Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Closer Look at the “Morning After” Pill

I recently wrote this brief review of the "morning after" pill to send out to the LifeSharer team of Vital Signs Ministries. I thought I'd pass it along to our blog visitors too. As I say in the conclusion, please pass the word.

A Closer Look at the “Morning After” Pill

"There are women who swallow drugs to stifle in their own womb the beginnings of a man to be -- committing infanticide before they even give birth to the infant."
Minucius Felix, Octavius (2nd Century)

“Moreover, those, too, who give drugs causing abortion are deliberate murderers themselves,

as well as those receiving the poison which kills the fetus."
St. Basil the Great, Canon 188 (4th Century)

"They drink potions to ensure sterility and are guilty of murdering a human being not yet conceived. Some, when they learn that they are with child through sin, practice abortion by the use of drugs. Frequently they die themselves and are brought before the rulers of the lower world guilty of three crimes: suicide, adultery against Christ, and murder of an unborn child."
St. Jerome, Letter to Eustochium 22:13 (4th Century)

These are only a few of the statements from the early Church fathers explaining how evil and tragic were decisions to abort a pregnancy through the use of drugs. There are others. And, of course, though the practice of abortion in those eras was primarily through the abuse of such poisonous drugs, the early Church followed carefully the teaching and example of Jesus in strictly condemning all abortion.

It is in the light of the Bible’s commands regarding justice, mercy, the prohibition of murder, the special protection afforded to children, the specific proscriptions against abortion in the Law and so on as well as the instruction of the faithful martyrs of the Church that we in the 21st Century must evaluate the use of such drugs as those going under the terms “Plan B,” the “morning after” pill, and “emergency contraception.” Let’s do so by quickly reviewing two basic questions.

What are the drugs in the “morning after” pill and how do they work?

The “morning after” pill consists of a much higher dosage of the same hormones normally found in so-called “birth control” pills -- hormones that have a very powerful effect upon a woman’s system. The primary purposes of these drugs are to prevent a woman’s ovulation and to inhibit the passage of sperm after sexual intercourse. However, scientific studies have distinctly shown that these hormonal drugs have yet another effect – one that acts after conception when “breakthrough” ovulation has occurred and the sperm has successfully impregnated the egg. This particular effect of the hormone stops the embryo from implanting in the uterine wall. And remember, science couldn’t be clearer that a human being is conceived at the moment of fertilization, not at the later event when the little person attaches to that safe and nutritious haven from which his/her subsequent development continues. Furthermore, even in those cases where the embryo does manage to implant, these potent drugs have the devastating effect of shrinking the endometrium of the uterine wall from its normal thickness (5 to 13 millimeters) to barely over 1 millimeter! With this “pantry” near empty, the tiny, fragile person doesn’t have enough oxygen or food to survive.

So, make no mistake about it -- “birth control” pills and the much more powerful “morning after” pills are abortifacients. Despite all of the hype…despite all the distorted use of language in which they are described…and despite the fact that these drugs usually act as genuine contraceptives, these powerful hormones sometimes do cause abortions.
And, by the way, depending upon which specific application of the “morning after” pill a woman uses, the dosage of these powerful hormones is the equivalent of 4, 8, 10 and even up to 40 times the dosage of a daily “birth control” pill!

These then are the drugs that the FDA recently approved to be sold over the counter -- even to a minor! Imagine how the “morning after” pill, perceived as a simple and cheap (less than $30) escape from the undesired consequences of sexual activity, is going to effect the lifestyles of Americans. Think of the bad decisions which will be made because of the lack of involvement of a parent or doctor, not to mention the tremendous damage done because women naively bought the Planned Parenthood lie; namely, that “emergency contraception” has nothing to do with abortion.

What will be the impact of the “morning after” pill?

The shift in American lifestyles could be very dramatic, serving as the next, sad stage of the sexual revolution with even more of the attendant problems. After all, the “morning after” pill is being loudly hailed as a safe, easy, private, and responsible way to continue sexual activity without any of the hassles. And the applause for the drug comes from powerful sources: the mainstream media, government, educators, Hollywood, Planned Parenthood and, no doubt about it, sexual players who are looking for easier “scores.” (It hardly is a stretch to visualize how back seat Lotharios are already making the offer of the “morning after” pill a persuasive part of their pitch.) Add to these false promises the calamitous lie that “emergency contraception” has no connection to abortion and it is easy to perceive how widely and enthusiastically the temptation will be embraced.

Indeed, in several places where the “morning after” pill has already been available, exactly what common sense would expect to happen has -- increased sexual promiscuity with the resultant rises in sexually transmitted disease and emotional trauma.

The false promise that “emergency contraception” provides freedom from consequences is dangerous in another important respect; namely, women’s long term health. We already know some of the effects that these powerful drugs have on women. They range from nausea, headaches and abnormal bleeding to more serious complications like severe pain, shortness of breath, eye disorders and more. And yet because of the liberals’ pressure on the FDA, the agency has now approved the drug for widespread, unsupervised use despite the dearth of scientific studies aimed at discovering what long-term health problems might result in the use of these incredibly potent, unnatural chemicals!

Much more could be said and I encourage you to pursue the topic by contacting such excellent sources as the Family Policy Network, the Christian Medical and Dental Society, the Family Research Council, CareNet, and others. But you’ll find that the basic elements of the issue are clear…and very important. Whatever misleading term is used…whatever scientific facts are denied or obscured…whatever hype is generated in its favor by the powers to be…the “morning after” pill is a plan for individual and societal disaster. Pass the word.

"For those who conceal sexual wantonness by taking stimulating drugs to bring on an abortion wholly lose their own humanity along with the fetus."
Clement of Alexandria, Pedagogus (2nd Century)