Is it true the morning-after pill does NOT cause abortions?

morning after pill or plan b (abortion pill)Yesterday The New York Times posted the article, “Abortion qualms on the morning-after pill may be unfounded.”

Before quoting the NYT piece let me make clear it makes no such claim about hormonal birth control pills, only Plan B, advertised to be taken up to three days after unprotected sex, and Ella, advertised to be taken up to five days after unprotected sex.

In a nutshell:

Based on the belief that a fertilized egg is a person, some religious groups and conservative politicians say disrupting a fertilized egg’s ability to attach to the uterus is abortion….

But an examination by The New York Times has found that the federally approved labels and medical Web sites do not reflect what the science shows. Studies have not established that emergency contraceptive pills prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb, leading scientists say. Rather, the pills delay ovulation, the release of eggs from ovaries that occurs before eggs are fertilized, and some pills also thicken cervical mucus so sperm have trouble swimming.

It turns out that the politically charged debate over morning-after pills and abortion, a divisive issue in this election year, is probably rooted in outdated or incorrect scientific guesses about how the pills work. Because they block creation of fertilized eggs, they would not meet abortion opponents’ definition of abortion-inducing drugs.

A few pro-life medical and science experts whom I respect have expressed this same opinion to me in the past. Others believe the opposite from their research.

Most agree we can never know exactly how each ingestion of the morning-after pill works. How it stops pregnancy depends on when in a woman’s cycle she takes the pill in conjunction with when she had sex. But most agree one way it may work is by causing 5-9 day old embryo to flush out of the uterus, because the uterus has been made impermeable to embedding. Bottom line, quoting the NYT:

“I would be relieved if it doesn’t have this effect,” said Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “So far what I see is an unresolved debate and some studies on both sides,” he said, adding that because of difficulties in ethically testing the drugs on women, “it’s not only unresolved, but it may be unresolvable.”

Nevertheless, pro-abortion groups have lit up with this news. They’re going wild on Twitter. We have entered into a new debate. Rest assured the other side will forever hearken back to this NYT piece as the definitive statement that morning-after pills don’t cause abortions.

MAP, not BC

And they will toss in birth control pills, too, although as I wrote at the beginning of this article, the NYT was clear to say they are not part of this conversation:

 Experts say implantation was likely placed on the label partly because daily birth control pills, some of which contain Plan B’s active ingredient, appear to alter the endometrium, the lining of the uterus into which fertilized eggs implant. Altering the endometrium has not been proven to interfere with implantation. But in any case, scientists say that unlike the accumulating doses of daily birth control pills, the one-shot dose in morning-after pills does not have time to affect the uterine lining.

NYT acknowledges huge morning-after pill failure rate

As an aside, there was another huge piece of information hidden in the NYT piece:

The pregnancy prevention rates are probably lower than scientists and pill makers originally thought, he said – in some studies as low as 52 percent for Plan B and 62 percent for Ella.

Wow. Plan B doesn’t work half the time, and Ella doesn’t work one-third of the time.

Pro-life bottom line

A few quick thoughts…

  • For the NYT to say “studies have not established” MAPs can cause abortions is pretty weak, and it is coming from the NYT. We must always err on the side of life, continuing to accept the current scientific body of understanding about MAPs until it is definitely proven otherwise, if that can ever happen.
  • Hormonal birth control pills and the megadose morning-after pill Plan B remain dangerous to women and to the environment.  Only this week several UK news outlets reported on the “new water pollution scare” – artificial estrogen in the water system that is feminizing male fish and causing “collapses in the fish populations.” The Guardian called birth control ingredients “toxic.” Where are the feminists seeking to protect women from the harmful effects of these steroids.
  • As Kathleen Gilbert of LifeSiteNews.com noted in in email, it is interesting that the same people who have called pro-lifers crazy for saying morning-after pills cause abortions – just by reading package labeling – are now gleeful by the prospect this labeling may be removed. Why? Furthermore, the labeling remains intact on birth control pill packaging.
  • From a pro-life perspective, almost all of the reasons mothers give for elective abortions are the same reasons they give to contracept. The contraception mentality is the root of the abortion mentality. Contraception literally means, “anti-conception.” Nowhere in the Bible are children considered any other than gifts and blessings from God. Many Christians have abandoned this understanding of children, buying into pop culture myths about overpopulation and self-fulfillment that can’t be had without delaying or foregoing children.

38 thoughts on “Is it true the morning-after pill does NOT cause abortions?”

