Morning after pill update

The Food & Drug administration had decided to make the abortifacient “morning after” pill available over the counter without a prescription.  But now the Health & Human Services Department has over-ruled that decision, keeping the drug by-prescription only:

The federal government Wednesday rejected a request to let young teenage girls buy the controversial morning-after pill Plan B directly off drugstore and supermarket shelves without a prescription.

In a rare public split among federal health officials, the Health and Human Services Department overruled a decision by the Food and Drug Administration to make the drug available to anyone of any age without a restriction.

In a statement, FDA Administrator Margaret A. Hamburg said she had decided the medication could be used safely by girls and women of all ages. But she added that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had rejected the move.

“I agree … there is adequate and reasonable, well-supported, and science-based evidence that Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential,” Hamburg said.

“However, this morning I received a memorandum from the Secretary of Health and Human Services invoking her authority under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to execute its provisions and stating that she does not agree with the Agency’s decision to allow the marketing of Plan B One-Step nonprescription for all females of child-bearing potential,” she said.

In a separate statement and letter to Hamburg, Sebelius said she overruled the FDA because she had concluded that data submitted by the company that makes the drug did not “conclusively establish” that it could be used safely by girls of all ages.

“About 10 percent of girls are physically capable of bearing children by 11.1 years of age. It is common knowledge that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age,” Sebelius said. “If the application were approved, the product would be available, without prescription, for all girls of reproductive age.”

The surprising decision is a stunning blow to some doctors, health advocates, family-planning activists, members of Congress and others who backed relaxing the restrictions to help women prevent unwanted pregnancies.

via Obama administration refuses to relax Plan B restrictions – The Washington Post.

How safe it is. . . but it isn’t safe for unborn children.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    So, I can go buy an abortifacient OTC, but I have to register and practically undergo a complete background check to buy effective cold medicine.

    One can only hope that the main ingredients in Plan B can be used to make some variant of Ecstasy or Meth (street name Plan X, ICE-B or Crystal B- look for it on corners near you soon!). Then, it’s lights out.

  • SKPeterson

    So, I can go buy an abortifacient OTC, but I have to register and practically undergo a complete background check to buy effective cold medicine.

    One can only hope that the main ingredients in Plan B can be used to make some variant of Ecstasy or Meth (street name Plan X, ICE-B or Crystal B- look for it on corners near you soon!). Then, it’s lights out.

  • Andrew

    It’s not available OTC. The Secretary of Health and Human Services is blocking it.

    So much for the lie spread by conservatives that this administration is doing everything possible to push a pro-abortion agenda.

  • Andrew

    It’s not available OTC. The Secretary of Health and Human Services is blocking it.

    So much for the lie spread by conservatives that this administration is doing everything possible to push a pro-abortion agenda.

  • Jon

    But, Andrew, the President believes that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” This appears to be nothing more than a move to cover the first prong, apparently.

  • Jon

    But, Andrew, the President believes that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” This appears to be nothing more than a move to cover the first prong, apparently.

  • Mary

    The article states that Plan B is available over the counter if you are 17 or older. Must show proof of age to the pharmacist.

  • Mary

    The article states that Plan B is available over the counter if you are 17 or older. Must show proof of age to the pharmacist.

  • Andrew

    Jon: “Safe, legal, and RARE.” So, it’s a lie to say, as many conservatives do, that this administration is trying to expand the number of abortions happening in this country. And, any administration that does the overruling action noted in the news article above cannot honestly be doing everything in its power to push a pro-abortion agenda as many conservatives accuse it of doing.

  • Andrew

    Jon: “Safe, legal, and RARE.” So, it’s a lie to say, as many conservatives do, that this administration is trying to expand the number of abortions happening in this country. And, any administration that does the overruling action noted in the news article above cannot honestly be doing everything in its power to push a pro-abortion agenda as many conservatives accuse it of doing.

  • Jon

    I don’t think that the administration would agree that this drug is abortifacient–they really think it is just a contraceptive. Hence, the “rare” part is in their equation here, too. It’s not an abortion if you can just take a pill, they’ll reason. But let’s make sure the pill is safe for children to take without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

  • Jon

    I don’t think that the administration would agree that this drug is abortifacient–they really think it is just a contraceptive. Hence, the “rare” part is in their equation here, too. It’s not an abortion if you can just take a pill, they’ll reason. But let’s make sure the pill is safe for children to take without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

  • Andrew

    Jon: And yet, anti-choice conservatives consider the drug an abortifacient, so either they need to admit this administration is not as “pro-abortion” as they accuse it of being, or they’re in danger of losing any credibility for their arguments.

  • Andrew

    Jon: And yet, anti-choice conservatives consider the drug an abortifacient, so either they need to admit this administration is not as “pro-abortion” as they accuse it of being, or they’re in danger of losing any credibility for their arguments.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The drug is a known carcinogen.

    Now, do we really want really young women accessing this as birth control? I mean, they could get in the habit of using Plan B as has been reported in other countries. That could be very unhealthy. Also, what is there to stop them from being forced to take it by an abuser? Certainly not age and experience. What about informed consent, which they cannot give?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The drug is a known carcinogen.

    Now, do we really want really young women accessing this as birth control? I mean, they could get in the habit of using Plan B as has been reported in other countries. That could be very unhealthy. Also, what is there to stop them from being forced to take it by an abuser? Certainly not age and experience. What about informed consent, which they cannot give?

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    What gets me, is the number of people who with out a trace of irony go on about the rights of women and then complain that the HHS Director is ignoring science because of politics.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    What gets me, is the number of people who with out a trace of irony go on about the rights of women and then complain that the HHS Director is ignoring science because of politics.

  • Jon

    It’s duplicitous though; safe, legal, and rare. See, we are not really for abortion, we are all about contraception and safe drugs for women and girls of all ages.

  • Jon

    It’s duplicitous though; safe, legal, and rare. See, we are not really for abortion, we are all about contraception and safe drugs for women and girls of all ages.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @7

    The drug is abortifacient. It can prevent a fertilized egg aka unique human being, from implanting. It aborts a process already in motion. It does not just prevent a process from beginning.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @7

    The drug is abortifacient. It can prevent a fertilized egg aka unique human being, from implanting. It aborts a process already in motion. It does not just prevent a process from beginning.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “we are all about contraception and safe drugs for women and girls of all ages.”

    especially “girls of all ages”

    It would be a shame for those sweet young things to just sit around waiting for marriage when they can be used and abused now with impunity thanks to the wonders of modern pharmacology.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “we are all about contraception and safe drugs for women and girls of all ages.”

    especially “girls of all ages”

    It would be a shame for those sweet young things to just sit around waiting for marriage when they can be used and abused now with impunity thanks to the wonders of modern pharmacology.

  • SKPeterson

    Andrew – Jon brings up a definitional point. A contraceptive prohibits conception, yet this drug acts after conception. Now, you say that conservatives would hold Plan B to be an abortifacient even though the Administration might think of it as a contraceptive, implying that this is a semantic battle. However, if Plan B operates after conception it is by definition an abortifacient. And that holds no matter how safe or rare it might be; it still involves killing.

  • SKPeterson

    Andrew – Jon brings up a definitional point. A contraceptive prohibits conception, yet this drug acts after conception. Now, you say that conservatives would hold Plan B to be an abortifacient even though the Administration might think of it as a contraceptive, implying that this is a semantic battle. However, if Plan B operates after conception it is by definition an abortifacient. And that holds no matter how safe or rare it might be; it still involves killing.

  • Jon

    Yes, SK–They just moved the conception goal line to uterine implantation to try and soften their killing ethic. See, if it doesn’t stick in the uterus, it ain’t a baby, goes their rationalizing. No different than a miscarriage or menses.

  • Jon

    Yes, SK–They just moved the conception goal line to uterine implantation to try and soften their killing ethic. See, if it doesn’t stick in the uterus, it ain’t a baby, goes their rationalizing. No different than a miscarriage or menses.

  • Jon

    “… to help women prevent unwanted pregnancies.”

    See, you’re not really “pregnant” until it sticks in the uterus.

  • Jon

    “… to help women prevent unwanted pregnancies.”

    See, you’re not really “pregnant” until it sticks in the uterus.

  • Gary

    SKP (@13), let’s say you’re viewpoint is not only right, but (even better!) _righteous_. How about this as a compromise? Let’s make “The Pill”-normal, oral contraceptives-available OTC. You would get what you want, namely, the prevention of _conceptions_ that are going to be terminated with or without your approval, and the girls who used them would get they want–the ability to be sexually active without fear of getting pregnant.

  • Gary

    SKP (@13), let’s say you’re viewpoint is not only right, but (even better!) _righteous_. How about this as a compromise? Let’s make “The Pill”-normal, oral contraceptives-available OTC. You would get what you want, namely, the prevention of _conceptions_ that are going to be terminated with or without your approval, and the girls who used them would get they want–the ability to be sexually active without fear of getting pregnant.

  • SKPeterson

    Gary,

    You may be right. But why are the drugs Rx to begin with? Apparently, someone thought they might be dangerous or have bad side effects, but if the are safe, then why not? I know some of the issues have to do with adverse drug interactions, but those are fairly rare.

    I think part of this issue is that the girls precluded from obtaining the drug are under the legal age of majority. Therefore they are under the supervision of their parents and all of the legal baggage that entail, especially in conjunction with the mine field of public education policy. Just imagine the brouhaha that would erupt (do brouhaha’s erupt, unfold, escape?) should a young woman be caught at school with pills. Immediate suspension, possible expulsion, etc. until it would be determined in a court case that she can bring pills to school to prevent pregnancy, but not to treat a cold.

