Sunday, August 5, 2012

LIFE AND "The Morning After"

      When President Barack Obama’s and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ announced employers, including religious organizations, must provide women’s reproductive services through insurance, the national debate quickly shifted from the morning-after and abortion pills, to traditional contraception.
 In media terms, that’s “spin” and the truth about the morning-after pill vanished.
 Obama is trying to make us think businesses and religions can opt out of the requirement. Regulators now solicit public input on how to implement the mandate—an appearance of openness while doing nothing.
I visited Planned Parenthood as a reporter, probably in 1994 or 1995, when I first heard of the “morning-after” pill being used in the United States.
The way I understand it, when the Food and Drug Administration wouldn’t approve the abortion pill RU-486 for use in the United States, Dr. Carl Djerassi, who helped develop the first oral contraceptive pill and founder of Planned Parenthood, decided a large dose of birth control pills would keep a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb, and thus he invented the “morning after pill.” Planned Parenthood began offering the treatment for women within 72 hours of unprotected sex, although the medication hadn’t been approved for that use and women sometimes had significant side effects.
 The morning-after medication causes the uterus to shed its lining, preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb. The dosage also might cause a woman not to ovulate.
Planned Parenthood claimed until the fertilized egg attaches to the womb, the woman is not pregnant, and that’s true. But invitro fertilization shows a fertilized egg is pregnant with life before implantation in the womb.
Certainly not everyone who takes morning-after pills has a fertilized egg bursting to life and searching for a safe place in the womb. But some do—and that’s the reason for the pill—to prevent another person from entering this world.
Evangelicals, Catholics and many Americans believe “Thou Shalt Not Kill” in the Sixth Commandment includes the unborn. People are speaking out against the requirement, even after Obama transferred responsibility to insurance companies.
 The U.S. Catholic bishops noted the full range of contraceptives approved by the FDA that would be available without any co-pay under Obama Care included “drugs which can attack a developing unborn child before and after implantation in the mother’s womb.
Yet, because of the world’s exploding population, population control is a goal of many in government. The number of people on earth who need food is worrisome, but it’s not a reason to kill—or to force people, especially those whose conscience or religion forbids it, to assist with the killing.
 If killing were the answer to earth’s problems why do we worry about genocide in Syria, Ruwanda, and other places? We know in our gut it is wrong and horrific.
I suggest our citizens learn self control where sexuality is concerned, not population control.
                              -- Ada Brownell is a retired reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado.