Wednesday, February 01, 2006

'Women Sue Wal-Mart Over Contraception'

I applaud efforts to ensure that retailers with pharmacies stock the morning after pill, though I wish this news item didn't start with the words "backed by abortion groups," because it fuels the fire of ignorance burning in the minds of many conflating the morning after pill with RU-486 or abortive practices generally.

Say it with me: the morning after pill, or Plan-B as one brand is called, does not abort conceived babies.

Sadly, a google search reveals that those against science (maybe they don't have the passage in their bibles about God having given Doctors their talents, but whatever) have managed to climb to the top of the rankings page since the last time I checked into the issue.

As a public service - here's a link to a page that tells you how safely to fashion emergency contraception out of what you might have at home.

And here's a link to EC information generally.

Of course, the best thing is to avoid having that kind of Morning After by using reliable birth control each and every time. Abstinence works like a charm as well. But shit happens - so know the medical facts, know your rights, and know how to take care of yourself.


Rob M said...

Not to play devil's advocate, but isn't the whole point behind the morning-after pill to eject any ova (perhaps fertilized, perhaps not) the morning after? And if one accepts the premise that life begins at conception (i.e., upon fertilization), then doesn't it follow that the morning-after pill effects an abortion of that conception?

cd said...

playing devil's advocate is fine - and that's what you're doing. ;)

it's medically uncertain exactly how the MAP works to prevent pregnancy, but one theory does hold that it prevents implantation.

i don't think that a non-implanted egg equates with conception necessarily. if the egg doesn't implant, it falls out of the body and game over.

from what - very little - i know about medical sciences and conception, failure of implantation isn't a rare occurance but it also doesn't really equal a miscarriage either.

OTHER reasons the pill may prevent pregnancy, however, include delaying ovulation which - if you're Catholic, I suppose is still the thwarting of an otherwise possible life and thus abortive in nature.

but that's getting a bit removed from things.

i welcome any medical doctors' comments to clarify the issue, but with the MAP, if you're pregnant - that is, if what has needed to happen to creat a baby has occurred, and you take the pill, you're still going to be pregnant. MAP doesn't induce abortions like RU-486.

Ruby said...

Why should private companies be required by law to carry any product?

Ruby said...

I know this is a long time coming, but I've been looking into MAPs because this post intrigued (and bothered) me. Basically, MAPs are high doses of the same hormones in the Pill - and work the same way: delays/prevents ovulation, and irritates the lining of the uterus making it impossible/VERY difficult for a fertilized egg to implant thereby killing it. So conception may have taken place and the life begun was willfully destroyed. For this reason, MAPs - just like the Pill - are abortificient in nature. FYI: technically speaking, when the same thing happens naturally, that is, a fertilized egg is rejected by the body and expelled during her normal menstral cycle, it is also referred to as a miscarraige or spontaneous abortion. If it happens right away, the woman may never know she was pregnant or that she miscarried, but she may note that she experienced a heavier or more painful period.

(An excerpt from The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 6th Edition, by Moore and Persaud (P. 532):

Postcoital birth control pills…. Ovarian hormones (estrogen) taken in large doses within 72 hours after sexual intercourse usually prevent implantation of the blastocyst, probably by altering tubal motility, interfering with corpus luteum function, or causing abnormal changes in the endometrium. These hormones prevent implantation, not fertilization. Consequently, they should not be called contraceptive pills. Conception occurs but the blastocyst does not implant. It would be more appropriate to call them "contraimplantation pills." Because the term abortion refers to a premature stoppage of a pregnancy, the term abortion could be applied to such an early termination of pregnancy.)

BTW, MAPs are also not entirely safe. They are known to cause mild side effects like nausea and vomiting, to infertility, ectopic pregnancies (which can be fatal), and blood clot formation -- just like the Pill does.

cd said...

Well, by the reasoning you start with, then, why are you saying "just like the Pill" in terms of MAP's possible efficacy as inhibiting ovulation? If it delays ovulation and there's no ova, then there's no fertilization and no alleged abortive result.

As for the not entirely safe comment - the side affects to which you refer are more commonly associated with the formulaic in-take of the pill women might alreday have (ie: higher dosage than normal, etc) than with Plan B which is not part of a normal cycle of Pills.

No pill - Pill pill or any pill - is entirely safe.

I recommend you read the insert in the next bottle of Advil you buy. It will also list death as a possible side effect.

And nausea and vomiting, while unpleasant, are not, of themselves, unsafe.

Many women experience no side-effects from Plan B and those worried about side-effects can usually simply take some dramanine along with the Plan B. But really, Plan B alone isn't the barfy one.

Ruby said...

No, ovulation is only one potential outcome - but if ovulation does occur (which it can still occur after taking the hormones) and conception takes place, then the drug creates a hostile environment for the fertilized egg by irritating the uterine lining to make it difficult or impossible for the fertilized egg to implant. Even so, implantation sometimes still occurs, but the high doses of hormones attempt to starve the uterine lining of the materials (nutrients or what not) necessary for the baby to live, thereby killing the new life.

I realize that any medication carries risks and the responsible taker must consider the risk v benefit. I highly doubt, however, that most women actually are aware - or care? - of all the risks (serious or benign) that things like the BCP or MAPs pose.

The more important point is that BCPs and MAPs are abortificients (contrary to your earlier posts) and pose a threat not only to the woman's health, but to the baby she may carry inside.

cd said...

1.) If a woman is pregnant - if the egg has implanted, the MAP will not terminate the pregnancy.

2.) At least in California, where it is possible to obtain the MAP without a prescription, women sign off on various forms, are presented with complete information by the pharmacist and counseled as to the MAP's possible side effects, methods of efficacy, etc.

At least for MAPs, then, women are, I'm assuming by statute or regulation, made to be aware of the risks associated with the pill.

As for the Pill - which does require a prescription, if a woman is not made aware of the risks, that would be grounds for a malpractice action against her physician.

Anonymous said...

A fertilized egg IS a beginning of a human being. what weight we attribute to this differs by person. I personally dont attribute the weight of a full life in that case but can understand why some people do, we all start out this way, with this unique instruction set to make us. You cant compare what happens naturally with what happens BY CHOICE. because the body sometimes aborts babies doesnt make it ok for a person to do it (this is a poor logic). In terms of implantation, there are plenty of reasons it could fail. Technically a woman who has a problem with the lining of her uterus could have her fertilized egg implanted into another woman to develop. Its standard ivf practice to implant after X number of days but most of those days go by when the egg is travelling to the uterus. Some women take 8 days to implant, others up to 12. divisions happen along the way (and can be allowed to happen in a lab under controlled conditions). The lab is trying to mimick the path of the egg to the uterus and the best time for implantation which is about 8 days after fertilization.