  1. It would be nice if we could truly know whether MAP causes early abortions.
     
    “The contraception mentality is the root of the abortion mentality.”


    Oooh, that going to get some pro-lifers up in arms.  But I heartily agree, contraception and abortion are two peas in the same pod.

       7 likes

  2. Science says that a unique human being starts developing at conception and that development continues through pregnancy and after birth for about 25 for so years.

    Scott Klusendorf with his SLED argument makes it that human is no different than you or me.

    MAP, BC is noise to justify the murder of innocents; of those unprotected in our culture.

       7 likes

  3. One more bullet point, Jill.  This NYT article disarms the pro-abort talking point that granting personhood to “fertilized eggs” will ban the morning after-pill. 

    If it doesn’t work to prevent implantation, if there’s no evidence, why do they insist Personhood is a threat to emergency contraception?

       19 likes

  4. If as these studies suggest, Plan B doesn’t disrupt post-fertilization events, it would seem unlikely (at least to me) that the much smaller doses of hormones in ordinary pills would have this effect.  As for how effective MAP is, you’d have better luck with the old calendar method.

       9 likes

  5. But the pill insert says that it can work by preventing implantation. The pill manufacturers admit this in black and white! So why do we think Plan B wouldn’t also work this way? It might not all the time but it can and that is what concerns me. How would we think not messing with the endometrium would make it harder for babies to implant. Thats like raising a door handle and then having a couple tall kids reach it and claiming it doesn’t prevent any kid from reaching the door handle. Some shorter kids might not be able to. The point I’m making is that fetal development varies in each fetus just like development varies in born people. We each develop at our own pace and some are more adept at things than others. If you make the womb slightly more inhospitable maybe most hearty embryos will be able to implant but others that would have may now not be able to because they are weaker. Is this survival of the fittest mentality appropriate? 

    Also, the endometrium thickness varies in woman to woman. So the pill may thin a lining enough that it is then inhospitable to a newly conceived person because the mother had a thinner lining to begin with. Likewise, the pill may thin a lining in another woman but she still conceives and the baby implants because her lining was thicker to begin with. 

       12 likes

  6. Let’s not forget the very pro-abort World Health Organization has put the Pill on the list of class 1 carcinogenics, right up there with Benzene and  Asbestos.  It causes cancer!!  For all those consumers buying organic vegetables, milk and meat in the hopes of better health, stop taking the pill and ingesting cancer causing drugs directly!!

    Have you read Randy Alcorn’s Does the Birth Control Pill cause Abortions?  The entire book in available for free online (down loadable) and updated as of 12/2011.  

    http://www.epm.org/resources/2010/Feb/17/short-condensation-does-birth-control-pill-cause-a/ 

    From the introduction:

     In 1991, while researching the original edition of my book, ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments, I heard someone suggest that birth control pills can cause abortions. This was brand new to me; in all my years as a pastor and a prolifer, I had never heard it before. I was immediately skeptical.
    My vested interests were strong in that Nanci and I used the Pill in the early years of our marriage, as did many of our prolife friends. Why not? We believed it simply prevented conception. We never suspected it had any potential for abortion. No one told us this was even a possibility. I confess I never read the fine print of the Pill’s package insert, nor am I sure I would have understood it even if I had.

       8 likes

  7. I certainly hope that this is true and MAP does not cause abortions.  It would make a lot of things a lot easier, though, like Jill, I’m not convinced that this is anything more than yet another conflicting study in a massive murky mess of them.  But this article, timed as it seems to have been to clash with LiveAction’s latest set of video releases, strikes me as someone at the NYT trying to draw attention away from sex-selective abortions.  Of course the pro-abortion bloggers are jumping all over this.  I’d wager they’d rather talk about anything but sex-selection at the moment.

       7 likes

  8. Same thing they’ve been saying for years…”But, we’re almost positive it doesn’t cause abortions.”

    Fine, let me know when you are positive.  Until then, I’m not taking the risk on supporting it. 

       10 likes

  9. “Science says that a unique human being starts developing at conception and that development continues through pregnancy and after birth for about 25 for so years.”

    Actually, apart from a few embryology texts, quoted by the “pro-life” movement, “science”  has not and does not involve itself in the politics of abortion.  Hence the deafening silence on the part of the “science” community regarding criminalization of abortion.  But the preponderance of science, vis-a-vis the definition of pregnancy, agrees that a pregnancy begins at implantation and therefore EC is not an abortion inducing drug. While the Catholic Church asserts that it is, other faith communities do not agree.  

