So how do contraceptives work?

Pro-lifers are told not to worry about the morning after pill, as mandated by Obamacare.  It doesn’t work by preventing the fertilized egg from being implanted in the womb, though that was how it used to be described.  It simply prevents ovulation, just like a regular birth control pill.  (Though how it prevents pregnancy the morning after ovulation has occurred is not clear.)  See the facts cited and the links given in our discussion of the Morning After pill on this blog here and here.

But when pro-lifers promote measures defining “personhood” as existing from the moment of conception, we are told that this would outlaw contraception, including the birth control pill, which–though we were always told it prevents ovulation–prevents the fertilized egg from being implanted in the womb.  (Example after the jump.)  If that’s true, many women would not want to take the things.  But that’s not what they have been told about how they work.

Is this dishonesty, rhetorical manipulation, or ignorance?  And what should we conclude about contraception from this controversy?

From Ken Cuccinelli’s ‘personhood’ travails – The Washington Post, an editorial attacking Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Kuccinelli:

The practical effects of “personhood” measures, including the one in Virginia to which Mr. Cuccinelli affixed his name, would easily include banning the most popular forms of contraception. This is because the pill, as well as other forms of birth control, work partly by preventing the implantation of eggs in the uterus wall after they have been fertilized. If the “preborn” are protected “from the moment of fertilization,” as the 2007 bill demanded, then contraception — which defeats a fertilized egg’s chances of becoming a living being — could be prohibited. In fact, the legislation seems to demand it.

As the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists pointed out, “Some of the most effective and reliable forms of contraception — oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices, and other forms of FDA-approved contraceptives — would be banned” by “personhood” measures.

 

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.


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