  • SKPeterson

    Gary,

    You may be right. But why are the drugs Rx to begin with? Apparently, someone thought they might be dangerous or have bad side effects, but if the are safe, then why not? I know some of the issues have to do with adverse drug interactions, but those are fairly rare.

    I think part of this issue is that the girls precluded from obtaining the drug are under the legal age of majority. Therefore they are under the supervision of their parents and all of the legal baggage that entail, especially in conjunction with the mine field of public education policy. Just imagine the brouhaha that would erupt (do brouhaha’s erupt, unfold, escape?) should a young woman be caught at school with pills. Immediate suspension, possible expulsion, etc. until it would be determined in a court case that she can bring pills to school to prevent pregnancy, but not to treat a cold.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @16

    The problem with oral contraceptives being used OTC is that they aren’t all that safe, and because girls would suffer even more pressure to be sexually active than they already do, and they wouldn’t ever get checked by a doctor for STI’s. So, STI’s would increase from their already insanely high levels.

    “the girls who used them would get they want–the ability to be sexually active without fear of getting pregnant.”

    LOL – yeah sure, “what the girls want”

    For millennia young girls have been out beating the bushes for guys to give them “what they want”

    Hello, it is the guys who want lots of sex with young girls without the girls getting pregnant.

    I understand you like your “compromise” where you get what you want and she doesn’t get pregnant and punish you with a baby, but painting it as “what girls want” is near Orwellian. What do I know, maybe the chicks are beating a path to your door and begging you to give them what they want, so it seems to you that of course that is what they want, but I am guessing you are the exception in that case.

    Latest from the CDC

    http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/monogamy-doctor-ordered-organ-transplant-donors-cdc-article-1.987085#ixzz1fj7lJghU

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @16

    The problem with oral contraceptives being used OTC is that they aren’t all that safe, and because girls would suffer even more pressure to be sexually active than they already do, and they wouldn’t ever get checked by a doctor for STI’s. So, STI’s would increase from their already insanely high levels.

    “the girls who used them would get they want–the ability to be sexually active without fear of getting pregnant.”

    LOL – yeah sure, “what the girls want”

    For millennia young girls have been out beating the bushes for guys to give them “what they want”

    Hello, it is the guys who want lots of sex with young girls without the girls getting pregnant.

    I understand you like your “compromise” where you get what you want and she doesn’t get pregnant and punish you with a baby, but painting it as “what girls want” is near Orwellian. What do I know, maybe the chicks are beating a path to your door and begging you to give them what they want, so it seems to you that of course that is what they want, but I am guessing you are the exception in that case.

    Latest from the CDC

    http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/monogamy-doctor-ordered-organ-transplant-donors-cdc-article-1.987085#ixzz1fj7lJghU

  • trotk

    Read the label on many ordinary birth control pills. They are designed to terminate a pregnancy that the pill fails to stop. Maybe not as effective as the morning after pill, but still designed to. It is true that there are some birth control pills without this feature (or so I have heard), but all of the descriptions (given by the companies themselves) I have bothered to take them time to read explicitly state that the pills will terminate a fertilized egg. I read enough of them to conclude that most, if not all birth control pills should be rejected by anyone who actually believes the fetus is a person.

  • trotk

    Read the label on many ordinary birth control pills. They are designed to terminate a pregnancy that the pill fails to stop. Maybe not as effective as the morning after pill, but still designed to. It is true that there are some birth control pills without this feature (or so I have heard), but all of the descriptions (given by the companies themselves) I have bothered to take them time to read explicitly state that the pills will terminate a fertilized egg. I read enough of them to conclude that most, if not all birth control pills should be rejected by anyone who actually believes the fetus is a person.

  • Susan

    Let’s see, the youngest girls-minors-can’t get this pill, but can get an abortion or powerful birth-control pills without their parents’ knowledge, much less their consent.

    Yep, makes sense to me. Or would, if I were as logically paralyzed as the libertines are.

    Honestly, when will people learn that it’s in the males’ best interest to keep the girls from falling pregnant?

  • Susan

    Let’s see, the youngest girls-minors-can’t get this pill, but can get an abortion or powerful birth-control pills without their parents’ knowledge, much less their consent.

    Yep, makes sense to me. Or would, if I were as logically paralyzed as the libertines are.

    Honestly, when will people learn that it’s in the males’ best interest to keep the girls from falling pregnant?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I do think Andrew makes a good point (@2). The Obama Administration is making it harder for some people to get an abortion. That simply isn’t getting enough attention here. It’s an inconvenient truth, isn’t it? It just doesn’t play into the script.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I do think Andrew makes a good point (@2). The Obama Administration is making it harder for some people to get an abortion. That simply isn’t getting enough attention here. It’s an inconvenient truth, isn’t it? It just doesn’t play into the script.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG asked (@8):

    The drug is a known carcinogen. … I mean, they could get in the habit of using Plan B as has been reported in other countries. That could be very unhealthy. Also, what is there to stop them from being forced to take it by an abuser?

