Your Birth Control Is Killing Unborn Babies, Fatheads

Lots of anti-birth control pill news on the wires today. The first story comes from the Economist by way of Canada: A Canuck scientist has found that extra estrogen, which can get into rivers and lakes through the toilet-flushed urine of birth control takers, kills fish. Karen Kidd, an ecotoxicologist at the University of New Brunswick, "poisoned" a small lake in northwest Ontario with estrogen, and she found that the smallest fish in that lake, "fathead minnows," were feminized because of the excess hormone. According to the Economist, "[The fathead's] sperm production was delayed and they started producing eggs. After two years of treatment, the fathead minnow population collapsed." The bigger fish eventually started having fertility problems as well, but it took much longer for the estrogen to permeate their populations.

As much as aquatic vertabrates are important to the ecosystem, of primary concern to pill-poppers is not getting knocked up. Our second story: Kroeger supermarket pharmacies are selling generic versions of Ortho Cyclen and Ortho Tri-Cyclen for a mere $9 per 28-pill pack. This is especially excellent news for college students, as the cost of birth control at universities had skyrocketed as a result of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.

Still, $9 is a sight less than you'd be paying for name-brand and newer drugs, like Seasonale, the pill that only gives you a period four times a year. Marie Claire, the magazine we loved to hate on earlier today reports that the brand is now being advertised on male-directed media properties like the pages of Maxim and Spike TV. "Maybe this is just a clever way to get guys who are skeeved out by the bloat and the mood swings to sell the Pill for them," MC's Sarah Z. Wexler concludes, since Seasonale will shorten your PMS time by 2/3. Don't submit! Think of the fishes!

A Poison Pill: Human Contraceptives Are Bad For Fish [The Economist]
Birth Control Pills For A Mere $9 A Month [US News & World Report]
A Birth Control Pill for Men [Marie Claire]