       5 likes

  10. CC, science (according to you) may say that pregnancy begins at implantation, but the fact is that LIFE begins at CONCEPTION.  The new human person comes into existence at the miracle of conception.  Science cannot deny that the act of conception creates a new human who previously did not exist.  There is no such animal as a “fertilized egg”. After fertilization it’s not an egg anymore, but a new human being.  That’s not myth — it’s biology.

       15 likes

  11. Science cannot deny that the act of conception creates a new human who previously did not exist.

    So why is the mainstream gynecological community saying that EC is not an abortion? Why are the mainstream Protestant and Jewish communities not having a problem with it?  

    Oh right, they’re wrong and you’re right.

    And BTW, lots of those “babies” get flushed down the toilet when women have their periods.  Maybe women should save the contents of their periods and have priest do little funerals for the lost “babies.?”

       7 likes

  12. CC, science (according to you) may say that pregnancy begins at implantation, 

    Actually, according to the American College of Obstetrics.

    And once again, when are you lifers going to liberate those babies in the IVF labs???? 

       6 likes

  13. Not only do you want to criminalize abortion, but you want to take away certain types of birth control.  Am I right?

       4 likes

  14. “So why is the mainstream gynecological community saying that EC is not an abortion?”
    Because they believe it prevents conception.


    “Why are the mainstream Protestant and Jewish communities not having a problem with it?”

    With what?  Abortion or EC?  If you’re referring to abortion, they don’t have a problem with it because they have forgotten that God is the author of life.

       9 likes

  15. Too Dumb says: “Science says that a unique human being starts developing at conception and that development continues through pregnancy and after birth for about 25 for so years.”
     
    CC says: “Actually, apart from a few embryology texts, quoted by the “pro-life” movement, “science”  has not and does not involve itself in the politics of abortion.”


    I love it.  So now, human growth and development = “the politics of abortion”. 

       11 likes

  16. Looks like the Prolife movement needs to apologize to RON PAUL!!!!
    Or is this article written to justify the fact that Mitt had a fundraiser with the person who manufactured the Abortion B pill!???? 

       6 likes

  17. http://massresistance.org/romney/

    Ezekiel 13:9-10
    I will raise my fist against all the prophets who see false visions and make lying predictions, and they will be banished from the community of Israel. I will blot their names from Israel’s record books, and they will never again set foot in their own land. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.
    This will happen because these evil prophets deceive my people by saying, ‘All is peaceful’ when there is no peace at all! It’s as if the people have built a flimsy wall, and these prophets are trying to reinforce it by covering it with whitewash!

    http://www.lifenews.com/2012/06/05/you-cant-be-pro-life-and-not-vote-for-mitt-romney/

    This is literally a DAMNATION of The Movement.

       1 likes

  18. Here is a little bit more on what Ron Paul’s take on how to end abortion:
    Slavery was made illegal everywhere in the U.S. by the ThirteenthAmendment, which took effect in December 1865.
    Lincoln issued the Proclamation under his authority as “Commander inChief of the Army and Navy” under Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution.[3] As such, he had the martial power to suspend civil law in those states which were in rebellion. He did not have Commander-in-Chief authority over the four slave-holding states that had not declared a secession: Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware. The Emancipation Proclamation was never challenged in court. To ensure the abolition of slavery everywhere in the U.S., Lincoln pushed for passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. Congress passed it by the necessary 2/3 vote in February 1865 and it was ratified by the states by December 1865.[4
    I am saying this in response to the prolife profiles out of context Ron Paul quote they are claiming proves he is pro-abortion.
    Ron Paul is NOT giving the individual states the right to decide whether or not abortion is to become legal. BECAUSE THAT IS NOT WHAT HE WAS SAYING. Right?? HE was saying, that the states can’t decide such a thing. Neither can the supreme court. Abortion has to be abolished via Federal Declaration, this would only be possible if it was done via an executive authority–aka a president would have to be the one to issue such a statement, and such would overturn roe vs. wade.. or something. Like lincoln did it with slavery. then it’s up to the states to enforceabortions the way they do any other form of manslaughter.

    RP•2012!
    LIVE FREE OR DIE • HERE!:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DKsEQkLGq0&list=FL-20nuvguH96ZjUu-Hw3TPg&index=4&feature=plpp_video 

       0 likes

  19. I read that Lifenews article.  The title and content were certainly provocative, but the points should be taken to heart.

