal contraceptives* are the second, large group of early-abortion methods. Naturally, any supporter of hormonal contraceptives and hormonal therapy will argue with me very strongly that they are not abortive means.

* Even though Dr. Barakova grouped hormonal (progestin) IUDs with copper IUDs in no.1 above, it is important to note that progestin IUDs are still one of the six hormonal contraceptive types. The other five are oral contraceptive pills, implants, vaginal rings, contraceptive skin patches and injectables.  

“It is unlikely that we will ever know the exact numbers that give the full picture of the effects of hormonal contraceptives on the female reproductive function. But I think the fact that it destroys women's health is no secret to anyone.

 

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Dr. Barakova continues:

After age 40, as a general rule, women [who take hormonal contraceptives] have a range of non-fatal diseases unrelated to childbearing — problems with cardiovascular activity, instability of the nervous system, problems with vision or hearing, joint pain, abnormal functioning of the excretory system and metabolism, etc. As a rule, doctors of various specialties do not associate these diseases with the use of hormonal contraceptives, although the parallel is obvious. 

“It is not my goal to provide a detailed classification of hormonal contraceptives. What I will say, however, is that they can be in the form of pills, injections, implants and intrauterine devices containing hormones. Some of them are cyclic, with a 7 day break after every 3 weeks of daily use, and others are continuous. There is also so-called emergency contraception, used after intercourse, with overtly abortive intent. The hormonal medicines may contain either one or two analogues of the ovarian hormones*, in different proportions and dosages. The underlying essence does not change.

* These are the synthetic forms of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

 

Dr. Barakova continues:

The main conclusion that arises from an unbiased analysis, is that synthetic female sex hormones, given for contraceptive purposes, not only have a contraceptive effect, but also have an abortifacient effect. In addition, they contribute to the destruction of women’s health and lead to infertility.

“And this is absolutely incompatible with the role and function of a doctor. After all, our mission as doctors is to protect human health and life. Yet it turns out that we are doing everything to destroy health, and helping to end the life that has just begun.”

 

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~ CHAPTER 36 ~

What are some side effects and health risks
of 
hormonal contraceptives?

In the two preceding chapters, the side effects and health risks associated with hormonal contraceptives and copper IUDs were briefly mentioned in the article of Archimandrite Photios and the report by the obstetrician-gynaecologist, Dr. Barakova. Since this is such an important topic, it is necessary to explore it in more depth.

Contrary to what many people believe, the side effects and medical risks of hormonal contraceptives and copper IUDs are actually very serious. The ignorance regarding these contraceptives is tragic, not only because they cause abortions, but also because many women are suffering health issues without understanding the cause. To make matters worse, doctors are either unaware about the side effects and health risks, or know about them but choose to remain silent. The justification for this silence is their belief that the benefit of hormonal contraceptives and copper IUDs outweigh the harmful effects on women’s health – the supposed benefit being the prevention of pregnancy.

The specific side effects and health risks of copper IUDs will be examined in the next chapter. The current chapter will focus on the side effects and health risks of hormonal contraceptives. The information presented below is taken from well-researched and respectable sources. It should be noted that even though some of the quotes are specifically referring to oral contraceptive pills (which are all hormonal), they also apply to the other five types of hormonal contraceptives: IUDs, implants, patches, injectables and vaginal rings, as they all contain the synthetic forms of the hormones estrogen and/or progesterone.

 

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From the book “Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?” 

The following two extracts have been taken from the thoroughly researched and highly recommended book, Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions? (page 30) by Randy Alcorn. Refer to Chapter 16 above regarding this author.

 

 

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Serious risks to women

As anyone who has read the inserts packaged with birth control pills knows, there are serious risks to women who take oral contraceptives, including increased incidence of blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, sexually transmitted diseases, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, breast cancer, cervical cancer, liver tumors, and ectopic pregnancy. These and other risks are spelled out under each BCP [Birth Control Pill] listing in the Physician’s Desk Reference.

 

 

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A group one carcinogen

Of special note is the danger of breast cancer, which is one of the leading cancer killers of women and occurs in one out of nine women. Compelling data exists from the past two decades that shows a 25-30% increased risk for breast cancer in women who use hormonal birth control. In 2005 the International Agency for Research of Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, labeled hormonal contraceptives as a group one carcinogen [known to cause cancer] in the same class as asbestos and radiumThis important warning regarding the breast cancer/birth control link has not been publicized; rather it has been concealed from the public, according to Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, a surgical oncologist and breast cancer expert. Dr. Lanfranchi compares the concealment of this health risk to the long-delayed acknowledgment of the smoking/lung cancer link.

 

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From the website “Human Life International”

The following disturbing facts have been taken from the website Human Life International. Human Life International (HLI) is the largest international, pro-life, pro-family, pro-woman organization in the world. It is a Roman Catholic anti-abortion organization which is based in the U.S.A. and led by the clergy. The organization has affiliates and associates in over 80 nations worldwide.

Orthodox Christian readers should note that even though “Human Life International” is a Catholic website, the medical and non-religious information is excellent, and highly recommended.

 

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Patient information pamphlets feature a long list of very serious side effects

“The patient information pamphlets continue to feature a long list of very serious side effects. A review of some of the most common brands shows many similar effects.

“These include blood clots, venous thromboembolism (VTE), stroke, hyperkalemia (high potassium levels), carcinomas of the breasts and reproductive organs, liver disease, high blood pressure, numbness, chest pain, cerebral thrombosis, and gallbladder disease. They also list a host of less dangerous side effects, to include headaches and nausea, weight gain, back pain, skin pigmentation changes, bleeding irregularities, depression and breast tenderness, most of which have an incidence of between 8% and 33%.”

(Source - click here)

 

 

Health Issues Caused by Hormonal Contraception

Though feminist groups and the mainstream media typically present hormonal contraceptives as a boon [great benefit] for women, they overlook the serious side effects reported in mainstream scientific literature, either through deliberate intent or negligence.

 

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Women who regularly ingest the powerful steroids in all modern hormonal methods of birth control will find that they usually suffer a wide range of side effects. 

 

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This should come as no surprise since hormonal birth control methods such as “the Pill” are listed as carcinogens (causes of cancer) by their own manufacturers.*

* Review of 1,346 patient information pamphlets on various hormonal methods of birth control distributed by the manufacturers. The National Cancer Institute (NIC) states, “The risks of breast and cervical cancers are increased in women who use oral contraceptives, whereas the risks of endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancers are reduced.”

The patient information pamphlets* for hormonal birth control methods list a long range of side effects, including:

To see the patient information pamphlet for any hormonal birth control method, visit the National Institute for Health’s DailyMed website.

  • Heart attacks
  • Cancers
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Sudden total or partial blindness
  • Pulmonary embolisms
  • Early unintended abortion
  • High blood pressure
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Abdominal discomfort, bloating, and pain
  • Gall bladder problems, including gallstones
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Long-term hormonal regulation problems
  • Ectopic pregnancies
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Elevated potassium levels
  • Migraines or severe headaches
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Breast pain and swelling
  • Changes in menstruation patterns, e.g., PMS and dysmenorrhea
  • Acne
  • Rashes
  • Stroke
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of libido
  • Fatigue
  • Significant weight gain
  • Fatal blood clots

 

Primary Concern: Cancer

“The hormonal methods of birth control increase the risk of cancer in women of childbearing age.

