A Colorado state proposal may use $5 million worth of taxpayer money to buy long-term birth control such as the Mirena intrauterine device (IUD) for low-income women. Opponents of the plan argue that the IUD could be potentially unsafe for the women who already lack access to healthcare.
As many as 2 million American women use the Mirena IUD annually. The device, which was released in 2000, has been met with tens of thousands of formal complaints from women who say it caused injuries. To date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received more than 70,000 Mirena side effects complaints.
In 2010, the FDA issued a warning letter to Mirena manufacturer Bayer Pharmaceuticals, telling the company that it was presenting unsubstantiated claims about the efficacy of the Mirena IUD while downplaying potential risks. Bayer faces thousands of Mirena lawsuits alleging that the IUD caused serious complications, including tissue damage, bleeding, pain and device migration when the IUD perforates the uterus and travels to other areas of the body.