Morning-after pill can be like abortion

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, July 25, 2005

Reference is made to your July 8 editorial supporting over-the-counter availability of the emergency "contraceptive" pill.

I read the editorial twice because I found it difficult to believe that you would write about the so-called morning-after pill without even mentioning the issue that makes it so controversial. You would have your readers believe the issue is contraception, but it is not. The pro-life community is opposed to the morning-after pill because at times it also acts as an abortifacient. It is disingenuous to say that it "has the potential for decreasing the incidence of abortion" when, in fact, it may cause an abortion.

Whether this pill prevents conception or acts as an abortifacient depends upon when in the woman's fertility cycle intercourse occurs and when the pill is used. If it is taken after fertilization, the pill's action results in a chemical abortion because the human embryo produced by the union of the sperm and the ovum cannot be implanted in the uterus and therefore, dies and is expelled. The pill has then acted as an abortifacient, not a contraceptive.

Calling the pill a contraceptive is based on some semantic gymnastics. When the anti-implantation effect of the pill was discovered, the promoters feared that the public would reject it because of its abortifacient action. How does one solve the problem? Simply change the definition of conception (or onset of pregnancy) from the time of the union of the sperm and egg to the time of implantation a week later.

Regardless of the words used and the verbal gymnastics employed to call this pill a contraceptive the facts remain the same. Destroying a living human being before birth, whether by chemical or surgical means, is still an abortion.

This debate is just one more example of the violation of the principle of informed consent when it comes to abortion. Those who promote "emergency contraception" omit facts depriving women of the right to be fully informed.

High doses of synthetic hormones carry with them a variety of health risks. The proposed regulation by the Alaska State Medical Board requiring a prescription for the emergency contraceptive pill recognizes this fact. It is ironic that our society is up in arms over the use of steroids by high school kids yet we have people working to give teenage girls and women drugs without a prescription.

Sidney D. Heidersdorf

Juneau



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