“When taking hormonal contraceptives, ‘teenagers are especially vulnerable to breast cancer risk because their breasts are growing,’ reports the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute. The Institute also says that although the Pill lowers the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers, ‘according to the American Cancer Society, out of [a random selection of] 100 women with cancer, 31 have breast cancer, 6 have endometrial cancer and only 3 have ovarian cancer, so it is not a good “trade-off” in risk.’

“The National Cancer Institute confirms this view by stating that ‘studies have provided consistent evidence that the risks of breast and cervical cancers are increased in women who use oral contraceptives, whereas the risks of endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancers are reduced.’”*

National Cancer Institute. “Oral Contraceptives and Cancer Risk.” February 22, 2018. It should be noted that the National Cancer Institute also says that breast cancers and cervical cancers are much more common than endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancers.

 

Psychological Impacts

“Elizabeth Lee Vliet, MD, a women’s health specialist and the author of It’s My Ovaries, Stupid!, has studied the birth control pill’s negative impacts on women’s moods, with a particular emphasis on high-progesterone formulations. She found that they ‘might even bring about the need for antidepressants: The Pill screws up a woman’s mood and libido, and then she ends up on Prozac.’

“Dr. Vliet’s opinion is reinforced by the manufacturers of the hormonal methods themselves. Their patient information pamphlets list depression and nervousness as psychiatric disorders caused by their methods.

“These methods directly influence the hormonal cycle in women, but their impacts go far beyond mood swings. One of the most interesting studies done on the health impacts of the hormonal methods found that they may cause women to begin a relationship with the wrong men.

“…the negative effects of the Pill are not just physical, but social as well, and may subtly influence a woman into being attracted to ‘Mr. Wrong.’”

 

Increased Risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis

“One of the most serious negative effects of the Pill and other hormonal methods of birth control is the increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or blood clots that can potentially be fatal.

According to the Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmaco-therapeutics, some versions of the Pill increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis up to eight-fold.”*

* Kiran G. Piparva and Jatin G. Buch. “Deep Vein Thrombosis in a Woman Taking Oral Combined Contraceptive Pills.” Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics, Volume 2, Number 3 [July-September 2011], pages 185 and 186.

(Source for the above four sections click here

 

Heart attacks and strokes

“The most dangerous and well-documented side effects commonly associated with the Pill are heart attacks and strokes. The eight-year Nurse’s Health Study at Harvard Medical School found that Pill users are 250% more likely to have heart attacks and strokes than those who don’t use the Pill, probably because the Pill greatly increases blood clotting ability. One of the major findings of the study was that women who get off the Pill have rates of cardiovascular disease equal to that of the general population after a period of one year. All of the patient information pamphlets produced by the manufacturers of the Pill confirm that the drug increases these risks.”

 

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Deaths per year

“Dr. John Hildebrand, an expert in the field of human reproduction, estimated that more than 500 women die every year because of pill-induced effects. This startling number is confirmed by figures provided by the Alan Guttmacher Institute (the world’s foremost abortions statistics analyzer) and one of the foremost abortionists in the United States, Warren Hern. His textbook Abortion Practice contains figures that lead to the conclusion that more than 30,000 American women have died due to direct side effects of the Pill since it was adopted in the United States ― with a current average of 600 to 700 deaths per year. [This statistic was in 2014.]”

 

Breast cancer

“In 1988, scientists at the Boston University School of Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania, and New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center showed that the longer women took the Pill, the greater were their chances of contracting breast cancer. The risk of developing breast cancer was found to be twice as great by age 45 for women who had used the Pill for less than ten years and four times as great for women who had used the Pill for greater than ten years.

“After a decade of accumulating evidence, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified combined oral contraceptives as ‘carcinogenic to humans’ (Group 1). In 2005, the IARC confirmed this classification and has not changed it since.

Note: The above-mentioned study was conducted in 1988 and was solely based on the Pill, which is a combined oral contraceptive. This study showed that the longer women took the Pill, the greater were their chances of contracting breast cancer. This was accepted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). In 2005, the IARC confirmed their earlier decision regarding the Pill as cancerous and also classified all hormonal contraceptives as ‘carcinogenic to humans’ (Group 1).

 

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“Researchers at the Mayo Clinic followed up this classification with the most comprehensive review of studies on the Pill-breast cancer link ever performed. They found that 21 of 23 large, well-conducted studies found that there was an average of a 44% increased risk of breast cancer in women who were taking the Pill prior to their first pregnancy.”

(Source for the above three sections - click here.)

 

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The petition on hormonal contraceptives

On the 21st of April 2020, Human Life International posted an article on their website titled ‘Petition on Hormonal Contraceptives’: The Real Effects of Hormonal Birth Control. In this article, we read:

“In June 2019, 10 doctors and researchers who had formed a Contraceptive Study Group published a document entitled Petition on Hormonal Contraceptives. This document evaluated existing literature and synthesized studies on hormonal birth control in order to present information on their side effects in one comprehensive document. The Contraceptive Study Group’s goal was to not only warn potential users, but also to petition the government to add black box—or warning—labels onto the boxes of contraception and to include warnings on patient-related information so that women know and understand the risks of the chemicals they put into their bodies. This article serves as an overview of just some of the major findings and of the information this group desperately wants to put forward for all to know.”

In their article, Human Life International summarises the side effects and health risks of hormonal contraceptives. Here are some extracts:

 

Breast Cancer

“According to the Petition on Hormonal Contraceptives, there are 1.7 million cases of breast cancer diagnosed every year. It is the most common form of cancer among women in developed countries and accounts for 20% of cancers in females.

“The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies COCs [combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives] as Group 1 carcinogens. That means they can cause cancer in human beings. Studies have long shown the link between breast cancer and COCs [combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives]. The New England Journal of Medicine published an article in 2006 that found that COCs increase the risk of breast cancer. That same year, the Mayo Clinic Proceedings (a medical journal sponsored by the Mayo Clinic) published a meta-analysis that confirmed the findings that COCs increase the risk of premenopausal breast cancer.

“According to the Contraceptive Study Group, ‘Studies that looked at recent use (within 1–5 years) or current use of COCs [combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives] in premenopausal women showed the most dramatic increased risk for breast cancer.’ The most significant study found that women between the ages of 20-49 who had used COCs ‘within a year had an increased risk of breast cancer.’

“Other studies corroborate these findings as well. Most found that women who used COCs [combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives] for a year or more had a higher risk of breast cancer. A Danish study found that a woman’s risks increased even after she discontinued use if she had used COCs for five or more years.”

 

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How many women are told that hormonal contraceptives
increase the risk of breast cancer?

