Light on the Sacred, Heavy on the Profane
Friday, May 07, 2004
 
Last Thing I Want to Get Into on a Friday Night


Candace takes me to task for my opposition to the morning after pill.

I said:
"Now I'm no MD, but it seems to me that if you're not ovulating and the condom breaks, you have no reason to worry about getting pregnant, and hence no need for "emergency" birth control." (Unless you want to stop a fertilized egg, aka the child, from implanting hisself into the uterine wall)


She said:
The first problem here is quoting a source with an agenda. Look, I've read Christian women's books that write the same thing (even some that call regular birth control "abortion"). But let's start using the right language: the "morning after pill" is emergency CONTRACEPTION. Contra=against conception. They CANNOT disrupt a pregnancy. More on this in a minute.


First of all, all sources have agendas. I gave my source, though. In her post, there is a section called "medical info." There is no link to the source. She could have listened to Michael Moore spew on the subject for all we know. Not that I'm accusing her of that. But if you're going to accuse me of using a source with an agenda, it's only fair that you at least reveal what your source is. How else is the reader to judge your source's agenda?

Secondly, I never called regular birth control "abortion." Some wacky Christian did. So if we're going to use "the right language," we might start by addressing the right arguments.

Thirdly, Birth control pills, as well as the morning after pill, (BCP and MAP hereafter) are meant to prevent ovulation, but they can also prevent a fertilized egg (aka child) from attaching to the uterine wall. In the case of BCP's, it is a rare occurance. But it is a somewhat more frequent occurance than pregnancies resulting from sex on BCP's, which, though rare, do happen.

The MAP is a concentrated dose of the BCP, taken as an "emergency contraceptive" Now, if you're not ovulating, and you have unprotected sex, what's the emergency? Granted, you could be a day or two from ovulation, therefore able to get pregnant in the next 2 days, in which case the MAP would inhibit ovulation and that's not a problem with me. But it's far more likely a woman would take this pill because of unprotected sex during ovulation.

Indeed, Miss Candace's "medical info" (the quotes are to quote her, not to belittle the medical worthiness of the info) acknowledges the damage to the uterine wall, calling it a "side effect":
"Now, the medical info:
What is EC? How does it work?
* EC is NOT RU-486, which I will explain in a moment. EC is usually either all progestin (synthetic progesterone; this is what is in the Depo shot or some oral contraceptives) or a combination of estrogen and progesterone (like what's in most regular birth control, all the Orthos to my knowledge, and the patch)
* It works in the following ways:
-- Prevents ovulation either through the inhibition of Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (which indirectly inhibits Luteneizing Hormone - LH - and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone - FSH) or inhibits LH and FSH directly. It depends on which hormonal EC you are taking.
-- It can change the fastness or slowness at which the sperm and ovum move through the female reproductive system to reduce the likelihood that they will meet in a place where they can join (depending on which hormones are involved).
-- Inhibits capacitation of sperm (an enzyme-initiated change that the sperm must go through before they can fertilize an ovum).
-- Reduces the buildup of the endometrial lining, a sideeffect of progesterone that happens both in naturally cycling women and in the woman on birth control. (This they are referring to in point 3.)
* ALSO, EC is only 92% effective. Its usage will NOT harm a baby if a woman is pregnant -- just like regular contraception.
"


Is it just me or is it a little suspicious that they refer to the damage to the uterine wall as a "side effect," simultaneously placing that sentence under the heading "How does it Work?" (The pill works by preventing a pregnancy from coming to term.) If it was truly a side effect, it would belong with: nausea, vomiting, lower abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, breast tenderness, and menstrual changes, wouldn't it?
"ALSO, EC is only 92% effective. Its usage will NOT harm a baby if a woman is pregnant -- just like regular contraception."
I believe her source has defined pregnancy to be a fertilized egg attatched to the uterine wall. Only then can one call it contraception.

Her second point addressed to me:
"Second: If women always knew when we were ovulating (as his comment presumes), contraception would be a much less complicated thing! But we don't, and the argument that women intentionally use EC as abortion is just plain wrong."


I presume no such thing. I can presume:

1) Though a woman may not have the few days of ovulation pinned down, she is capable and in control of her body and mind thusly she can pin the period (of ovulation, that is) down to a week and a half, giving herself a ton of leeway not to get pregnant. Add in menstruation and you have a little less than half a month to fuck your brains out. (As a single man, this is something I encourage.)

2) That a woman is capable and in control of her body and mind thusly she can educate herself about her feminine cycles and how to avoid pregnancy. There are some books on the subject. 83287 of 'em if you can believe Amazon.com. In particular, I recommend this one. (A great read for men and women) But I assume a woman is is capable and in control of her body and mind and can therefore save up 9.95$ and take the time to read 40 pages in order to not get knocked up. Perhaps I assume too much.

3) That a woman is capable and in control of her body and mind and can therefore establish communication with her lover(s) so they may avoid situations where they need "emergency contraception"

4) That a woman is capable and in control of her body and mind and can avoid putting herself into situations where she may be tempted to have unprotected sex during ovulation.

Perhaps I give women too much credit. I'll have to ask my female friends if I do. They'll pull no punches with me. They're my intellectual equals and that's why I cherish them so.

As far as her statement goes:
"the argument that women intentionally use EC as abortion is just plain wrong."


Well, if like the source she uses, you redefine life as a fertilized egg attached to the uterine wall then she's right. But if you stand foursquare against the slippery slope of age discrimination that leads to partial birth abortion, then she's wrong. As she says,
"[It's all a matter of] using the right language."