Maggie DeWitte’s testimony on oral contraception at the state house

over-the-counter contraception

Pulse Life Advocates opposes a pending bill (HSB 642) before the Iowa legislature that would allow oral contraception to be sold over-the-counter without a prescription. Here Pulse Executive Director, Maggie DeWitte’s, testimony:


1. Oral contraception is dangerous.  The World Health Organization has classified combined hormonal contraception as a Group 1 carcinogen.  This is the same classification as tobacco, arsenic, and asbestos.  Women who use contraception for 11 years or longer are at a 210% increased risk of breast cancer. Contraceptives have been proven to increase the risk of blood clots, which can be fatal. They also have an increased risk of causing heart disease, especially in smokers. Lawsuits have been filed blaming the Patch for several deaths due to blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. The Food and Drug Administration has cautioned that the Patch carries a higher risk of blood clots than the birth control pill. These medications should not be prescribed by anyone except a medical doctor who has access to accurate medical records and the necessary medical tests. 

A study in 2014 in the Journal of Medical Hypothesis found a link between oral contraception use and prevalence in autism spectrum disorder.  

A study in 2016 linked birth control and depression.

A study in 2017 in the American Journal of Psychiatry documented an increased risk for suicide- nearly doubled for suicide attempts and more than tripled for successful suicide-among adolescent girls who use hormonal contraception.  

A study in 2019 revealed that women who use oral contraception had a smaller hypothalamus (a part of the brain) than women not taking the pill.  

We have an epidemic of STDs in the country and in Iowa.  Oral contraception does nothing to combat these rising numbers and leaves out the fact it provides her absolutely no protection from STD’s, some of which are life long and incurable.  

2. Hormonal Contraception is ineffective and gives women a false sense of security.  The New York Times published an article that stated that the fail rate is 38% by year five and that by year ten, 61 out of 100 women who use the pill will become pregnant. According to a March 2017 Guttmacher Institute study, “A substantial proportion of unintended pregnancies occur despite women’s and their partners’ use of contraceptives. In 2001, some 48% of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy had been using a contraception method in the month of conception.” In the same study Guttmacher also reported that “about half of pregnancies terminated by induced abortions in 2008 occurred during use of contraceptives.” So, you can give them the pills, but faulty or incorrect use makes them ineffective in reducing unplanned pregnancies.

3. This bill states it does not include any drug intended to induce an abortion.  Unfortunately, oral contraception can be abortifacient in nature. Most, if not, all hormonal birth control drugs and devices, including the Patch and the Pill, can act to terminate a pregnancy by chemically altering the lining of the uterus (endometrium) so that a newly conceived child (human embryo) is unable to implant in the womb, thus starving and dying. This mechanism of action is termed a pre-implantation chemical abortion. 

4. If the intent of this bill is to reduce abortions, providing OTC birth control will not reduce abortions.  More contraception leads to more abortions, not less.  And frankly, we don’t have an access problem; birth control is readily available in the state of Iowa. This will undercut / damage the physician-patient relationship.  Any prescription medication carries risks, and a doctor should be monitoring those risks — it’s not the role of a pharmacist to monitor symptoms and they do not have access to the patient’s medical history.  And relying on a self-administered questionnaire is not reliable — people frequently do not remember the name or type of medication they have been on or currently on and would not know of the risks associated with that medication.’


  1. Julie Konkol on March 4, 2024 at 5:25 pm

    Great job Maggie! Thank you and God bless you.


  2. Linda Sampson on March 7, 2024 at 10:11 pm

    Yes, thank you Maggie!
    While standing on vigil yesterday at the Ames PP for 40 Days For Life my Brother In CHRIST and I witnessed to a lady and her daughter walking into PP. He yelled to them that they didn’t have to go in there, that there was other places that would help.
    The Mother yelled back saying she, her daughter wasn’t going for an abortion but to get contraceptives. I yelled back that those don’t always work and they too are dangerous! In they went. So sad, just praying for them to have their eyes opened to truth! So thanks again Maggie for standing in the gap and bringing truth to our elected officials.

  3. […] Life Advocate’s executive director, Maggie DeWitte, testified before the legislature on our objections to the bill. Most Iowans are unaware of the real risks associated with hormonal […]

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