 

 

In conjunction with the petition, the public was asked to post comments or stories to a site titled the Citizen Petition from Contraceptive Study Group. In the article by Human Life International, we read the following in reference to these comments and stories:

“The comments section offers many stories from women who have suffered from breast cancer and from the doctors who have treated them. Included among them are:

Anthony Vigil, MD, FACS, says:

As a general surgeon, me and my partners ask our breast cancer patients about OCP [oral contraceptive pills] use since our best cancer textbooks describe an increased risk of breast cancer with OCP use. It is ethically imperative that women are made aware of the risks of ingesting hormones into their bodies.”

 

Cervical Cancer

According to the petition, approximately 260,000 women in the United States have cervical cancer. The American Cancer Society claims that there will be about 14,000 new cases this year alone. Research has shown that there is an increased risk of cervical cancer associated with COCs [combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives] and that the risk increases for women currently taking hormonal birth control. In addition, the risk increases with the length of time the woman has taken the COCs.

 

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How many women are told that hormonal contraceptives
increase the risk of cervical cancer?

 

 

Weight Gain

“While studies have varied regarding weight increase in women who use COCs [combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives], the strongest data found that levonorgestrel-releasing [hormonal] IUDs do, in fact, affect body mass. The authors stated that ‘a significant increase in % fat mass with a corresponding decrease in % lean body mass was observed in both studies where these were measured.’

“Women have found this side effect all too real. For example, a woman who wishes to be anonymous said: 

When I was taking hormonal birth control (HBC) I underwent a massive weight gain. From 120 lbs. to 155 lbs [54kg to 70kg]. That’s almost adding 30% to my body weight! I also suffered with severe stomach cramping, constant discomfort, constipation and diarrhea. My doctor diagnosed it at IBS. I was only on HBC for 8 months and got pregnant while taking it. I stopped taking it upon pregnancy and have never touched the stuff again!

“The authors believe that all patient-related materials and advertising (print, radio, etc.) should convey information about this risk to the consumer.”

 

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Why is there little to no talk that hormonal contraceptives,
especially hormonal IUDs, can cause weight increase in women?

 

 

Venous Thromboembolism (blood clots)

“A venous thromboembolism (or VTE) is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a vein, most often in the leg, arm, or groin, and then lodges itself in the lung. This is an extremely dangerous health problem that can cause death. Even the American Heart Association website agrees that COCs [combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives] can cause a VTE: ‘In women, pregnancy and the use of hormones like oral contraceptives or estrogen for menopause symptoms can also play a role.’

“The comments [on the website Citizen Petition from Contraceptive Study Group] regarding this side effect address the tragedies that have befallen women and families as a result of hormonal birth control. For example, Carol Pepin wrote about the loss of her daughter:

My 19-year-old daughter Shelby Pepin... died. Shelby was very athletic, did not smoke, and had no history of a blood disorder. The coroner’s report confirmed that Shelby had died from a pulmonary embolism. She had a DVT [deep vein thrombosis] behind her left knee that traveled to her lungs causing her bilateral embolism. The coroner also confirmed that her DVT [deep vein thrombosis] was caused by her birth control the NuvaRing. Shelby had been on the NuvaRing for 18 months.

“Joseph West has a similar story:

Our daughter died at age 29 in the Intensive Care Unit of her local hospital where she had been transferred after presenting herself at her local walk-in clinic. Her death was five weeks to the day after getting married and one day before [her] scheduled departure on a delayed honeymoon cruise. The autopsy report stated that she had ‘bilateral pulmonary thromboemboli’ with a thrombus present in the left popliteal fossa. She had been using NuvaRing at the time of her death [which] had been removed at the walk-in clinic prior to transport to the hospital... The [ICU] doctor stated that she believes that hormonal birth control was a significant contributor to the death of our daughter.”

 

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How many women are told that the American Heart Association and National Blood Clot Alliance agree
that 
hormonal contraceptives can cause an increase in the risk of blood clots in the veins? 

 

 

Atherosclerosis and Heart Disease

“Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries caused by plaque. Arteries clogged with plaque lead to heart problems. Even as long ago as 1982, researchers understood and took interest in the fact that vascular disease and COCs  [combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives] were linked. According to the petition, these researchers ‘found that combination oral contraceptives (COCs) caused “greater cell proliferation and incorporation . . . in both human arterial smooth muscle cells and dermal fibroblasts.” Smooth muscle cell proliferation is an integral feature of all atherosclerotic lesions (Bagdade 1982). In 2007, a presentation at the American Heart Association meeting described a study of 1,301 Belgian women, which showed that women had a 20 to 30 percent increase of plaque for every decade on COCs (Rietzschel 2007).’

Furthermore, the Danish Heart Association ‘released the results of a 15-year historic cohort study looking at thrombotic stroke and myocardial infarction, which observed over 1.6 million women. The results demonstrated that women taking COCs [combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives] with ethinyl estradiol at a dose of 20 [micrograms] had a risk of arterial thrombosis that was 0.9 to 1.7 times higher than non-users, while those taking a dose of 30 to 40 [micrograms] had a 1.3 to 2.3 higher risk (Lidegaard 2012).

“The current black box warning about thrombotic events mentions smoking and age, which the authors believe misleads the consumer into thinking she’s safe if she doesn’t smoke or if she’s younger than 35. They want the warning amended to read: ‘Warning: Increased risk of serious cardiovascular events including blood clots.’ Additionally, they request warnings on all advertising and patient-related materials.

 

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Why are hormonal contraceptives not included in this list?

 

 

Urogenital (Urinary and Genital) Effects

The authors found evidence of several different kinds of urogenital problems in women. These include interstitial cystitis (a condition that causes bladder pain and pressure), bacterial infections, urinary tract infections, vulvovaginal candidiasis, vaginal dryness, female sexual dysfunction, and more. They state that the risk increases for adolescents and if the woman uses COCs [combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives] for at least two years.

“A woman who wishes to remain anonymous experienced a whole host of problems, including urogenital. She said:

I was put on birth control by my parents when I was only 15 years old after a sexual assault incident. I then continued it for another 5 years before I began to question it. In that time frame I experienced extreme weight gain and weight loss from one pill to another, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder because of my manic depression and severe mood swings (I am not bipolar), experienced a miscarriage, developed cysts in my breasts, had continuous pregnancy symptoms (including morning sickness every day), and had frequent UTIs [urinary tract infections] and yeast infections. No one ever associated any of my problems, other than the breast cysts, to my birth control pills. It wasn’t until I discontinued the use (once learning of the cysts) that I began to feel normal and realized the association between my symptoms and the pill.

 

We have learnt so far that hormonal contraceptives can cause serious physical effects on the body. From the previous comment, we learn for the first time that, in addition to physical issues, hormonal contraceptives can also cause serious mental health problems. The article ‘Petition on Hormonal Contraceptives’: The Real Effects of Hormonal Birth Control by Human Life International examines this issue in more detail. We read:

 

Depression, Mood Disorders, Suicide

“According to the study group, ‘The largest study of incident depression and use of anti-depressant medication (Skovlund 2016) indicates significantly increased risks for both COCs [combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives] and POCs [progestogen-only contraceptives] for both outcomes. The same group studied for suicide attempts and suicides (Skovlund 2018). Elevated risks were seen, and this was the case for both COCs and POCs. The recent NCHA study (Gregory 2018) showed a similar trend.’