    As Stephen Colbert said, democracy isn’t about getting everything you want.  It’s about getting the least of what you don’t want.

    What you don’t want is four more years of states being forced to fund Planned Parenthood and worse yet, more pro-Roe justices being appointed to the Supreme Court (resulting in maybe two or three more decades of abortion on demand, virtually outside the realm of democracy).

    Vote to make a difference, not to make a statement.

       7 likes

  20. This evangelical protestant has a problem with it. Along with our church of 1000 and our former church of about 500, which preached about the dangers/consequences of it. And we live in MD, doesn’t get much bluer than our state.

       4 likes

  21. How did we get that idea that Plan B would not be highly effective in preventing ovulation?  Because the progestin only BC pills were found to prevent ovulation in only about half of patients, yet these pills were credited with much higher efficacy in stopping pregnancy.  We did the math and attributed  much of that extra efficacy  to the post fertilization processes which are affected by progestins.
    Suddenly the lefties claim that prevention of ovulation accounts for a hundred percent of Plan B efficacy, EVEN when the most fertile times are the day of, and the day after ovulation.
    Plan B must be a freekin VACUUM!  Naaaa, James Trussell is now saying that the pills just don’t work very well at all. ;-)
    Jill did great to jump on this article fast.  A little additional  commentary is available Down on the Pharm.

       4 likes

  22. From the article: “The F.D.A.’s own description was speculative, saying Plan B “could theoretically prevent pregnancy by interfering with a number of physiological processes” followed by a long list, including ovulation and implantation.”
     
    Did I not post several months back that the FDA approved the “implantation failure” label with NO EVIDENCE? The article also notes that some Pharmaceutical companies asked for a label change, and submitted additional data to the FDA several times.  
     
    For the NYT to say “studies have not established” MAPs can cause abortions is pretty weak
    Jill, Jill, Jill… A search of PubMed will lead you to many studies that demonstrate implantation failure is not a mechanism of the MAP or hormonal contraception. 
     
    We must always err on the side of life“?  Then I would expect that you have spoken out and asked a physician to discontinue medications each and every single time you had a female patient of childbearing potential who was sexually active and taking:

    An antipsychotic, ESPECIALLY a long-acting depot injections
    An Antidepressant
    Interferon Beta injections for Multiple Sclerosis
    Mood stabiliziers
    Certain anti-seizure medications

    Because we must differentiate between relative and absolute risk here.  Let’s go with antipsychotic usage in elderly dementia patients:  the relative risk of death on antipsychotics is 1.7.  The absolute risk is <1%, that is, the OVERALL number of elderly dementia patients taking APs who died was less than 5, compared to 2 in the placebo group out of thousands of total patients.  Yet the FDA mandated black box warnings for antipsychotics based on the relative risk, even though total numbers were so very small!
     
    The well-documented teratagenic effects of the above medication classes on developing embryos are well-documented.  So, let’s say we have a population of women of childbearing potential who are sexually active, where half are not taking those medications, and half are taking one or more.  Based on your average pregnancy rates per woman-years of life, these medications classes can substantially increase both the absolute and relative risk of damage and death to a developing fetus.  These medications unequivocally disrupt or destroy a developing nervous system and other cell development. 
     
    Now look at hormonal contraception.  Your average pregnancy rate for any given woman is very, very small to begin with.  Then let’s assume a 67% effectiveness of preventing ovulation.  Then we have to take into account the number of times a woman of HC is sexually active just before and just after ovulation.  Then we have to take into account the probability a 100% healthy sperm will reach the egg.  Then we have to take into account the probability that sperm will actually get into the egg.
     
    Now at this point, if the egg becomes fertilized, is where we are talking about the PROBABILITY that HC “may” prevent implantation.  The relative risk may be 1 (no change) or greater.  The absolute risk is less than 0.0001%.  
     
    So, if you raised a huge awareness campaign about the dangers to a developing embryo while a women is taking certain medication classes, you could prevent orders of magnitude greater teratogen-related effects.  That of course, is assuming, hormonal contraception:

    Is necessary and sufficient to prevent implantation and
    Has a statistically and clinically meaningful increase of numbers of failed implantations

     

       6 likes

  23. So in regards to the above statement:

    “That of course, is assuming, hormonal contraception: • Is necessary and sufficient to prevent implantation and • Has a statistically and clinically meaningful increase of numbers of failed implantations.

    If didn’t do the above 2 explicits-it wouldn’t be latin for anti-birth. Right? It would be called fruit punch or cool aide or what-ever it is your trying to get women to swallow in order to justify to them indulging in purely recreational sex. Correct.
     
