FDA Causes An Abortion—The Plan B Saga Continues

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The Food and Drug Administration has still not ruled one way or the other on making the emergency contraceptive Plan B available over the counter. I missed a fascinating opinion piece in the Washington Post two Sundays ago by a 42 year-old Virginia attorney who wanted to use Plan B to prevent a pregnancy but couldn't get it. As the anonymous attorney Dana L. explains:

The conservative politics of the Bush administration forced me to have an abortion I didn't want. Well, not literally, but let me explain.

I am a 42-year-old happily married mother of two elementary-schoolers. My husband and I both work, and like many couples, we're starved for time together. One Thursday evening this past March, we managed to snag some rare couple time and, in a sudden rush of passion, I failed to insert my diaphragm.

The next morning, after getting my kids off to school, I called my ob/gyn to get a prescription for Plan B, the emergency contraceptive pill that can prevent a pregnancy—but only if taken within 72 hours of intercourse. As we're both in our forties, my husband and I had considered our family complete, and we weren't planning to have another child, which is why, as a rule, we use contraception. I wanted to make sure that our momentary lapse didn't result in a pregnancy.

The receptionist, however, informed me that my doctor did not prescribe Plan B. No reason given. Neither did my internist. The midwifery practice I had used could prescribe it, but not over the phone, and there were no more open appointments for the day. The weekend—and the end of the 72-hour window—was approaching.

But I needed to meet my kids' school bus and, as I was pretty much out of options—short of soliciting random Virginia doctors out of the phone book—I figured I'd take my chances and hope for the best. After all, I'm 42. Isn't it likely my eggs are overripe, anyway? I thought so, especially since my best friend from college has been experiencing agonizing infertility problems at this age.

Weeks later, the two drugstore pregnancy tests I took told a different story. Positive. I couldn't believe it.

Whole article here.

Dana L. eventually sought out an abortion that most likely would have been unnecessary had she been able to drive down to her local pharmacy and pick up a packet of Plan B on display right next to the condoms. However, the Bush Administration's FDA has been holding up the approval of Plan B for over-the-counter purchase on specious moral grounds masquerading as safety concerns.

Last September, President Bush nominated his friend and fellow Texan Andrew von Eschenbach as the new head of the FDA. Enough is enough. The Senate should under no circumstances confirm von Eschenbach's appointment until Plan B is approved for over-the-counter sale.

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  1. Look, I?m for over the counter everything, but I?m sick of reading these obviously contrived stories of how some woman is tragically pregnant because she couldn?t get a prescription or find someone to fill it. The case for over the counter plan B should be argued on its merits, not through some tepid scare scenario.

  2. Planned Parenthood, lady.

    While I agree that Plan B (and regular old hormal birth control) should be over the counter, if you can’t figure out how to call Planned Parenthood, you’re kind of an idiot.

  3. If morning after pills were available OTC that would have solved her problem. This assumes that the drug store near her didn’t have the same moral position as the doctors who wouldn’t prescribe the medicine in the first place. The liberal solution would be to force the doctor or the drug store to participate in an act they find morally offensive. This lady’s right to a legal drug doesn?t trump the rights and privileges of a professional to run there business as they see fit.

  4. My understanding of the “Plan B” pill is that it chemically induces an abortion. If that is the case, is there a moral distinction worth maintaining over whether this woman’s abortion was chemically induced or surgical?

  5. Yeah, this is fighting the fundy-fascists on their own ground. “However, the Bush Administration’s FDA has been holding up the approval of Plan B for over-the-counter purchase on specious moral grounds masquerading as safety concerns.” That is the obscenity that needs to be addressed. The FDA is an abomination. It should be privatized, and simply test for safety ala Underwriters Laboratories.

  6. I am also in favor of legalizing plan B, but WTF.

    She has unprotected sex, and just kind of assumes that she won’t get pregnant. I am a 28 year old male, not known as the most sexually sophisticated group out there, and this strikes me as moronic.

    Hey, if you take all the precautions and mistakenly get pregnant, I fully understand. If you go around having unprotected sex, I don’t really understand. You were being an idiot.

  7. D.A. Ridgely: Actually, most of the evidence indicates that Plan B is not an abortifacient. Also don’t forget that practicing the rhythm method probably kills millions of embryos.

  8. She has unprotected sex, and just kind of assumes that she won’t get pregnant. I am a 28 year old male, not known as the most sexually sophisticated group out there, and this strikes me as moronic.

    Agreed. Hell’s Bells, this woman’s supposed to be an attorney in the Washington, DC metro area. That fact alone suggests some rudimentary level of intelligence.

    Perhaps she works for the CPSC.