The authors claim that their research has shown an ‘increased risk for depression, suicide risk, and suicide within 3 months of beginning to use the drugs and tapering off after 6 months, partly due to attenuation of symptoms, partly due to discontinuation due to adverse effects.’

“The comments section of the website [Citizen Petition from Contraceptive Study Group] paints a dismal picture and offers evidence that these hormones cause new mental health problems and exacerbate existing or latent ones.

“Julie Baltz, a family practice clinician who has practiced medicine for over 20 years, states that she has seen the psychological harm caused by hormonal contraceptives. She wrote:

Even more subtle and more underreported are the psychological effects. These patients simply state “I didn’t feel right” and often think that there's something wrong with them because they don’t tolerate this type of medication. I’ve seen insomnia, anxiety, depression, anhedonia, anorexia, and poor libido directly improved within my clinical office by discontinuing a combined OCP [oral contraceptive pills].” 

“Another person, known only as TF, wrote in to say: 

In 2011 I was prescribed hormonal birth control to “fix” a very irregular cycle. Three months later I started to struggle with crippling fatigue, loss of appetite and disinterest in everything except sleeping. I was shortly after that diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, and still to this day have to be on medication to remain functional. I still struggle with my energy levels, unfortunately medication can’t cure depression and make it disappear. My doctor and I both believe that the hormonal birth control was likely a trigger to a predisposition for Major Depressive Disorder. 

“A woman who wishes to remain anonymous stated:

In my early twenties I was prescribed birth control pills. The first cycle I took the pills as prescribed. I began to feel depressed, anxious, crying daily, with mood swings. Prior to beginning the oral contraceptive pills, I had none of these symptoms. After completing the first 2 weeks of the medication packet, I called the nurse practitioner at the OB/GYN clinic that I originally got the prescription. She told me that the changes in my mood, depression, and anxiety among others, could not be due to the new medication, that it must have just been life. She changed me to a lower dose contraceptive pill. After three weeks of taking the second prescription pack as directed I decided to discontinue use of oral contraceptives due to the side effects. I had gained 15 pounds and felt terrible.

“The site is filled with story after story of people who have suffered—mentally and physically—because of these drugs. The authors of the 2019 Petition on Hormonal Contraceptives want a black box warning about this side effect and warnings on patient-related materials.”

 

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How many women know that hormonal contraceptives can
increase the risk of suicide, mood disorders and depression?

 

 

Hormonal IUDs can affect the brain

A practicing neurologist in the USA, and a main contributor to this work, wrote the following regarding how hormonal IUDs can affect the brain:

As a neurologist, I have found there are scientific studies discussing how hormonal IUDs can affect not only the entire reproductive system, but also a woman’s body in general, and even the brain. This is why there can be depression or headaches from IUDs. I had a patient who was having severe headaches, which I attributed to the hormonal IUD causing hormonal changes similar to OCPs (oral contraceptive pills), leading to a special type of headache called RCVS*.”

* RCVS (Reversible cerebral vasoconstrictive syndrome) is a condition that causes sudden, severe “thunderclap” headaches and other disruptive brain symptoms. The symptoms often resemble those of medical emergencies like strokes or brain bleeds. Emergency care is absolutely critical if one experiences any of these symptoms.

The very informative article titled, IUDs and Depression: How Are They Related? was recommended by the contributing neurologist. This article is not against IUDs in general, however, it does bring to light the side effects and risks of hormonal IUDs.

In the article we read,

Hormonal intrauterine devices, or IUDs, are a common form of hormonal birth control that have been used for decades. However, the synthetic progestin hormone that the IUD emits, levonorgestrel, may cause mood swings and other mental health changes for some women. Some women have reported being concerned about anxiety or depression as a side effect of their IUD.”

 

The information and personal stories presented in this chapter are just a small selection of the devastating physical and mental effects associated with using hormonal contraceptives. There is so much more alarming information available for those who wish to explore this topic further. Clearly the side effects and medical risks of these so-called safe methods of birth control are far more serious than we are led to believe. How often do women hear the following words regarding hormonal contraceptives: “safe and effective”? However, after reading Chapter 36, there is no doubt that the word “safe” should never be used when describing hormonal contraceptives. The description “safe and effective” is also used in relation to copper IUDs. But are they safe? The answer to this question is no.

Therefore, it is very important to explore the specific side effects and increased health risks of copper IUDs. Although they are not hormonal, they have similar devastating effects on women’s health, both physically and mentally. However, before looking at these effects, we need to better understand what copper IUDs are and how they work.

 

 

~ CHAPTER 37 ~

What are IUDs?

IUD stands for intrauterine device. It is a type of birth control. IUDs can come in different shapes but usually an IUD is a small, T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus (womb) by either a doctor or a nurse.

 

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IUDs are made of a non-reactive, flexible plastic material such as polyethylene, and include active chemicals or elements which are slowly released into the woman over a period of several years (some up to 10 years). There are two types of IUDs - hormonal and non-hormonal.

 

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Hormonal IUDs release the hormone progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone) within the uterus. Examples of hormonal IUDs are Mirena, Kyleena, Skyla and Liletta.

In the case of non-hormonal IUDs, they slowly release copper into the uterus, which changes the environment within the internal genital tract of women. Examples of non-hormonal IUDs are Paragard, Copper T, Load 375, Liberté, FlexiT, Mona Lisa, Neo-Safe T380 and Nova T 380.

The following diagram shows the different shapes of copper and hormonal IUDs.

 

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This photograph shows the significant size of an IUD when compared to the size of a human hand.  The average dimensions of the uterus in an adult female are 8 cm long, 5 cm across, and 4 cm thick. The dimensions of a large IUD are 3.6 cm long and 3.2 cm across. 

 

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~ CHAPTER 38 ~ 

How do copper IUDs work?

After the non-hormonal copper IUD is inserted into the uterus, the copper elements are released throughout the reproductive system of a woman. This includes organs such as the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix and vagina.

Copper IUDs produce an inflammatory reaction, which creates a toxic environment in the woman’s reproductive system. They can work in five ways (mechanisms):

  1. Copper IUDs may interfere with sperm movement or destroy sperm. (After sexual intercourse, sperm can survive for up to 5 days.)
  2. Copper IUDs may damage or destroy eggs (ova). (After ovulation the egg only lives for 12 to 24 hours.)
  3. Copper IUDs may kill a fertilised egg (embryo) in the fallopian tubes through poisoning. (A fertilised egg remains in the fallopian tube for approximately 5 days.)
  4. Copper IUDs may kill, through poisoning, a fertilised egg (embryo) that has entered into the uterus. (Once the fertilised egg enters the uterus, it can take a further 1 to 6 days to implant.)
  5. Copper IUDs may change the lining of the uterus such that a fertilised egg (embryo) is prevented from successfully implanting in the uterus. (The copper causes an inflammatory reaction in the uterus which does not allow the fertilised egg to successfully attach to the lining of the uterus.)

The toxicity to either the sperm or the egg, individually, is a contraceptive mechanism and therefore the first two mechanisms above are not abortive.

