Congressman William Lacy Clay and the Congressional Black Caucus held a briefing to examine a comprehensive report released by the Rebecca Project which details severe health problems from Depo Provera use including strokes and cancer, and the failure of health providers like Planned Parenthood to disclose side effects prior to administering the shot.
Panelists at the briefing called for an end to the federal funding of Depo Provera and for accountability for healthcare administers that fail to inform women of the “black box warning” issued by the drug’s manufacturer Pfizer.
The Rebecca Project report states that the promotion of Depo Provera as the optimum contraceptive for women of color and low income is being fueled by “profit at any cost” and a “population control” ideological agenda fueled by Pfizer, the Gates, Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Population Council, Planned Parenthood, Columbia and Johns Hopkins Universities, and “a cadre of extreme reproductive health advocates.”
The report cites that despite a 2012 study revealing a significant increased risk in contracting and transmitting HIV/AIDS among Depo Provera users — Planned Parenthood, one of the largest distributors of the shot continues to promote Depo Provera among vulnerable HIV/AIDS populations.
Countries that have high HIV/AIDS related deaths like South Africa also have the highest usage rate of Depo Provera funded through USAID.
Many foreign governments that fund Depo Provera for use in Africa now prohibit the unethical administering of the drug and require women have full knowledge of potential health risks prior to receiving the shot, however, according to the Rebecca Project the U.S. has yet to enforce such mandatory guidelines in their distribution of Depo Provera through overseas health contractors.
Even more egregious, USAID, Gates, Rockefeller and Mellon Foundations, and the Population Council funded a Depo Provera trial (1994-2006) on 9,000 poor women in Ghana without disclosing they were being used for a reproductive health experiment.
Long before Depo Provera received FDA approval in the U.S. – USAID directed funding overseas for its use on women in poor developing countries.
Depo Provera was denied FDA approval three times before the FDA approved the contraceptive for domestic use in 1992. This was after regulations were changed requiring clinical trials in rats and mice instead of the dogs and monkeys from previous tests that showed high frequency of cancer.
Despite calls from a coalition of Black religious leaders and human rights activists USAID and partners — the Gates Foundation, DFID, UNFPA, and PATH, continue to direct millions for the distribution of Depo Provera to poor women in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Depo Provera side effects listed in the Rebecca Project report:
In 2004, the FDA identifying that Depo Provera causes serious side-effects issued a Black Box Warning stating: (1) women may lose significant bone mineral density that is not fully reversible and, therefore, (2) Depo Provera should not be used as a long-term birth control method for more than two years. Other serious side effects, with mandated Patient Counseling and Information are: (3) blood clots in arms, legs, lungs, and eyes, (4) stroke, (5) bleeding irregularities, (6) weight gain, (7) ectopic pregnancy, and (8) delayed return to fertility and lack of return to fertility. (9) In addition, scientific research in 2012 reported that women using Depo Provera have double the risk of developing breast cancer.