HOLLYWOOD, CA, June 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – At the tender age of 21, she handled the logistics of John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. A short three years later, Erika Langhart was dead.
The 24-year-old collapsed on Thanksgiving Day and was rushed to the hospital. “We arrived the next morning, saw her eyes blinking,” Rick Langhart said. “We first thought, ‘Oh gosh, she’s going to be OK,” her mother, Karen, said. “That was caused by the brain basically shutting down,” Rick said.
Her parents say the healthy, vivacious young woman’s death could only be attributed to one thing: her new contraceptive, the NuvaRing. Last June, the Langharts rejected their share of a $100 million settlement from Merck, the NuvaRing’s manufacturer, opting instead to campaign for more stringent FDA labeling of the device.
They’ve joined their grief, and their determination, with other bereaved families in a new documentary about the harms of hormonal contraceptives entitled Sweetening the Pill.
The documentary, which is based on a book by Holly Grigg-Spall, is being produced by an unlikely figure: 1990s talk show maven Ricki Lake. “Our goal with this film is to wake women up to the unexposed side effects of these powerful medications and the unforeseen consequences of repressing women’s natural cycles,” said Lake, who is acting as executive producer.
A brief trailer was released on Monday, featuring the story of the Langharts and others. Dana Malone – the mother of Brittany Michelle Malone, who died at age 23 – said her brush with tragedy turned her into a confirmed activist who has already saved lives.
When stories about the dangers of hormonal contraception broke into the mainstream media, she bought every copy of every magazine and handed them out.
Once, the clerk revealed that she had just gone on the NuvaRing and heeded Malone’s advice to research the product more thoroughly, particularly dangers such as increased risk of blood clots.
Malone, the Langharts, and numerous other victims hope this trailer and the completed film will inspire many more to follow suit.