    Good on ya! Winning argument!
    I know another man who was willing to take the treasure of women and then convince them Plan B was not an abortifacent. He’s setting a real standard for young men and women all over the country. He is redefining what it means to be pro-life and doesn’t believe in abortion unless a woman has been sexually assualted. He’s really nice. If a woman has been raped he will let her go to an abortuary so she can pay another man $400.00 to rape her again with a vaccume cleaner to try to remove any evidence the first rapist was ever there. I like and respect men like Dave and Mitt. They should be heroes to all adolescent men and women. It is a good thing so many responsible people in the pro-life movment are giving them their money so they can promote safe and healthy sexuality and drugs like-plan b, ella and other abortifacents.

    Also, Dave, any drug that is going to have an adverse affect on your fertility ahould warn you first. I understand women are taking these drugs because they don’t want to get pregnant to begin with, but many women don’t exactly want to kill anything. It is easy for a young man to take your argument and lie to his girlfriend, or to use the NYT article as a sales pitch to get women to buy the drug. The truth is: honesty is the best policy and we shouldn’t encourage any compromises in regards to our young people’s health & safety-and dreams. The fact that abortion and sterilization are being pushed as healthcare is one of the greatest tragic failures of any culture, EVER.

       2 likes

  24. Dave’s math is based upon unproven assumptions concerning the mechanisms of the morning after pill.  Studies have not ruled out a mechanism to prevent implantation.   This is, in fact, impossible to do, and actual researchers know it. 
    Also his comparison with antipsychotics uses associated deaths but implies that they are causal. 
    Antipsychotics are used to treat severe illness.  Plan B is not for illness.  It is generally used as a recreational drug.  Also it is  far too poor in effectiveness to be treated seriously as a useful birth control agent.  The standards for acceptable side effects for recreational drugs, and drugs used to treat illness and preserve life are diffferent. 
    But if one accepted Dave’s  assumptions, women are unnecessarily  being stuffed with massive doses of levonorgestrel, suffering its attendant side effects, with the vast majority of administrations being absolutely futile.

       3 likes

  25. Politics based on a book written in the stone age.  As a committed atheist, it just baffles me.  I think women should just deny men all non-procreative sex.  Problem solved. 

    I will support all forms of contraception and abortion as long as women bear the brunt of child rearing responsibilities.  Women should not be held solely responsible for an irresponsible act committed by two people.  If your argument is that all life is precious and all of these aborted embryos should be here, all fathers should be forced to pull their weight, pay child support, and actually be fathers.  I’ve worked in Family Law, it doesn’t happen. We are not brood mares, ladies.  

    Why is a ball of indistinguishable cells more valuable than the millions in poverty, starving, etc that are already here? Where’s the outrage? Where’s the support for single mothers in the United States, Women-Infant-Child food programs, pre-kindergarten, and PAID maternity leave?  Uh-huh.  Conservatives are so narrowly focused on the horror of aborting an embryo and not nearly focused enough on supporting all of those unwanted children once they’re born.  Really what you mean is only the wealthy should be having sex and procreating, right? More specifically still, only the wealthy, white, beaver cleaver family, straight types.   All of those poor “other” people? Keep your pants zipped and that aspirin between your knees.

       2 likes

  26. CC sez:

    “Actually, apart from a few embryology texts, quoted by the “pro-life” movement, “science”  has not and does not involve itself in the politics of abortion.  Hence the deafening silence on the part of the “science” community regarding criminalization of abortion.  But the preponderance of science, vis-a-vis the definition of pregnancy, agrees that a pregnancy begins at implantation and therefore EC is not an abortion inducing drug.”

    This is a mis-characterization of the basics of reproductive biology that you were taught in grade school. “Science” may or may not involve itself in politics, but there have been two long-standing, unquestioned, broadly-taught tenets of reproductive bioligy: first is like produces like, and second is that when the egg is fertilized, a new member of the species is now in existence. In fish, where the females lay their eggs on some surface and the male shoots his seed around in the vicinity, this can happen outside of the body. Some fertilized eggs mature in a matter of days, while for some life forms maturation requires months or years. For some, this developmental span happens just a little inside the mother, and for some a lot happens inside the mother. Kangaroos have the transitional stage from womb to pouch to separation from the mother.

    In some animals, the earlier life form really resembles the later life form, while in others, a clearly-alive life form looks nothing like the later stage. A caterpillar/butterfly is an example, as is a tadpole/frog, or maggot/fly.  