    So what you’re saying is that the federal government should be in the habit of stopping us from ingesting known carcinogens? Like cigarettes?

    And one might also ask what there is to stop young women from being forced to take alcohol by an abuser. So maybe we should ban alcohol, too?

    In short, I don’t think you really believe these arguments you’re trying out. I think you don’t like this drug for other reasons, but you’re using other, inferior arguments to make your case.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG asked (@8):

    The drug is a known carcinogen. … I mean, they could get in the habit of using Plan B as has been reported in other countries. That could be very unhealthy. Also, what is there to stop them from being forced to take it by an abuser?

    So what you’re saying is that the federal government should be in the habit of stopping us from ingesting known carcinogens? Like cigarettes?

    And one might also ask what there is to stop young women from being forced to take alcohol by an abuser. So maybe we should ban alcohol, too?

    In short, I don’t think you really believe these arguments you’re trying out. I think you don’t like this drug for other reasons, but you’re using other, inferior arguments to make your case.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SK asked (@17):

    But why are the drugs Rx to begin with? Apparently, someone thought they might be dangerous or have bad side effects, but if the are safe, then why not? I know some of the issues have to do with adverse drug interactions, but those are fairly rare.

    This is probably a much larger question, but it seems to me that drugs are Rx for all sorts of reasons. Maybe they are safe for most people, but there are certain conditions that would preclude their use (e.g. in this case, particularly young women/girls).
    Maybe the doctor just wants to be able to check in with you periodically to make sure you’re using them correctly. I mean, Amoxicillin seems to be a remarkably safe drug (for most people?), but the doctors want to make sure you use the full treatment so you don’t contribute to drug-resistant bacteria growth. That alone probably keeps it off the drug-store counters, no matter how safe and common it is.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SK asked (@17):

    But why are the drugs Rx to begin with? Apparently, someone thought they might be dangerous or have bad side effects, but if the are safe, then why not? I know some of the issues have to do with adverse drug interactions, but those are fairly rare.

    This is probably a much larger question, but it seems to me that drugs are Rx for all sorts of reasons. Maybe they are safe for most people, but there are certain conditions that would preclude their use (e.g. in this case, particularly young women/girls).
    Maybe the doctor just wants to be able to check in with you periodically to make sure you’re using them correctly. I mean, Amoxicillin seems to be a remarkably safe drug (for most people?), but the doctors want to make sure you use the full treatment so you don’t contribute to drug-resistant bacteria growth. That alone probably keeps it off the drug-store counters, no matter how safe and common it is.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    So what you’re saying is that the federal government should be in the habit of stopping us from ingesting known carcinogens? Like cigarettes?

    And one might also ask what there is to stop young women from being forced to take alcohol by an abuser. So maybe we should ban alcohol, too?

    The government does require people to be of age to buy cigarettes and alcohol. Kids can’t buy them. I don’t get the alcohol comparison because an abuser wouldn’t be able to coerce a 13 year old to buy alcohol, but he would be able to coerce her to buy Plan B pills.

    In short, I don’t think you really believe these arguments you’re trying out. I think you don’t like this drug for other reasons,

    mindreading?

    but you’re using other, inferior arguments to make your case.

    Well, they may be inferior to some other arguments, but I honestly do think that the fact that dangerous drugs are controlled by physicians under the law is really because they are dangerous and the patients need monitoring, especially patients who cannot give informed consent. And yeah, I do think an abusive older guy would drive a girl to the drugstore and coerce her to go in and buy the drugs and then make her take them. I don’t think he would drive her to the store and make her go in and buy cigarettes and alcohol, which he could just go buy himself. Anyway, selling or giving alcohol to minors is already a crime, so yes the government does try to protect youngsters from alcohol.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    So what you’re saying is that the federal government should be in the habit of stopping us from ingesting known carcinogens? Like cigarettes?

    And one might also ask what there is to stop young women from being forced to take alcohol by an abuser. So maybe we should ban alcohol, too?

    The government does require people to be of age to buy cigarettes and alcohol. Kids can’t buy them. I don’t get the alcohol comparison because an abuser wouldn’t be able to coerce a 13 year old to buy alcohol, but he would be able to coerce her to buy Plan B pills.

    In short, I don’t think you really believe these arguments you’re trying out. I think you don’t like this drug for other reasons,

    mindreading?

    but you’re using other, inferior arguments to make your case.