However, if these two mechanisms fail and the sperm and the egg join, that is, if fertilisation takes place, then the copper IUD has another three mechanisms which may either kill a fertilised egg (embryo) through poisoning or by preventing its implantation. If the embryo does not implant, it starves to death and dies.

Something that is not very well known is that the toxicity of the copper reaches as far as the fallopian tubes and even the ovaries. Furthermore, after fertilisation, the fertilised egg (embryo) remains in the fallopian tube for about 5 days while it travels down to the uterus. It is during these 5 days that the toxicity in the fallopian tube can destroy the fertilised egg (embryo) through poisoning.

If, however, the fertilised egg survives in the fallopian tube and enters the uterus, it is met with further toxicity from the copper IUD. The toxicity in the uterus can result in the fertilised egg (embryo) being poisoned. In general, it can take 1 to 6 days after the embryo leaves the fallopian tube for it to implant in the uterus. This means that there is another 1 to 6 days that a fertilised egg (embryo) can be destroyed through poisoning while in the uterus.

In the rare case that the fertilised egg (embryo) survives and begins the process of trying to attach to the lining of the uterus, the fifth mechanism comes into effect. It should be noted that although the copper IUD is not a hormonal contraceptive, it also alters the lining of the uterus. However, unlike hormonal contraceptives, the copper IUD does not alter the lining of the uterus by thinning it, but instead by promoting inflammation. The result of the inflammatory process caused by the copper IUD is interference with the implantation of a fertilised egg (embryo). In other words, this inflammation does not allow for the fertilised egg (embryo) to successfully attach (implant) to the lining of the uterus.

As can be seen, the copper IUD can destroy an embryo in either of two ways. The first way is through poisoning the embryo directly while it is in the fallopian tube or in the uterus. The second way is by interfering with the embryo’s successful implantation in the uterus. Therefore, the end result of mechanisms 3 to 5 is an abortion.

The following is from an article titled, “The Truth about Emergency Contraception” from the website Human Life International. This article confirms that copper IUDs are not only toxic to sperm and eggs, but also to the fertilised egg (embryo) at its early stages, causing its death. The article further confirms that copper IUDs can prevent the embryo from implanting in the uterus, which also causes its death.  

Paragard is the only non-hormonal copper intrauterine device used in the United States today. It releases copper ions that are toxic to both gametes (sperm and ovum) and decreases the probability of fertilization. The copper ions are also toxic to the very early embryo, either killing it or preventing it from implanting. Paragard can be inserted up to five days after intercourse to prevent a continuing pregnancy.

 

In summary, copper IUDs work differently to hormonal IUDs, but both can cause abortions. Copper IUDs do not thin out the lining of the uterus as do hormonal IUDs, but they still cause abortions by creating a toxic environment both in the uterus and in the fallopian tubes, which either directly kills the fertilised egg (embryo) or interferes with its successful implantation. 

 

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Another difference worth noting is that women who use the hormonal progestin IUD have lighter or no periods. This is because the lining of the uterus is thinned out by the progestin hormone in the IUD. However, women who use the copper IUD often have heavier and/or more painful periods because there is no thinning out of the lining of the uterus but rather an increased inflammation of this lining.

Note: According to some studies, copper IUDs can increase the copper levels in the blood. Normally, the liver gets rid of extra copper. A buildup of too much copper is serious and can result in serious side effects such as brain damage, liver failure, or death if it is not treated. This is why the serious side effects and risks of copper IUDs will be thoroughly investigated in the next chapter.

 

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~ CHAPTER 39 ~

What are the commonly known side effects

and health risks of copper IUDs?

In this chapter we will explore the specific side effects and increased health risks of copper IUDs which, although not hormonal, still have their own devastating effects on women’s health, both physically and mentally.

Why do women choose copper IUDs over hormonal contraceptives? When women cannot tolerate hormonal contraceptives, or they simply do not want to take hormones, they turn to the copper IUD as a non-hormonal alternative. Copper IUDs supposedly have less side effects and are often referred to as hormone free. 

To begin with, let us examine the side effects and health risks of copper IUDs that pharmaceutical companies make available to the public. Later we will reveal other side effects and health risks of copper IUDs that have not been made readily available to the public, and how they are related to something called copper toxicity (also called copper overload). Simply put, copper toxicity is a type of metal poisoning caused by an excess of copper in the body.

 

 

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Safety information regarding the copper IUD, Paragard

On the Paragard website, there is an abundance of safety information regarding their copper IUD. Anyone who reads this information would be horrified to learn that this non-hormonal IUD, that is advertised as safe, is associated with serious side effects and health risks. Even though the following is based on Paragard IUDs, it should be noted that other brands of copper IUDs are similar when it comes to health risks and side effects. The following are some extracts from the webpage “Paragard Safety”, under the heading “What Are the Possible Side Effects of Paragard?”

“Paragard can cause serious side effects, including:

    • Ectopic Pregnancy and Intrauterine Pregnancy Risks: There are risks if you become pregnant while using Paragard
    • Life-Threatening Infection: Life-threatening infection can occur within the first few days after Paragard is placed. Call your healthcare provider immediately if you develop severe pain or fever shortly after Paragard is placed
    • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) or Endometritis: Some IUD users get a serious pelvic infection called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or endometritis. PID and endometritis are usually sexually transmitted; you are at a higher risk if you or your partner has sex with others. PID and endometritis are usually treated with antibiotics. PID and endometritis can cause serious problems such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain. More serious cases may require surgery and rarely, PID can even cause death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these signs of PID or endometritis: low abdominal (stomach area) or pelvic pain, pelvic tenderness, painful sex, unusual or bad smelling vaginal discharge, chills, long-lasting or heavy bleeding, fever, genital lesions or sores
    • Embedment: Paragard may become attached to (embedded) the wall of the uterus. This may make it hard to remove Paragard. Surgery may be needed
    • Perforation: Paragard may go through the wall of the uterus. This is called perforation. You are not protected from pregnancy if perforation occurs. It may move outside the uterus and cause scarring, infection, damage to other organs, pain, or infertility. Surgery may be needed. Excessive pain or vaginal bleeding during placement of Paragard, pain or bleeding that gets worse after placement, or not being able to feel the threads may happen with perforation. The risk of perforation is increased in breastfeeding women
    • Expulsion: Paragard may partially or completely fall out of the uterus. This is called expulsion. Expulsion occurs in about 2 out of 100 women. Excessive pain, vaginal bleeding during placement of Paragard, pain that gets worse, bleeding after placement, or not being able to feel the threads may happen with expulsion. You are not protected from pregnancy if Paragard is expelled
    • Changes in Bleeding: You may have heavier and longer periods with spotting in between. Sometimes the bleeding is heavier than usual at first. Call your healthcare provider if the bleeding remains heavier or longer and spotting continues
    • Reactions After Placement or Removal: Some women have had reactions such as dizziness (syncope), slowed heart rate (bradycardia), or seizures, immediately after Paragard was placed or removed. This happened especially in women who have had these conditions before.