    Some creatures never have more than a single cell, a few cells, or a few thousand. Others have billions of cells.

    So, for an organism to be “alive” it is not necessary that it resemble its advanced stage, or be free from the womb, or have some threshold number of cells.      
       These are just ridiculous, unscientific arguments formed to prop up abortion support.

    CC, what you are advancing, what you have bought from pharma-sponsored spokedoctors, is that there is an entirely new stage of mammal biology that none of us have  heard of in biology class in middle school, high school, college, or grad school. A phase of active, developmental, generative, unique-DNA development after fertilization but leading right up to the moment of implantation.

    What is this phase called? Is the developing blob a differnt speices, or some “potential” person? Please inform us.

    ACOG, and the advertising, and research studies, NEVER referred to “pregnancy” as beginning at implantation until it seemed like a morning-after pill might work. Then, these people ralized they HAD to avoind the abortion issue. So, they began promoting “implantation” as the beginning of “pregnancy.” This is all rhetoric, and is in biology books nowhere.

    A human fertilized egg does not even have to implant in the mother’s womb to eventually progress to maturity. It can be placed in another womb. This simply shows that womb-implantation has no magical life-giving status.

    If it not a human, what is it? What genus and species?

    A related tenet is the no-spontaneous generation tenet. CC, you are advancing the idea that life arises from some blob that, itself, is undergoing amazingly sophisticated development for some period of time, then all of a sudden experiences spontaneous generation.

    We educated people gave that idea up a long time ago, supplanted by like-begets like.
     
    This is anti-science. “Science” does not talk abt this because they have already set down those tenets of reproductive biology.

       5 likes

  27. Other species of social animals exhibit a social norm of assuming responsibility for child rearing.
    The leftist ‘sub species’, exemplified by Seattle for abortion, appears to not measure up to this standard.  There is insistence from the leftist ‘sub species’ that the conservative ‘sub species’ assume responsibility for bringing up the leftie progeny which issue forth from them when they forget to abort.  It attempts to deflect attention from this stance by associating the ability to reproduce strictly with wealth, (playing the class envy card).  Among other species successful reproduction is more associated with health and strength.   The leftie lifestyles might subtract from those personal qualifications.
    Seattle for abortion  appears to be one of those atheists who denies evolutionary theory, and eschews  the behaviors which have developed among social species, adapting them for survival in their environments and continuation of their species. 

       3 likes

  28. Politics based on a book written in the stone age.  As a committed atheist, it just baffles me.

    This is a red herring.  Firstly, the Stone Age ended a few millennia before the first few books of the Bible were written (I assume this is what you’re referring to).  Additionally, not all pro-lifers are Christians.  There are several atheists who use this site, and also oppose legal abortion.  Dr. Bernard Nathanson and Sir Albert Lilley were prominent pro-life atheists (the former eventually became Christian, the latter was an atheist until the day he died).  It was the biological reality of the humanity of the unborn, not religious teachings, that convinced them to become outspoken abortion opponents.  Christopher Hitchens, one of the leading critics of organized religion in general and Christianity in particular, understood that the pro-life position could compete in the marketplace of ideas in a secular environment.  Although he didn’t agree with every aspect of it, he would frown upon atheists who automatically dismiss it as religious dogma.

    You also seem to misunderstand the religious aspect of the pro-life movement.  While I can certainly understand your frustration, it is misplaced.  Pro-life Christians believe that their position is consistent with scriptures, and that they are commanded to insist on protecting the most vulnerable humans.  This is really no different from civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and William Wilberforce.  Should the Letter from Birmingham Jail automatically be rejected because it is religious in nature?  And finally, as our dear friend CC loves to point out, there are religious denominations and individuals that support legal abortion.  They also argue that the Bible supports their position. Planned Parenthood recently held a (rather ridiculous) prayer campaign in support of “reproductive choice”.  I don’t think that the pro-abortion Bible interpretations hold up to scrutiny, but that is irrelevant.  Bottom line is that if pro-life is tantamount to “Politics based on a book written in the stone age.”, then so is pro-choice.  But I would rather reject the original premise and look at the arguments on both sides honestly.

    I think women should just deny men all non-procreative sex.  Problem solved.