    Well, they may be inferior to some other arguments, but I honestly do think that the fact that dangerous drugs are controlled by physicians under the law is really because they are dangerous and the patients need monitoring, especially patients who cannot give informed consent. And yeah, I do think an abusive older guy would drive a girl to the drugstore and coerce her to go in and buy the drugs and then make her take them. I don’t think he would drive her to the store and make her go in and buy cigarettes and alcohol, which he could just go buy himself. Anyway, selling or giving alcohol to minors is already a crime, so yes the government does try to protect youngsters from alcohol.

  • Michael B.

    I have a question for all the pro-lifers on here: If the morning after pill or birth control pill really causes abortions, why is there so much focus on Planned Parenthood? Wouldn’t it be the case that Target or your local pharmacy is offering far more abortions than Planned Parenthood? Far more abortions are caused by a pill than surgical abortions. Why should a surgical abortion be any more evil than a chemical abortion done though a pill? Do not both cause the death of a fetus? Why no protests against Target?

  • Michael B.

    I have a question for all the pro-lifers on here: If the morning after pill or birth control pill really causes abortions, why is there so much focus on Planned Parenthood? Wouldn’t it be the case that Target or your local pharmacy is offering far more abortions than Planned Parenthood? Far more abortions are caused by a pill than surgical abortions. Why should a surgical abortion be any more evil than a chemical abortion done though a pill? Do not both cause the death of a fetus? Why no protests against Target?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael (@25), let’s begin by examining your subordinate clause:

    If the morning after pill or birth control pill really causes abortions…

    I can’t really see that there’s even room for debate that the “morning-after” pill causes an abortion. Are you disputing that it does?

    So let’s talk about birth-control pills. There are several things to mention here. First of all, in my understanding, there is not just one such pill. There are several variaties. Also, as I understand it, they don’t all function equivalently. I’ll defer to the Wikipedia article on combined oral contraceptive pills for the specifics:

    Other possible secondary mechanisms may exist. For instance, the brochure for Bayer’s YAZ mentions changes in the endometrial effects that reduce the likelihood of implantation of an embryo in the uterus. Some pro-life groups consider such a mechanism to be abortifacient, and the existence of postfertilization mechanisms is a controversial topic. Some scientists point out that the possibility of fertilization during COCP use is very small. From this, they conclude that endometrial changes are unlikely to play an important role, if any, in the observed effectiveness of COCPs. Others make more complex arguments against the existence of these mechanisms, while yet other scientists argue the existing data supports such mechanisms. The controversy is currently unresolved.

    So not all “pills” may have these “secondary mechanisms”. And it seems that, for the most part, they never are needed in order to prevent pregnancy, since ovulation and/or conception are usually successfully suppressed. On top of all that, there’s the simple fact that quite a number of people who take these pills are simply ignorant of how they work.

    Now, are you still confused about why all the foregoing inspires less action and outcry than does a woman knowingly going to a doctor in order to have the child which she knows is alive inside her killed?

    I mean, can you not see that any abortions that occur from birth-control pills are (1) likely to occur a very small percentage of the time such pills are taken, and (2) quite likely to be unintentional. Compare that to what happens in an abortion clinic, in which (1) the percentage of abortions is, quite obviously, much higher, and (2) the actions are almost certainly intentional.

    Make sense? Were you being serious?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael (@25), let’s begin by examining your subordinate clause:

    If the morning after pill or birth control pill really causes abortions…

    I can’t really see that there’s even room for debate that the “morning-after” pill causes an abortion. Are you disputing that it does?

    So let’s talk about birth-control pills. There are several things to mention here. First of all, in my understanding, there is not just one such pill. There are several variaties. Also, as I understand it, they don’t all function equivalently. I’ll defer to the Wikipedia article on combined oral contraceptive pills for the specifics:

    Other possible secondary mechanisms may exist. For instance, the brochure for Bayer’s YAZ mentions changes in the endometrial effects that reduce the likelihood of implantation of an embryo in the uterus. Some pro-life groups consider such a mechanism to be abortifacient, and the existence of postfertilization mechanisms is a controversial topic. Some scientists point out that the possibility of fertilization during COCP use is very small. From this, they conclude that endometrial changes are unlikely to play an important role, if any, in the observed effectiveness of COCPs. Others make more complex arguments against the existence of these mechanisms, while yet other scientists argue the existing data supports such mechanisms. The controversy is currently unresolved.

    So not all “pills” may have these “secondary mechanisms”. And it seems that, for the most part, they never are needed in order to prevent pregnancy, since ovulation and/or conception are usually successfully suppressed. On top of all that, there’s the simple fact that quite a number of people who take these pills are simply ignorant of how they work.

    Now, are you still confused about why all the foregoing inspires less action and outcry than does a woman knowingly going to a doctor in order to have the child which she knows is alive inside her killed?

    I mean, can you not see that any abortions that occur from birth-control pills are (1) likely to occur a very small percentage of the time such pills are taken, and (2) quite likely to be unintentional. Compare that to what happens in an abortion clinic, in which (1) the percentage of abortions is, quite obviously, much higher, and (2) the actions are almost certainly intentional.