  9. Wow! Unprotected sex! Let’s stone the bitch!

  10. Sam,
    If doctors and pharmacists didn’t have a state sponsored monopoly, I’d agree. However, as psuedo-extensions of the state, if it’s legal, they should prescribe it. If they took away the licensing requirement (or at the very least annual caps) for doctors, then it’d be a different story.

    Not to mention, she probably has quite a few pharmacies to choose from and if it was OTC, you’d probably find it at supermarkets and other locations with OTC drugs.

    D.A.,
    It depends how you define abortion. If abortion is causing a fertilized egg not to implant, then yes. If your idea of abortion is killing a implanted fertilized egg, then it is not.

    Since abortion is generally defined as the latter, not the former, Plan B is not an abortifacent.

  11. All: Please keep in mind that on average, if 100 women have unprotected intercourse once during the second or third week of their cycle, eight will become pregnant. And she’s right that the chances of women over 40 getting pregnant are also significantly reduced. She “lost” against some pretty long odds.

    Secondly, she did realize that she and her husband had made a mistake and made an effort to obtain Plan B.

    pigwiggle: I’m not sure what you mean by “contrived”–if this did happen to her (and there’s no evidence that it didn’t, is there?), then it is certainly reasonable for the Post to run the story.

  12. This assumes that the drug store near her didn’t have the same moral position as the doctors who wouldn’t prescribe the medicine in the first place.

    Three days to find a pharmacy is more feasible than three days to find a new doctor, make an appointment, then find a pharmacy.

  13. Mr. Bailey:

    Thanks for the link. Knowing you to be scrupulous when it comes to examining the underlying research (as opposed to an article in “Wired”), I’ll accept provisionally that Plan B may not be an abortifacient on grounds that it prevents ovulation and therefore fertilization. You and Mo appear to be at odds on this point, however. Perhaps you and he should discuss the matter further.

    As to your odd comment and link regarding the rhythm method, I can only assume you were offering further examples of “specious moral” reasoning.

  14. Yes, unprotected, monogamous sex with her husband – this stupid bitch needs a scarlet ‘A’ and at the very least a trial in which we can possibly burn this hedonistic harlot.

  15. Whatever you think of this woman, the fact is that the FDA, when deciding whether or not a certain drug should be made available over the counter, is not making the decision for reasons of health, but based on whether or not it offends their sense of morality.

  16. Me: This assumes that the drug store near her didn’t have the same moral position as the doctors who wouldn’t prescribe the medicine in the first place.

    David: Three days to find a pharmacy is more feasible than three days to find a new doctor, make an appointment, then find a pharmacy.

    I agree, it is also a lot cheaper. I waste a lot of money going to the doctor for things that any reasonable adult can figure out for themselves. However, this women should have been able to find her way to P. Parenthood if she really wanted the pill. I feel sorry for her but my point was that I don’t think her doctor is to blame for this. There are 1000’s of doctors and clinics in N. VA. I can understand why a DR. may not feel OK giving out a pill that interferes with reproduction, I think it is his right.

  17. All: Please keep in mind that on average, if 100 women have unprotected intercourse once during the second or third week of their cycle, eight will become pregnant. And she’s right that the chances of women over 40 getting pregnant are also significantly reduced. She “lost” against some pretty long odds.

    Secondly, she did realize that she and her husband had made a mistake and made an effort to obtain Plan B.

    pigwiggle: I’m not sure what you mean by “contrived”–if this did happen to her (and there’s no evidence that it didn’t, is there?), then it is certainly reasonable for the Post to run the story.

    Mr. Ridgely: Are you sure that the rhythm method doesn’t kill more embryos than prolifers allege that Plan B does?

  18. D.A. Ridgely: you must be new, as this is the umpteenth discussion of this topic.

    biologists and MDs define the beginning of pregnancy as implantation of the zygote

    moralists such as the Catholic church (and commenters on this board whose names I won’t invoke) define the beginning of pregnancy as fertilization

  19. What is the point of the FDA again? As far as I can tell it’s to kill people and make their lives miserable.

    nmg

  20. I remember when i was 17 and in highschool and had unprotected sex with my girlfriend, we went to planned parenthood the next morning and obtained Plan B with no hassle whatsoever. Neither of us could tell our parents. We were both underage and jobless and if i remember right, it only cost us $30.
    I agree Plan B should be OTC, but this lady’s assertion that the FDA caused her an unwanted pregnancy is bullshit. She had other choices and she chose not to use them. I think it’s entirely likely that if plan B HAD been available OTC, she would have procrastinated anyway and been in the same situation.