    I would agree that women (and men) should take more responsibility for their sexual actions.  Specifically, understanding that virtually all sex is potentially procreative.  But this is not something that can be mandated, and would not be “problem solved” if it were to happen.  What about babies conceived in rape, or cases where the mother changes her mind after she becomes pregnant (see: IVF terminations, selective twin reduction, gendercide, fetal abnormalities, etc)?  And at the end of the day, we would still have an unjust law that denies legal protection to certain human beings.  That is unacceptable.

    I will support all forms of contraception and abortion as long as women bear the brunt of child rearing responsibilities.  Women should not be held solely responsible for an irresponsible act committed by two people.  If your argument is that all life is precious and all of these aborted embryos should be here, all fathers should be forced to pull their weight, pay child support, and actually be fathers.  I’ve worked in Family Law, it doesn’t happen.

    I actually agree with everything you said here, aside from the first sentence.  The system probably doesn’t do enough to ensure that men fulfill their parental duties, and this is wrong.  I see that you also understand that parents have legal and moral duties to their minor children.  I’m glad we could find some common ground.

    With that being said, nothing here justifies abortion.  Single mothers are much more common than single fathers, but we don’t let women kill their born children because of this inequity.  The two entities with competing burdens in the context of this debate are the mother and fetus.  The latter is violently killed in every successful abortion.

    We are not brood mares, ladies.

    Demanding legal protection for all humans before and after birth does not make any woman into a farm animal.  You might have a case if pro-lifers were arguing for state quotas setting a lower limit on how many babies women have to pump out.  They aren’t, so you don’t.  Mother != broodmare.

    Why is a ball of indistinguishable cells

    Can’t let you do that, Star Fox.  This is a first trimester fetus:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gray30.png

    Also, the earliest embryo is clearly distinguishable as human by a geneticist.  It looks exactly as we are supposed to at that stage.

    more valuable than the millions in poverty, starving, etc that are already here? Where’s the outrage?

    All humans have the same value.  What you are saying is that because pro-lifers can’t be everywhere at once (1), that they must be bad people (2) and their arguments are therefore invalid (3).  But 1 does not imply 2, which does not imply 3.  This is a non-sequitur.  Do you attack cancer charities because they also don’t do anything to alleviate poverty?  Pro-lifers focus on abortion because it is state sanctioned mass killing (a human rights atrocity, not a mere social problem) and because it kills more people than any of those other things.

    Where’s the support for single mothers in the United States, Women-Infant-Child food programs, pre-kindergarten, and PAID maternity leave?  Uh-huh.  Conservatives are so narrowly focused on the horror of aborting an embryo and not nearly focused enough on supporting all of those unwanted children once they’re born.

    It’s ironic that you started your post trashing religion, then brought up several fields where churches dedicate lots of time and resources when government programs are limited or ineffective.  There are people of all political views (economic and social) who are pro-life, not just conservatives.  Though just to set the record straight, conservatives tend to give more to charity on average.

    Really what you mean is only the wealthy should be having sex and procreating, right? More specifically still, only the wealthy, white, beaver cleaver family, straight types.   All of those poor “other” people? Keep your pants zipped and that aspirin between your knees.

    No, I don’t actually.  My goal isn’t to control who can and can’t procreate.  That sounds a lot more like Margaret Sanger than any pro-lifer.

       5 likes

  29.  
    Let’s stick to objective scientific facts here.  The FDA, Courts, and Legislatures really don’t – and should NOT – care about the moral and religious objections to the USE of birth control.  Those objections are for the *individual only*, as to whether that individual will or will not use them.  That individual should exercise no control over whether another person actually uses birth control, according to their own moral objections. What we are concerned with here are the scientific facts regarding the dangers of hormonal contraception to an embryo.  What antipsychotics are INDICATED for make no difference, as compared to hormonal contraception.  Both are FDA-approved medications. 

     
     
     
    Antipsychotics provide an excellent paradigm to examine relative and absolute risk.  Elderly dementia patients taking antipsychotics have a relative risk of 1.7 (70%) of death compared to elderly dementia patients taking placebo.  Direct cause and effect here do not necessarily apply, as we are talking about RISK and PROBABILITY.  However, the *actual numbers* of deaths attributed to antipsychotics in elderly dementia patients in VERY SMALL.  The absolute risk is less than 0.1%. 
     
     
     
    Let’s say your absolute risk of being hit by lightning is 0.0001%.  When you hold a steel bar up to the sky, your absolute risk is now 0.0002%.  You can then accurately say the relative risk is 100%, that is you are twice as likely to be hit by lightning when holding a steel bar to the sky. However, the *actual probability* you will be hit by lightning is near zero, even when holding a steel bar to the sky. 

