The only 100% reliable way to prevent pregnancy and STDs for those outside of a faithful, monogamous relationship is to practice abstinence from sexual activity (vaginal, oral, and anal intercourse as well as genital contact without penetration). 


NFP uses a woman’s body signals to pinpoint her fertile periods, with abstinence during those periods preventing pregnancy. Protection from STDs relies on a faithful, monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner. This is most likely to happen within marriage.


The following information highlights how various contraceptives work in the human body.  Options for Women/Cornerstone does not provide or refer for contraceptive services.



Classified in 2006 by the World Health Organization as carcinogens in the most dangerous "Group I," hormonal contraceptives work in three ways:  decreasing ovulation, inhibiting sperm transport, and changing the lining of the uterus to prevent implantation of a newly conceived embryo.

Especially when use begins in teen years, substantial increases in cervical and pre-menopausal breast cancers have been documented.

Many discontinue use because of depressed mood, decreased libido, headaches, weight gain, bloating.  Serious side effects include high blood pressure, blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, bone loss, increased risk of AIDS and other STIs.   

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Emergency Contraceptives (ECs) work through delaying or inhibiting ovulation, but “it is possible that ECs may affect the movement of egg or sperm (making them less likely to meet), interfere with the fertilization process, or prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. The copper in Copper-T IUDs can prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg and may also prevent implantation of a fertilized egg."

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Recent news of the ineffectiveness of Plan B in women weighing more than 165 pounds has copper IUD (intrauterine device) insertion being touted as an emergency contraception strategy.  A copper IUD does not influence ovulation, but rather interferes with body fluids and endometrium formation, likely preventing implantation of a newly conceived embryo.

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Complications of copper IUDs should be researched carefully.  They include perforation of the uterus, increased risk of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, heavier bleeding and more cramping during menstrual periods.

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Using latex condoms exactly as directed for every sexual activity (oral, anal, vaginal, and no penetration) from start to finish, will prevent HIV infection 87% of the time, but condom protection for other STIs range from 0 to 50%. { Source: Meeker, Meg.  Epidemic, How Teen Sex Is Killing Our Kids. 2002, pp. 104-110. } The practical failure rate for pregnancy using condoms is consistently higher for teens than adults.