  21. Mr. Bailey: I am sure that there is a worthwhile moral distinction between deliberate measures taken to terminate the life of an embryo and behavior which may result in the unintended death of an embryo. Whether, in the latter case, there is a moral issue of due care, however, is an interesting question.

    biologist: I suppose I am new in the sense that I rarely weigh in here, especially when the thread is begun by a post from Mr. Bailey, on this topic. That said, I am indifferent to how either scientists or, as you put it, moralists define the beginning of pregnancy. I am concerned about the empirical facts of conception, fertilization, implantation, etc.; but the notion that scientists or physicians have any special insight into the moral implications of these facts, however they may be, is (to use Mr. Bailey’s term) specious.

  22. It’s illegal to buy both Pedia Care Infant Drops decongestant and Children’s Dimetapp within a month of each other in at least one state, yet people think they’re going to be able to buy the abortion pill from a pharmacy?

    I’m all for making almost everything over the counter, but if it’s illegal to buy cold medicine for both of your kids I’m not sure how anybody could think we are anywhere near depoliticizing medicine.

  23. I’m all for making almost everything over the counter, but if it’s illegal to buy cold medicine for both of your kids I’m not sure how anybody could think we are anywhere near depoliticizing medicine.

    Depressingly true, Ammonium.

  24. The case for over the counter plan B should be argued on its merits, not through some tepid scare scenario.

    Arguinig the case on its merits doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere. If you’re fighting against a position that relies heavily on appeals to pathos for its support, sometimes you have to go the same way.

  25. All: Please keep in mind that on average, if 100 women have unprotected intercourse once during the second or third week of their cycle, eight will become pregnant. And she’s right that the chances of women over 40 getting pregnant are also significantly reduced. She “lost” against some pretty long odds.

    Secondly, she did realize that she and her husband had made a mistake and made an effort to obtain Plan B.

    pigwiggle: I’m not sure what you mean by “contrived”–if this did happen to her (and there’s no evidence that it didn’t, is there?), then it is certainly reasonable for the Post to run the story

    Mr. Ridgely: The FDA’s own review of Plan B found:
    “There is no evidence that a woman’s use of Plan B while she is pregnant will result in abortion.”

  26. Mr. Ridgely: As for specious moral reasoning take a look at the actual BMJ article,”The rhythm method and embryonic death” and decide for yourself.

  27. I have always been of the opinion that Judy Thomson’s defense of abortion was the most compelling argument out there.

    Basically, we can’t know whether a fetus is or is not a human being. But if you take every reasonable precaution to prevent pregnancy then you have no moral obligation to take the baby to term.

    It just seems that this woman did not follow every reasonable precaution. I mean I feel like I have a reasonable sex life and we always use some form of birth-control because my fiancee and I don’t want to have kids quite yet. It seems common sense.

    That is not to say she should be barred from an abortion, but I do find her argument much less powerful in the presence of some rather irresponsible action.

  28. Mr. Bailey, I already said I took you at your word.

    However, I note again Mo’s comment and now that of biologist. So if (1) pregnancy is defined as the condition of a woman following implantation of a fertilized egg and (2) Plan B permits fertilization but prevents implantation (as, say, the old IUD apparently did), then I would term that an abortifacient. If, by contrast, Plan B acted solely to prevent fertilization (as traditional contraceptive pills apparently do), then I would term it a non-abortifacient and morally unobjectionable form of contraception.

    I assume the facts are reasonably well known and understood here, that the focus is on what I would call underlying ontological and resulting moral issues, and that none of the arguments one way or the other depend on some sort of semantic sleight-of-hand.

  29. D.A.
    Actually, I’m going to concede the point to Ron. Apparently, Plan B works by thickening cervical mucus and preventing ovulation, the implantation prevention has never been proven. Considering the vice president of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists said, “The post-fertilization effect was purely a speculation that became truth by repetition. In our group the feelings are split. We say it should be each doctor’s own decision, because there is no proof,” I’d say Ron is correct.

    Ron,
    Not to mention that men who are over 40 also have significantly reduced fertility. So the combo of 2 40+ year olds put the odds on her side. But sometimes you roll snake eyes.

    FYI, one can also use and IUD as emergency contraception for up to 5 days. It works as a spermicide/ovicide.

  30. That is not to say she should be barred from an abortion, but I do find her argument much less powerful in the presence of some rather irresponsible action.

    So causation is now to be considered when striving for personal freedom and less government interference?

  31. I assume the facts are reasonably well known and understood here, that the focus is on what I would call underlying ontological and resulting moral issues, and that none of the arguments one way or the other depend on some sort of semantic sleight-of-hand.

    I have come to view arguments that make much of the difference between preventing implantation and preventing fertilization as the modern equivalent of angels dancing on the head of a pin, or whether Adam had an omphalos. I.e., much ado about nothing.