 

 

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The copper IUD (Paragard)

 

The Paragard website also lists the common side effects of their copper IUD:

“You may have other side effects with Paragard. For example, you may experience anemia (low blood count), expulsion, pain during sex, spotting, prolonged or painful periods, vaginal irritation, vaginal discharge, backache, cramping or pain.”

 

 

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 Perhaps we should ask women who have suffered from using copper IUDs
whether they still believe they are “safe”, and whether they still “love” them.

 

 

The most common side effect of the copper IUD

The popular website, Medical News Today has an article titled “What to know about the copper IUD”. This article confirms that the side effects of the copper IUD are irregular and heavy bleeding, and an increased risk of period pain.

 

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We read:

“The most common side effect of the copper IUD is irregular and heavy bleeding. The 2016 article in Open Access Journal of Contraception indicates that during the first year after insertion, 4–15% of women remove the IUD for this reason. Periods may get heavier while using the copper IUD. Blood loss can increase from 30–50%. Another side effect is an increased risk of period pain. According to an older 2007 study, 38% of participants reported significantly more period pain after the insertion of a copper IUD.”

 

 

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Another popular website, Healthline, in their article, “Everything You Need to Know About the Copper IUD (ParaGard)” states the following side effects of the copper IUD, Paragard:

The most common side effect of the copper IUD is heavier and longer periods — especially the first 3 to 6 months after insertion, says Dr. Kecia Gaither. 

Other side effects include:

    • spotting
    • irregular bleeding
    • increased or worsened cramping 

“‘Because copper causes an inflammatory response in the body, and period cramps are a symptom of inflammation, the copper IUD can also worsen cramps,’ says Felice Gersh, MD.”

 

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We read on the website, Drugwatch, something which sounds contradictory and schizophrenic. Under the subheading “Side Effects and Complications” of the article “Paragard”, they write:

“Paragard is generally safe and well tolerated, but it isn’t without side effects. Most common side effects are minor and serious side effects are rare. According to Cooper Surgical, Paragard is the only IUD that has been clinically proven safe for over 30 years.

Potential common Paragard side effects include:

    • Anemia
    • Backache
    • Cramping
    • Dysmenorrhea (painful periods)
    • Dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse)
    • Expulsion (complete or partial)
    • Longer than normal periods
    • Pain
    • Spotting in between periods
    • Vaginitis

 

Then, under the subheading “Serious Side Effects,” the following is written:

“Serious side effects with Paragard are more rare but can occur. These include ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside of the uterus), septic abortion, severe infection called sepsis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and perforation or embedment in the uterus. 

To prevent serious complications, don’t use Paragard if you:

    • Are pregnant or suspect you are pregnant
    • Have uterine abnormalities that alters the shape of your uterus
    • Have acute pelvic inflammatory disease
    • Have had endometriosis after giving birth or having an abortion in the past three months
    • Have uterine bleeding with an unknown cause
    • Suspect you have uterine cancer
    • Have a cervical or vaginal infection
    • Have Wilson’s disease, a disease that affects copper excretion
    • Are allergic to copper or another component of Paragard

 

It is sometimes difficult for women to know whether they have any of the above conditions. This would mean that while using copper IUDs, women could be in danger. (Note: The last two points in the list will be discussed further down.)

 

 

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Paragard IUD may cause serious injury and require surgery

 

To make things worse, after Drugwatch states that, “According to Cooper Surgical, Paragard is the only IUD that has been clinically proven safe for over 30 years”, the following is written under the subheading, “Lawsuits”:

“Some people have filed Paragard IUD lawsuits claiming the device can break upon removal, causing serious injuries. Injuries claimed in lawsuits include surgery to remove broken pieces of the device, pain and infertility. 

“On Dec. 16, 2020, judges on the United States Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued a transfer order to centralize cases from courts across the country in the Northern District of Georgia. There are about 80 cases pending and attorneys expect hundreds more.

“Defendants include Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., Teva Women’s Health, Inc., Teva Women’s Health, LLC, Teva Branded Pharmaceutical Products R&D, Inc., The Cooper Companies,Inc. and CooperSurgical, Inc.”

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The above is an article regarding these Paragard IUD lawsuits – click here.

 

Copper allergy and Wilson’s disease

It is commonly disclosed that women should not use copper IUDs if they have an allergy to copper or Wilson’s disease. These two conditions can be diagnosed through tests.

The Paragard website states that women who have a copper allergy or Wilson’s disease should not use the Paragard (copper IUD):

Don’t use Paragard if you are or may be pregnant, have fibroids, a pelvic infection including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), get infections easily, certain cancers, unexplained bleeding, Wilson’s disease, or a copper allergy. IUDs, including Paragard, have been associated with an increased risk of PID [Pelvic Inflammatory Disease].”

Paragard may exacerbate Wilson’s disease, a rare genetic disease affecting copper excretion; therefore, the use of Paragard is contraindicated in females of reproductive potential with Wilson’s disease.”

 

The website, Healthline, in their article “Everything You Need to Know About the Copper IUD (ParaGard)” also mentions:

“Anyone with a copper allergy, intolerance, or a copper metabolism disorder called Wilson’s disease should also avoid getting a copper IUD.”

 

 

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The website, Drugwatch, in their article “Paragard” also mentions:

“To prevent serious complications, don’t use Paragard if you:

    • Have Wilson’s disease, a disease that affects copper excretion
    • Are allergic to copper or another component of Paragard”

 

 

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So, what exactly is Wilson’s disease? The Cleveland Clinic website writes the following about this disease:

Wilson disease is a rare genetic condition that occurs when your body accumulates too much copper, especially in the liver and brain. Your body needs a small amount of copper from food to stay healthy, but without treatment, Wilson disease can lead to high copper levels that cause life-threatening organ damage.”

 

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The website National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases writes the following about Wilson’s disease.

Wilson disease is a genetic disorder that prevents the body from removing extra copper, causing copper to build up in the liver, brain, eyes, and other organs. Without treatment, high copper levels can cause life-threatening organ damage.”

 

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An article titled “Copper allergy revisited”, from the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology states:

copper allergy is rare”.

 

As we can see, Wilson’s disease and copper allergies are rare, and therefore do not relate to the majority of women.

 

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Many people with Wilson disease, or just copper toxicity, have Kayser-Fleischer rings, which are greenish, gold, or brownish
rings around the edge of the corneas. A buildup of copper in the eyes is what causes Kayser-Fleischer rings. (Source: NIH)

 

 

Copper toxicity can occur even when someone does not have Wilson’s disease

What about copper toxicity (also called copper overload)? It is important to note that copper toxicity can occur even when someone does not have Wilson’s disease. However, copper toxicity is typically more likely to happen if someone has Wilson’s disease because this disease prevents the body from removing extra copper (even small amounts), causing copper to build up in the body. While on the other hand, copper toxicity occurs when there is too much copper in the body from exposure to excess copper. Even though Wilson’s disease is rare, copper toxicity is not rare.

The medical and scientific communities do, in fact, confirm that copper toxicity can occur due to chronic or long-term exposure to high levels of copper through contaminated food and water sources. But what these communities do not agree with is that copper toxicity can occur in women who use copper IUDs. 

