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Home Hotline Blog Article

Aurora Beacon Columnist Praises “Plan B,” Bashes Pro-lifers

Posted by Corrina Gura (May 13, 2011 at 4:43 pm)
The package insert from Plan B. Read closely the bold section that explains "how this product works."

The package insert from the emergency contraceptive Plan B. Read closely the bold section that explains "how this product works."

On April 24, Aurora Beacon columnist Jeff Ward wrote a column titled “Your beliefs have nothing to do with my Rx.”

In it Ward argues that pharmacists who don’t want to sell Plan B and other oral contraceptives should not have become pharmacists in the first place.

He also argues that “the not so funny inevitabilities” of a moral stance that prohibits a pharmacist from dispensing Plan B would similarly keep Muslims from selling Nyquil (which contains alcohol) or “Jewish pharmacists wouldn’t fill Heparin prescriptions because that blood thinner is derived from pig intestines.”

Ward Claims Pro-Life Pharmacists Are Morally Inconsistent

He challenges the beliefs of these pharmacists, writing:

Far more often than not, these pharmacist refusals aren’t based on any real moral grounds, but … on the recalcitrant druggist’s quest for his or her 15 minutes.

Why don’t we ever see a druggist balk at filling a prescription for the antidepressants that list suicide as a potential side effect? Why haven’t we heard of a pharmacist refusing to sell the sleep aid Ambien because it can lead to hallucinations that result in death? Despite the mounting evidence of the dangers involved, why didn’t pharmacies stop carrying the diet drug fen-phen before it was pulled from the market?

Ward, of course, has no real knowledge of the thought process of those who are involved in these cases and is merely offering his opinion.

Pro-Lifer Responds To Ward’s Challenges

So, pro-life activist Eleanore Strong responded to his challenge, explaining exactly why Plan B is different from the other comparisons he makes, telling Ward, “Plan B is morally equivalent to abortion.” Strong explains:

It can prevent the implantation of a newly conceived human being into the lining of the uterus, causing its death. Some claim that pregnancy does not begin until implantation and that therefore this cannot technically be termed an abortion. But it is every bit the moral equivalent, because a life is ended.

The important thing to note here is that Plan B can function in this manner. This may not be its primary or intended means of working, but it can potentially abort a newly conceived baby. To a pro-lifer, this is murder, and a pro-life pharmacist reasonably would not want to be complicit in that death.

Ward Lashes Out

Instead of admitting that he has a different interpretation of when pregnancy begins, or admitting that being complicit in a potential abortion is a moral issue for some people, Ward lashed out at the pro-lifers who wrote to him, including Strong.

In an article with the headline, “Plan B confusion doesn’t bode well for our future” published on May 12, Ward criticizes the “factless backlash” in the letters he received.

Calling Strong an “eloquent writer,” he says her argument is “simply not true”:

Sure! There are plenty of Internet folks whose flappin’ fingers claim Plan B prevents implantation, but that doesn’t make it a fact. I spent more than four hours researching every aspect of levonorgestrel [Plan B]…

“All the medical evidence concludes the Plan B pill primarily works by inhibiting ovulation or possibly by preventing fertilization,” [Dr. James] Trussell said. “There is no evidence for the assertion it prevents implantation in the endometrium (uterus membrane)…”

Package Insert Explains How Plan B Works

Admittedly, I didn’t spend four hours reading about Plan B. Instead, I took a look at the package and the insert. In four places on the package and its insert you can read about how this pill works. In all four places it says it may work by preventing implantation.

Here’s a page from the pamphlet that comes with the pills:

plan-b-4

So, according to the makers of the medication, Strong is correct.

FDA Recognizes Implantation Hazards

Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has posted the same information on their website about how Plan B works:

Plan B works like other birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. Plan B acts primarily by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation). It may prevent the union of sperm and egg (fertilization). If fertilization does occur, Plan B may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation).

So, according to the FDA, whose job is to research and approve drugs for human use, Strong is correct.

No One Really Knows How It Works

Even after all the testing the manufacturers did before they were allowed to begin producing and marketing the drug, they still couldn’t quite figure out how the chemicals works. The package insert says “Plan B is believed to act as an emergency contraceptive principally by…” (emphasis added). They think they know why these chemicals might keep you from getting pregnant, but they’re not certain.

plan-b-3

It sure is reassuring that the manufacturers think they know how this stuff works, right?

So the question becomes: In the absence of certainty, shouldn’t a person’s conscience protect him or her from potentially causing murder?

It’s also worth pointing out that there is no evidence that emergency contraception actually decreases pregnancy rates. So all of this discussion is really moot! Women are fighting to receive medication that probably doesn’t work, and, if it does work, it’s potentially killing a human being!

Ward Calls This Evidence “Fiction”

The package insert for standard birth control pills (click here to see) admits that prevention of implantation is also a possibility, since (as Ward agrees) Plan B is just “a ‘super’ birth control pill.” So Plan B does what a typical birth control pill does, it just does it later.

Unfortunately, instead of admitting that a pharmacist should have the option to not be the person prescribing medications that could directly cause death, Ward mocks pro-life pharmacists saying they are “withhold[ing] a drug based on a fiction.”

I fail to understand how information in four places on the package and the insert and on the FDA’s website is fiction.

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Posted in Abortion, Contraception, Health Care, Law and Politics, Our Civil Rights, The Culture War. Follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Aurora Beacon Columnist Praises “Plan B,” Bashes Pro-lifers”

Note: Visitor comments do not necessarily reflect the views of the Pro-Life Action League.

  1. Young Christian Woman says:

    The answer to why these pharmacists don’t have trouble prescribing drugs like ambien to adults is simple.

    They’re pro-choice and they trust the decision made between a woman (or man) and her doctor.

    Pro-life pharmacists believe that doctors understand their patients’ needs and are aware of potential side effects of the drug. They believe that women are knowledgeable and intelligent and can decide on their own if the risks are worth the benefits, and don’t believe it is necessary to repeat what the doctor already told their patient unless the patient wants more advice or information. Pro-lifers support a woman’s choice to use drugs which may have side effects but will also have beneficial effects. They might inform a woman about side effects if they thought she did not know, but the final choice would be hers.

    However, there are limits to freedom of choice. One person’s freedom ends where it impinges on another’s. I do not have the right to punch or kick another person, except to protect myself. When it comes to my children, I have even less rights because I have responsibilities. I can’t go shopping all day by myself without making arrangements to have my two small children taken care of. Not only may I not harm my children, I may not cause harm to come to them through neglect.

    Pro-lifers recognize that the prenatal human being is still a human being and the son or daughter of the pregnant mother whose womb is his or her rightful home. To deny a blastocyst the chance to implant in the womb is just as wrong as to put my 3 and 1 year olds out of my house, or leave them without food. A child is dependent on his or her parents, and his or her parents have a responsibility to protect and care for her. Just as we are not pro-choice on neglect, abuse, or abandonment of born children, pro-lifers are not pro-choice when it comes to abortion.

    May 13, 2011 at 7:44 pm
  2. Olivia Dunham says:

    A fertilized egg is not a fetus. And if I had had such easy access to it all those years ago when I got pregnant, I would have used it.

    A clump of cells is not the same as a 12 week old fetus.

    July 24, 2011 at 7:31 pm

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