    Make sense? Were you being serious?

  • Jon

    Yes, but it would not surprise me to see “demonstrations” against drug stores or calls for their boycott, especially once the drug goes OTC, if it can ever actually be proven safe enough for that to happen, being the carcinogen that it is, and all.

    Yes this is a big election year coming up, but I still think that it really is the “safe” prong of the administration’s “safe, legal, rare” that they are promoting with this decision–as they claim the reason to be.

    I mean, maybe the president gets some points with prolifer voters for not making it OTC right now with the election coming up. But, could you imagine the backlash from both sides he would face in the election if, in a rush to push this thing out OTC, “girls and women of all ages” started having bad medical results from this drug?

  • Jon

    Yes, but it would not surprise me to see “demonstrations” against drug stores or calls for their boycott, especially once the drug goes OTC, if it can ever actually be proven safe enough for that to happen, being the carcinogen that it is, and all.

    Yes this is a big election year coming up, but I still think that it really is the “safe” prong of the administration’s “safe, legal, rare” that they are promoting with this decision–as they claim the reason to be.

    I mean, maybe the president gets some points with prolifer voters for not making it OTC right now with the election coming up. But, could you imagine the backlash from both sides he would face in the election if, in a rush to push this thing out OTC, “girls and women of all ages” started having bad medical results from this drug?

  • Michael B.

    First off, let’s just start off where we agree. We agree that the birth control pill and the Plan-B pill can both work to cause the death of a fetus. Pro-lifers are actually right on this issue. Birth control pills can stop a fertilized egg that otherwise would have implanted in the uterus to be flushed out.

    You then bring up if a woman “knowingly” is killing a fetus or if the action is “intentional”, as if that is somehow relevant. Let’s imagine a woman has a 3rd trimester abortion, but she just thinks she’s really aborting a clump of cells. Does that somehow make the action okay? And let’s say women are ignorant of how these pills work. Why not educate them? And why not protest the businesses that sell them, like Target and other pharmacies?

    According to Planned Parenthood, in 2008 there were 1.2 million induced abortions. And while 1.2 million is a high figure, it is likely dwarfed by the number of abortions caused by the morning after pill and the birth control pill. If you believe sg, there are even women who use the morning after pill as a primary means of birth control! We haven’t the means of tracking how many fetuses are killed chemically, but based upon the high number of women using these pills, the figure must be staggering. In 2010, the Plan B One-Step morning after pill racked up $78 million in sales. The Next Choice brand morning-after pill ranked just below that. Why should a fetus killed by chemical abortion be less worthy of your moral concern that one that is killed by a surgical abortion? And why is okay for Target to sell abortion services, but wrong for Planned Parenthood to do so?

  • Michael B.

    First off, let’s just start off where we agree. We agree that the birth control pill and the Plan-B pill can both work to cause the death of a fetus. Pro-lifers are actually right on this issue. Birth control pills can stop a fertilized egg that otherwise would have implanted in the uterus to be flushed out.

    You then bring up if a woman “knowingly” is killing a fetus or if the action is “intentional”, as if that is somehow relevant. Let’s imagine a woman has a 3rd trimester abortion, but she just thinks she’s really aborting a clump of cells. Does that somehow make the action okay? And let’s say women are ignorant of how these pills work. Why not educate them? And why not protest the businesses that sell them, like Target and other pharmacies?

    According to Planned Parenthood, in 2008 there were 1.2 million induced abortions. And while 1.2 million is a high figure, it is likely dwarfed by the number of abortions caused by the morning after pill and the birth control pill. If you believe sg, there are even women who use the morning after pill as a primary means of birth control! We haven’t the means of tracking how many fetuses are killed chemically, but based upon the high number of women using these pills, the figure must be staggering. In 2010, the Plan B One-Step morning after pill racked up $78 million in sales. The Next Choice brand morning-after pill ranked just below that. Why should a fetus killed by chemical abortion be less worthy of your moral concern that one that is killed by a surgical abortion? And why is okay for Target to sell abortion services, but wrong for Planned Parenthood to do so?

  • Jon

    Hmm, according to the wikipedia article tODD cites, the “birth control” pills don’t work by regaularly flushing the uterus; they work by preventing ovulation as their primary means, and, secondarily, by creating an additional sperm barrier at the cervix. Hence, they are a contraceptive. The number an degree of periods is reduced, sometimes altogether stopping while on these pills.

    If you know of some other type of “birth control” pill that operates by simply flushing the uterus, well, then that would constitute an abortifacient, plain and simple, no different than any of these morning after pills.

    So I disagree with your characterization that hormone-regulating birth control pills are the source of untold huge numbers of unknowable abortions. The hormone regulator types are truly contraceptive.

    As for Target and others, I predict if they go OTC on abortifacients that you will see boycotts and pickets. Won’t that be great for the economy. (Maybe that’s what the administration was concerned about.)