     
     
     
    The same holds true for hormonal contraception.  What is the absolute risk an embryo will fail to implant while not on hormonal contraception?  How much does hormonal contraception increase the relative risk?  What is the absolute risk an embryo will fail to implant while taking hormonal contraception? Factor in certain things like how often does a woman on hormonal contraception:
     
    Have sex during periods when ovulation is possible
     
    The rate of breakthrough ovulation during that period (let’s assume a very high 25%)
     
    A 100% healthy sperm is able to overcome reduced motility
     
    A 100% healthy sperm makes it to the ovum
     
    A 100% healthy sperm enters the ovum
     
    Now at this point, we ask the question whether or not hormonal contraception increases the probability that implantation will fail

     
     
     
    Even if you assume a relative risk here of 30%, the absolute risk for an embryo is somewhere just above zero.  Therefore, the whole discussion of the “dangers” of hormonal contraception to embryos is academic, and there really is no clinically meaningful effect hormonal contraception has on implantation. 
     

       4 likes

  30. @SeattleforChoice: Navi has already dealt brilliantly with most of your post, so I’m going to go after the last bit a little more.
     
    Really what you mean is only the wealthy should be having sex and procreating, right?  More specifically still, only the wealthy, white, beaver cleaver family, straight types.  All of those poor “other” people? Keep your pants zipped and that aspirin between your knees.
     
    Today’s page quote about trying to sterilize addicts, and the reactions to it, are just one example of the long history of the pro-choice movement’s view of who ought to have children.  High school women can’t do it, because that would ruin their whole futures, automatically with no options at all.  College women can’t do it, because that would end their education, automatically with no options at all.  Career women can’t do it, because that would end their careers, automatically with no options at all.  Poor women can’t do it, because they and their children will only get poorer and more miserable, because they already are obviously miserable, and this happens automatically with no options at all.  Mothers of children with genetic conditions, women whose “families are complete,” women who “aren’t ready for a family,” women who don’t want to stay with their current boyfriend, women who do want to stay with their current boyfriend, women who don’t want to have a girl, women who are under coercion not to have a child.  All these situations–and many, many more like and unlike them–are routinely cited by your movement as people who shouldn’t have children.  As Navi pointed out, Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, was well-known for her eugenic views, spoke at KKK rallies, and absolutely believed that the “breeding” of “undesirables” should be controlled, if not stopped altogether.  And while, yes, the pro-life movement advocates eschewing irresponsible sex, we don’t go around telling pregnant women that they aren’t capable of having the children that have already been conceived.  Instead, we’ve created a network of between 3,000-4,000 crisis pregnancy centers all over the US to help women keep their children.  All providing resources for no money at all.  Say what you want about “fake clinics” and “agendas” (both of which are labels I can easily apply to most abortion centers), but these people are out there helping all these women you say we claim shouldn’t have children do exactly that.
     
    TL;DR: That’s your side that thinks that.  Pro-lifers are too busy helping women keep their babies regardless of the situation they’re in to get into that business.

       4 likes

  31. Navi, I’m so impressed that you have the energy to write these long responses to insane points. Keep up the good work!

       3 likes

  32. SeattleForChoice has smoe great insights:

    ” Women should not be held solely responsible for an irresponsible act committed by two people. If your argument is that all life is precious and all of these aborted embryos should be here, all fathers should be forced to pull their weight, pay child support, and actually be fathers. I’ve worked in Family Law, it doesn’t happen. We are not brood mares, ladies.”

    SeattleForChoice probably believes he or she is very “evolved” and “progressive,” and “enlightened,”    but this idea is gold. And moving toward a realistic view of the world, vesus the liberal strategy of trying to get all of us hooked on laziness, sex, drugs, govt support, and everythign else that puts the enlightened intellectuals in control of the planet.

    Awesome.

       4 likes

  33. Navi,
         I was going to rebut SeattleforChoice’s “book written in the stone age” comment with correct historical dating for the writing of the Bible. However, you saved me the trouble.
         Not only that, you went far beyond and gave accurate and compelling rebuttals to every one of her/his logical fallacies, inaccuracies and rants. I couldn’t have done it as well. Great job!

       3 likes

  34. Plan B advertises that it does not cause an abortion but prevents a pregnancy. Should they be sued for false advertising?
     

       1 likes

  35. Well, if it prevents an already conceived embryo from implanting, it is deliberately killing it. Sorry, but this is the truth and I will not shut up.

       2 likes

Comments are closed.