  32. The late comedian Bill Hicks had the perfect view on when life begins.

    “You are not a person until you are in my phonebook”

    Fertilization versus implantation is just a smokescreen to cover up what everyone already knows but chooses to ignore to suit a religion based moral agenda. Life begins at birth, until the baby feels the light on its skin and breathes the air, it is not alive in the true human sense.

  33. Planned Parenthood, lady.

    While I agree that Plan B (and regular old hormal birth control) should be over the counter, if you can’t figure out how to call Planned Parenthood, you’re kind of an idiot.

    This has already come up – Dana L. did a chat on WaPo, someone asked her if Plan B was available through Planned Parenthood, and she conceded that it was but she just forgot to try them.

  34. ?pigwiggle: I’m not sure what you mean by “contrived”–if this did happen to her (and there’s no evidence that it didn’t, is there?), then it is certainly reasonable for the Post to run the story?

    OK, fine. Maybe I?m a bit too cynical. It?s probably the dozens of similar obviously contrived stories I?ve read on my favorite liberal boards. An otherwise responsible woman has an uncharacteristic one night stand only to be thwarted at every turn by conservative pharmacists, unwilling pharmacies and unavailable doctors; the circumstances are always just so, so that the woman has no alternatives but appears otherwise responsible, exhausting every avenue.

    I just think there are stronger arguments than the usual hackneyed scare story. Especially given the obvious unused alternative (planned parenthood, etc.).

  35. Basically, we can’t know whether a fetus is or is not a human being.

    I don’t buy that argument at all. Look at what comes out after 9 months, if there is no question then as to whether this is a human being, there isn’t any prior to that point either.

    A human fetus has a unique set of 23 pairs of chromosomes, a unique heartbeat and unique brainwaves. It is a gestating human being. We can debate on whether it is okay to terminate the pregnancy, whether Plan B is an abortifacient or should be OTC, or whether the penumbras emanate a right to privacy, but there is no debate as to whether it is a human being.

  36. Mr. Ridgely: The FDA’s own review of Plan B found:
    “There is no evidence that a woman’s use of Plan B while she is pregnant will result in abortion.”

    Then she’ll stay pregnant? Gosh, kinda makes ya wonder why Dana L. wanted the stuff so bad.

  37. Life begins at birth, until the baby feels the light on its skin and breathes the air, it is not alive in the true human sense.

    Because light and air magically transform the moral status of whatever they touch, from beings devoid of rights into those toward which we have moral obligations.

  38. Look, I?m for over the counter everything, but I?m sick of reading these obviously contrived stories of how some woman is tragically pregnant because she couldn?t get a prescription or find someone to fill it. The case for over the counter plan B should be argued on its merits, not through some tepid scare scenario.

    I just think there are stronger arguments than the usual hackneyed scare story. Especially given the obvious unused alternative (planned parenthood, etc.).

    pigwiggle,

    “The usual hackneyed scare story” applies to Plan B so much because crises like these actually happen quite frequently. I’ve personally had two extremely close calls (or “contrived stories” as you refer to them), and I’m not “a liberal”. Even Planned Parenthood is closed on Sundays, and they have odd operating hours (they are also closed on national holidays as I discovered one day, much to my chagrin). Point being, if you and others do not object to a woman obtaining Plan B, why should she have to jump through hoops to get it? And don’t even give me that line about “using Plan B as backup birth control” because it typically causes a woman to have an extra menses, and believe me, any woman will avoid to the best of her abilities a drug that does that.

  39. Thomas Paine’s Goiter

    I don’t think it is a matter of personal freedom. The abortion issue revolves around potentially 3 distinct moral entities, father, mother and baby and there relationship to each other.

    If it were only a question of the mother, fine, let her do whatever she wants to herself. But since her actions clearly impact others I don’t believe it is incorrect for a libertarian to say that the government has some role in regulating that relationship.

    After all, I don’t believe you have a right to drive on the left hand side of the road, because by doing so you will negatively influence other moral beings.

    Similarily, abortion has the potential to negatively affect other moral beings. It is that interaction that gives me pause, not issues of personal freedom.

    You can do away with these concerns by simply asserting that the moral rights of the mother are superior to all others. Or that the other entities have no standing. I just don’t find that a compelling argument.

  40. ?Point being, if you and others do not object to a woman obtaining Plan B, why should she have to jump through hoops to get it??

    She shouldn?t. But these kinds of stories aren?t all that convincing, and they certainly aren?t an argument. Look, the cause of the pregnancy isn?t Planned Parenthood?s hours, or anything else; it?s the consensual sex. You see, this is the same BS liberal minded folks are serving whilst trying to bring about regulation that would force pharmacists and pharmacies to provide products they object to. The argument should be framed in terms of why it?s right to allow folks to associate, or not, or however they wish. In my world pharmacists sell what they want and promiscuous women buy plan B from whoever cares to sell it. But for christ sake, ?FDA causes abortion?? In they chain of events that culminated in this woman?s pregnancy, the FDA seems like an exceedingly peripheral player.