  • Jon

    Hmm, according to the wikipedia article tODD cites, the “birth control” pills don’t work by regaularly flushing the uterus; they work by preventing ovulation as their primary means, and, secondarily, by creating an additional sperm barrier at the cervix. Hence, they are a contraceptive. The number an degree of periods is reduced, sometimes altogether stopping while on these pills.

    If you know of some other type of “birth control” pill that operates by simply flushing the uterus, well, then that would constitute an abortifacient, plain and simple, no different than any of these morning after pills.

    So I disagree with your characterization that hormone-regulating birth control pills are the source of untold huge numbers of unknowable abortions. The hormone regulator types are truly contraceptive.

    As for Target and others, I predict if they go OTC on abortifacients that you will see boycotts and pickets. Won’t that be great for the economy. (Maybe that’s what the administration was concerned about.)

  • Jon

    SG 24,

    I think you are probably right about the safety thing. Can you imagine if these things go OTC and start being abused by “women and girls of all ages”? what if an 11 year old doesn’t opt for the morning after, but instead, finds out 40-60 mornings later that she is pregnant, and heads down to her local Target store and quintuples down on Plan B pills, just thinking in her 11 year old mind that if one pill works the morning after, that 6 pills must be enough to do the trick at her stage?

    So I take the administration at their word when they say its about safety.

  • Jon

    SG 24,

    I think you are probably right about the safety thing. Can you imagine if these things go OTC and start being abused by “women and girls of all ages”? what if an 11 year old doesn’t opt for the morning after, but instead, finds out 40-60 mornings later that she is pregnant, and heads down to her local Target store and quintuples down on Plan B pills, just thinking in her 11 year old mind that if one pill works the morning after, that 6 pills must be enough to do the trick at her stage?

    So I take the administration at their word when they say its about safety.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael (@28), your reply to me doesn’t really make sense, and here’s why: Because the question of yours (@25) to which I was originally replying was directed solely at the “focus” of pro-lifers.

    Now let’s look at what you said about my answer:

    You then bring up if a woman “knowingly” is killing a fetus or if the action is “intentional”, as if that is somehow relevant. Let’s imagine a woman has a 3rd trimester abortion, but she just thinks she’s really aborting a clump of cells. Does that somehow make the action okay?

    But of course intent is relevant! Again, you asked why pro-lifers focus more on Planned Parenthood than Target in their reactions. And, again, there is far more obvious intent to end a pregnancy at an abortion clinic than there is at a Target pharmacy. Because, again, the vast majority of people who buy birth control pills at a Target are unlikely to even cause an abortion, and of those who do, I argue, it will likely be unintentional for most of them. This is not at all the case with an abortion clinic.

    That a woman might believe that a “3rd trimester abortion” somehow does not involve murdering her child doesn’t really factor into your question, which was directed to pro-lifers, remember? And, pretty much by definition, pro-lifers believe that abortions are murder, but there is not so much clarity when it comes to birth-control pills.

    And let’s say women are ignorant of how these pills work. Why not educate them?

    Indeed. Is someone arguing against that position?

    And why not protest the businesses that sell them, like Target and other pharmacies?

    It seems to me that you’re mainly arguing against a strawman here. Are you assuming that every pro-lifer you’re addressing protests abortion clinics, and by that (imagined) fact insisting that there be parity in a pro-lifers protest focus? Because most pro-lifers I know don’t protest clinics, even if they oppose them at some level. Likewise, I’m pretty certain most pro-lifers would oppose the sale of “morning-after” pills wherever, even if they wouldn’t necessarily protest at a physical store. So… what’s your point, exactly, I guess?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael (@28), your reply to me doesn’t really make sense, and here’s why: Because the question of yours (@25) to which I was originally replying was directed solely at the “focus” of pro-lifers.

    Now let’s look at what you said about my answer:

    You then bring up if a woman “knowingly” is killing a fetus or if the action is “intentional”, as if that is somehow relevant. Let’s imagine a woman has a 3rd trimester abortion, but she just thinks she’s really aborting a clump of cells. Does that somehow make the action okay?

    But of course intent is relevant! Again, you asked why pro-lifers focus more on Planned Parenthood than Target in their reactions. And, again, there is far more obvious intent to end a pregnancy at an abortion clinic than there is at a Target pharmacy. Because, again, the vast majority of people who buy birth control pills at a Target are unlikely to even cause an abortion, and of those who do, I argue, it will likely be unintentional for most of them. This is not at all the case with an abortion clinic.

    That a woman might believe that a “3rd trimester abortion” somehow does not involve murdering her child doesn’t really factor into your question, which was directed to pro-lifers, remember? And, pretty much by definition, pro-lifers believe that abortions are murder, but there is not so much clarity when it comes to birth-control pills.