It will soon be shown that copper toxicity can occur in women who use copper IUDs. This leads us to ask the question: why is copper toxicity not included in the list of common side effects of copper IUDs? Not only should it be listed, but also highlighted, because it negatively affects the health of many women.

Before we investigate the evidence that copper toxicity can occur in copper IUD users, we need to study what exactly copper toxicity is, and what the symptoms are. 

 

 

~ CHAPTER 40 ~

What is copper toxicity and what are the symptoms? 

Copper toxicity is a type of metal poisoning caused by an excess of copper in the body due to long-term, and even short-term, exposure to copper. This can, in extreme cases, result in liver failure and death. Copper toxicity is usually diagnosed by measuring the levels of copper in the bloodstream. The most common tests for copper toxicity include:

• Total copper blood test, also known as a total copper serum test
• Urine test
• A liver biopsy to measure copper levels
• Blood ceruloplasmin test
• Vitamin B12 level test

However, because excess copper is stored in the tissues and not the blood, a blood test alone is not an accurate representation of the copper levels in the body. Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) offers a reliable analysis of copper and its effects on the body, and therefore should be used in conjunction with other tests.

The fact that there is an over-reliance on blood tests rather than Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) to detect copper toxicity would explain why copper toxicity is often undetected and therefore those suffering from it are left without treatment – it remains basically “off the radar” in the medical community.

 

 

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The website Medical News Today, in their article, “Copper toxicity: Symptoms and treatment”, tells us the following about copper toxicity, its causes and symptoms:

“Copper toxicity can result from exposure to high levels of copper through contaminated food and water. Symptoms of this condition include diarrhea, headaches, and in severe cases, kidney failure. Certain genetic disorders, such as Wilson’s disease, can also lead to copper toxicity.”

“People rarely develop copper toxicity. However, it can occur when a person ingests high levels of the substance from contaminated water, food, or air.” 

“Tap water that runs through copper pipes or brass faucets [taps] can absorb copper particles, particularly if these parts have corroded. Farm and industrial waste can also run off into public reservoirs, contaminating drinking water.”

 

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“People eat and drink about 1 mg of copper every day. The body effectively prevents high levels of the substance from entering the bloodstream. However, a person can develop copper toxicity if they eat food served on or prepared with corroded copper cookware, dishes, or utensils.”

 

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Corroded copper cookware can cause copper toxicity 

 

In the same article under the sub-heading “Symptoms”, we learn the following:

“Copper is present in almost every type of tissue in the body. High concentrations of the substance accumulate in the:

    • bones
    • muscles
    • brain
    • liver
    • kidneys

  

“Copper toxicity can lead to various symptoms, including:

    • stomach pain
    • nausea and vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • blue- or green-colored stool
    • dark, sticky stool containing blood
    • headache
    • dizziness
    • fatigue
    • fever or chills
    • aching muscles
    • extreme thirst
    • tachycardia or abnormally fast heart rate
    • changes in taste that can lead to decreased appetite or anorexia

  

“Copper toxicity can also trigger the following neurological and psychological symptoms:

    • sudden changes in mood
    • symptoms of depression or anxiety
    • feeling irritable or overexcited
    • difficulty focusing 

 

“Copper toxicity can have severe health effects, such as:

    • kidney failure
    • heart failure
    • loss of red blood cells
    • liver disease
    • brain damage
    • death

 

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On the website Healthline, in their article “What to Know About Copper Toxicity”, we read the following regarding some of the causes of copper toxicity, and some symptoms:

“Copper toxicity can be caused by genetic conditions or exposure to high levels of copper in food or water.”

“Water traveling through copper pipes can absorb copper particles and become contaminated with too much copper, especially if the pipes are corroded.” 

“Although rare, the same thing can happen to food served on rusting copper dishes or alcoholic drinks prepared in corroded copper cocktail shakers or copper drinkware. The important detail is corrosion of the copper.”

 

 

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Copper pipe corrosion can cause copper toxicity 

  

Some reported symptoms of copper poisoning include:

    • headaches
    • fever
    • passing out
    • feeling sick
    • throwing up
    • blood in your vomit
    • diarrhea
    • black poop
    • abdominal cramps
    • brown ring-shaped markings in your eyes (Kayser-Fleischer rings)
    • yellowing of eyes and skin (jaundice)

 

Copper poisoning may also cause the following mental and behavioral symptoms:

    • feeling anxious or irritable
    • having trouble paying attention
    • feeling overexcited or overwhelmed
    • feeling unusually sad or depressed
    • sudden changes in your mood

Note: We will soon see that the above mental and behavioural symptoms due to copper poisoning (toxicity) are similar to the symptoms that women report after having a copper IUD inserted.

Long-term copper toxicity can also be fatal or cause:

    • kidney conditions
    • liver damage or failure
    • heart failure
    • brain damage

 

In the same article, under the title “Medical conditions and disorders”, we read:

Some genetic conditions can also affect your liver’s ability to filter out copper properly. This can result in chronic copper toxicity. Some of these conditions include:

    • Wilson’s disease
    • liver disease
    • hepatitis
    • anemia (low red blood cell count)
    • thyroid issues
    • leukemia (blood cell cancer)
    • lymphoma (lymph node cancer)
    • rheumatoid arthritis

 

 

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~ CHAPTER 41 ~

Is it a myth that copper IUDs do not increase

the risk of copper toxicity in women?

We have learnt that the majority of health sites and informational brochures on the copper IUD limit their disclosure of side effects and health risks to, more or less, the potential for spotting, heavier and longer periods, irregular bleeding, increased blood loss, increased or worsened cramping, backaches, and possibly lost IUD threads. However, are there side effects and health risks that are not made available to the public?

 

 

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More and more women are complaining about side effects that are not disclosed to the public 

If we visit any number of the growing online forums, a different story emerges. Such forums are filled with women struggling terribly with symptoms that developed suddenly (or a few months later) after having a copper IUD inserted. Even a quick read through these forums clearly reveals that there are symptoms other than the above-mentioned common ones. Some examples of these other symptoms are severe anxiety and panic attacks, depression, hair loss, increased anger and rage, brain fog, spaciness, paranoia, fatigue, and increased infections (yeast being the most common)

 

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Rarely, if at all, are women provided with information about the impact of copper on their physical and mental health. The information that is not being disclosed relates to copper toxicity.

Copper toxicity is mentioned by the pharmaceutical companies, not as a side effect of the copper IUD, but only in regards to “preventing” pregnancy. In Chapter 38, “How do copper IUDs work?”, we learnt that copper toxicity caused by the copper IUD is responsible for the destruction of sperm and ova (eggs), thus preventing pregnancy. However, we also learnt that copper toxicity not only prevents pregnancy but also causes abortions and as such, copper IUDs should not be used by Orthodox Christian women. Apart from the abortive effect of copper IUDs, it must be stressed that copper toxicity causes countless health issues for women who use the copper IUD. Unfortunately, not all of these symptoms have been made readily available to the public. 