  41. She “lost” against some pretty long odds.

    Plan B is marketed as 89% effective. So she still could have lost against some pretty long odds. So the FDA could have granted her wishes (and they should) but she still may have gotten pregnant.

    My cynicism keeps me from putting all the blame on the FDA. If Plan B were OTC, seems like a lot of other contraceptives would see a large drop in demand.

  42. The argument should be framed in terms of why it?s right to allow folks to associate, or not, or however they wish. In my world pharmacists sell what they want and promiscuous women buy plan B from whoever cares to sell it.

    The argument should be framed in whatever way (and in as many ways) possible to get the thing available OTC.

    Hey pigwiggle, no one gives a shit whether you personally think it’s a convincing argument, because it isnt YOU who is trying to be convinced.

    The people who need to be convinced are the moralists who are blocking its availablity and the jackass believers who think that allowing women to avoid an unwanted pregnancy will make them all dirty filthy whores ( or as you like to say in the contexts of a married mother of two in this case “promiscuous women”). These are the people who can’t be reasoned with — so a valid tactic is to show them that what they are advocating can and will lead to outcomes which are even worse (more abortions).

    Look, the cause of the pregnancy isn?t Planned Parenthood?s hours, or anything else; it?s the consensual sex

    The whole point of the discussion is that once consensual sex leads to unwated pregnancies, how should people best deal with that, and what are the real life circumstances that people deal with.
    You can always find some kind of “well you could have done this or that and jumped through these hoops…” but the reality is that if the FDA had approved this for OTC, much fewer hoops would have been necessary and the pregnancy could have been avoided — and thats the relevant bottom line, not whther or not, after jumping through enough hoops, could a busy, married, mother of two eventually obtained a pill that is time sensitive ( after the first 24 hours, its effectiveness rate drops significantly if I remember correctly)

  43. I don’t think it is a matter of personal freedom. The abortion issue revolves around potentially 3 distinct moral entities, father, mother and baby and there relationship to each other.

    Say it with me, slowly:

    IT…IS…NOT…AN…ABORTION

  44. The abortion issue revolves around potentially 3 distinct moral entities, father, mother and baby and there relationship to each other.

    Because libertarians believe that the government should be involved in family relationships?

  45. My cynicism keeps me from putting all the blame on the FDA. If Plan B were OTC, seems like a lot of other contraceptives would see a large drop in demand.

    Like what? Taking 4 Plan Bs (based on the $6 cost quoted above)costs more than a cycle of the pill. It won’t replace condoms due to the lack of protection from STDs. I guess it might replace the pill for infrequent users, but I doubt it’ll be that big a change.

  46. I agree with pigwiggle and Jane Galt-I support the right to abortion. I think the morning-after pill should be available over the counter. And I really wish Ms. Dana L. would just shut up, because I don’t think she’s helping.

  47. My cynicism keeps me from putting all the blame on the FDA. If Plan B were OTC, seems like a lot of other contraceptives would see a large drop in demand.

    Am I talking in a fucking vacuum here.

    P.S. Hi, Mo! FYI, Plan B is $30 per use. Much more expensive than birth control pills. And it induces an extra period for the woman, which is a highly undesirable effect.

  48. P.S. Hi, Mo! FYI, Plan B is $30 per use. Much more expensive than birth control pills. And it induces an extra period for the woman, which is a highly undesirable effect.

    Welcome, to the reason that people who have no idea what they’re talking about should NOT be appointed to committees involving health matters!

    Smacky, thanks for taking the time out for cretin education.

  49. Plan B is $30 per use. Much more expensive than birth control pills. And it induces an extra period for the woman, which is a highly undesirable effect.

    That has still got to be cheaper than an abortion, and I would think an extra period is much less traumatic than an abortion too. Sex has consequences and $30 seems like a prudent investment to avoid some of them.

    I would suspect that Plan B can be found for less than $30 provided you, you know, PLAN ahead. Nowhere in the thread does anyone mention the smart thing to do might be to buy a couple ahead of time. Serious question: Do these things have an unusually brief shelf life?

  50. smacky,

    Holy shit. I misread. I dunno where I got the $6 number from. This is why I stick to a strict regimen of condoms and then the pill if it’s a long term relationship.

