Contrary to popular misconception (no pun intended), the so-called "morning-after pill" is not an "abortion pill". Generally, it works the same way standard birth-control pills do: by preventing conception, not (generally) implantation.

Conception occurs when a sperm fuses with an egg to create a zygote, and this is the stage at which most pro-lifers believe life begins. Implantation occurs when a zygote implants itself in the tissue lining of the mother's uterus. Under normal circumstances, it's fairily common for conception to occur without being followed by a successful implantation, and the zygote is subsequently lost during the woman's period.

No one who accepts common birth-control pills (which occasionally do fail to prevent conception, but then succeed in preventing implantation) can reasonably object to the "morning-after pill" on the basis that it "causes abortions". That said, some conservative groups still object to the pill, ostensibly for health reasons.

It doesn't make sense to approve over-the-counter access to a high dose of this drug, when a lower-dose [birth control pills] cannot be obtained without a medical exam, physician oversight and prescription, said Wendy Wright, CWA's [Concerned Women for America] senior policy director.

That's a very reasonable argument, but it already seems silly to me that so many drugs are so heavily regulated. I'm not a doctor -- but I play one on TV -- and maybe birth-control pills do require physician supervision, but it seems unlikely to me considering how widespread their use is around the world. Most of the CWA's objections appear to be pretty feeble, and I'm not sure what their real motivation is. I suspect that since their donors are pro-life (and possibly ignorant of the details I mentioned above) the organization feels pressured to find some reason to object to the pills.

Nevertheless, I find myself agreeing with Planned Parenthood on this issue (amazing, I know).

"Wider access to emergency contraception will prevent hundreds of thousands of unintended pregnancies and abortions every year," said Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt. "There is no scientific basis for denying...over-the-counter availability," she added. ...

The group also said its research indicates that widespread availability of EC could prevent 1.7 million unintended pregnancies and 800,000 abortions each year in the United States.

800,000 fewer abortions in America each year would be an astounding achievement, and well worth the minor potential health concerns raised by CWA.



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