    And let’s say women are ignorant of how these pills work. Why not educate them?

    Indeed. Is someone arguing against that position?

    And why not protest the businesses that sell them, like Target and other pharmacies?

    It seems to me that you’re mainly arguing against a strawman here. Are you assuming that every pro-lifer you’re addressing protests abortion clinics, and by that (imagined) fact insisting that there be parity in a pro-lifers protest focus? Because most pro-lifers I know don’t protest clinics, even if they oppose them at some level. Likewise, I’m pretty certain most pro-lifers would oppose the sale of “morning-after” pills wherever, even if they wouldn’t necessarily protest at a physical store. So… what’s your point, exactly, I guess?

  • Michael B.

    Okay, let’s let the topic of birth control pills and abortion slide for now. As a pro-choicer, I will tell you however that the pro-lifers are absolutely correct when they claim that birth control pills cause the death of early term embryos. You can do the research yourself. Even Planned Parenthood will acknowledge it.

    You will at least grant that plan-B pills causes the death of embryos. If you grant this, you should know that your local pharmacies at Target and Walmart are likely causing far more abortions than your local Planned Parenthood. I’m just surprised this doesn’t bother you more. If Walmart performed surgical abortions, would that change your mind?

  • Michael B.

    Okay, let’s let the topic of birth control pills and abortion slide for now. As a pro-choicer, I will tell you however that the pro-lifers are absolutely correct when they claim that birth control pills cause the death of early term embryos. You can do the research yourself. Even Planned Parenthood will acknowledge it.

    You will at least grant that plan-B pills causes the death of embryos. If you grant this, you should know that your local pharmacies at Target and Walmart are likely causing far more abortions than your local Planned Parenthood. I’m just surprised this doesn’t bother you more. If Walmart performed surgical abortions, would that change your mind?

  • Jon

    Same reason why the prolife ammendment failed in the MS. Many prolifers aren’t exactly willing to protect a baby until it looks like a baby or has a heart beat. Their ethic of life just doesn’t extend to conception. The protests will start when it goes OTC for all.

  • Jon

    Same reason why the prolife ammendment failed in the MS. Many prolifers aren’t exactly willing to protect a baby until it looks like a baby or has a heart beat. Their ethic of life just doesn’t extend to conception. The protests will start when it goes OTC for all.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael (@32) said:

    Pro-lifers are absolutely correct when they claim that birth control pills cause the death of early term embryos. You can do the research yourself.

    Well, based on the little research I did do myself, I believe your first statement needs some qualifiers. Some birth control pills may cause the death of embryos. How about that?

    You will at least grant that plan-B pills causes the death of embryos.

    Um, yes. Not only will I, but I already did (@26). Are you even reading to what I’m saying, or am I being drowned out by some straw man that’s screaming in your ear?

    Target and Walmart are likely causing far more abortions than your local Planned Parenthood. I’m just surprised this doesn’t bother you more.

    I don’t know where you get the idea that “morning-after” pills don’t bother me. They do.

    That said, I still think you’re willfully ignoring the reality in order to force some hypocritical reading onto whatever pro-life straw man you’re imagining. I’ll try explaining it one more time.

    A woman who walks into an abortion clinic knows she is pregnant. She intends to end the pregnancy. A woman who buys “morning-after” pills suspects that there is reason to believe she might be pregnant. The intent in both situations may be to end any pregnancy that exists, but you seem to be ignoring the fact that percentage of prenancies that exist in the abortion clinic case is 100%, and necessarily much less than that in the “morning-after” pill situation.

    Assuming that you can hear any of this over the straw man yelling.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael (@32) said:

    Pro-lifers are absolutely correct when they claim that birth control pills cause the death of early term embryos. You can do the research yourself.

    Well, based on the little research I did do myself, I believe your first statement needs some qualifiers. Some birth control pills may cause the death of embryos. How about that?

    You will at least grant that plan-B pills causes the death of embryos.

    Um, yes. Not only will I, but I already did (@26). Are you even reading to what I’m saying, or am I being drowned out by some straw man that’s screaming in your ear?

    Target and Walmart are likely causing far more abortions than your local Planned Parenthood. I’m just surprised this doesn’t bother you more.

    I don’t know where you get the idea that “morning-after” pills don’t bother me. They do.

    That said, I still think you’re willfully ignoring the reality in order to force some hypocritical reading onto whatever pro-life straw man you’re imagining. I’ll try explaining it one more time.

    A woman who walks into an abortion clinic knows she is pregnant. She intends to end the pregnancy. A woman who buys “morning-after” pills suspects that there is reason to believe she might be pregnant. The intent in both situations may be to end any pregnancy that exists, but you seem to be ignoring the fact that percentage of prenancies that exist in the abortion clinic case is 100%, and necessarily much less than that in the “morning-after” pill situation.

    Assuming that you can hear any of this over the straw man yelling.


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