    And contrary to what a lot of people think, I think this story will win over a lot of boderliner people wrt Plan B. The woman in the article isn’t a teenager who had sex with her boyfriend and the condom broke (which isn’t very sympathetic to soccer moms). It’s someone like them, she had a night of passion with her husband, had a lapse of responsibility due to the passion of the incident and wanted to be safe, but was stymied by her physcian and the FDA. It sounds dumb to a lot of people that follow politics closely (read: people that read and comment on political blogs), but to average voters, this hits a lot closer to home.

    I think there’s a tendency for people who aer really into politics to assume that people think about issues at such a high level*. Most people prefer to hear about issues in ways that they can understand and empathize with. It’s these sorts of emotional appeals which are most effective. Sad but true.

    *A good example is how conservative commentators though Bush’s speech would kill him with his base, when it actually led to a bump up in the polls.

  51. Because libertarians believe that the government should be involved in family relationships?

    Hell, no! If my wife and I want to put our daughter to death because she has dishonored the family by flirting with a kufr boy at Starbucks, the state has no business interfering with out familial privacy!

  52. I think the demand for IUD’s would go down. Also, it’s hard to gauge what the price point would be since the demand (and the supply) is limited by not being OTC.

  53. I am all for granting wide discretion within families, but there is a difference between allow parents to rear their children however they wish. And stopping behavior that is harmful to moral beings.

    I don’t think anyone would have any concern with stopping a husband from abusing his wife, or parents from physically abusing their children. If you believe the fetus has some moral status, than you are within the realm where the government can regulate some of the inter-family behavior. I think stopping physical, sexual and emotional abuse, might be the limit.

    As for whether it is abortion, I don’t think that was my original point. This woman went to go get an abortion, after she couldn’t get the pill. I was commenting on the moral status of her abortion, not whether using a pill to prevent contraception was legitimate.

    I think I stated initially that I think preventing contraception via the pill poses no significant moral issues.

  54. My cynicism keeps me from putting all the blame on the FDA. If Plan B were OTC, seems like a lot of other contraceptives would see a large drop in demand.

    That is the most goddammed stupid thing I have heard in a LONG time.

    Who the fuck is going to take Plan B every 72 hours, triggering a period when they can just take the damn pill? Or use a fucking condom?

    If it was a magical pill you took that prevented pregnancy with [i]no other effect whatsoever[/i] and was cheap as dirt, maybe. I can certainly see those unworried about STDs (long-term couples, married couples, etc) popping them a few mornings a week after sex as opposed to a daily pill, or a diaphram, or whatnot.

    However, as that isn’t the case and Plan B triggers a period each time you use the damn thing AND is fairly costly, only a flaming retard would consider using it as a primary contraceptive and then they’d only do it ONCE because the “triggers cramping and a period” bit would sink into their tiny little brains.

    So they’d switch to one of the other VAST array of contraceptives.

  55. If you believe the fetus has some moral status, than you are within the realm where the government can regulate some of the inter-family behavior.

    Hyperbole-for-effect alert! Some groups believe that coffee is a moral sin. So of course, all of America should be banned from coffee, because someone finds it reprehensible.

  56. kmw,

    I think what I said was that some inter-family relationships should be regulated by the government. Most specifically instances where there is some form of phyiscal, emotional or sexual abuse going on.

    Even someone who believes in a minimal government can accept certain legitimate roles, and I think that among them. I also believe that if women want to do anything else to their own bodies, that doesn’t affect anyone else. Certainly they should be allowed to do that.

  57. kmw,

    Although I suppose if you could prove that drinking coffee was somehow damaging to young children, and a certain sect of people were forcing their young to drink coffee.

    Then an appropriate government action might be stopping that group from forcing their kids to drink coffee.

    Such a thing is hard to believe though.

  58. lannychiu,

    I think you’re missing the point. Murder and abuse have a well defined morality consensus. The start of life is not agreed upon, and when the government picks one definition over another, it’s picking one sect over another. Much like banning coffee for all adults would be, just because some group dislikes it. Or maybe prohibiting alcohol for all because some think it’s a sin.

  59. Russ,
    I just looked it up, apparently the wholesale cost of Plan B is a little under $19. So it ain’t gonna replace the pill anytime soon. IUDs aren’t that popular anyways, and I don’t see why someone would replace a device that needs replacement on the order of years with Plan B. If they were going to go the hormonal route, the pill is less expensive without the extra period. Heck, you can skip all periods with the pill or Norplant. That said, it beats an abortion on all counts.

  60. kmw,

    That’s true. I think I stated earlier that I feel very uncomfortable with the notion that life begins strictly at birth, and the fetus does not have any moral status.

    It is certainly true that if you believe that the fetus is just a bunch of cells, no differnt than a tuft of hair. Then their is no problem with any abortion.

