Alcohol should contain contraceptive agents?
Debate Rounds (5)
Rather than setting up a legal structure (as I think this would run into too many issues to tackle), my case will be that companies should produce separate products that are specifically marketed to women containing birth control pills, as they are the sole water-soluble contraceptive of which I am aware. These companies will continue to be regulated by the FDA, which will determine an industry standard concentration of these contraceptives in alcohol. I will argue that such products are beneficial to society.
However, as my opponent has yet to post an argument, I will abstain from doing so in this round, and leave it to him to start the debate.
Let"s start by looking into birth control and how it work. Most often "the pill" is made up of two different hormones called estrogen and progestin. These hormones work together to prevent obulation and to thicken the mucus wall of the uterus to prevent sperm from fertilizing the egg. (http://www.hhs.gov...). Estrogen and progestin are a type of hormones called steroids (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...). Birth control being a steroid is hard on your liver, and women on birth control have seen to have an increase rate of liver cancer ( http://www.cancer.gov...).
Now let"s talk about alcohol. There are many different types of alcohol; however the kind that people drink is called ethanol (abbreviated ETOH). I believe that we can all agree that alcohol is hard on your liver.
My first point that I want to make is that the health risks involved with making a product that contain two hepatotoxic chemicals outweigh the benefits. The liver is a vital organ and any alteration in function is not good.
Next ETOH has been shown to negatively affect the female reproductive system (http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov...). There have been no studies involving a product that includes both "the pill" and ETOH so there is no way of knowing the immediate effects on the human body.
The third concern I have is how will it be regulated? Right now "the pill" is only available as a prescription. Are you going to need a prescription to get a bottle of liquor with hormones in it? If it is over the counter would it not be to easy to accidentally overdose on it? I assume that the people who will buy this product have the goal of getting extremely intoxicated. When I am intoxicated I do not keep track of how much I drink. There a lot of people like that and how would you prevent people from accidentally drinking too much of the hormone?
Before I do, I'd just like to say that Con shouldn't feel bad for the way he set up this round. It was my mistake for not seeing that he'd set himself as Con instead of Pro, though I don't mind taking this side of the issue.
Now, I'm going to start off by stating my case, then get into a bit of rebuttal.
In the U.S., almost 50% of pregnancies are unplanned. Many of these pregnancies occur while one or both parties is inebriated. While I can't find specific studies spelling out the percentage of people who get pregnant while inebriated, we do know that roughly 50% of unplanned sex occurs under the influence of alcohol and on a very basic level I think we can all understand that contraception is less likely to be thought of when one is under the influence, mostly as a result of dulled mental faculties.
The harms of alcohol usage prior to pregnancy are stark, as is detailed in this study:
"Alcohol administered in high doses to males and females around the time of conception or during early pregnancy increases the frequency of embryonal resorption, chromosomal abnormalities in the offspring, and fetal deaths in some animals...
Women with a very high alcohol intake have been shown to be at increased risk of preterm delivery and stillbirth, and a high intake during pregnancy may be teratogenic for some.
Early biochemically detected embryonal losses may account for as many as 40"70 percent of all pregnancy losses...
Alcohol consumption has been shown to be associated with aneuploidy in sperm cells, and spontaneously aborted embryos are frequently chromosomally abnormal. Alcohol is present in semen relatively shortly after ingestion, and it may also interfere directly with conception and thereby implantation."
The study itself concludes with the following result:
"...We found that both male and female alcohol intakes during the week of conception increased the risk of spontaneous abortion, including biochemically detected pregnancy loss."
In other words, alcohol intake at or shortly before conception is a big problem. It leads to spontaneous abortions and genetic abnormalities. That's not to mention that alcohol usage prior to pregnancy is a huge indicator of alcohol use following pregnancy, which exacerbates the harms to the child. The harms beyond spontaneous abortion are listed by the CDC under Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders:
Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip (this ridge is called the philtrum)
Small head size
Low body weight
Difficulty paying attention
Difficulty in school (especially with math)
Speech and language delays
Intellectual disability or low IQ
Poor reasoning and judgment skills
Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
Vision or hearing problems
Problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones 
These are not small issues. As such, we should be focused on ensuring that fewer children are conceived following intoxication on the part of either partner. While there are certainly rights issues involved in forcing people to use contraception, a company that produces alcohol can make a big statement by offering up an alternative product that offers the same inebriation while preventing the harms of these pregnancies.
Enter a combination of The Pill and alcohol. Companies could market this product strictly to women. Not only would this product prevent the vast majority of unplanned pregnancies associated with alcohol, but it would also be an image change for the industry, making them more appealing to a general public concerned with such health outcomes.
Now, let's get into some rebuttal.
Con talks about the possible harms of steroid usage. While I agree that liver tumors are a problem, we have to recognize several things here. First, in his own link, it states that malignancy is rare.
"Oral contraceptive use is associated with an increase in the risk of benign liver tumors, such as hepatocellular adenomas. Benign tumors can form as lumps in different areas of the liver, and they have a high risk of bleeding or rupturing. However, these tumors rarely become malignant."
Second, this is a risk that women would face with full knowledge. This would have to be printed on beer labels, as with all the possible harms of alcohol usage. Third, women are taking birth control now, and in many cases, are likely to take birth control without the alcohol. So this problem is far from unique to my case. Fourth, I'd say the harms that result from aborted pregnancies and defects are both far more damaging and far more likely. Damaging with regards to their effects on the child and parents, likely with respect to the rare occasions on which the cancers that Con cites occur.
Con gets into the use of alcohols with birth control. I'd say there's quite a bit less uncertainties than he professes. Many sources state that The Pill works just fine with alcohol, in fact emphasizing that user error is the biggest problem when it comes to the combination. When Con states that there's a possible harm to using both together, it ignores the fact that they are often used together today. There are no studies to support the claim that these would cause increased harm if put into the same bottle, and there are no harms associated with their usage en tandem.
But I think the biggest problem with this point is that it ignores current realities. Remember, this isn't a question of whether these women are going to drink or not, or whether they want to take The Pill or not. They want both, that's the reason they'd be buying this. The only difference between this instance of usage and the one in status quo is effectiveness - they're simply not likely to take The Pill correctly, and therefore not likely to get the effects they desire. All the harms of people taking both still exist in his world, just with less likelihood of the benefits of preventing pregnancy.
Con also states that there are negative effects on the female reproductive system of alcohol. I'd say this only bolsters the points of my case and why this should be implemented. Cross apply my arguments about why a combination product wouldn't be worse, how the lack of research doesn't bolster his point, and how the harms all persist without my case.
Lastly, he talks about regulation. Yes, a person would have to get a prescription, and buy these particular bottles at the prescription counter at a CVS or elsewhere. The amount of The Pill placed in these bottles would likely be well below any foreseeable level of overdose, but I will admit, there's a possibility of taking too much. But, again, I would say that this is not unique to this situation. A person can very easily take too much of The Pill if they are intoxicated and trying to use it directly. That harm exists no matter whether it's in the drink or still in pill form. If anything, I would say that this is less likely to lead to overdose, since it's titrated to the size of the bottle overall. Some people might be able to pound multiple beers, but likely far fewer than will be able to take multiple pills.
And with that, I await Con's next argument.
JMCika forfeited this round.
JMCika forfeited this round.
JMCika forfeited this round.
For the time being, voters can feel free to peruse what we've posted and make a decision on whose argumentation is better.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TheLastMan 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con disappointed me. He forfeited and most of Pros arguments went unrefuted. Pro did a good job from his side. But, I believe it was possible for Con to give a good response.
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