 

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In brief, the information provided by pharmaceutical companies and the majority of health websites, do disclose several side effects relating to copper IUDs. Furthermore, women with Wilson’s disease or copper allergies are told that they should not use copper IUDs. But what is not mentioned is that copper IUDs can cause copper toxicity. In fact, many (if not all) mainstream websites make a point of stating that copper IUDs do not cause copper toxicity. The following three popular websites are examples of this:

 

The website Medical News Today, in their article, “Copper toxicity: Symptoms and treatment”, tells us the following about copper IUDs:

“Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are long-acting, reversible birth control devices. They consist of a T-shaped piece of plastic with thin threads. The IUD’s arms hold itself in place inside the uterus, while its core contains a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone. In non-hormonal IUDs, a thin copper wire wraps around the body. The copper wire triggers inflammation in the uterus, which kills sperm and eggs.

The article goes on to claim that copper IUDs do not increase the risk of copper toxicity, and at the end, they admit that the researchers should do further clinical studies. We read the following misrepresentations:

Current evidence does not suggest that copper IUDs increase the risk of copper toxicity. In a 1980 study, researchers found that long-term use of these devices did not change copper levels present in blood or urine.

“In a more recent 2017 rat study, researchers observed the effects of copper IUD exposures at 20, 40, and 60 times the recommended dosages. After 26 weeks, the researchers found no signs of copper toxicity or organ damage.

“However, the rats had increased white blood cell counts, which the researchers explained as part of the body’s natural inflammatory response to copper. These findings support the safety of long-term copper IUD use.

“However, these results are not directly applicable to humans. With this in mind, the researchers encourage further clinical studies.

In the same Medical News Today article, it incorrectly states that there is no significant link between copper toxicity and copper IUDs:

Can copper toxicity come from an IUD? There is no clear evidence that copper IUDs significantly increase the risk of copper toxicity in the blood, unless you already have a condition that affects your liver’s ability to process copper.”

The expression, “there is no clear evidence” is often used in a deceitful way. What it often means is that there is no clear evidence because there has been little to no investigation, nor is there any intention of investigating the matter in an unbiased way.

 

The website, Drugwatch, in their article, “Paragard IUD Lawsuits Claim Devices Can Break, Perforate Organs”, also states that copper IUDs do not cause copper toxicity. They incorrectly write:

Evidence from available medical literature does not suggest the IUD can cause copper toxicity. Few studies address this issue in connection with Paragard. The study most often referenced is a 1980 study by Dr. Krishnamurthy Prema and colleagues that found no evidence of increased levels of copper in the bodies of women who wore copper IUDs for 24 months.

Some women have voiced concerns that they believe they suffered symptoms of copper toxicity after insertion of the device, but the position of the medical community remains that levels of copper from the IUD are not high enough to cause toxicity.”

Drugwatch references a study conducted more than 40 years ago, and mentions results for women using copper IUDs for 24 months only. However, we have to ask the following questions:

  • Who conducted this study and were they biased?
  • Were any pharmaceutical companies able to influence this study? 
  • Why did the study only cover women who have been using the copper IUD for 24 months? What about women who use copper IUDs for more than 24 months (considering copper IUDs do not need replacing for up to 10 years)?
  • What tests were used to determine whether copper IUDs can cause copper toxicity? The answer to this question is that total copper serum and urine tests were used and most certainly not the more reliable Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA), which also should be used.
  • How does this study address the fact that a sizeable number of women complain that they believe they have suffered symptoms of copper toxicity after insertion of the device?
  • Considering that many women do complain that they have symptoms of copper toxicity, why have there not been any specific studies to investigate this? Why is there no interest in these women who have been suffering from the time they began using the copper IUD?

As we know, copper IUDs do not need replacing for 10 years. It is absurd and unethical that women who are concerned that they are suffering from symptoms of copper toxicity are ignored because not many studies have been conducted to show a link between copper IUDs and copper toxicity. We will soon see that there certainly is information pointing to this link, based on the symptoms of women who use copper IUDs. Apart from the anecdotal testimonies of these women, there is also medical and scientific evidence that there is, indeed, a link between copper toxicity and copper IUDs. However, this information is not in the mainstream and therefore is often not easily available, is ignored or simply dismissed as a conspiracy theory.

 

 

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Another health website, GoodRX Health, lists the side effects of Paragard (copper IUD) and includes copper toxicity as one of these side effects. However, they link copper toxicity mainly to those who have Wilson’s disease. This means that GoodRX Health, unlike the other websites above, do admit there is a possibility that women who use copper IUDs can suffer from copper toxicity without having Wilson’s disease. In their article titled, 10 Paragard (Copper IUD) Side Effects You Should Know About” we read:

Another possible severe side effect of Paragard is copper toxicity. This is a buildup of copper in the body that can be harmful. Symptoms include headache, vomiting, and diarrhea. Dark stool, blood in your vomit, and abdominal pain are also possible.

Copper toxicity from Paragard is rare. But it’s typically more likely to happen if you have a rare genetic condition called Wilson disease. Wilson disease causes copper to build up in your body. Because of this, you shouldn’t use Paragard if you have this condition.”

 

In summary, the websites Medical News Today and Drugwatch  declare that copper IUDs do not significantly increase the risk of copper toxicity unless a woman already has Wilson’s disease (a condition that affects her liver’s ability to process copper) whereas GoodRX Health at least admits that there is a possibility that women who use copper IUDs can suffer from copper toxicity even if they do not have Wilson’s disease. However, they believe that copper toxicity is rare in women who use copper IUDs.     

In contrast, the following websites clearly state that copper IUDs can cause copper toxicity in women, even in those who do not have Wilson's disease. These websites have done a very good job of presenting the negative health effects of copper toxicity caused by copper IUDs. Although we do not agree with everything on these websites, their analysis of copper toxicity is eye-opening. This information is rarely known, unfortunately, even by medical doctors. For each of these websites, a selection of extracts has been included. 

 

 

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The first website we will look at is Natural Womanhood. Their latest articles are scientifically and medically reviewed by a number of medical doctors and fertility health experts. Unfortunately, this website is pro-contraceptives and has no concern that they can cause abortions. However, they do admit that there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of the mood-altering effects of the copper IUDs which can relate to copper toxicity. In their article, “Can I get copper toxicity from the copper IUD?” they answer this question as follows:

While there are no large-scale studies confirming that copper toxicity is a possible side effect for women who use the copper IUD (except for those who have a preexisting condition like Wilson’s disease…), anecdotal evidence of the mood-altering effects (often attributed to copper toxicity) of the copper IUD abounds. Some of these women have shared their stories here at Natural Womanhood.”

Surviving a Toxic Reaction to the Copper IUD

Removing My IUD Removed My Depression

   

 

To be continued...

 

42. What is meant by: Less side effects and health risks, but more abortions?

To be added soon.

43. What about contraceptives that do not cause abortions?

To be added soon.

44. What do the saints, elders and eldresses say about using contraceptives?

To be added soon.

45. Why did God reveal to only a few holy people that many contraceptives cause abortions?

To be added soon. 

46. Other than being unaware, why are so many Orthodox clergy silent regarding abortion-causing contraceptives?

To be added soon. 

 

 

 

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