    Although as Judy Thomson pointed out in her “Defense of Abortion” paper, the most effective defense of abortion starts out with the assumption that the fetus has an equivalent moral standing to any other human and then derives under what circumstances abortion should be permissible. It is only by starting with that conservative assumption that you can effectively convince people who do not share that underlying view of the moral status of the fetus.

    Because, otherwise as you point out it simply becomes a matter of your fundamental assumption as to when life begins and no consensus can be reached.

  61. Stymied, too, by a husband who apparently won’t
    simply snip, snip so his wife doesn’t have to bother with a diaphram or whatever else he wants her to use so they don’t have any more children.

  62. A human fetus has a unique set of 23 pairs of chromosomes, a unique heartbeat and unique brainwaves. It is a gestating human being. We can debate on whether it is okay to terminate the pregnancy, whether Plan B is an abortifacient or should be OTC, or whether the penumbras emanate a right to privacy, but there is no debate as to whether it is a human being.

    Comment by: Swillfredo Pareto at June 13, 2006 01:18 PM

    those with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes, not 46 (23 pairs), as do those with Klinefelter syndrome

    individuals with Turner syndrome have 45 chromosomes

    are they Homo sapiens? do they have rights under our system of laws?

  63. The bottom line: the libertarian perspective is usually that government should be kept to a minimum. Using the government to draw the line of personhood beyond external viablility is asking for a change in legal guidelines every time there is a change in power.

    It creates a winner-take-all system where the loser gets squashed, instead of having a constitutional republic.

  64. Hooray an abortion thread!

  65. Yes, and it won’t be complete until Crimethink weighs in! 😉

  66. are they Homo sapiens? do they have rights under our system of laws?

    Point??

  67. I don’t see why someone would replace a device that needs replacement on the order of years with Plan B…Heck, you can skip all periods with the pill or Norplant. That said, it beats an abortion on all counts.

    First off, I never said it would replace a pill or condom. And not all IUD’s are the 10-year kind.

    Perhaps my view is skewed by the last girl I dated. She was 39 and kept hemming and hawing about wanting kids or not wanting kids. I’m all for having kids, but she was non-committal. OTC Plan B is perfect for her. (It would have cut down a lot of our arguments, but maybe I was better off we had them. Now that I think about it, OTC Plan B would have kept me in a bad relationship even longer.)

  68. if you don’t understand my point, reread your own post, which I quoted.

    if the standard for determining what a human is is chromosome number, account for individuals with the conditions I mentioned, who are presumably human, since they came out of other humans, but have a different number of chromosomes than typical humans (IOW, they are “aneuploid”)

  69. if you don’t understand my point, reread your own post, which I quoted.

    Give me a break. I am not debating what a human is, rather pointing out what makes that lump of fetal tissue unique from the host. The chromosome count doesn’t change between a fetus with Downs Syndrome and an adult with Down Syndrome. The point is that if what the fetus becomes is a human, the fetus is a human too.

  70. If the FDA is responsible for this woman’s abortion, then when a guy gets laid off and knocks over a 7-Eleven to buy his kids some Christmas presents, it must be his former employer’s fault. If he had been able to keep his job, he wouldn’t have had to shoot that guy behind the counter!

    Dana L. eventually sought out an abortion that most likely would have been unnecessary

    It was still unnecessary. Was anything endangered by this pregnancy, besides her and her husband’s convenience?

    Yes, and it won’t be complete until Crimethink weighs in! 😉

    Heh. You know it!

  71. biologists and MDs define the beginning of pregnancy as implantation of the zygote

    moralists such as the Catholic church (and commenters on this board whose names I won’t invoke) define the beginning of pregnancy as fertilization

    Well, that’s to be expected, when the two groups are concerned with different aspects of pregnancy. MDs are mainly concerned with the interactions between the conceptus and the woman’s body, which don’t take place until implantation.

    Moralists tend to use “pregnancy” to describe the period during which the conceptus exists inside the mother’s body. Also, I’m pretty sure that this is the meaning most laypeople would come up with; if Zogby did a poll on it, the vast majority of respondents would consider a woman to be pregnant, say, two hours after conception occurred, regardless of what biologists and MDs insist.

  72. She was 39 and kept hemming and hawing about wanting kids or not wanting kids. I’m all for having kids, but she was non-committal. OTC Plan B is perfect for her.

    What part of “induces menstruation” do you not understand? Do you just think that constantly bleeding and suffering severe cramps would be some wonderful adventure?

    Why anyone would quit other forms of birth control in favor of that is the question I’d like answered.

  73. SP said: The point is that if what the fetus becomes is a human, the fetus is a human too

    Wow, does that mean I’m a lawyer just because someday I could become one? Sweeeeeet.

    I’m $600/hr.

  74. I was commenting more on the terrible argument than on whether a fetus is human or not. 😉

  75. really, people, let’s just say this again: plan B prevents ovulation. sperm can remain active in a womens body for up to 5 days, and if she is going to ovulate within those five days, but does not, no pregnancy (even in the strictest moment of conception sense) will occur at all. the prevention of implantation effect is speculative and has never been supported by any actual data. in fact, women in the first trimester who experience unexplained bleeding and seem at risk for a miscarriage are often given precisely this type of hormone, in a similar dose, because (through some poorly understood mechanism) this reduces the chances of miscarriage. Plan B is not an abortifacient. Not an abortifacient, is what I’m saying. NOT one, even if you think that preventing the implantation of a 16-celled zygote is murder. still NOT an abortifacient OF ANY SORT. it is birth control which can be effective after sex takes place. period. end of story. Right-wing moralizers have intentionally misrepresented the science of this drug, not because they are opposed to violation of the rights of unborn humans, but because they disapprove of, and want to control, the sex lives of actually existing women.

  76. Right on , belle waring. Plan B is not an abortifacient. And it’s not a “fertilized egg,” it’s a blastocyst or a zygote at the moment of implantation. Furthermore, it’s also a scientific fact, as Mr. Bailey pointed out, the most zygotes do not implant. They are simply flushed out of the woman’s body. The statistics on this are something like 75-80% of all zygotes not making it.

    So if you’re a Christian believing that that microscopic clump of cells is equivalent to a fully developed, viable human outside the womb, you really need to think things through a bit. For starters, should mom file a claim with her life insurance company for every zygote she washes out? Should there be a funeral?

  77. This whole discussion is a bunch of contrived bullcrap.

    If “Dana L.” was truly, as she said in her article, through with her childbearing, then she should either have: (A) had her tubes tied; or (B) Had her husband’s tubes tied, i.e. vasectomy (which happened to yours truly).

    Instead, in a fit of passion, she chose option (C), Vatican Roulette.

    And as happens every once in a while, the ball in the roulette wheel landed in the little green spot rather than the red or the black.

    And this is supposed to be Dubya’s fault?

    W.T.F.?!?

    It’s someone like them, she had a night of passion with her husband, had a lapse of responsibility due to the passion of the incident and wanted to be safe, but was stymied by her physcian and the FDA.

    No, she got spanked by her own irresponsibility, and now in true Boomer fashion, she’s trying to foist the feelings of guilt and shame for her own eff-up onto someone, anyone else.

    Well, I hope her husband and family had a nice day at the Smithsonian. Because that is about all the good that comes from this story.

  78. Furthermore, it’s also a scientific fact, as Mr. Bailey pointed out, the most zygotes do not implant. They are simply flushed out of the woman’s body. The statistics on this are something like 75-80% of all zygotes not making it.

    So if you’re a Christian believing that that microscopic clump of cells is equivalent to a fully developed, viable human outside the womb, you really need to think things through a bit. For starters, should mom file a claim with her life insurance company for every zygote she washes out? Should there be a funeral?

    Points of information:

    1) In other times and places, most infants under the age of three years didn’t make it either. (I’ve read this, can’t find exact same stats online, but for example, “In 17th century France, for instance, between 20 and 50 percent of all infants died within the first year after birth.” ( Link.)

    2) Even today, life insurance policies on children commonly exclude coverage for infants who die before reaching 15 days of age.

    3) Funerals are not for the dead, but a social occasion for the survivors, to mutually recognize and mourn the loss of an emotional relationship in a social setting. Not having a funeral is not a comment on lack of humanity but lack of an emotional/social attachment. That is why most of us are not holding or attending funerals for the roughly 150,000 people who died today. Yet we do not necessarily regard them as not human.

    Presented to help you think things through a bit.

  79. SP said: The point is that if what the fetus becomes is a human, the fetus is a human too

    Wow, does that mean I’m a lawyer just because someday I could become one? Sweeeeeet.

    I’m $600/hr.

    The real question is whether the fact that lawyers can *become* human means that they *are* human.

  80. 2) Even today, life insurance policies on children commonly exclude coverage for infants who die before reaching 15 days of age.

    I’m frankly surprised you can collect life insurance for the death of a child as old at 15 days. Life insurance is supposed to be a hedge against the risk of financial loss from the death of the insured (e.g., the breadwinner of a family, a stay-at-home mom whose unpaid services will now have to be performed by hired help, a key employee whose acumen has been essential to the success of a corporation). It’s in no way meant as balm for the broken hearts of bereaved parents.

  81. If I recall correctly (from helping to write employee benefits booklets for many employers) the coverage amounts for dependent child life insurance are usually pretty small, like $1,000 or so.

    I think they are just intended to help pay for funeral expenses and such.

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